Sunday, 15 February 2015

Travelling Wheel

Spinning is something I have come to rather late. I bought an Ashford Traditional about five years ago, and loved spinning from the first, even though my product was not very good. I have progressed, and bought an Ashford Traveller about two years go, for ease when going to various groups.
There are some lovely small and lightweight wheels about, although the best seem not to be made any longer. I do gently covet a gorgeous wheel, made in the traditional Shetland style and owned by one of the ladies at the Devon Guild. It is certainly a thing of beauty, but the modern versions are nearly twice the weight. The increase in weight is counterintuitive, when portability is part of the point.
So I felt very lucky, when one of my friends at Devon Guild offered me this sweet little wheel (above), to borrow as long as I wish. It was designed and made by an Architect, I believe in the late 1980s. There was only a small number made, and they were distributed very locally. ( Sussex area).
                                          (The close-up shows the factual details).
 The wheel is very light. It is easily lifted with one hand. Sadly, I find it too light. In most wheels, there is an orifice, where the yarn threads onto the flyer. On this wheel, there is a loop. Being so light, the wheel, and therefore the loop, vibrate excessively during treadling. Although I did try to get on with it, and span for an hour or so for each of several days, regretfully, I will have to give it back. It ended up aggravating my thumb strain, so now I am not spinning or knitting at all. Just a little needlepoint.
So, the search for the perfect portable wheel goes on.

Thursday, 12 February 2015


A delightful parcel arrived the other day. More Lettlopi wool yarn from Deramores. ( They give such a good service). 
 This time, it is for another Idunn, to make as a birthday gift for Nicky. The colours are 'Black Heather', ( main colour) and 'Berry Heather', (contrast). 
We had a lovely time  trawling the Interwebby thing, looking at beautiful ribbon to finish the steek. The next joy will be looking for buttons. No need to rush into any decisions, though. The browsing and choosing is half the fun.

Monday, 2 February 2015



I got my non-Techy self organised enough....
to publish my Intuition Cowl on Ravelry.

It is only two years since it was published in 'Yarnwise' magazine, after all!


Imbolc. The first day of Spring. It certainly does not feel like Spring. Half of the country is swaddled in snow, and the rest of us have high winds, making it feel even colder than it is. And yet... if you look at the Hazel bushes, the catkins are lengthening. Not ready to swell and open yet, but getting prepared. The leaf buds on Roses have swollen, and begin to look as though they may come back to life. The outlines of Alder and Willow canopies, seen from a distance, look a little reddish, as though beginning to suffuse with blood.
As ever, the reliable First Footers ; Snowdrops, Cyclamen, Winter Aconite, are all performing their subtle, discreet dances to welcome the Maiden back to the woods.

Monday, 19 January 2015

In My Garden

The garden was a joyful place, yesterday. I managed to get out and do some work - digging! - for the first time since last September. The Dahlias were lifted, and I removed as much soil from the tubers as I could, without damaging them. They were all put into trays, upside down, and labelled. They are now reclining in the garage, away from danger of heavy frost. I dug over some of the bed the Dahlias had been in, weeding as I went. It is now ready for the spring.
 Having done that, I joined Best Beloved in the Veg garden. He was tidying up the Strawberry bed. So, I went through the brassica bed, cutting the last of the red cabbages, and pulling up the dead stems. Some of the red cabbages had been badly frosted, so were rotting, and they went into the compost.
The colours and patterns in the red cabbages always beguile me. Such beauty in the neat patterns of the folds in the leaves.
Also delicious cooked slowly with onion, apple, a pinch of sugar, a grind of nutmeg and a good splash of wine!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Jars and knitting theory

The Spring Cleaning Bug has bitten. I'm not sure if it is due to the ( comparatively ) mild weather, or from nearly three months of inactivity. Whatever the reason, I found myself sorting through the rows of herbs and spices in the larder, throwing some away and putting others into clean jars. After that, I dug out every jar I could find, and washed it. Now this part is purely down to finding some spare jars for Alchemoonist, who is a great chutney maker, and has run out of jars. It all fits together nicely, though, and helps propel me towards my goal of emptying the garage in 2015! There is so much ''stuff'' stored in there, and it's been there too long.
I really must remember to replace the spices I threw out.
Work on the Vicarage Fete Aran has continued. It is a slower knit than it might have been, as I am designing 'on the needle', as it were. I have found that knitting swatches, doing the maths, sketching, and writing only get me so far. I am better at doing it rather more by instinct, with some of the theory as guidance. My first attempt, using purely theory, based on maths and tension square, saw me cast on a certain number of stitches for the back, and having knitted six inches, found that it would have fitted a Rhino! So, after that I used a lot of guesstimates, using paper mainly to work out the placement of cable stitches. There has been a lot of casting on, knitting so far, measuring, possibly unravelling, and doing it again. But I don't mind. I am enjoying the process, and hope that this cardigan will fit nicely.
At the moment, I have the back knitted up to the armhole, one front, also up to the armhole, and a sleeve, almost at the point of starting the raglan. My intent is to work them to the neck, a row at a time each, to preserve the evenness of the pattern. If I mark the decreases, then I should be able to copy the method onto the remaining pieces. That is the theory!

Monday, 5 January 2015

More treasures

Finding a few early blossoms in the garden is so heartening, so I almost did a little skip this morning.  The flowers that are blooming today are different to the ones I discussed the other day.
Three snowdrops ( Galanthus nivalis) have pushed brave little heads above the parapet of nettles. The earliest I have had them, here.

 The Wintersweet (Chimonanthus preacox ) has really got into it's stride. I am really pleased with this, as it has only been in that bed for about twenty months. They are notoriously difficult to get going. This one had been in a pot for four years, however, so I think it was do or die!

 I was more than a little surprised to find this hellebore ( Helleborus niger ) in flower. 
Commonly called the Christmas Rose, it is more usually in flower at Easter. I had put six plants in a trough of very gritty compost, in autumn 2013, to have on the step by the back door. They sulked about, and only showed a couple of blooms. I moved the trough down by the greenhouse and forgot about it. I should have remembered, they don't like being moved or fiddled with. Now settled in, there are already several flowers, with buds beginning to show on all the plants.
There are also a couple of flowers on a Borage plant, at the back of the herb bed, quite a number of tiny white flowers on a plant that I can't identify (yet - I did plant it, so I must have a label somewhere! ) and the bud of bulbous plant, which is probably an Iris reticulata.