Saturday, September 16, 2006

Old car, new car.

This is my old car. It got towed away to the great scrapyard in the sky on 1st September 2006. It was an M-reg Renault Savanna seven seater 2.1 litre turbo diesel estate.

It may look like a pile of rusty crap here, but it was the best car we`ve ever owned. We bought it when it was six months old (ex-rental) and kept it for over eleven years before it recieved its final fatal injury from a daft female muppet that couldn`t park in an empty field. It could carry three tandems on the roof, three bikes on the back, two adults and two kids, camping gear to the ceiling inside and still do a steady 60-70mph with a fully laden trailer tent hitched to the back. And it was a seven seater too, did I say? Incredibly useful car when there were hoards of kids to be ferried around.

This is my new car. It`s a six month old (ex-rental) Ford Mondeo 2.0 Zetec TDCI diesel estate, in "Stardust Silver".

My only gripe at it is there wasn`t a seven seater model availible. In all other respects, it`s brilliant. It has acceleration that you wouldn` belive for a diesel estate. It has alloy wheels. It has cupholders!!!!! It has space in the back for a big ten year old son to get comfy in for the next few years and...get even has a 12v socket in the boot to run the camping fridge on.

And it`s shiney. I`m not sure I can cope with a shiney car. I`ve always driven the whichever of our cars is the current official Rusty Old Banger. Shiney? I might end up feeling I have to wash it occasionally. Shiney is so not me.

All it needs now is the tandem bike racks on top, a towball, the old trailer tent hitched on the back and a few scratches. Oh, and a few coke cans on the floor and some dirt smears. A faintly allotment whiff. Then...then it will be my car, lol. Just like the Renault.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Run for your lives! MOTHS!!!!!!!

I`m pretty good about moth prevention, but no-one is 100% perfect, are they? Most of my fibre and yarn stash is tucked away in ziplock bags, but there`s always a few things lying around. For instance, there is this huge fat skein of handspun Ouessant sock yarn hanging up waiting for a turn on the ball winder. It`s been there for quite a while now. I thought it looked decorative and I liked to give it a stroke now and again as I went past it.

Except this time, when I stroked it, something flew out. Four somethings, in fact. Little silvery grey/beige moths. EEEEKKK!!!! It was in a hot soapy bath of lavender handwash one minute later, I can tell you. I`ll soak it and dry it and freeze it and if that doesn`t work I`ll incinerate it down the allotment, despite the time it took me to spin. a spinner/knitters house? Ultimate evil....

So then I turned my attention to the rest of the stash. Of course, it had to be that the main "exotic fibre" section of the stash lives right next to the place the Ouessant skein was hanging. Ulp. First though I cleaned out the drum carder, also right next too....well, most of the spinning stuff is within a six foot radius of where that skein was hanging. (Except the fleeces, thank the Lord...they`re up in the attic.) Then put the kittens in the kitchen with a very early lunch and started on the stash.

Well, all I can say is thank you to whoever invented ziploc bags. I`m positively addicted to ziploc bags. Sometines I have big ziploc bags filled with lots of little ziploc bags filled with related things. I even have a mini-stash of assorted ziploc bags. You never know when you might need one or ten.

Of course, it`s well known that the evil moth can sneak through hermetically sealed six foot steel doors, so I wasn`t taking any chances. I took everything out and looked at it. No moths. It was nice looking at the stash though. I was quite enjoying myself. There were open bags of fibre everywhere, yarn, tangles of this and that where I`d been stripping the last scraps off the storage bobbins. My bedroom was a shamble of wool and fibre and spinning kit....

Then ..........the kittens appeared. Through two closed (I thought) doors...........

I do not have a picture as I could not find the camera, but I assure you, it was horrible. Anyone want a kitten, before I decide to see if kitten fur makes good sock yarn?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Woollywormhead`s become famous!!

Hey look, Woollywormhead become famous! Well, she always has been, come to think of it, within the knitting universe, but Simply Knitting? That`s becoming known in the big bad outside world where there are still unfortunate people that don`t know about wool and fibre and knitting. They only know they want to, which is why they`re buying Simply Knitting. And there be WW. Yeah!

And, I`ll have you know, I`ve sat next to her and watched her make a hat. I`ve touched some of her knitting!! Does this make me famous by association???? (

But I did help persuade her to buy a new spinning wheel. I`m very proud of that. I`ve got a real talent for persuading people to buy spinning wheels, so I`ve discovered. ;-)

That reminds me...the Edinburgh Guild of Spinners, Dyers and Weavers has a meeting on Saturday. I haven`t been to a spinning meeting all summer, alas, so I must go to this one. It`s a very lively and interesting group, with very friendly people. Well worth attending, if you live anywhere in the Edinburgh area. It`s at Craiglockhart Church Hall, every third Sarurday of the month.

And I signed up for the new session of the Haddington Spinners group as well. This is where I was first inspired to learn to spin, after I popped in to their Open Day for a "quick look" a couple of years ago...and stayed for the entire day, asking relentless questions. Two weeks later I`d bought a wheel. Funny how just watching someone spin makes you think. "I want to do that too. I want a wheel like that.....!"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dejunking and the domestic environment.

Now that Mairi is at school full time, I have it again, SIX hours a day four days a week without her. Plus Friday mornings. Freedom......You might think that I`m having a grand time with all this spare time? Weeelll...sort of. As I`ve said before, the major building repairs start in October. So I`m trying to get ahead of myself with tidying up the house, and getting rid of any unneccesary junk.

Of which we have a lot. A LOT. We`ve been here for eight years, and most of these have been troubled times, what with Robbie`s illness and death, and the aftermath. Keeping a neat, tidy and clutter free house has not been much of a priority....I`m not one of these strange people that gain solace from scrubbing things. I prefer to go to the allotment. So over the past years the junk has rather taken over.

I`m not talking about the hobby, that`s not junk, though goodness knows there`s enough of that too! But you know how it buy something new, but do you get rid of the old one? Not if you`re me. You put it in a cupboard because "It might come in handy if the old one breaks". Well and good, but once you`ve done this three or four times, you forget that you had the original one in the first place, don`t you? And if the current one does break (none of them have ever broken, btw,)then would you use the old one? Well perhaps...for as long as it took to go out and buy a new one.

This makes me sound like the consumer slut from hell, doesn`t it? With cupboards bursting with barely used appliances etc? Nothing so interesting sadly. But things like worn out linen, cooking utensils, elderly pots and pans...they all seem to breed in my cupboards. It doesn`t help that when my late sister in law died I ended up with all her vastly superior kitchen equipment....but didn`t throw my own out.

And multiply that for the whole house, and every possible type of item you can think of.

I have a problem, don`t I..........?????????

Anyway, a combination of the upcoming building works and time to do something about it has focussed my attention on this problem. I don`t want to be moving all this junk out of the way of the workies...and then move it all back into the cupboards again, do I? So...I`m dejunking. Charity shops, recycling, the dump, unwilling friends and Ebay. The target I set myself was at least one 80 litre binbag a day. This is easy, btw...some days I`m managing three or four. So over the course of the last month, I figure I`ve cleared out.....60 bags?


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cats in a box...

Weekend Cat Bloggin` again...note very small shoebox.

Missy (small grey bossy one) just loves boxes. So does Theo. But she`s boss cat, right? So if he`s in the box first, she simply sits on top of him and makes herself comfy.

Poor Theo. He`s been bossed around since birth by that sister. Missy always gets the box.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

SkipNorth again!!!

I just signed up for SkipNorth 2007. I went to the first one last Feburary and had a great time and met a lot of great people, many of whom I`ve remained in contact with. There`s even a folder in my bookmarks named "SkipNorth Blogs"!!

And it`s a great chance to go SHOPPING! Here`s what I bought last time. Far too much!

I`m really looking forwards to it. Now all that remains to be done is to clear some space, save up some spending money and make sure that Hubby has the date in his diary. (My Hubby is notorious for forgetting everything that`s not in his diary...and quite a lot of what is.....)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Spindle spinning.

I`m not a great fan of spindle spinning...I admire other folk that can do it well, but as I currently own five wheels a spindle is not my first choice when it comes to choosing something to spin on. I first learned to spin on a spindle, of course, but very quickly bought a wheel.

But..I do own a handful of spindles and would like a Bosworth one day, simply because...well, because. I was lucky enough to see some and to meet Sheila and Johnathon Bosworth at Woolfest this year..there can`t be many in the UK that can claim to have had their first ever try of a book charka under the eye of Johnathen Bosworth, no? (I was mince at it, btw, but the prototype Bosworth book charka is a work of art...)

However, when I saw this spindle in a charity shop, I had to buy it...I had to tell the ladies behind the counter what it was, which was rather funny.

It cost £3, and it`s huge...that bottom whorl is four inches across, and weighs about three times as much as any of my other spindles. But it spins like a dream...on, and on, and on...I`m beginning to wonder if the reason for my previous total apathy to spindle spinning is because I`ve never had a spindle that suited me?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Stripping the Willow.

One of my allotment neighbours told me a couple of weeks ago that she was about to remove a small pollarded willow tree from her back garden, as the roots were starting to grow through the nearby pond foundations. Would I like the top growth for basket making? Ohh, yes please. So I gave her a hand to lop the top growth off and came away with a large bundle of willow.

This is it after about a week, when the leaves had wilted.

I wasn`t entirely sure what to do with it as regards to processing, but reasoned that leaving the canes (Branches? Rods??? Withies????) in amongst a pile of rotting leaves wasn`t a good idea. So I decided to strip off the foliage. I ended up with a sack of leaves for the compost bin, and quite a lot of promising looking willow.

What next? I thought hanging it up to dry under the eaves might be a good idea, for air circulation. And it made a very artistic looking pix against my weathered old shed, I thought!

I couldn`t resist making something, even though the willow was still green. So I wove a little God`s Eye to put in the herb garden. Yup, you`re seeing right...the base is made from two knitting needles. I keep getting given bags of old knitting needles for school and craft groups so when I take out all the old bent "useless" ones, I recycle them into row and plant markers. (Yes, my fellow allotmenters do think I`m a bit strange sometimes.....)

I`ve been growing willow this season already, incidentally, following a basket weaving workshop I did last March at which I made my one and only basket so far.

Now, I`m sure someone out there is shaking their heads and going "Wrong, all wrong." If so, could you please send me a link to a good website or a book title where I can learn about willow growing and processing? I don`t seem to be able to find much, and I`m reluctant to shell out for a book until I know that it will tell me what I need to know. Specifically I want to find out about the bit between harvesting it and actually making the basket.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Weekend Cat Bloggin`

I was going to put these pix up for the unofficial Weekend Cat Bloggin`, but Blogger wasn`t loading pix very well at the weekend. As usual.

Soooo...dinner for two.....

...and all change round...

(The food belonging to your sibling always tastes better, no?)

They were seventeen weeks old yesterday, btw. Here they are at three weeks. Bit of a difference, eh?

Saturday, September 02, 2006


At last! Some knitting has been done!

First in ages too. Somehow I always hit a knitting slump in the summer months. I`ve got too many other outdoor things I`d rather do in summertime and that usually means the evening is spent finishing off chores. But the nights are fair drawing in, as we Scots say, and it`s getting colder so my thoughts are turning to knitting again. Plus I`ve been sorting out the kids` clothes, and they both seem to have grown out of 99% of their warmer stuff. I`d feel pretty pathetic buying them wooly jumpers, wouldn`t I, not with the attic stuffed to the rafters with wool and yarn. I feel I have to knit them at least one sweater each, plus hat and scarf.

So after a quick rummage around the stash I unearthed the Sirdar Denim Sport Aran I bought for kiddy sweaters last spring, following a lead that Alison from CityKnitty posted for a really amazing sale. I think it was about 95p a ball, so I bought enough of a colourway with a pale pink fleck for a jersey for Mairi, and a denim colourway for Duncan. Yup, sure it`s an acrylic blend, but given that my kids tend to wear sweaters for messing around on the edge of rugby fields or campsites, the machine washability of it is a real plus. And it actually feels pretty good because of the wool and cotton in the blend as well. It knits up fast into a nice smooth cosy fabric too. A good yarn for kids.

I decided I didn`t like the very simple T-shaped sweater pattern I`d originally thought about using for this yarn so it was back to the bookshelves. Eventually I decided on Nell from the Debbie Bliss Junior Knits book. Of course, Debbie Bliss is notorious for her hugely oversized childrens` patterns so I wasn`t in the least bit surprised to find myself knitting the age 3-4 size to get a finished chest size of 30 3/4 inches. Bliss kids are short too, btw. I always end up putting in extra length as well!

Here we have a truely inspirational picture of ten inches of straight stocking stitch....

I quite like the odd bit of non-stop stocking stitch, btw. I know it bores most knitters to tears, but I like being able to mindlessly rattle back and forwards while reading a book or on the PC. I`m not a fast knitter and I find it difficult to carry a pattern reliably in my head for even one row (unlike my amazingly prolific friend GourdonGirl) so it`s nice to make something I can knit fast for a change.

I see that the same pattern gives an amazing 41 1/2 inch finished chest measurement for a 9-10 year old, btw!! I think I may make it for Duncan, who`s not a small boy by any means. Matching (apart from the colour) brother and sister sweaters, ick ick!