Doodling or dawdling

“Perhaps in another month I’ll have moved house!” Perhaps I should have touched wood or danced withershins three times around the house to negate the effect of such an optimistic comment. I haven’t, as yet, moved house.  There have been bursts of activity.  And I’ve remained blindly optimistic through September and the first half of October.  I’ve packed (some) boxes, cleared amazing amounts of unwanted things from the house, allowed 5 surveys to be carried out on the house I’m selling, and allowed a builder to come around (just last week – before being told that the market has fallen and the buyer wanted a huge discount). I’ve talked to estate agents and solicitors… insurers and removal firms.  I’ve even had my land line cut off (I still have mobile and internet) but I’ve not yet moved.  I’m not going to make a prediction this time about when I’ll have moved, in case I should follow it with a quick incantation, or an offering to a god of hand-spun yarn…

At one point I was aiming at the 10th of October for moving.  It’s a good job that didn’t become the date, because my son became poorly with appendicitis over that weekend and on the Monday was recovering from an appendectomy.  Lots of help from my Mum and the children’s dad and lots of support and advice from friends and we’re back home and have survived an odd week fairly well. (My son’s still feeling sore, but is getting better and is predominately his usual cheerful self – except this morning when he couldn’t get a computer program he’d written to work as expected, and he hit the TV!)

Before my son became poorly we were enjoying a crafty day at Creating Space.  Because the move has killed my spinning mo-jo (and I’ve packed my drum carder carefully into a box of fibre, and stashed three wheels at my mums) I’ve been working on a zendoodle inspired project.  For sometime I’ve fancied creating a family piece of art.  Inspired by an early zendoodle of mine – an outline of my hand filled with various doodles – I wanted to capture my and my children’s hands and create a zendoodle of them.  I’ve worked on this for a couple of Creating Space sessions now.  Today, when the sun came out it sent rainbows across my picture from the crystals in my window, and I thought I should share it.


There’s lots of work to do on this, and the painted areas need tidying up, but I’m enjoying the process and it’s lovely to create something that’s about my family.

Making sunsets

I’m just back from being distracted by a beautiful sunset.  I had a quick walk and tried a different location to take the pictures.  Despite not wishing to linger on my own, on a quiet footpath, for too long, I managed to take 75 photos (thank goodness for digital)!  I shan’t share all of them:






Also today I’ve been spinning and weaving in circles:



In other news, the house is sold (subject to contract and solicitors) and another house is bought (subject to the same), so I’m constantly thinking I should be clearing clutter and packing boxes, but not quite managing to commit to doing it.  I had hoped to move during the school summer holidays, but this now appears to be desperately unlikely.  So much has happened in the last few weeks, that it seems months since I was taking part in Open Studios, but in fact it was only one month ago!  Perhaps in another month I’ll have moved house!

From fluff to yarn

This yarn started in April as a desire to use some stunning blue Teeswater locks. Lots of playing around with different colours eventually resulted in a pile of wool, bamboo, trilobal-nylon and some seacell…


To the blending board:



Spinning the first single:


Plied and drying on the line, on what feels like the first dry day in weeks:



This yarn reminds me of piercing blue seas, with crashing waves, golden sands, seaweed and white horses; and so I’m calling it Seascape.  Ideally I’d like to knit this into something to wear by the time Open Studios starts (in less than two weeks), however I have a second call on my time.  The “personal news” I mentioned in my last post – I’ve put my house up for sale!  Eeep!


Time, I am finding, is flying by.  Open Studios is rapidly approaching, it is less than 3 weeks away now!  Over the last few days I’ve reviewed my photos, selected some and prepared them for printing.  Today I sent them to the printers and they will be ready to pick up in a few days.  This is the first time I’ve tried selling any of my photography, and I’m excited to see how well they do.

I noticed that there is a distinct theme to my photographs.  I’ve created a collage of them here, for a taster, but the full versions will be available to buy, during Open Studios, printed to A4 size.

collage - open studios

I have other news: a finished shawl, some art yarn, a home made desk-top lighting studio and some big news on a personal front.  But all those I’ll share in a future post…

Making the most…

I live on the outskirts of a beautiful city, but I find that sadly I don’t make enough use of all that it has to offer.  So yesterday my friend and I decided to correct this and see the “Death on the Nile” exhibition.  It was fascinating, and amazing how well some of the painting on the coffins has survived over millennia!  We did, however, find ourselves becoming more and more curious over the pigments used for the painting!  We learned that many of the pigments were earth based.  And the blue on the newest coffins (those around 2 thousand years old) was indigo.  A different blue was used on the older coffins.  The museum has just posted an explanation of the pigments used including a video showing how Egyptian Blue was made.

Sadly we weren’t allowed to take photos in the exhibition.  However, there was no such restriction for the recently arrived Henry More sculpture:


This is “Hill Arches” and is on loan at the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge until November 2017.

I thought the patina would be a good colourway for some dyeing:


I parted company with my friend and headed back to the car.  On route I met these guys:


They decided to follow me:


Oh my, they have horns:


Fortunately they were really only interested in finding some tastier grass!

After I’d picked the children up from school we came back into town for a picnic in the botanic gardens. The ducks got bored of asking for sandwiches, so sat down to wait until we were finished:




I can never resist pinks and purples!

Round and round…

On Friday I found myself designing and printing a short leaflet to advertise the up-coming Open Studios event I’m taking part in, ready to distribute at the village plant sale on Saturday.


It’s just 6 weeks and 2 days away!  Earlier this week I made a list of all the things that need doing.  I’m going to be very busy!

On Saturday I borrowed my daughter’s hoola-hoop for a little weaving.  I knew I had to finished the weaving before my daughter missed her hoop.  So, I got straight to work, warping up the hoop with cotton yarn, and weaving in ever- increasing circles.





I succeeded in my goal, and my daughter hasn’t noticed a thing.  (She hasn’t even noticed that the hoop is somewhat cleaner than it was before the weekend!)

I then progressed another project, blending (a variety of wools, seacell, trilobal nylon and bamboo) and spinning with Teeswater locks:





I think I can squeeze a few more locks onto there before I start spinning the plying thread!

#WIDN #KeepInstagramChronological #ChangeItBack

A few days ago Instagram started shuffling the order of posts I see on my account. This is not a change associated with the latest app update (though it started happening at the same time Instagram released the updated app) because it was happening for a few days before the app was updated on my phone and the feed is also jumbled when accessing via the web interface.

I have found that I miss the synchronicity of posts. I enjoy seeing sunsets sweeping across the country. And waking up to sunrises. I enjoy seeing a beautiful sunset and at the same time seeing a friend from across the world posting an equally beautiful sunrise. I enjoy seeing projects develop (sometimes seeing them backwards as I work back through the posts). I love seeing when people are heading to the same event, at the same time, from different parts of the country (or world). And I love seeing their posts appearing together while they are there. I enjoy posting up pictures of crafting, to see other friends posting up what they are doing at the same time. I love posting pictures from my garden and enjoying seeing friends posting about their garden at the same time. At least, I used to enjoy all this a week ago. I am missing the chronological nature of the posts.  Progress on projects is shown without any order and I do not enjoy hunting around for posts I am expecting to see at the time I log on.

I’m finding I no-longer wish to post onto Instagram. So, for the moment I am going to take a holiday from Instagram and instead concentrate on making longer posts on my blog.


The last seven days I’ve been taking part in a Facebook challenge to post a photo a day for 7 days, with “no people or buildings – just nature in all its glory”.

I’ve enjoyed doing this and thought I’d share my week in photos.  (Most pictures were taken on the day, but the occasional one was from the previous day or a few days before).

5th May – A field of cowslips:


6th May – Blossom in the orchard (taken day before):


7th May – Auricula (taken a few days before, and featured in my last blog post):


8th May – Forget-me-not.  At first glance I thought this was a carpet of bluebells.  It reminded me of the flower fairy poems by Cicely Mary Barker:

So small, so blue, in grassy places
My flowers raise
Their tiny faces.

By streams my bigger sisters grow,
And smile in gardens,
In a row.

I’ve never seen a garden plot;
But though I’m small,
Forget me not!

forget me not

9th May – Bluebells (taken day before):


10th May – Raining all day – so a spot of nature from inside:


11th May – After the rain, raindrops on aquilegia leaves:


I’ve enjoyed sharing my photos during this week, and think I’ll be continuing on with the challenge.  May is exuberant and it’s proving to be a lovely month to share.

The Forget-me-not Fairy, “Flower Fairies of the Summer” Published by Blackie and Son Ltd. (My copy doesn’t have a published date, but must be nearly as old as I am).

Well, hello!

It’s been a bright sunny day and, as usual, I’ve been filling it up to the brim.  I got home a short while ago, and the sun was still shining (albeit slowly setting), so I grabbed my chance to photograph the latest spinning on my wheel.  (My last attempt at taking a photo outside a few days ago resulting in my wheel being snowed on!)


It’s spun Sari ribbon.  It’s linen, instead of the more usual silk, which as you may know I avoid because I’m a vegetarian.

I spun the ribbon around a core of wool – creating the core as I went (so basically I used coreless core spinning for this – with the wrapping “fibre” being the ribbon).  I then plied it to get a softer texture.  The last few feet didn’t fit on the bobbin, but I was still able to add the necessary twist to finish the yarn.  I really want to call it a braid as it’s so chunky.

The Sari ribbon was from my friend FibreTastic who was able to source me a couple of skeins of linen, rather than the silk.

While I was in the garden I spotted that one of my auriculas was in flower.  I finally potted these up this year, after many years of neglect, and I’m enjoying how they are looking this spring: