Thursday, August 19, 2010

"What I Did on my Holidays."

First day of term and the kids have gone back to school. Yeah!!!!

Traditionally in UK schools the teachers always set a "What I Did on my Holidays" essay when the kids go back to school. I'm not going to write this, but I'd like to show you all a video of one of the things we have to do regularly on our camping holidays which is to set up our big Conway Camargue trailer tent. This video surfaced on a tape we thought we'd lost so it's about four years old. The kids you can see (occasionally) helping are Lad and Princess. The reason that there are cars crossing in front of the camcorder is because we had to set it up on the opposite side of one of the campsite roads. Sorry.

The whole process usually takes a good hour or so, normally. But at least it wasn't raining!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Knit Camp Marketplace.

I went to the Marketplace at Stirling Knit Camp on Friday. There had been a lot of talk on Ravelry and elsewhere about the shambolic disorganisation that was the hall mark of this event but I decided that I was going to go to support the vendors of the Marketplace anyway.

I have to say at this point I did encounter several small examples of the general disorganisation myself. I had pre ordered my Marketplace two day ticket back in April but had never been sent a that one sorted out online in the end though. There was practically no signage to the event on Stirling Campus..if it hadn't been for the fact my OH works in the Pathfoot Building I'd have had no idea where to go on campus. There were no Goody Bags when I arrived...I did go back and get one later but really, it was barely worth the effort given that it contained mostly advertising literature and Stirling University pens, plus two small and not very interesting balls of yarn. The two areas of the Marketplace were several corridors and a steep flight of steps apart with no direction signs between them.....though I belive some of the vendors made their own signs and pinned then up. No Hall of Fame either.

Worst bit though was just after I arrived I was talking to one of the vendors I know and Jo herself came up with some piece of paperwork. I'm a friendly soul and she looked a bit grey round the edges so I smiled and said hello. She looked me up and down then turned on her heel and walked away without so much as a nod or a word. Was I annoyed? Yes. Was it my Ravelry badge that pissed her off? Who knows. I will say however it was bloody rude of her and totaly unprofessional behaviour by an event organiser. You just don't blow off the paying punters like that. At the very least you fix a plastic smile on your face and say "Nice to see you...hope you enjoy yourself!" two or three hundred times over the course of a day until your teeth ache. No?

Anyway, that's my moan. Nuff said. Lets get on with the rest of the day. The Marketplace was GREAT. There were lots of stalls with some totally fabulous things to buy, belive me. Yes, I did buy one or two things!

70% Baby Alpaca 30% Silk laceweight, from Abstract Cat. This was her first big show and I think she's a seller to watch in the future. Lovely stuff.

Superwash Blue Faced Leicester, from Artist's Palette Yarns.

Hand dyed Kid Mohair tops, from Freyalyn's Fibres. I've not spun mohair from tops before so am looking forwards to this.

I don't normally go to wool shows with "honey stirrer, pastry brush & wooden spoon" at the top of my shopping list but you know...when you see such things complete with pictures of cute sheep, you've just got to have them. From Fire & Fibre.

A giant ball of orange fibre, from Woolfish. She very kindly donated this to me to use when I'm teaching and demonstrating. I go through a lot of fibre doing this so it's a very welcome gift. The next Woolfish/St Abbs Festival is on Monday 30th August at St Abbs btw. Small but perfectly formed. I must try to get down there for a couple of hours.

Dido shawl pattern by Asa Tricosa, from the p/hop stand.

Miscellaneous items. Clockwise from top left...

Long cords for my Denise Interchangables from Jamie Possum. They're the new UK dealers for Denise needles and you can get all sorts of spares from them.

Stitch markers from Wibbo's Works, given to me by my friend Liz.

Sheep stitch marker from Atomic Knitting.

Washable ceramic buttons by Incomparable Buttons.

Silver ball earrings from Northern Lace Too.

Shawl pin and wooden buttons from Textile Garden. This last was an absolutely fabulous stand, with a vast selection of treasures on sale. Some people were getting really carried away with the credit cards here!

A copy of Issue One of the new UK spinning magazine Yarn Maker. This was literally hot off the had only been printed in the last couple of days and the first copies were either sent out to advance subscribers or to the Northern Lace Too stand at the Marketplace. If you're a spinner in the UK I do urge you to buy and support this magazine. It's well written and beautifully laid out, full of interesting articles.

Finally, I didn't buy this but would like to mention it. This is a flyer from a very old Haldane Orkney that belongs to my spinning group, the Haddington Spinners. The flyer was completely knackered and the bobbin in bits and we really thought that the old wheel was only good for spares...then we decided as a last resort to show the flyer to the woodworking geniuses at Woodland Turnery. I handed it in at Woolfest and picked it up from them on Friday. Result....the mended flyer is as good as new and can you tell which is the new bobbin which was made by them? No, thought not. So the old Haldane is back in business and all for the very modest sum of £15.95. I was so pleased by this I promptly gave them the drive wheel of another damaged wheel to mend lol. I can set up and adjust wheels and even do some basic repairs but for expert help, go to Joan & Clive.

Finally I'll say again, I really enjoyed my day at the Marketplace. The shopping was excellent (far too excellent!) and I had the chance too meet up and chat with a lot of old friends including The Yarn Yard, Woolly Wormhead and Knitting on the Green. The chat and gossip is the best part of these events, really!

Da Boyz spent their day at home, in a sunbeam. Priorities...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Because I can....

Found this on Ravelry. I think I'm going to have to try it....

Monday, August 09, 2010

General news and gossip.


The house is a swamp....eight loads of washing, canvas and camping equipment everywhere. All waiting to be cleaned or hung up or folded or put away. After a month of absence every surface is dusty or covered in cat hair or both. The kitchen and bathroom both need cleaned as a matter of some urgency. And we are close to running out of toilet rolls and bin bags, not to mention that I've not quite got into a shopping routine again yet so there are erratic gaps in domestic supplies. And I haven't even opened up the trailer tent to unpack it.

Of course I have been back for three days so I should have been able to deal with all the above. Nope. I've been gardening. Much more interesting. Princess and I went up on Saturday for three hours of picking (her) and weeding (me) and I was up again on Sunday for another three hours. My sister joined me yesterday so that I could "put her to work" but I knew she wasn't serious when she turned up in white trousers and strappy sandles, hoho. As revenge, I put her to picking blackcurrants. Do blackcurrant stains come out of white chino fabric?

Anyway, quite a lot of the allotment is looking a whole lot better. "Coarse" weeding, when you rip out practically everything, is fast and dirty but effective. I have cleared the top end totally and there's only three more beds that urgently need attention in order that the actual crop plants in them have a chance to grow. I've harvested quite a lot too (fortunately several of my neighbours actually like courgettes). There is still a lot of work to do but I'm confident that three or four more sessions will get it up to speed again. It just shows though the difference it makes when you can go up two or three times a week and keep on top of things, and when you have to leave long gaps between sessions. My friend Jean always bemoans the fact that her vegetable gardening is not as succesful as mine but I'm absolutely certain that's only due to her not being able to visit her plot as much as I do. If she was visiting her garden three times a week, every week, it would be a showcase dripping with produce, I'm sure of it.

Knitting? Nope, none to report. It's still all packed in the trailer tent. I am however going to the Ravelry Weekend at Stirling on Friday, to meet up with a few friends and (ahem) maybe have a look round the stalls. I did intend to book classes at KnitCamp too and even got so far as to fill in the booking form but didn't in the end because our own family holiday was so close. Now I'm glad I didn't. The classes I wanted to book and the tutors I wanted to meet vanished off the list long ago, and there seems to be some worrying last minute glitches developing in the program, but no-one seems to know what's happening and the organiser has gone to ground. Hopefully her silence means she's working on the glitches but no-one seems to really know. It's worrying. I have several friends that have taken holiday time and invested a lot of money in classes and accomodation for this week and I hope things work out for them. The worst that can happen to me is that I'll loose £10 on a two day weekend ticket, but I'm pretty sure the Ravelry Market won't be affected.

I won't be going on Saturday as originally planned though. I realised that the Broughton Gathering is on the following Saturday and it's a bit much to take two full Saturdays off in a row. I've also found out that Jess and Casey from Ravelry are having a meet-up in Edinburgh that afternoon so guess where I'm going? Even Hubby approves of this....he's got no interest in knitting but he highly approves of Ravelry as a site and uses it frequently as an example of excellent use of site design in his lectures in Media Studies. So I have a mission to convey this opinion to Casey, lol.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Allotment in early July, just before I went on holiday.


I think I need to do a bit of serious weeding, don't you? However, there are some florishing (and less weedy) bits.

Sweetcorn bed.

Courgettes and squash, with broad beans behind.

Tomatoes. This last was a bit of a gamble, actually, as the plants were a bit small to go out just then I thought. Hence the enviromesh cage. Looking pretty good though.

I was only up for an hour to pick and see how things were so had to struggle with an overwhelming desire to start tidying the place up. (I do not get this urge with housework, ever.) There was a lot of produce ready to harvest though, far too much. I was feeling a bit frenzied about it actually! I thought my sister would have picked x5 as much, but instead there was all this plenty going to waste, argh. I concentrated on taking what I needed immediately however and promised myself I'd go and start the weeding today and Sunday. And take Princess...there are about 10lbs of blackcurrants on one bush alone, and she's got nimble little fingers.

Peas, broad beans, purple french beans, raspberries, lettuce, chives, white and black currants, potatoes and (ahem) some of the many courgettes.

Friday, August 06, 2010


Got back home yesterday, after the usual loooooong, tedious drive up from Portsmouth. Made worse and longer by roadworks, two delays caused by accidents up ahead and of course the speed restrictions on towing a trailer. Still, it was otherwise uneventful.

Good holiday. I'll blog about it all when I get the pictures uploaded. There's even some knitting content but as usual, I woefully overestimated the amount of knitting and spinning time I'd have and took far too much with me. Still, better than running out of yarn.

I wasn't entirely looking forwards to this very long camping trip actually because of the increasing pain and mobility problems I've been having with the degenerating disc in my back, but two weeks before I went I saw a new GP and she didn't hesitate, just signed me up for a new painkiller regime that made the previous GP's efforts look like "take two asprin...". Five days later I was skipping around like an elderly lambkin mostly pain free....... well worth the side effects of almost permenant nausea and occasional foul headache. Seven weeks later the headaches have mostly gone as the drugs bed in, but the nausea hasn't. Think 24/7 morning sickness. It quite put me off the nice holiday food, which was a pain , (and also NO alcohol)but as a bonus I've lost 20lbs in 7 weeks, which can't but help with the mobility problems all by itself. To every cloud and all that...? I'm off to see the doc again next week and I'm hoping I can continue with the same regime. I wouldn't recommend it as a diet of choice however!

Anyway, today is an unpacking day. I have eight loads of washing to do which is not bad at all given that it includes the towels and bedding from a month of camping plus a weeks worth of clothes. Plus a shopping trip to Tesco/Lidl and a "shopping" trip to the allotment, just to stock up on fresh veg and fruit and see what's what. My sister and brother in law have been up twice a week to harvest things and my non-cooking sister has even made some jam (!!!!) but neither of them are gardeners of any sort so no work or weeding will have been done and the allotment will be looking a bit shaggy, I expect.