Thursday, March 30, 2006

You are cordially invited.....

To the official opening of my new studio/workroom! Here's the bottom end of it in all its glory. It's not quite finished yet, I want some fairy lights and there's a few bin bags of stuff waiting to go to charity but I'm able to work in it.

I needed a work surface and decided on kitchen worktop but couldn't afford it. A few weeks ago, in the local paper, somoene was advertising kitchen worktop off cuts for £25. It turns out it was 5 metres cut into 2 lengths and it was brand new!! When my husband brought it home it turned out that the largest length fitted the back wall exactly, he didn't have to trim it at all. I was meant to have that I think. The room looks quite small in the photo but it's 20ft by 10ft - loads of room for one demented spinner/dyer to rattle around in - lol.

I was in awe of the room for a few days but I got over that and christened it today by dyeing some self striping sock yarn. A friend of mines elderly mother needs soft top socks so I agreed to make some for her in pinks and purples. I hope they come out alright.

I also got round to constructing my rigid heddle loom that my husband bought for me 18 months ago. Better late than never eh? Something else for me to think about as I lie awake for hours on end in the night! I get some of my best thinking done in the night. Last week I wrote a brilliant song at 3 am. Could I remember it when I woke up? Could I buggery!

Now I'm off to have a bubble bath and a glass of wine as I am completely overtired. But it was worth it :)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Yesterday I was looking at my euphorbia photo and thinking how I would like to represent the colours in it. Trouble with me is when I look at something like that my brain says 'Flower!' and that's all I can see. When I was at college they used to get us to deconstruct things and look at them in a different way, make photocopies, rip them up and put them back together a different way , focus in on one spot and enlarge it - standard art school stuff. I was wondering how I could do that at home and started messing with my photo software. My euphorbia pic ended up looking like this:

Now you may be saying, 'Pah! I've been doing that for ages - kids stuff' but I'm really excited. Look at all those colours! I certainly didn't see them before. I really want to use nature as an inspiration for my work and now it's going to be much simpler.

*sharp intake of breath* Is it cheating?!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Spring is sprunging

My euphorbia is blossoming. I love the colours of it and want to dye some rovings in those colours. Blooming gorgeous!
Free Image Hosting at

Friday, March 24, 2006

You don't look old enough!

Yesterday my lovely Jamie was 18. 'Eighteen?!', I hear you say, 'Why you must have been a gymslip mum for you surely don't look old enough to have a boy of such years!' I feel much older than my forty years today due to a raging hangover being up slighly late last night.

He's gone from this:

To this:

In just 18 short years. I think he's gorgeous but then I'm biased.

I made him a cake and we had balloons and streamers, I think I was more excited than him! Then, in the way of all good Cledry family gatherings my Mother and I got absolutely blootered slightly tipsy and started singing Katie Bairdie had a coo, black and white aboot the moo! This prompted my husband and Step-Dad to do their Queen Victoria impressions and be 'not amused' The cake soaked up some of the alcohol:

Anyway - I now have to attempt to get on with the day and clear away the chaos that is my kitchen. I may be some time - lol!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Well, here's how the 4 rovings on the right of the last picture have spun up:

Ironically they've ended up being the colours I originally intended. I've been looking at colours and landscapes around me and wanting to represent them in yarn. The photo shows the cololurs I've been looking at and tried to represent in the 4 dyed rovings on the right of the last post

Allowing for the spring-like day haze it's pretty much the colours that came out in the rovings. It seems that spinning them up has made them somewhat lighter. Something I'll have to take into consideration next time.

Friday, March 17, 2006

My dyeing day

I can't say I'm happy with this batch. I'll reserve judgement until it's spun but I'm not too keen on the colours. I had a kilo of White Cheviot and thought I'd practice hand painting some rovings. For some reason the wool just wouldn't take the dye properly and the colours were different after they'd been set in the microwave. At least it was a productive day in that I got something done, even if I'm not immediately happy with it. Right now I'm going to see if i can ignore the feeling that I've been beaten round the head and neck with a sweaty, lead filled sock and try to spin some more soya. Vegan socks here I come.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Update on the Bond tank top

Nuff said?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

In the thick and thin of it

I'm ploughing on with my attempts to make thick and thin 'designer' yarn despite my ineptitude and sheer fear of colour. It's still not easy but I've found a kind of rhythm with it and it's becoming less frustrating.
Here's the latest effort:

It's actually quite a lot brighter than that but I've got a new camera and I'm not entirely sure how to use it. I've got an increasing number of small amounts of yarn from various spinning projects and I have no idea what to do with them. Maybe I'll get around to making them all into squares and making a funky blanket for next winter.

I don't really have much else to say apart from how impressed I am by Web of Wool . I've ordered 2 sock kits from them now ( can't get enough bamboo needles - lol) and they've both arrived so quickly and with really pleasant communications that it's a pleasure buying stuff from them.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to make my youngest boy a 40's style tank top from 3 balls of grey acrylic wool and my Bond knitting machine. He has a trip to the local museum on Tuesday where they all have to dress as 40's schoolchildren. I found out yesterday - I love that school - lol. If you hear me screaming just send wine.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The three S's

Socks, Snow and Someone get me out of here cos I've had enough.

Well, the North wind did blow and we did have snow - we seem to get it once a year now for about a day and always roughly at the same time of year. The boys loved it and I gave them a couple of hours off school so they could play in it with the 'reason' being we couldn't get up the track becasue of the snow. Well, we couldn't, it would have made nasty lines in the nice white snow - lol.

I've had my first lot of mercury removed. It was ok - not as bad as I thought it was going to be and for a couple of days I felt a kind of clarity of thought that I hadn't experienced in years. I don't know if it's the stress of the builders and travelling to the dentists and the subsequent treatment or if it's a side effect of the amalgam removal but I've been completely poleaxed by the CFS/ME and an episode of depression the like of which I haven't experienced in many many years. It's been extremely scary and it's taken me to places I thought I'd never see again. I'm just trying to sit it out to see what it'll do. Still, moaning about it won't change a thing so let's talk about socks.

I finished OH's brown socks - I think he likes them. It's hard to tell with him - lol. I also finished one of Dougals' socks. He chose blue and he definitely likes them. I'm going to try to finish his 2nd one today so that he'll stop nagging me. 'If you want to finish them Mum, you'll have to start the other one'. Cheeky git :)

There's the ubiquitous sock pic. The really good thing is that by working out how to make it smaller to fit him, the pattern suddenly makes mathematical sense and I can knit them without a pattern now. I've been thinking about spinning some of the poll dorset (which should be back in a month or so) into sock weght and dyeing it to self stripe and I should be able to write a pattern that suits me now.

I've been trying to keep busy for obvious reasons and found some white merino in my stash. I bought it before I knew about the abhorrent practice of 'mulesing' in the Australian wool trade. I'll use up what I have but I will not be buying any more until I can be absolutely certain it's from a source that doesn't see their animals merely as a money making commodity. Some of the practices that are used for food production are bad enough but to employ such a barbaric practice just so that we can have soft wool for our sweaters and socks is indefensible.

Anyway - with the merino that I had in my stash I decided to have a go at dyeing. It was hit and miss and as I was so low in energy my efforts were pretty slapdash.

It was nice to see them drying in the breeze though, and it's given me a small amount of wool to try spinning some thick and thin yarns. This was my first effort

I found it much more difficult than I thought it would be. It seems ironic that it's all I could produce when I first started spinning and now, when I want to, I find it hard.

Such is life eh?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Nothing that a hot bubble bath won't cure

Except this is where my bath should be:

When we moved in 4 years ago the landlord hadn't put in any carpets or lino in time. I looked at the floorboards on the upper level and said to my husband that they were rotten in places. 'Don't be so silly - they know what they're doing', came the reassuring reply. The bath has been slowly sinking ever since and when the tiles started cracking off the wall I asked my husband to take the panel off the bath. Surprise surprise, you could push a butter knife right through the floorboards as they were that rotten. Why doesn't 'I told you so' feel better?.

So, the builders have eventually arrived (it only took nearly 12 weeks for the landlord to get his act together) and with maximum noise, dust and upheaval we're getting a new floor.

Being noise sensitive and stuck in the house while they do the work I thought the best thing to do was find an activity that relaxes me. Out with the wheel and a few hundred grams of sheltland fleece and I managed to make this:

I'm very pleased with it as it wasn't the random grab and spin I've been doing of late. I thought about it properly and graded the fleece according to colour. The photo doesn't show it off that well but it graduates in colour from very dark brown/black through to the whitest of their fleece. I'm also pleased as I managed to cram it all onto a standard ashford traditional bobbin so I didn't lose any of the continuity of colour. That's 278 yards of plied yarn on one of those leeetle bobbins. Well chuffed. I have a bag of matching fleece to do another skein so hopefully I'll be just as pleased with that. No idea what to make it into though. Any ideas?

At least I got away from the noise and dust yesterday - by going to the dentist! I had 3 mercury amalgam filling removed under really strict conditions. I had all sorts of rubber stuff in my mouth, a mask, and my face and nose were covered. It's an expensive and controversial treatment but if someone told me that drinking the pee of a sick yak would make me better I'd try it. I've got 9 more fillings to come out - he's doing one quadrant of my mouth at a time. I was told there could be side effects but - touch wood- I haven't had any. I didn't know what to expect but I definitely feel different, as if my head is somnehow clearer. I won't talk about it much as I seem to have a habit of rubbing scientists up the wrong way - lol. Anyway - it was a 200 mile round trip to the dentists and I managed to finish OH's sock:

I started the 2nd one last night. I need to get it out of the way as I've bought a sock kit from web of wool to make the kids some socks. It seems like a really good deal. I can't wait for it to arrive.
The Spinning Wheel
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