Oops! I did it again… and again… and again…

Five times in total!  The fifth batch is currently cooling down.  I’m finding that the colours are easy to use (and not at all messy) and that the convenience of having a dedicated pot for dyeing means that I’m enjoying dyeing again.

I was worried when I realised how hot the slow-cooker was getting that it was an inefficient way to dye.  However, a little maths (using the Tariff Transfer Rate published by my electricity supplier – which I’m assuming adds an element of cost for the standing charge) reveals that the slow cooker will be costing 7p to run on high for the two hours I’m finding that it needs.  I feel that this is acceptable and probably cheaper than dyeing in the oven (this article confirms that the oven would be more expensive).  I’ve no idea how the costs compare with steaming fibre on the hob.

stack

All these are dyed on Shetland.  Currently cooking is the “Creating Space” blend we created a couple of years ago.  I think it may be Polworth, Camel and Seacell (but I need to look it up).

Pictures and Dye

Slow but steady progress is being made on settling into our new house.  A few days ago I sorted out and hung up most of my pictures (all the ones that don’t need unusually robust wall fixings, so could be done without the drill).  Mostly I was sensible and hung pictures up in traditional styles:

pictures

(A clock has now appeared next to these pictures.)

purple

(I really love this, and think it should, perhaps, be in a more prominent position than in the kitchen.)

I was less restrained by the stairs:

stairs

After hanging the first three pictures my son commented that they looked odd hung so close together.  However, I proceeded with my plan – more or less.  This is what I’d “planned” the night before:

planning

This evening I started my first dyeing experiment in our new house!  A few days ago I spotted a crock-pot for sale in our local garden centre.  I came home and thought about it and today went and bought two – one for cooking and one for dyeing.  And once home I couldn’t wait to get started:

crockpot

before

I’m also trying out some new food colours for dyeing.  These are Violet, Orange and Raspberry by Colour Splash.  They are food colour gels, but they come in tubes, which I thought may be more convenient to use:

colours

After a couple of hours the Shetland had absorbed most of the colour:

nearly

I popped the lid back on and left it running for ten more minutes before turning it off.  I’ll leave it to cool down until the morning.  The crock is quite deep and the dye was added after the wool had been soaking for a while, so I don’t know how far the colour has penetrated, and whether there will be white or paler areas.  In the morning I shall know!

 

A year in review

Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas and the winding up of 2016 seems a good time to have a review of the year.  It’s been a full year of change for me and this has perhaps been reflected in the sparsity of my posts over the year:

  • February brought the finalisation of my divorce.
  • In May I put my house up for sale.
  • In July I took part in Open Studios for the first time.  It was a wonderful experience, and one I hope can be repeated this year (I will let you know details later in the year).  At one point I found myself Navaho plying a yarn, while adding a fourth thread with beads on, all while being watched by visitors.  It would have been a tricky thing to do normally, but with an audience it was even more hair-raising!  (Not the relaxing activity that spinning is often perceived to be.)

open-studios-skein

bobbin

  • October brought a few days with my son in hospital while he had an appendectomy!  Thankfully we weren’t scheduled to move that weekend, but it was a close thing!  Even more thankfully my son’s operation was successful and without complication (with nothing to worry about at the follow-up appointment a couple of weeks ago).
  • In November we finally moved.

I’m looking forward to 2017.  I have the feeling of spreading my wings and being ready to soar!

Merry Christmas to you all and may you have a Joyful and Inspiring New Year.

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!

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.

hands

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:

cranes

bridge

electricity

horizon

grass

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

bobbin

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…

fibre-pile

To the blending board:

board

blended

Spinning the first single:

single

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

finished(1)

finished(2)

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!

Flying

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:

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!