White Rabbits!

Oh my, it’s October. Summer seems to have gone in a blink. But this is because it’s been very busy. There’s been:

  • Open Studios
  • Tour de Fleece (I didn’t quite manage to spin every day)
  • Impromptu Home Schooling (for just 10 days when our relationship with my son’s school hit a brick wall)
  • Coach trips to the beach
  • Lots of walks
  • A weighted warp loom on display in a Viking exhibition
  • Knitting art yarn on trains
  • Spinning at Cambridge Rock Festival (where I discovered the music of Doris Brendel)
  • Panicked buying of school uniform. Almost every item for my oldest has to have the school name and logo, even the socks for PE (which was the only item I was confident on the sizing for)!
  • New schools for both children
  • And sunsets!

Now suddenly it’s October! The nights are longer than the days and I have to admit it’s no longer summer. We’re nearly 4 weeks into term and we’ve just had a lovely weekend (though there does seem to be rather a lot of homework). We visited the lovely Anglesey Abbey today to see their Dahlia Festival. It was muddy underfoot but a kaleidoscope of colour as always.

How’s your summer been?

Stuff!

This afternoon I was tackling a box from the move. According to the label it was filled with tools from my utility room, toys and lego in need of washing (I’m very bad at getting around to these types of jobs), paintbrushes and “stuff”. I obviously had reached the limit of what I was writing on boxes by this point – and “stuff” did indeed describe the rest of the contents quite well.  Anyway, I sorted out the tools I’ll need shortly (hammer, drill, clever gizmo that tells me if I’m planning on drilling through an electric cable) and put the rest of the stuff in a smaller box and put it in the shed!

We’re in the new house and it’s lovely.  The phone line was installed a couple of weeks ago, and the internet was connected last week.  The shed was installed this week (I had a sudden panic shortly after moving in that if I didn’t order it soon, then delivery times would put it till after Christmas – and I managed to order it on the last day the company would guarantee installation before Christmas).  We’re nestled in hills, a little further out from town, but not too far from friends and still easily able to get into town (and other local towns that suffer less from traffic problems) and visit the places I go regularly.

Since moving we’ve managed to have one walk from the village.  Once we’re properly settled I’m looking forward to lots of walks, long and short:

walk2

walk

The children have been off school since the move (the wait to get new places was very unexpected).  The upshot of having the children off school is that I’ve been trying to incorporate educational activities and outings into our days.  This resulted in the unexpected find of some knitting at the Whipple museum of the History of Science in Cambridge this week:

knitting

label

My son was fascinated by the astronomical clocks in the museum and my daughter liked the anatomical models, which my son found just too gruesome!  Some of the models were made with papier-mache and were surprisingly detailed.  It was lovely to see craft being used to illustrate science.

One Day, Two Sleeps

This is what my study looks like at the moment:

study

On Monday I’m moving to our new house.  I’m very excited – but right now I’m also very, very tired (so I’m sitting down and writing a short blog post, before I pack the computer away).

During half-term week the children were away with their dad.  While they were gone (and as moving seemed a long time away!) I managed to go out every evening, catch up with friends and have a lovely week (albeit without children).  Spinning with friends, spiritual circles, and dinner and a film with a friend were all on the itinerary for the week.  At the end of it on my one free evening I caught a lovely sunset over fields near my house:

sky

During my day and evening of spinning I plied two skeins of yarn.  The singles were spun some time ago, and this finished the colour project from 2015 TdF (I will put a link in here, but tonight I shall just refer to it without the link *yawns*):

pink

green

I’m going to be offline for a while.  My new house doesn’t have a phone line, and it looks like it’ll be the end of November before one gets installed.  And, each time I’ve been in the house, my mobile has no signal! So, I shall be out of touch and in another decade (the 90’s?) for a few weeks.

Right, I’m off to start packing the bedroom…  I’m hoping I can do most of it sitting down on the bed!  Actually, I think I’m hoping I can do it in my sleep!  I shall see you in December from my new house!  Good night!

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:

henry

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:

patina

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

cows

They decided to follow me:

followed

Oh my, they have horns:

still-followed

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:

ducks

foutain

tulip

I can never resist pinks and purples!

Art of Craft

Creating Space‘s “Art of Craft” exhibition was yesterday and it went really well.  With two children in tow I ended up arriving with just 20 minutes available to set up my stand!

I’d found some blue denim in my stash (bought for making jeans a few years ago, but never used). It was an incredibly long length and I’m so glad I took it. Half way through setting up I realised I needed more table space, and was able to grab a couple of small tables to put at the end, the cloth happily covering them too. The denim had a second advantage, it showed off the yarns, shawls and photos really well, the dark colour complimenting them. I shall be using denim in the future, though I may cut the piece down into shorter more manageable lengths, or think about how to cover a table more effectively in the future (perhaps with a skirt to hide everything underneath) and then a separate cover for the top.

end shot

The photos I had printed were everything I hoped they would be. I’ve never had photos professionally printed from my digital pictures. I’ve had years of disappointments with developed photos from film, so I didn’t believe that the photos I saw on my screen could be replicated in a print. I was wrong, they could! I was lucky to find a firm in Cambridge1 who produce real photos from the digital images, and the results were stunning.

The photos I put onto 12″x12″ scrapbooking cards. I had intended to display them in an album but in the end I preferred them spread out on the table (they were the main reason I needed a longer table). For future shows I will have a selection of photos on open display and more will be in an album. I also wonder about making some of my flower photos available to buy as prints. I shall have to explore that option.

long shot

I didn’t in the end have enough time to put descriptions on all my photos (a task made slightly harder by some of the backgrounds being very dark and my needing either a silver gel pen or some white ink for a dip pen, neither of which I currently have). I shall now be aiming to keep my printed portfolio up to date for future shows, complete with descriptions, so that I can use it without having a rush just before a show.  I shall also endevour to have descriptions of some of the yarns, and the creative processes behind their creation.  For example, I was showing the three completed Tour de Fleece skeins, along with the original dyed fibre and some spun singles, with no explanation of the colour experiment I was working on.

Some of Friday evening was spent re-winding skeins of yarn and tying them up with ribbons. I was surprised how long this task actually took, and in the end didn’t display all my yarn, as I simply ran out of time. On the morning before the show I ironed my woven shawls so that they looked their best.  So one of my lessons for the future is that it takes much longer to get prepared for a show than it’s possible to imagine.

Harriette enjoyed her day out modelling the time travelling shawl (which just needed a couple of days recovering from being stored in a vacuum bag (moth proof storage) and no washing or ironing/steaming to get it looking its best). There were two highlights of the day for me.  Firstly, the great variety of makers we have in the group.  Quilting, dyeing, felting, printing, painting, drawing, spinning (from the finest lace to wonderful art yarns), knitting and weaving were all beautifully represented.  The second highlight was having the children with me, taking an interest in what I was doing and then also spending their day making crafts (knitting, weaving and modelling with play-doh and plasticine). They came home with an award from Lyn for being brilliant helpers and very well behaved.

harriette

I keep talking about “in the future”. Well, Creating Space are planning on doing another show, but more about that closer to the time!

  1. the firm used were Streamline Imaging and I’m happy to recommend them for good quality prints and excellent service.

A Show

On Saturday Creating Space are having a show! I’ve been thinking about how to display my creations, and it’s not easy! Difficulties to overcome include hanging stuff on walls that are solid painted brick (I’ve decided I’m not going to), and showing a process for the things I make.

I’ve been shaking out shawls and examining skeins of handspun yarn. I’ve bought some thin ribbon that I’ll use for ties on my skeins (I’ll be rewinding them so they look neat) and I need some fabric for a table cover (I’m sure I have something suitable in my stash – at least I hope so!)

Harriette will be coming out this Saturday and will be modelling one of my shawls (probably the time travelling shawl). She’s really excited to be having an outing. However, I’m not sure she’s going to approve of travelling in the boot of my car (I’ve not told her yet).

I’ve also decided to get some photos printed, these I’ll put onto 12×12 inch cards and show them in an album with short descriptions. These photos will include flower pictures, processes and creations I no longer own. Here’s a collage of the pictures I’ve chosen.

Photo Collage

I’ll be able to pick the photos up tomorrow (I hope).  I had a minor problem when I looked through the photos I’d originally sent. I realised I’d not understood the format requirements and submitted photos of a poor quality. Fortunately I was able to phone the company in the morning and they were happy to cancel the order I’d placed online and accept a new order from me. If I’m happy with the photos when I get them tomorrow, they will probably have a customer for life!  I’ll have a busy evening tomorrow collating the photos! I feel like I’m recreating my blog, but in real life!

To Autumn

We’ve had a run of lovely summery weather, warm with soft mellow sunlight.  There’s been the odd day of rain, but otherwise the weather’s been the best that autumn can bring.  Keats’s poem of mists and mellow fruitfulness, late flowers for the bees and a maturing of the season expresses perfectly this year’s autumn.

heptacodium
Heptacodium miconioides in my front garden.  This has become quite a large shrub and is loved by the bees for its late flowers.

Autumn has brought the start of a new school year, and my youngest is now at school too!  I’ve been working on getting my study/workroom organised, as it has become the room things get dumped in.  Earlier this week, after doing some work on it, I explained to one of my children that getting something from the room could take a while, as it was now “upside down, inside out and backwards”!  It’s a work-in-progress, but at least it now has lovely curtains (with thanks to my mum for giving them to me) and the orchids look pretty on the windowsill.

orchid

I’ve been on tenterhooks all through this week, hoping the good weather would hold – because I was due to spin in a field today!

dahlia
Huge dahlias in a local garden

Fortunately the day was the best it could be.  Pleasantly warm with just a hint of a breeze, though I think it’s best that the hog roast isn’t mentioned.

medlar
Medlars in the same local garden

I took a hand-dyed top of blended alpaca and blue face Leicester to spin.  I get very cold hands in the winter, so I hope the alpaca will make for very warm gloves.

bobbins
Two bobbins in the sun

I haven’t decided how to ply these yet.  Whether to ply with a plain single, to Navaho ply, or to ply together.  I shall let the bobbins rest awhile until I make a decision (but not too long, gloves for winter would be very nice!)

I’d overestimated how long it would take me to do the spinning.  After just an hour I found I’d already spun the first 50g! However, with breaks for tea and sandwiches, plus a few rows of knitting on my shawl, I was able to eke out the second half of the spinning for the whole afternoon.

basket
My spinning basket in the garden with the results of today’s spinning and knitting

It was a lovely way to spend a day.  Spinning outside on a warm, sunny day, in the company of friends, with interested visitors, of all ages, asking us questions and sometimes having a go themselves.

Perhaps it’s a Thneed?

I’m about to cast-off the thing I’m knitting and I still don’t know what it is!  So perhaps it’s a Thneed, though I don’t believe I used any tufts from the Truffula Tree when I carded up the fibre* (I included some bamboo though, which is perhaps similar?)

After what has felt like days and days stuck inside while the rain has pelted and the wind has howled, the sky was beautifully clear and blue this morning, so we took the chance and went for a walk.  I think we were not the first as the ducks were distinctly unimpressed by our stale bread offerings.  However, there was a pleasant walk near water with coots, a great crested grebe, ducks and swans.  There was also a warm bird-hide where we were able to watch birds feeding, various tits including a marsh tit and even a brief glance of a woodpecker (though I couldn’t, with any certainty, say which type it was).

sky

trees

hide

On Instagram I’m taking part in a challenge (with the tag #katkatyarnpadc) to post a picture everyday to a themed prompt.  It’s surprisingly difficult to take a picture that fits a prompt, so I’m interested to see how I do through January. Today’s challenge was a close-up (I took a lot of pictures before choosing one to post – so this is slightly different from the one on Instagram).

thneed

I shall finish off the Thneed and wash and block it, perhaps when I’ve done that I’ll know what it is!

*My children are of an age where I’m regularly reading the Dr Seuss books.  This may explain a certain amount of silliness!

Holidays

Going away for a summer holiday has meant that time for craft has been at a minimum.  I took my portable spinning wheel and on a couple of evenings did some spinning while the children were asleep.  But pre-holiday preparation and post-holiday catch-up has left little time for craft.

My holiday was very child-focused and as a result the vast majority of the nearly 200 photos I took (thank goodness for digital) are filled with pictures of the children, either posing – in gardens or on the beach; or actively playing – flying a kite or digging up large parts of the south-coast.

Occasionally though I was able to take a snap of the scenery.  Astonishingly, for a summer holiday in England, there was an amazing amount of sunshine and clear blue skies.  One day I shall take a photography course and learn to take decent pictures!

boats

waves

sunset

white-bird

hurst-needles

lowtide