Monday, August 31, 2009

Actual spinning content. Etc.

I bety you all sometimes wonder where the "spinning" part in Spinningfishwife is, some days? Well, I am spinning. And knitting. I promise. I'm just not very good at blogging about it. I'm not a fast knitter and I forget to take photos and I usually blog at odd hours of the day when it's awkward to just leap up and get a quick snap of a WIP. Anyway, it;s still summer and the focus is on camping, gardening and summer holidays. Which I also forget to blog about, but that's just me being lazy!

Anyway, when I came back from Amsterdam I decided to clear off my bobbins to make a fresh start in the new spinning year. I have been working on this and do have a pile of new skeins but I hit a problem when I stripped the whorl of my old Kromski in such a way that I couldn't get it off the flyer. So the whole kaboodle has had to be sent to the highly respected Woodland Turnery, where they are going to make me a new whorl. I hope. I also went to the Broughton Gathering the weekend before last. This is the event where all the spinning Guilds and other spinning groups in the south of Scotland gather once per year to basically spin, natter and eat cake, plus buying opportunities. The Yarn Yard was there, also Scottish Fibres and some of our independant fleece producers selling their prize winning fleeces. And there was a bring-and-buy stall as well. I bought a dozen eggs from someones pet chickens, a pound of home grown tomatoes and some tablet but the only fibre related buy was a spare part for my Louet S40.

Last Saturday I went to an interesting event at the Dunbar Arts Hub. It is a sort of gallery and the focus is very much on showcasing the work of local artists but we spinners were invited to provide a bit of extra interest. Now I don't normally get drawn on the debate about craftwork v. the work of artists, but suffice to say that the artwork was in the front gallery space, which was bright and open and had a beautiful space facing right out onto the High Street We were squashed into a tiny back room with bad lighting and where no-one could find us unless they had actually come in to look at the front room exhibits. I thought this was rather a waste of us spinners...there's no denying the public pulling power of four spinning wheels going full tilt, and if the owner had put us in the front space she'd have had half of Dunbar in there. I did comment on this to her and got a brief lecture about how artists didn't like their work being diluted by being displayed next to craft work.

Oh well. She was a nice lady, if biased, and we spinners achieved our own ends by publicising the local spinning groups, raising awareness of the craft and getting to sit and spin and natter for three hours with free tea and cake provided. And the best laugh was though actual sales in the gallery area were nil that afternoon, as far as I could tell, one person who came in tried to buy one of my sample skeins which I carry around in a basket for demos. It was a small 5m skein of sparkly stuff that I'd had around for ages and she was a lovely lady who made embellished felted bags, so I did what the vast majority of us craftswomen usually do when talking to other craftswomen and just gave it to her. It's nice to have your spinning appreciated! Then I got a bit of cold shoulder from the owner, presumably because I'd just devalued the work of her artists a bit more, hmm.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Too much of everything. Or too little?

It's autumn. You can just feel it in the air. I was up the allotment about ten days ago and though it was warm and sunny you could just feel that edge in the air that meant it was no longer high summer. I was right too. The weather has really turned in the last week, despite it still being August. Cold days ahead.

One job that always has to get done as soon as the kids have gone back to school is turning out the wardrobes. Summer clothes have to be sorted out, judged on size, condition and possibility of wear next year and dealt with accordingly. Keep, pass on, charity shop, textile recycling bin at the dump? The Keep pile is always the smallest. Then I have to look through the storage boxes in the attic for each child, the ones where I keep the stock of larger clothes that I've bought ahead in the sales, kept from an older sibling or had passed on to them to wear. Only then will I go out and buy anything for the new season. Mean, moi? Of course....

Anyway once I'd done this I thought I'd better do my clothes next. I'm not supposed to outgrow clothes of course but I like to put the summer stuff away and pull the warmer garments out of their summer storage. This year though there is a problem...

A couple of summers ago I was the lightest I'd been for many years. I'd got my act together and lost about two and a half stone...thats 35 pounds for the US viewers. I was still fat of course but I was less fat, I'd gone down a couple of sizes and had to buy lots of new clothes. For the record I'm pretty boring in the way I dress, with jeans and tops the normal sort of everyday wear. but it was nice to buy new stuff. One summer later I'd put 7 lbs of it back on again, then I got a new Mirena fitted and put on another 10 pounds in the two weeks immediately after. The new clothes most emphatically did not fit any more! Since then I've put on another couple of pounds and though I've managed to stop this upwards trend and even reverse it a tad, I'm still 20 pounds above what I was two years ago at this point. Which is still 15 pounds less than my top weight, but it's annoying.

As I said I seem to have got a grip on it and I may even have managed to get going downwards again. In the meantime, there is the clothes problem. Practically nothing fits. I have quite a lot of nice stuff in one or two sizes too small. I have clothes that fit me now, a combination of leftover items not thrown out when I was still losing weight, which are a bit shabby, and a few items I've reluctantly bought as the weight crept back on again. So I decided today to have a bit of a wardrobe cull, to put away all the too small stuff and get rid of all the too shabby items at the same time as I changed over the seasonal clothes. I don't have huge amounts of accessable wardrobe space and I thought this would be a good way to free up some of this.


Yes, I now have wardrobe and drawer space. It would be fair to say I have Too Much wardrobe and drawer space. Thing is, I hardly have anything to actually wear at the moment, not for the coming winter anyway. I have boxes of nice clothes for both summer and winter, and a huge "out" pile but not very much at all that fits me! And I don't really feel like buying new clothes for the size I am.


Yeah, I know, go out and buy myself a few good basics that fit properly and that I feel comfortable in, to see me through till I lose the weight again. (Hopefully.) No point in feeling fat AND my clothes not fitting. But it's annoying, you know????

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Freecycle? Got to love it.....

I've put my old #2 trailer tent on Freecycle. #2? Yeah, even I didn't know I owned two trailer tents. Seven years ago I gave my 1978 Walker Viva trailer tent to a friend. Turns out it's sat unused in their garage for the entire time. (Bloomin' waste....) Now, they've decided to clear out the garage and wow, guess what? It's apparently been my trailer tent all along.

(In the meantime we bought another trailer tent, paid a lot of money to have the back gate widened enough to get the new one in there and I didn't give the Walker to thereyougothen last year when she was looking for a trailer tent. Because I didn't think I owned it any more, bah....)

Anyway, it's still in passible nick with a few years left in it and we all wanted rid of it so...I've put it on Freecycle. And not surprisingly I've had a lot of responses. You have no idea how many single mums with seven kids (some of whom have disabilities) are out there! And they all want to try camping because they can't afford a "proper holiday". You don't use this expresssion to a die-hard camper, really...

There are a few more genuine responses, of course, and I am drawing up a short list because really, trailer tents don't suit everyone. Much as I would like to give it to the potter lady who wants to take it to festivals I know for a fact it takes two people to put it up. Best response so far though? This letter...

Hi there,

I am writing with regards to your trailer tent. Good luck picking as you will get an awful lot of requests- I reckon!

I recently advertised my caravan on Freecycle and received over 50 requests for it-
some polite some rather quite rude! It was going to be a very difficult decision until
I received a message from some lambers in the hills. Their caravan had been vandalised
and they were getting desperate as the lambing season was quickly approaching.

So really in the end it was a fairly easy decision. The caravan would withstand one more
tow and since the lambers would just use it year after year in the same location-they were the perfect choice.

I had bought the caravan from Gumtree for £100.00. It was a bargain, it was a 1984 Robin.
The cooker, fridge freezer and even the little radio all worked perfectly. The upholstery was
great, orange and brown flowers and looked almost new.

So, I cleaned the caravan inside and out and booked a space in a campsite in the west of Scotland to try it out.
This was for the school holidays in April. I then put a tow bar on my car-all ready to go!

The day before we were leaving my neighbour reversed into the caravan putting a gaping hole in one of the corners
rendering the chasis very unstable. He reversed into the caravan (in a pickup) while in MY garden stealing MY
wood! While he was doing this his dog killed my chicken. He apologised for neither incident! He did advise me though, he had really done me a favour
as the caravan was rotten inside. I didn't really see it that way, as you can imagine.

We go to a lot of festivals with the kids as my partner is in a band. The caravan we bought was for this purpose but it never even got one outing :-(
We would certainly put a trailer tent to good use as we are usually off to a festival every couple of weeks during the Summer. There still a few more this year.

We use 2 tents just now and we do cope- however a trailer tent would make festival life just that little bit better!

On the upside my dog did break into aforementioned neighbour's house while his dog was in season. This cost him £100.00 at the vets.

SO, this is my comprehensive reason to why I would like your trailer tent!

Many thanks for reading
Kindest regards

Is it a true story? One has a few doubts. But come on.... it has style, it has humor, it has plot and she's put a lot of effort into writing it. I think she at least deserves to make the short list, don't you?

Oh, yes, what's a Walker Viva trailer tent anyway, I hear you ask? This....

Anyone want a trailer tent? I am taking applications.....!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back in the groove again.

After seven and a half weeks of holiday, the kids went back to school yesterday.


It's not that I don't love them and like having them around, you understand. It's just that having them with me what seems like 24/7 for nearly two months can get a little tiring. They're energetic and intelligent kids and don't take well to having nothing to do, so this must be provided. Yes they get many opportunities to just get on with things and make their own entertainment but you still have to provide some family activities, yup? Parental involvement and all that?

So we have had trips to the zoo and local country park and cinema. We have had three weeks of camping. We have had meals out and days out and friends round. We have spend quite a bit of time turning the garden into a play space for Princess and the assortment of small girls that live locally. We have had wargames and laser quest games and sports clubs and swimming. Sleepovers. Trips. Activities.

I am exhausted. Holidays? I need a rest!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I lost my knitting bag. Not my real knitting bag which is about one cubic metre in size and can hold small children, but my travelling one. I'd taken it with me to Amsterdam and had last seen it while packing up to come home.

It took me a few days to realise it was missing. We'd emptied the car first day back of course then on the next fine day after that the kids and I had opened up the trailer tent, stripped everything out of it including the canvas and cushions (they get stored in the dry attic over winter) and carried it all up from the garden to the house. There are still odd heaps of camping equipment all over the house. But the knitting bag? Nowhere to be seen.

Now I didn't care about the actual bag. It was a freebie with some toiletries I got from Boots and I've got two more identical ones. What I did care about was the contents.

Two sets of Boye needles.
The last five balls of Linen Drape for the sweater I am currently knitting. (Actual pieces were in the teeny bag I use in the car.)
One half finished Forest Canopy in KnitWitch silk.
One ball of sock yarn, hand dyed by me.
One braid of Yarn Yard fibre. (Yes I did take a spinning wheel to Amsterdam!)
The latest Spin Off.
And my sock knitting kit. Two sets of dirt cheap charity shop circs in two sizes but they are MY sock needles and fit MY hands and I can't knit socks without them, okay?

Anyway. Over the course of the week I searched and searched an searched for that bag. I knew I couldn't have left it in Amsterdam, that was one good thing. When you drive off a camping pitch you leave an area of flattened grass, nothing more. I'd have noticed a red spotted knitting bag sitting there, honestly. But could I find it in the house? The kids and I had stripped the trailer tent to the bare wood, almost, so it couldn't be still in there. It had to be up here and somehow got muddled in with something else I had put away.

One week later, no knitting bag. I had run out of yarn for my sweater. I was desperate to cast on a sock. I cast on a sock using my Addi lace needles and Magic Loop. I changed to dpns. Not satisfactory. I had to find my charity shop sock needles! (Not to mention the other £200 worth of other things in that bag...)

Finally, when I'd looked in all the corners of the house I admitted I'd better check the trailer tent again. But how could it be in there? I'd stripped it bare. Plus Lad and I had battened it down for the winter, pushed it with some effort into an inaccessable corner of the garden and arranged two wheelie bins, a bench, a parasol and four pots of geraniums across the front of it. I didn't want to unravel that lot again.

I did though. And yes, there was my knitting bag, inside a locker which I had definately, 110% thought bare and empty. I was so bloomin' relieved I could have kissed it. Then I reclosed the trailer tent, pushed it back into the corner and re-arranged all the garden stuff in front of it. Took me an hour in total.

Then I went upstairs and ripped back the sock I was knitting and started it again on the right needles. And I was happy, lol!

Saturday, August 01, 2009


Got home from Amsterdam yesterday at lunchtime, and have been running around catching up with myself ever since. Hubby had a 3pm meeting so I had the kids, a grocery run and 8(!!) loads of laundry to do plus we had to go and pick up the cats from the cattery. They have both come home with sniffles, which is a classic risk of being in a cattery after living in a protected home environment I suppose. None of our outdoor cats ever got sniffles. Must be something to do with eating a fresh raw rodent once a day or something.

Anyway, Amsterdam was lovely and we all had a great time. I will blog about it later but only have one thing to say now...I am roller-coasted out for the year.

Other news? My needle biopsy came back 100% clear. The lump was an old small fibroadenoma, otherwise known as a "breast mouse" because it wriggles away when you go in search of it. Benign, and they are happy for me to go away and forget about it.


Today Lad and Hubby are off to some sort of wargames show. (Was vital we got home in time for this.) Tomorrow is the Allotment Open Day, so Princess and I are off up to the allotment after her karate lesson to see how bad the allotment looks after three weeks of total neglect. The courgettes/marrows will be the size of small houses, I expect. Never mind, lots of produce for the vegetable stall and I can run a little display of Emergency Weeding Technique tomorrow for the edification of the visitors.