Monday, 30 June 2008

Woolfest (and blissful weekend)

On Friday, OH and I got up very early (5.30am - I don't do early mornings) to make our way to Cockermouth for Woolfest. On the way we saw... wind turbines!


I've always had a fascination for wind turbines. I think they look graceful and hypnotic. I might feel differently if I lived near one that gave off a lot of flicker, of course.

We also saw a giant sheep!


Once inside we saw lots of useful fibre-producing animals. We especially liked a rather determined angora goat that wasn't sure what to make of the very leggy, long-necked not-a-sheep in the neighbouring pen (it was an alpaca). I intended to take photos but between general overwhelmedness and shyness about asking stallholders if I could do so, I didn't. I met a couple of Ravellers, saw plenty more but was too chicken to speak to them, and I also met Natalie from The Yarn Yard and Mr Yarn Yard, and Amanda from The Natural Dye Studio. I was really pleased about this as Natalie lives not far from me, and desite several half-formed plans to meet up, it had never happened. And I'd missed Amanda at Wonderwool and spoke to Mr Dye Studio instead. Also I participated in this:


94 of the squares with circles inside were made by me.

OH and I sampled ewe's milk ice cream (delicious), attended a sheep-shearing demonstration (fascinating) and looked at lots and lots of yarn and fibre (tiring).

I spent... rather a lot of money, but didn't buy anything I hadn't intended to (so no 'what was I thinking' moments). My purchases in full:


In this photograph are the following items:
  • Unofficial 'I Ravelled at Woolfest 2008' bag

  • guanaco fibre

  • angora (rabbit) fibre

  • sheepy fibres - Hebridean, Shetland, BFL, Wensleydale, Gotland, North Ronaldsay (when little bags/bundles of fibre are £1.50-£2.50 each it's very easy to go in to pick 'n' mix mode)

  • fibre, a batt and some 'Lochan' (merino and tencel) yarn from The Yarn Yard (plus Natalie kindly gave me a book on crocheted socks that she didn't need)

  • self-striping yarn from Fyberspates

  • various 4-ply and DK yarns from The Natural Dye Studio

  • a raw BFL fleece (the smallest one I could find as I had to carry it home on the train)

  • a pair of small handcarders from Hedgehog Equipment

  • an Ethan Jakob Greensleeves Spindle

Last photos - (some of) my BFL fleece and my new spindle, which is indeed a thing of beauty (and wonderful to spin with - so much better than my cute but chunky spindle I bought at Wonderwool):



The things I regret not buying are alpaca fleece/roving, more from The Yarn Yard - the stall was really busy, recycled sari silk, hemp yarn (I got confused by the types of yarn not being marked on the yarn)... If I had another £50 and another hour of time (actually I could have had another 20 minutes if I hadn't misread the bus timetable and we ended up munching on a Gregg's pastry and getting very wet at the bus stop in Cockermouth). We were both shattered and after dinner at the Carlisle Pizza Express we were tucked up in bed and asleep by 10.30pm. We got home early on Saturday afternoon, and again had an earlyish night.

I've sorted and washed about a third of the fleece - the rest requires further sorting before I wash it. The cats love the smell of lanolin/sheep as they both spent a lot of time in the bathroom yesterday when I was soaking the fleece.

Yesterday we were starting to feel a bit less tired so went out for a ride on our new bikes - yes the last week has been expensive but we don't do 'holidays' as such so bikes and Woolfest were our summer treats. As it was our first proper bike ride and I haven't ridden a bike for about ten years we went for a shortish ride of about seven miles. We would have gone further but it started raining hard, and not wiching to overdo it or get soaked we came home. Of course it had stopped raining and was drying up rapidly by the time we got home.

After such a fab weekend it was a total downer that my anxiety kicked in with a vengeance last night.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

My yarn, let me show you it...

(AKA The Okay, The Bad and The Ugly)
Made from merino roving I bought at Wonderwool. It varies between DK and super bulky I'd say. Hmmm.... art yarn, 15 metres of it. Oh well, my spinning abilities can only get better.

A kind Raveller sent me some raw Suffolk fleece in a Karma swap. Florrie cat is obsessed with it and both cats have decided it smells very interesting and sheepy. Before and after washing:
I've combed the half that I've washed and started spinning it - very slowly. It's so much harder than using pre-prepared roving.

Woolfest on Friday... I've got to look up all the logistics of getting to Carlisle bus station fro the railway station, getting from Cockermouth Main Street to Woolfest (I know there's a shuttle bus but it depends how it ties in with our bus from Carlisle), where our hotel in Carlisle is etc. I'm trying to mke a list for Woolfest so I don't get overwhelmed and buy too much, or buy the wrong things.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Oh well, since everyone else seems to be doing it...

You Are An ISTJ

The Duty Fulfiller

You are responsible, reliable, and hardworking - you get the job done.

You prefer productive hobbies, like woodworking or knittings.

Quiet and serious, you are well prepared for whatever life hands you.

Conservative and down-to-earth, you hardly ever do anything crazy.

In love, you are loyal and honest. If you commit yourself to someone, then you're fully committed.

For you, love is something that happens naturally. And you don't need romantic gestures to feel loved.

At work, you remember details well and are happy to take on any responsibility.

You would make a great business executive, accountant, or lawyer.

How you see yourself: Decisive, stable, and dependable

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Boring, conservative, and egotistical

Actually I tend to vary between different types depending on my mood. I always get the I though... redoing the quiz and changing the answers for the questions I dithered over I get:

You Are An ISFJ

The Nurturer

You have a strong need to belong, and you very loyal.

A good listener, you excel at helping others in practical ways.

In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music.

You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for.

In love, you express your emotions through actions.

Taking care of someone is how you love them. And you do it well!

At work, you do well in a structured environment. You complete tasks well and on time.

You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

How you see yourself: Competent, dependable, and detail oriented

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Boring, dominant, and stuck in a rut

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Absent Without Leave

A long overdue update. I won't bore you with all the details, but there has been...


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The little rose that was a bud for a day and a flower for eight hours:

and then the whole thing died - it hadn't rooted and had obviously used every last scrap of energy to make that tiny (1 inch across) rose.

Overtwisted and tentative attempts at spinning:

A delicious cheese fondue:
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A bargainous pile of books thanks to the Christian Aid Book Sale:

(That little lot cost the grand total of £10.50.

More secondhand books (from Oxfam this time) and yarn (that's Fyberspates Faery Wool on top):

Those books were all brand new both in the sense of unread and very recently published. I wonder if there's a bookshop giving that shop a weekly donation or something.

I also love the Virago Modern Classics limited editions with their designer (and very feminine covers. I already have some of them in paperback, but I acquired these two (Excellent Women by Barbara Pym and The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield), and A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark is next on my radar:

A secondhand oriental bag (from Armstrong's Vintage Emporium:

which makes a wonderful crochet hook roll:

Actual crocheting has been mostly for a blanket project for Amanda at The Natural Dye Studio which has a time limit so I haven't been doing much of my own stuff. I have frogged my Garden Party Wrap (designed by Kim Guzman) as I was using Aurora from The Yarn Yard and although the pattern is great and the yarn is great, the result was somewhat... fussy to say the least. I think a plainer yarn (I wish I had the hard-to-find Noro laceweight that the original design is done in) for the pattern, and a plainer pattern for the yarn.

Here ends the overlong and overdue update.