Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Calm down dear, it's only knitting

Do you ever get times when it seems that everything you touch goes wrong? Logically of course, it can't be the case, it's all to do with perception. I just wish my perception would stop making me drop stitiches, lose count of rows and hiding my needles - lol.
I'm on the fourth go for the soya socks. If it doesn't work out this time I might have to discard the yarn as it's on it's last legs. I'm trying the one in the Sarah Dallas Knitting book, which was a lovely free gift for taking out a 6 month subscription to Knitting magazine. I've also been trying to make something with the fine Alpaca I spun for the Online Guild September workshop. I wanted to make a lacy shawl with it but couldn't seem to get to grips with the pattern. I'm now trying what is described as an Easy to Knit Lacy Scarf. It's only two rows of eyelet rib but I can't get beyond row 2 without something going wrong. The extent of communication with my poor husband seems to be limited to yells of, 'DON'T TALK TO ME WHEN I'M KNITTING!!'. I'm glad I've found such a relaxing pastime to while away my evenings in front of the fire - lol.
Of course, what I probably need to do is put it all away for a few days, take Michael Winner's advice and calm down a bit. It just seems that I have all these projects constantly hanging over my head. I feel like I'm under as much pressure as when I was working and studying for my degree. I'd love to be able to develop a more laissez faire attitude to life. There's a Cornish saying, 'Matter do it?' to which my reply is usually a resounding, 'Yes! It bloody does matter!' My personal paradigm has always been that negatives are there to be turned into positives, problems are there to enable solutions to be devised but it's so tiring. Maybe things just 'are'.
And on that note I'm off to add emroidered samplers of 'Matter Do It?' and 'Existentialists do it drekkly' to my 'Projects to do' list. Lol!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Birthday Murphy!

Today is my middle son's 10th birthday. This time 10 years ago I was being 'prepped' for an elective caesarean. An hour later out popped my beautiful, bright boy who has never ceased to give me joy, laughs and the occasional headache! He's a very special boy and I'm incredibly proud of him. Happy Birthday Son.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Today I are mostly knitting socks

The soya/shetland mix is coming on apace and I've started knitting it into some slouchy 'socks about the house' for my mum's christmas present. They were originally for my stepdad but the pattern seems to be quite loose and baggy socks would drive him round the twist. The shetland wool is so beautiful, I never tire of it. There's different colours in it every time I spin it and it's so baby soft, it's amazing. Here it is on the bobbin , plyed with the soya and knitted up:

My bobbins are looking a bit neater aren't they? I had an email from Maggie saying I might have difficulties with plying if I spun onto the bobbin in 'slices'. I've been a martyr to the way my bobbins look so was delighted to be pointed in the right direction - lol. That's one of the things I love about the spinning and weaving community. Everyone is so generous with their knowledge. So often, people can be possesive of what they know and guard it jealously. Not so with the spinners, weavers and dyers I've met online and in real life. Everyone is keen to spread what they've learned and that just adds to what is already such a satisfying pastime. For pastime read obsession - ha ha.

Friday, November 18, 2005

And that was that

I was finally laid off today. Well the official phrase is dismissed due to ill health but that sounds a bit punitive so I'll stick with laid off. I've been off sick for 15 months now and it doesn't seem as if I'll be better any time soon so it's fair enough that they've let me go. Still feels weird though. Even though I haven't been at work for so long I still feel part of the team and the organisation. They said they'd be delighted to have me back as soon as I'm fit so the door is still ajar. I've asked if we could have my leaving do at the same time as the Christmas do because if the focus was on me for the evening I think I'd wibble a bit. I feel quite liberated at the same time and I'm hoping that I can now focus on what makes me happy i.e being creative. I tried it in the 'real' world and didn't like it - not long before I become the mad goat lady of Cledry.

Soya far - soya good!

Spinning soya? Surely that's like weaving yogurt! I was pretty sceptical when I read about soya bean fibre. However, when I 'squished' a ball of South West Trading Soy Silk in my local yarn shop and felt how soft and silky it was I decided there might be something in it. I ordered a small bag of fibres from Ebay and waited with interest.

It arrived, looking like a bag of sausage skins and I put it in my 'to do basket'. My plan was to spin it semi-fine, ply it with some Shetland from my 'girls' and make it into socks. Soya has antibacterial properties, making it an ideal sock fibre, especially for people who suffer from stinky feet. I decided to fish it out of my 'to do basket' the other day. Imagine my surprise as I realised that my 'to do' basket had gradually grown into a 'to do room' and I needed a rope, some crampons and a Davy lamp just to reach the soya. Reach it I did and I set my wheel up ready to spin some sexy soya silk. Its appearance as a soft and pliable fibre was deceptive and I really struggled with the fibres as they stuck together and fought the spinning process. A scream of help to my friends at the Yahoo group and I was told by others who had tried it that it wasn't me being inept, that soya won't spin like wool. Through a combination of techniques I managed to find a way to get it to behave. I found that I had to split the rovings into shorter lengths than I would for wool and that the resulting fibres spun better if they were fluffed out a bit.

So, that was it and we were away. I've 3/4 filled a bobbin now and am looking forward to spinning the Shetland to go with it. One of the bonuses of tackling something that tricky is whatever I spin afterwards seems like a doddle! If you look at the picture of the finished soya 'silk' you can see how I struggled with it at the beginning and how it gradually became finer as I got the hang of it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Well, here we all are then

Hopefully, this blog will allow me to air the trials, tribulations and deep joys of being a Cornish smallholder with a yarn addiction. It's not easy being fleecy - sorry - lol. That's our rented farmhouse in the picture (pic removed due to stalkers!) It's part of what's kept me sane during the long months of illness and the solitude that sits alongside it. The smallholding, having a chronic, lifechanging illness, my spinning wheel and the lovely people I've encountered on the internet have made this the most interesting and challenging time in my entire life. When I've been brave enough to stuff my head into the cloud the lining has invariably been silver, and with a bit of brasso and a soft cloth it just gets brighter and brighter.
The Spinning Wheel
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