Saturday, 19 April 2014


Yesterday was gorgeous wasn’t it? The sheep in the field that partly surrounds my house were soaking up the sunshine and warmth. These are not my sheep, my girls are a bit further away. I was pottering about when the neighbor said he thought there was a lamb stuck. Turned out that some naughty lamb had been playing king of the castle on my garden wall.

I don't know how she managed it but she had brought the outer skin of the wall down on herself and was literally immured. Walled up under the wall. My heart sank, not a sound was coming from the lamb and no mum was bleating in distress, but sure enough a nose and foot could be seen. After much wriggling and careful removing of stone, rolling some stones away from her premature tomb, her front legs were reachable.

It took several minutes before with baited breath she was delivered from the stones. There was a sense of this being a second birth, she needed freeing and with no noise coming from her the possibility that she was fatally wounded or dead by now was quite high. At last though, just enough of the stones gave way, in the right direction that she could be pulled free. Thin and hungry looking she could only have been a few days old, far too young to be cavorting up and under stone walls alone.

There followed a  few moments, while she  lay dazed and shocked on the lush green of the grass, with gentle coaxing to see if she could stand alone. Anxious moments of waiting  to see if she had any possible fractures? wouldn’t be surprising after all with a wall coming down on her, but no, she rose to her feet and after a few wobbly steps found her voice, crying for mum. Mum was totally oblivious and quite some way away munching away happily. with a little guidance though they were finally reunited and the lamb fed hungrily.

That happened yesterday, Good Friday, and the resonance of the Easter story made me smile. Happy Easter, what ever your faith and belief.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014


Its a long long while since I wrote a blog post, so long in fact that I have been sat here for 30 min struggling to remember the pass word to get into the blooming thing.

Life is so full of pass words and stored data these day, before you know it you have umpteen things to remember and chances are if like me you have passed half a century, pass words and technology doesn't come intuitively. I forget stuff, I forget a lot of stuff, and everything moves that darn fast that you can quickly find you have been "removed from the data base" because you stopped being as active as you once were. Life is that way too, we get removed from life's data base and become a poor summary of what we thought we were.

I attended a funeral yesterday. As I sat listening to the eulogy I kept thinking, "but where is she in this?" because the eulogy was a life reduced to a series of events and there was little sense left of the departed. it made me ask myself how I might be remembered when I am removed from the data base, will I be a vaguely familiar password phrase that no one can quite recall accurately enough to have a real sense of me?

Will I be remembered for the things I did or the things I made, or the daft stuff I said? I hope I am remembered for making my beautiful children, for making folk laugh? although to be honest I know only to well that I make some people angry :(  will my entire life be misread?

 Its a sobering thought that we see the world as we are, rather than as it is, even more so when others see us in very different ways to how we see ourselves. When the young man from Environmental health came to inspect the cattery we were chatting about cats and I happened to say I tend to know people by their cats, which cat do they belong to? He suggested that I was probably known as the cat lady by now. So maybe cats and quilts and spinning and children and beautiful grand-children is not too bad a way to be remembered even if I still hanker to be remembered for making you laugh.

"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
"Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it." Mother Teresa

Saturday, 27 July 2013


We have had a stunningly good summer so far, I have probably jinxed it now :(

So what may you ask have I been up to? well a lot of baby sitting of course, up until this last week when the schools broke up for summer holidays and my very hard working Em, finally gets some semblance of a rest, Hah! that's what she thinks, the babies will soon put her right on any notions of rest I am sure.

I went to wool fest! and had a whale of a time, spending a fortune of course but rationalising to my self that as hobbies go I am getting my monies worth out of this one. I wont say it is keeping me entirely depression free, it isnt and my hormonally challenged brain and body has had quite a few days where my eyes wont stop leaking, but they say it doesn't last for ever and I am banking on that!

So having bough a beautiful shetland fleece (coughs among other things) at Woolfest  I set about spinning it in to a lace weight yarn, I made it 30 WPI which isnt bad!

the result of that of course was having to prove to myself that this knitting lark is with in my capabilities, after all if I can teach my self to quilt and spin and do plumbing and plastering in my time, why can't I knit? What I can tell you is that every time I tried commercial yarn I fought the yarn and the yarn won, now with my own hand spun we have reached an understanding, we are gentle on each other :)

The counting part was always going to be an issue and I have lost count of how many times I have lost count but in the end I think I can safely say that I am well on my way to no longer being able to say I cannot knit to saying "I have taught myself to knit!"

So here is the second finished article, another shawl because well shawls are just my thing any way and I'm not up to shaping yet. I am, I think justified in feeling chuffed!

It may not be perfect but it is still an achievement.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Did you miss me? did you ? did you?

well so did I!!!

I seem to have had one ailment after another lately and combined with baby sitting, for my adorable grandchildren, a couple of days a week and spinning etc etc I just have not had the energy nor ummppphhh to post so heres stuff to amuse you.

As everyone knows "I am not a knitter" in fact I never knit a single thing in my life before, basically because every time I ever tried Id have the wool so tense that all I ever achieved was split wool and a fight with 2 needles! well all this spinning it would be daft not to give it another go, much to my surprise and astonishment I actually managed to finish a shawl!!! I died it too, but as you can see the dye just did its own serendipitous thing.

I also got hold of some mohair, initially the goats owner and I were in serious doubt about the salvagability (is that a word?) of the fibre, but with a very hot wash and a LOT of fluffing and picking out of all manner of  veggy matter, including oats! it did come clean and spinnable.

I am sure I have done lots more stuff, but for now that's all.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Saturday, 2 February 2013

A beautiful old lady

I am in negative equity when it comes to blog posts lately I owe you soooo many!

The big spinny adventure has been T's Wheel, my dear friends T and AJ allowed me to buy for them an antique spinning wheel. Well it was on ebay and the moment I saw it I fell in love. You know the way you do when you suddenly spy something really great that looks so neglected and you are almost afraid that if you go have a seriously close look some one else will spot you looking and snatch it away......That was this wheel!!!

I bid for her, but sensibly, truthfully I wanted her for myself and this time of year well that extravagance wasn't hapening, but but she was sooooo gorgeous! Alas my bid got pipped at the post, so some one else out there also spotted her. ~QC gives a shrug of her shoulders and puts it all down to fate~ Day or so later the seller gets in touch and with my sensible head on I propose to AJ and T that the wheel would be a bargain. When the bill for shipping came out though my confidence crumbled and to be honest I was weighed down with guilt. Still kept her in the bargain category but not so high as she was.  AJ and T reassured me that it would all be fine, they had faith ~QC wishes she had quite as much faith in herself at times but that is another story~

Finally the wheel arrived, dirty dusty, the flyer arm not looking good and a littleheart sink hit me again.....

"What a big box you have Marrmarr"

Until I turned her glorious elegant beautiful gracefulwheel!!Oh yessssss yes yes yes she is heavenly ! I kid you not she almost purrs she is so beautifully made!!!

Repairing the flier and setting her up, investigating what parts might need replacing or restoring , with a lot of helpful advice from the Ravelry folk, followed by a loving buff of wax and she is looking dreamy. Even William wanted to sit on my knee and test spin her.

I cant wait to get T spinning on her, she is an antique Norwegian Wheel, probably circa late 1800s, double drive, single treadle and currently is set with 2 separate drive bands, I did consider swapping these out for a single figure of eight but my gut feeling tells me that the way the bobbins tighten into the whorl so perfectly she was always intended to be spun with both on the whorl, right now I have set her with the finer cotton band on the bobbin groove and the candlewick drive band running the whorl. The wooden screw wheel tension suggests she is from the Baltic (based on information from the development of the Kromski wheels). She is simply crafted, not too fancy,  and as a wheel, an object of desire she rates high in my book.There is the faintest sign of a mark painted on the end grain of the table, other than that there is no sign of any makers mark or any place where one might have been and since been removed, which is useful for saying what she is not rather than what she is.

To me she glows, like the shine on an old ladies cheeks.
She feels like she could spin mile after mile of lace weight yarn with gentle ease.

Even the pins holding her bobbin on the on board lazy kate are wooden and hand carved.

I love spinning, and my Ashford Traddy does it for me, but this old lady...she is a joy in her own right, even when she is at rest. Her wood glows, there are gently worn areas on the maiden from decades of yarn being parked for a break in the spinning , the vibes she gives off are warm and homely and serene. It is like she is saying "I worked a long hard life, thank you for not neglecting me in old age" If an inanimate object could feel love I think this wheel would do so and show it. If she were mine to keep I think I'd call her Nellie.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dye another day

So it started with this, I carded some of the Ryeland and pulled off a roving, by far my favourite way to remove carded fibre from the drum carder as it happens.

From there I soaked the roving and dotted it with the silk paints I was dubious about....:(

I deliberately left spaces just to see how far capillary action would take the dye/paint answer is not that far really. It may  travel on silk but on my roving it didn't move a lot with out some additional squishing.

After a bit of wrapping and smooshing  the intestine like package got unceremoniously plonked in a steamer..

Now this is where I think I chicken out in the dying process. I dont know how long I dare or need to steam the wool? my failure could be a result of just not being brave enough to leave it long enough.

The final (still wet) result was after considerable rinsing and getting out lots and lots and lots of untaken dye .

The magenta was not too umm passable, but green and yellow were really rather a waste of time.

so there we are maybe I will dye another day and maybe I wont.

Saturday, 12 January 2013


The forecast is for snow and ice and all kinds of wintery weather, if all else fails I will tuck myself up under quilts and pillowcases stuffed full of fibre and have hot baths and generally stay warm.

right now I am about to make some bread, herb bread that should (if I dont burn it fill the house with the scent of baking and almost a positively healthy if not low calorie aroma. The machine will clunk because Im using the bread maker, in my nod to the 21st C, my father would be rolling his eyes at that. One of my earliest memories is of him baking bread at home. I must have been under 5, there was some kind of strike on and he was an army baker. I distinctly remember how his hands worked the dough, each hand rolling in opposite directions as he made perfect bread rolls. I remember thinking how the army issue flour canister must be exactly for bread making because it had its rounded domed lid that was just like a risen crust ..though to be fair the fact that it was green was a bit of a logical under five leap of imagination.

I remember with the awe of a daddies girl, a picture of him sent from Christmas Island during his stint as a nuclear test guinea-pig, of his sat on top of a loaf of bread, even though I knew he was far too big, some how magic had happened and there he was sat on top of a loaf of bread. 

Later as an adult he would bake bread at home for the small shop that my mother ran, loaves would line up to prove on the  big storage heaters. Customers would snap up those fresh baked loaves.

I admit, freely, to being a bit eccentric, and all the things I do turn my hand to, could be easier accomplished by sensible people in much more straightforward ways, quilts can be bought, wool yarn can be bought, heck if I could knit yet jumpers can be bought! but so can bread, and still my daddy made it....and that evening afternoon, what ever it was, is locked in my memory as precious, and as a moment in time when my under five year old self learned that if you want to you can make anything.

Friday, 11 January 2013


And now for something completely purple....actually I tell a lie as some of the sari silk in this isnt purple at all. but its jewel-like and very pretty.

Not an ounce of Ryeland in it I'm afraid, some one was destashing and so a mix of purple merino,  silk cocoons, vicuna, even some banana fibre in lovely bright colours cashmere and alpaca found its way to my house :D funny how that happens.....This merino I blended with a little wensleydale and some of the sari silk, it makes me think of the Jenny Joseph poem. Warning..


With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple

Now if only I could knit, having done a fair amount of lace making in the past and having a shawl/scarf obsession,  every thing I spin I want to make into a lacy day..... one day....