February 28, 2010

Meet Lulu

I have a new wheel.

Meet Lulu the Lendrum spinning wheel. Why Lulu? She slopes towards the spinner and this reminds me of a french can can dancer, hence Lulu:)

I ordered this wheel quite some months ago now and have been eagerly awaiting her arrival. The slope of the wheel makes it far easier for me to spin, less wear and tear on the back.
She folds up for travel and came with a normal flyer, jumbo flyer and fast(lace) flyer, bobbins and a tensioned lazy kate.

There has been some finishing of knitting. This shawl was knit entirely with handspun.
Firstly, the happy hippy batt from Laal Bear, my first time spinning from a batt. I didn't put enough twist in due to inexperience. It works fine with the shawl though.

Secondly falkland fibre from Mandacrafts
I think they make a good team in this shawl don't you?
I knew I wouldn't have enough of either one on its own so I decided to pair them.
I love the effect the happy hippy creates because it has glitz in , when the shawl moves it sparkles.
I'm now off to spin with Lulu:)

February 27, 2010

It has been a while

It has been a while hasn't it?
Apart from the health stuff and the aged parent fun and games we have had a trip to darkest, or should that be whitest, Essex?
We visited family and also an azure friend:) More on that anon.

Mr Mog's aunt is finding it hard to cope on her own. Hardly surprising as she is well over 90.
Her nearest relatives are Mr Mog's mum, Mr Mog and his sister. All over 6 hours away on a good day.
This will soon change as aged aunt has decided to come and live near us:)
Last week we travelled in this

taking a goodly while to get there.

Aged aunt pleased to see us, as we were her. We are now trying to arrange her transfer from house in Essex to care home near us. Not easy with official bodies I can tell you and certainly not for aged aunt to do on her own. What is it about officialdom that they can't simply help an old lady to be near family? Why do we have to jump through hoops and more?

No matter, it is in hand.
While visiting we took a trip along Clacton sea front and I thought you would like to see some pictures.
Despite the blustery damp day it was great to see the beach and pier etc.
Love the name of this place:)

Spring is well on it's way despite the blizzard.

This garden was fundraising for the Air ambulance and it was packed with statues of all styles and sizes.

From pirates to gorillas, this garden had them all.
As for the azure friend? BW kindly invited us to spend a night there and it was great to finally meet her and Mr BW:)

February 19, 2010

Mainly pictures

Colour is very important to me. I love colour and find it a great aid to creativity.
These are my first tulips of the year. British tulips and a joy to behold on this gorgeous sunny day.
I love the insides of tulips.

Do you?
These batts were made at Laal Bears the other day. She kindly offered the use of her drum carder and we took her up on it. It has given Mr Mog ideas of how people use them. When we visited Artis Anne the other week she also got the drum carder out to let us play.

These batts were made from a mixture of fibres that Artis Anne gave us for Yule. They remind me of sea foam.
This is some of the merino from Adelaide Walker mixed with angelina and trilobal nylon. Blue seas or blue skies?
This is some more of the merino from Adelaide Walkers mill shop, mixed with angelina and trilobal nylon. They are actually a darker more mysterious colour in real life.
These batts were made from the second lot of fibre Artis Anne gave us for Yule.
It is hard to see the sheen in a picture but believe me they do all sparkle.

Our flowering cactus is flowering once more. It is only a couple of months since its last show of colour.
A new shower curtain to replace the tatty one we already have. Colours actually blend nicely with the tulips and the cactus when seen together.

The neck warmers are finally photographed.. They were just awaiting buttons. Both made with handspun and very warm.
A choice of colours and a great way to use up left over yarn.
More colour from the inside of the tulip.

Words or pictures?

On my trawls through blog land over the past few years I have often observed an argument.

Maybe not an argument more of an Us versus Them.
Quite often I've seen it said that a blog with pictures is not a proper blog.
A proper blog is apparently one that just contains writing.

I don't agree.

There are a couple of reasons that come to mind.


A blog is usually someone's personal journal or collection of ideas.
A way to document their life. A place to keep track of projects maybe, or places visited. That kind of thing.
Pictures are useful, indeed I would say necessary, for this.
Something to refer back to.

In this time of computers this is the modern equivalent of a picture album.
As such it is important for the individual who uses their blog for such.

A picture paints a thousand words.

Who has not been moved or horrified by a single image?
A new birth, a beauty in itself.
The pictures that showed the famine in Biafra, so many years ago yet still as heartrending when we see them.
Disasters or triumphs, 1 picture can be a story within itself.

My blog is my journal.

Things I used to write and illustrate in a book I now do online.
For me it has proved to be a more creative medium because I can now use virtually instant photos for illustration.
No more waiting for a film to be developed and then finding out I hadn't quite captured the image I wanted.
My diary has always been a pot pourri of stuff, for lack of a better word.

I could never close the journals with all the bits stuck in. Things I collected on my journey through the seasons and along the wheel of the year.
This blog may not be as tactile but it does enable me to capture more of the elusive dreams and ideas that the muse sends me.
I write and create art, take photos and such for ME, no one else.
I do so online because that is the medium that now gives me more space to be me. Living in a tiny home, space is at a premium and with this method it takes up far less space than books on shelves.
Those who read my diary (blog) do so by choice. What they take away from it is also their choice and very valid.
Should my ideas help or inspire or amuse in some small way then all to the good.
But I don't write for them I write for me.
I suspect most people would say something similar.

February 15, 2010

Of health and aged family

Mr Mog had his six monthly oncology check up today. They are very pleased with his progress. the consultant had mentioned that she may take him off the hormone treatment at this appointment but they have now decided to wait another six months to ensure he has had maximum time on them. I don't think either of us are too worried, as Mr Mog said better them than cancer recurring.
After the appointment we drove up to see the aged parent in her care home. I'm glad to say that she is settling in well and is looking much better than she has for a while. Such a relief for us all.

Sadly however Mr Mog's aunt who is 92 is struggling to stay at home due to worsening health. She has accepted that she will most probably have to go into a care home and is quite philosophical about it. She has only just started receiving help and after an assessment? last week has been told that she is eligible for one hour of care per week at a cost to her of £13. Ridiculous as she is having care several times a week already to help her wash and so forth. This is barely adequate for her needs. Her fridge and freezer are down a very shallow step and she can no longer get to them. She is dependant on an (other) elderly neighbour coming in to get food stuffs out for her. It is 2 years I think since she has been out of the house.
We are going down to Essex this weekend to see what help we can give both on the care home front and on ensuing that she has more help in the mean time.
I sometimes wonder where the assessors get their criteria from on deciding these things.

February 13, 2010

There has been spinning

As promised some time ago;) here be pictures of the spinning latest.

Firstly a group picture

then individually.
This is Limegreenjelly BFL purchased in Ravelry destash. 262 yds 100g.

Warratah crafts 70% shetland 30% silk, very lush to spin 266yds from 100g

This is my own hand dyed blue faced Leicester, colourway Midnight Melody, 280 yards from 100g, colour is actually a little darker than it shows.

Fibre heaven- Adelaide Walker a review

One day last week we took a trip to Otley with Laal Bear.
Why did we decide on Otley? Read further and you will see:)

Mr Mog and I didn't get to Masham sheep fair last year but by all accounts we missed a great weekend out. Many of our friends came back extolling the delights of fibre they had purchased from Adelaide Walker in Otley.
When Laal Bear asked did we feel like a field trip to the mill we of course jumped at the chance.
After a delightful trip over the border and a spot of lunch to fortify us we finally arrived at the mill. Now I will add here that the moggie was expecting a big building and this did not disappoint but my visions of Adelaide Walker occupying the full mill were soon put right.

This one room is their share of the mill but as you can see it is full of wonderful fibre and delightful colours.

Everywhere we looked there was more fibre, much more.
The merino feels like silk and comes in over 40 different shades. What to choose? I wanted merino for batts, Laal Bear had kindly offered a day on her drum carder for making same so it only seemed fair to have fibre didn't it?
Mr Mog was tempted by the various natural fibres and soon had his choices picked out.
Here you see Margaret from Adelaide Walker starting to weigh out some of our choices. In front are some art yarns Laal Bear took to show them what she was doing with the merino
There is everything from coloured merino via Wensleydale, Swaledale,Cheviot and Corriedale. Add in luxury fibres such as mulberry and tussah silk, linen and bamboo.
Then maybe some alpaca, camel and silk, cashmere and silk or perhaps mohair. The choice is all yours.
Ian and Margaret welcome visitors and are usually there Monday to Thursday between 10.15 and 4.15 but they do advise that visitors ring prior to their visit so they can ensure they are there.
The website gives you a taste of the choice but I do strongly recommend you visit if in the area. They don't have an online shop as such but welcome mail order.
In these days of internet shops and the like ,where you never actually see the store owner, it was very pleasant to find a shop where old fashioned courtesy and quality are present. The prices were very cheap and they do a discount if you order certain amounts.

Did we qualify? I'll let you guess;)Mr Mog and Laal Bear could barely carry the stash.
These bags did contain our goodies but also some for Artis Anne who hasn't yet been able to visit the mill in person. I'm guessing when she gets the fibre she will be making plans for an Otley trip:)

February 09, 2010

Of this and that and drum carders and English wool combs

We had a fabulous weekend in Wales with our friends. It is always a pleasure to visit Artis Anne and Tony, they make us very welcome and it is always with reluctance that we return home.
This time was no exception, much enjoyment and much spinning.
One of the other reasons for visiting Wales was to attend a workshop with Amanda Hannaford on Sunday. There were only the four of us and it was very reasonably priced at just £25 each for a full day workshop plus lunch and unlimited drinks. Amanda's husband Ginge made fresh broccoli and blue cheese soup and served it with his own freshly made bread and rolls.
The workshop covered types of fleece, preparing it including carding with hand carders, flick carders and English wool combs and long draw spinning. I had never really wanted to work much with fleece but this workshop converted me:)
I realised that it wasn't much harder than working from prepared tops and you have the satisfaction of making something from fleece to garment.
Amanda was a very inspiring tutor and I will definitely be taking more workshops with her should the opportunity arise.
Moving on from this Mr Mog would like a drum carder and some English wool combs if anyone has any to sell or knows of any?

February 01, 2010

5th annual Cyberspace poetry slam for Brigid

Happy Imbolc

May your day be filled with Brigid's energy
To celebrate the Feast of Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of Poetry, Healing and Craft

On this inspiring day I thought I would share 2 poems with you


Today I saw the catkins blow
Although the hills are white with snow

White throstles sang "the sun is good"
They waved their banners in the wood

They come to greet the lurking Spring
As messengers from Winter's King

And thus they wave while Winter reigns,
While his cold grip still holds the plains.

Oh though the hills are white with snow,
Today I saw the catkins blow

Dorothy Una Ratcliffe

In February

The frozen ground is broken
where snowdrops raise their heads

And nod their tiny greeting
In glades and garden beds

The frozen stream is melted
The white brook turns to brown
And foaming through the coppice
Flows helter skelter down.

The frozen air is golden
With February sun
The winter days are over
Oh, has the Spring begun?

P A Ropes

Would you like to join us?
Feel free to copy the following to your blog/facebook/website and spread
the word. Let poetry bless the blogosphere once again! WHAT: A Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading WHEN: Anytime February 2, 2010 WHERE: Your blog WHY: To celebrate the Feast of Brigid, aka Groundhog Day HOW: Select a poem you like - by a favorite poet or one of your own - to post February 2nd. RSVP: If you plan to publish, feel free to leave a comment and link on this post. Last year when the call went out there was more poetry in cyberspace than I could keep track of. So, link to whoever you hear about this from and a mighty web of poetry will be spun.

Poetry for Brigid Imbolc

  The Lake Isle of Innisfree BY  WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay a...