Friday, March 31, 2006

Freaky Friday

Not the whole day, just 7 minutes as I was cycling home this evening.

Just as I was in the middle of a road junction and the skies were ominously dark, this started to pelt me.

I had little choice but to cycle on into it.

There was no obvious place to shelter, and I got very wet from the few seconds of sleet that preceded the hailstones.

Once home I was so wet that I rushed into the shower only to find that a certain teenager had just had a bath, and there was no hot water left.

So after two cold showers things were fine, and I cooked a vegetable curry a little heavy on the carrots and with extra garlic as we had no onions.

No time to report on this week now, but I did find a letter from the University of Nottingham to say that my bracelet has been accepted for the exhibition.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hair curling ...

... well, that was an accurate description of the weather when the overnight rain dwindled by late morning.

It might also have been me and my attempt to thread some of my porcelain beads as a necklace/bracelet.
Today was the second (and final) handing-in day for an exhibition in Nottingham.

Firstly, I hadn't left myself enough time for problem solving.

Secondly, I hadn't checked that I had enough of the red glass beads with a large enough hole.

Thirdly, I hadn't read the submission form properly.

I needed "a reflective piece of writing explaining how the work was created from initial conception to completed work".

However, I was able to beg a piece of paper and write out a few sentences before handing it in.
That's that until 3rd April when the selection will have been made.

Of course, as always happens, the first piece is just the test piece.
The rayon cord took the textile dyes nicely, and shows up the crunchy texture of the porcelain quite well.

For subsequent pieces, I will have to work out a better way to attach the findings.
It didn't look as good as I think that it could be.

The overhand knots in the pink cord work quite well, but I still want to try the contrast with red glass beads.
So, before leaving Nottingham, I went to the bead shop and selected some.

Then I joined in a game of "sardines" on the train home.
I'm glad that I only had to stand in that crush for 10 minutes!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I had an early start today in order to spend as much time as possible at the show at Olympia.
I joined Yvonne on the Relax and Knit stand.
Had a great time, not long enough though, as I had to be back home for an appointment at 18.00.
This is when the distance from London seems immense, 2 hours on the train.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Great workshop .... though I say it myself

Having rejected a heavy reel of wire from my bag, I set off for the station, stapler in pocket.
The train was on time, and I got a table seat and stapled the remaining handouts.

Walking up to the far end of town was relaxing.
Passing through the farmer's market I saw russets for sale "Fill a bag for £1.00".
(I did on the way back, and got 2.6 kg.)

Arriving at the Friend's Meeting House at 09.25, the room was filling up.
We average about 12 people for a meeting.
Today there were 17, and 3 had sent their apologies.

I had decided to have an unstructured workshop.
People are too constrained when they have a pattern to follow.

After an introduction, showing selected small pieces of my wire knitting, I invited all present to select wire and a pair of needles.

The needles were all double ended, and ranged from 2.5 - 3.5 mm.
Most people chose the brightly coloured 0.2 mm wire.

Then came the moment I had been dreading.

"How many stitches should we cast on?"

I thought that I had already explained in my introducton that I wasn't going to dictate what people did with the wire and needles.

"Cast on 10, or 5, or 3 or even only 1 stitch or whatever you want to" was my reply.

After the initial confusion at being cast into unknown waters, it went brilliantly.

One crocheter supplied her own hook.
She was determined that she could get results with the 24 gauge wire (0.56 mm), the stiffest I had brought with me.
A simple bracelet with occasional bobbles resulted.
(This was the point when I wished that I had a camera with me.)

A couple of people knitted for a while and then in desperation screwed up the resulting fabric.
That was a new idea for me, which might result in yet another new direction with wire.

I was inspired by a ring knitted from four or five different colours.

Of course cross fertilization is bound to happen at a session like this.

Until now I hadn't had much 0.2 mm wire.
I usually use 0.1 mm, which is much more flexible (and fragile!).

On the way back home, I stopped off at Q Arts for the excellent "Nazar" exhibition of photography from the Arab world.

Then a quick trawl through some charity shops, and a visit to Textile Art Studio.
I had listed them as a supplier of fine wire for knitting despite the fact that I hadn't been there since last summer.

I found three colours of 0.2 mm wire in colours that I didn't have, and had an interesting conversation with a couple of people there.

Then back home shortly before three to a cool house.
I had meant to programme the central heating to come on about an hour before my projected return.

More haste .... causes disasters

Now, I am known for procrastination.
I think my way round situations, and dive in toward the last minute.

I'd known since the end of last year that I'd be leading a workshop on "Knitting with wire" for the Derby branch of the Knitting and Crochet Guild this morning.

So why last night was I still undecided exactly how to run it?
I had plenty of suitable materials for my group to knit with.
I had typed up most of a three page handout.

I had a good idea how much I could carry comfortably for the 20 minute walk through Derby from the station.
I knew which train I was aiming for.

Still in a bit of a dither as to what to leave behind, I nipped out to the reading group at the library.
I only stayed for a short while, and cycled home.

By then it was nearly 20.00, and I was at home (alone) and hadn't eaten.
I decided to steam some turnip in the microwave, while my chick peas, mushrooms and red peppers were on the stove.

That was the first error.
I didn't pay attention to how long I'd set it for, and went to put the reels of wire into a jiffy bag for this morning.
A few minutes later I suddenly remembered my supper.
What I found was a cloud of fine smoke in the kitchen.

So I switched the gas ring and the microwave off, and found a bowl containing dried turnip and smoking embers.
Took a damp cloth to cover it, and after unlocking the back door, picked up the glass plate with the oven gloves, and set it all to cool.

Then began my attempt to free the house from the smell of smoke before Stephen got in.
Fortunately, we can hook our back door open, and as it was windy I had to.
The external temperature was only just on freezing, so it didn't cool the house down too much.

I ate the chick peas, and washed out the bowl and microwave.
Then at just the wrong time of day I had to go and shower the smoke out from my hair.
The smoke hadn't clung to my clothing, but masses of it seemed to reside in my curls.

On the way to bed I stubbed a toe against a piece of wall that I know has been there all the time since we moved here in Dec 1995.
The nail has only just stopped showing black since the last time I stubbed it.
This is an occupational hazard as I wander round the house in socks most of the time.

All this made me forget to scan the samples I had knitted for that purpose.

I was up early enough to scan the samples, but hadn't left enough time for the speed at which our printer turns out coloured images.
I left the house with an envelope containing 15 prepared handouts and the wherewithal for 5 more. Two of those had no sample images.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Secret Pal goodies

While I was in Nottingham on Tuesday an abortive attempt was made to deliver a parcel to me.

The note said that it was too big to go through the letterbox.

I had wait until the next morning, and I rearranged my activities to go to the sorting office first.

There was a small cardboard box from the US, from my Secret Pal.

I didn't have time to take photos there and then.

In fact it wasn't until late yesterday that I took out my camera to record them.
Then just as I went to download the images onto the computer the camera battery died.
So after an overnight charge here is my lovely haul.
Here are some of the contents:
Koigu KPPPM, Manos del Uruguay and sari silk yarns; and the most tactile tape measure.

There were some candles too, scented with rosemary which is my favourite.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Frog activity!!

It is the time of year when our garden becomes very popular.

We dug our pond in 1997 (2 x 2.5 m.) , and since then it has become a place of pilgrimage each spring.

At this time of year we walk down the garden slowly, and stand near the pond for a while.
If you wait about five minutes, the frogs all surface and start clambering over one another and grunting.

The best head count this afternoon was of 133 visible frogs, not counting the concrete one in the picture.

I cheated a bit.
This image was taken three years ago, but it was too dingy to get a picture this afternoon.

The first (and as yet only) two clumps of frogspawn appeared on Monday when there were only about 20 frogs apparently present.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Back seat Alberta 1

There has been a big hush here for the past couple of weeks.
Yes, I am still having problems with my voice, but this wasn't the reason.

We had an all too brief trip to Canada from 15th - 27th February.

Funnily enough we had brought the first real wintery weather with us.

This is typical of the way I saw the province of Alberta.

Arriving in Edmonton via Vancouver, we picked up a hire car near the airport, and drove to my aunt's apartment.

We had visited her in Dec '03, so knew the way.

The next day we left and headed to Hinton to see my cousin John.
Hinton is about 45 minutes drive from the Rockies at Jasper.

John and Suzanna run a B&B as well as teaching.
In their spare time they teach skiing.

We had a restful day driving south from Hinton to an area where coal has been mined near Cadomin.

We drove about 15 km along this unpaved road to visit Mountain Park cemetary.

This shows the scale of current day mining near Mountain Park.

Driving back to Cadomin we saw this giant coal truck on the mine road.

The mine at Mountain Park was closed in 1950 after a disastrous accident.

Little remains of the settlement but the cemetary.
The cemetary is well cared for.

In the recent snow little else could be seen.

We had a hot chocolate at the store in Cadomin before returning to Hinton.
The store now caters for the local miners, many of them bussed in from Hinton.