In a permanent state of catch-up

I don’t seem to be able to get all caught up these days.  I seem to be dashing from one deadline to the next, barely catching each one (if at all!), and forgetting a hundred other things along the way.  Like blogging.  (ooops!  Sorry, guys!).

I’ve just realised that I’ve been travelling and/or working for three out of the last three weekends, so it’s hardly surprising that I’m a bit discombobulated.  The weekend before last, I travelled up to visit my parents, not coincidentally at the same weekend as Lealholm Show.  Now, my great uncle used to own a farm on Lealholmside (he retired many years ago, and now lives in the village of Lealholm itself) – so this place is part of home for me.  It is a small, fairly remote North Yorkshire village, and I grew up entering the village show.  The show is small, too: no livestock, but there are a fair few garden and crop prizes, jam, cakes, handicrafts, sports and a whole array of children’s classes to enter.  In my youth, I won prizes for many things from handwriting to cake decorating; high jump to winemaking.  (I never said it was a particularly well-spent youth, after all!).

Over the years, the array of classes has drifted slightly: evolved, but not violently.  There are now photography classes, including one for a ‘computer enhanced photograph’.  Flower arranging has provided a whole new set of classes.  Baking has always been popular, and so have some of the vegetable classes (the three heaviest potatoes, well washed, is always popular).  It was lovely to see, this year, a lot more entries in the egg, jam and wine classes (along with a new class for fruit spirits!) – these seemed to go out of fashion for a while (afterall, homemade jam was for everyday; shop-bought came out for best!), but I think the trends are swinging more back in that direction now.

Another new class was ‘any other craft item’ – this year, won by some spectacular stained glass work.  I’m really, really pleased to see it there, because I’d love to spread the word about spinning and weaving as modern crafts (knitting is, of course, already well-represented).  Next time I visit the show (I don’t make it there every year), I’d love to have a hand woven item to enter.

I suffered a major bout of camnesia during the event itself.  I photographed nothing except a few entrants in the vegetable animals class:

Vegetable animals were a speciality for both my brothers.  I remember with fondness a porcupine made from an ornamental gourd and loads and loads of long pine needles.  This sheep (made from a patty-pan squash of gigantic size) shows that curcubits still have plenty of potential for the creative child:

I also thought the banana-octopus was admirable in its simplicity – even if it didn’t win a prize.

In absentia

Good grief; I can’t believe it’s really been two weeks since I posted!  Yet again, I can assure you it’s not that I’ve got nothing to write about: quite the opposite!

Knit Nation was, as expected, beyond awesome, and a great weekend all round. It was also, however, really tiring, and once I got home, it seemed I had hardly any time to get turned round before I had to head out the door to Fibre East!  I stayed from Thursday evening until late Sunday afternoon, took two all-day classes and did my fair share of socialising and shopping, too.  I can’t possibly do Knit Nation any sort of justice in a fly-by, catchup style post, though, so I’ll have to do my best to write proper posts later…

Now, Fibre East was something I really, really had meant to post about in advance.  I mean, I’m supposed to be selling stuff, right? How is anyone going to know where to find my awesome yarns and patterns if I don’t get better at this ‘marketing’ malarkey?  Sigh.  For some reason, pimping my own wares and whatnots just doesn’t come easily to me; clearly I was brought up too well.

In any case, Fibre East was a wonderful and hectic weekend. I was working on the Twist Yarns stall.  Sophie is an absolutely lovely lady, and so much fun!  As an added bonus, she stocks my yarns!  Unfortunately, due to a camera malfunction, they’re not on her website right now, so you have to be at one of her in-person events to find them… Despite taking a camera and my mobile phone, I ended up with not one single photograph of the event. That, my friends, is how crazy-busy the whole thing was.

And how about my own projects, you might ask?  Well, since I last posted, I’ve:

  • Spun up three skeins (and a whole pile more singles) of the alpaca blend from my Tour de Fleece project;
  • Finished another Widdershins scarf, this time in Dance – it just needs blocking now;
  • Finished – finally! – my Nightingale stole. Apart from the blocking, that is!
  • …and started another sock, in Footsie-HT!

It looks to me like the craziness of the last couple of months is on the wane now – all the big events are over, for the time being, and I have just a couple of smaller ones lined up.  I managed to spend all day yesterday at the dye pots, and it was wonderful.  I’m really looking forwards to getting back into a comfortable, productive daily routine again.  All the gallivanting around I’ve been doing has been fun – but a little unsettling.

Factor 40 in North Yorkshire?

Apologies: I’ve been away from the blog for a week.  But as always, I have an excuse.  All four of us (me, J and the houndies) went to visit my folks in North Yorkshire for the Easter long weekend – and we had such a wonderful time!  And yes: the weather was so amazing, all weekend long, that we *needed* the factor 40.

Kita and J ran the Albert Park Parkrun on Saturday.  It was an Orange Day – wear orange and get goodies from Lucozade!  The cunning organisers were handing out orange ‘Tees Pride’ t-shirts, so there was a real sea of orange at the starting line:

As ever, Kita could *not* wait to get going:

It was a hot day, even at 9 in the morning, and she was definitely lagging a bit by the time they crossed the finish line.  A bit of a lie-down in the shady, cool bit of the garden was very welcome.

Afterwards, we headed off to Whitby, where Woody met seaweed for the first time, and decided that large expanses of sand were fun to run on.  (Both he and J fell asleep in the car on the way home):

And the next day…  The next day we went UP onto the moors!  I am not sure there are words for the beauty of the moorland scenery.  People tend to call it ‘stark’, or even ‘bleak’, but to me, it is incredibly rich, detailed and vibrant.

That’s J, up on the horizon to the left.  This ‘running’ malarky definitely has a real impact on general health and fitness.

Dad, in the blue, and Stu (one of my brothers), just beyond him.

The bright green area in the middle distance is bilberry (wild blueberry) vines.  On the horizon, way over to the left, you can see Roseberry Topping – which is officially a mountain (and the site of much childhood torture.  I hated ‘climbing Roseberry’ when I was a child!).

The route we took eventually climbs the end of the outcrop we are walking along here, and doubles back along the top of the ridge.  The views are breathtaking – a suitable reward for the climb!  Poor Woody is much more used to the flatlands, though, and had to be helped up some of the steeper bits.  In fact, both houndies adhere to a rigorous 18-hour-per-day nap schedule when they’re at home, so they were totally worn out by all this awake-time.  Can you spot Woody, in amongst my childhood soft toys?

How about now?

(In fact, the dogs slept throughout the four-hour journey home.  Once we arrived back, after the obligatory pee/sniff in the garden, Woody went straight upstairs and insisted we let him into the bedroom.  He slept there until dinnertime, and went straight back afterwards.  We had to wake him up for the before-bed trip into the garden).

As the year turns…

Solstice
 

The shortest day is past, and we are climbing out of the dark and back towards spring.  There is a Christmas tree in my house for the first time *ever* (I have always travelled back to spend Christmas with my family), and as ever, I have more ideas than time, more inspiration than action, and the blog has been languishing.

It's been a really weird year, for me.  This time last year, I was out of work, voluntarily, and hoping that a company I'd been doing some freelance work for would be able to employ me full time in the new year; never happened.  A relationship breakup in January was followed by months of attempting to buy the house off the 'ex' (mostly thwarted by incompetent estate agents and mortgage lenders), which were punctuated by a career shift into a new full time job for me, and followed, slightly embarrassingly, by me getting back together with J, who is now, I guess, an ex-ex.  No, I've not blogged that before.  It's somewhat hard to get around to.  "Hey, you know all that angst and stress and heartache and headache?  Well, it was kind of a mistake.  Pretend it never happened, eh?"

Long story short, the incompetent estate agents gave us so long to get used to living as housemates, that we realised that we were on to a pretty good thing, all told.  And maybe that little bit of head-space had been exactly what we needed.  This year, we are spending Christmas together, and I'll be visiting family for New Year.  Life is good.

The tree looks good, too:

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It's a fake, and I hope should last us a while.  My parents have never had a 'real' tree, and when we were tree shopping last Saturday, I found the rows of dying trees, smelling like lumber, really upsetting.  Decent fake trees aren't cheap, but on the other hand, if we use the same one for four years, we will be quids in on buying real ones.  And that's before we got it at half price because everyone else bought their decorations weeks ago!  Woohoo!!

Knitting-wise, this has been an astoundingly unproductive year for me.  I started the year with a bang, knocking out Tudora in under a week, then finished off a pair of big green socks (which I love), and moved pretty swiftly on to the first sweater of the year, the pink/purple raglan, aka Strawberry Fair.  This has had pretty little blog time, and some wear, though it still doesn't have a zipper.  Finding zippers for my sweaters is a real downfall of mine.  I'm not realllly sure this one should be called 'finished', to be honest.  Neither should my little green bolero, which was only blogged as part of my 'finish, frog or fix' project in August (which never got any further than that post, incidentally).

I think the next project was the Spring Fling cardi, which worked well and has had a fair bit of wear. There may have been a detour into the realm of the ugly duckling scarf around here, too.  Then…  Untithey!  Love this one, love it.  No finished photos of it yet, though.  And, umm, technically it could use a tad bit more finishing, anyway.  Like an extra hook and eye or something.  Add that to the to-do list, then, before it gets all worn and old looking.  A mystery crochet project was completed somewhere in here, too.  And of course, I did finish my Rampton scarf for the beginning of December, though I didn't blog that, either.  After that, it's WIPs all the way, baby!

Still languishing in the time-out pile we have the gathered pullover, which has badly behaved sleeves.  Later.  On the needles, Alhambra and Lizard Ridge, which is my new 'at work' project, thus removing the necessity of lugging my knitting bag to and from work, and proving I don't really have startitis (see, H??)

I have spun more this year than last, though still not nearly enough, and have only woven one thing – my handspun sampler, which still hasn't been wet finished.  Arrrgh!  I have sewn a new outfit for the SCA, and improved/mended/finished a fancy dres outfit for Hallowe'en, though I don't think I've sewn anything else at all.

There has, actually, been a lot of dyeing, but that has been Top Secret.  Watch this space.

Hereby concludes this retrospective of 2008.  There's a ToDo list to be distilled from this lot later, and hopefully, I'll manage to create a 'looking forward' post for 2009 – before the end of February!

Nuthin’ to see here…

So, long time no post.  There has been knitting; I have a back and two sleeves done on my January cardi.  I haven’t taken any photos yet, though.

There has been spinning; I went to meet up with the Rampton Spinners ten days ago, and they were lovely.  I’ve been spinning since, too.

There has been no weaving, and no dyeing.

There has been destash-by-giveaway.

I’ve been seriously pre-occupied and distracted this last week; also very tired.  Now I’ve made one post, I intend to keep following on with more – with pictures.  Honest.

That tang in the air…

When I woke up on Monday morning, I automatically reached for my socks.

Yesterday morning, the air was definitely brisk as I took the hound round the village on her morning constitutional.

Right now, it feels like autumn has arrived.  We may yet get a few laggard summer days, straggling in late to the party, but we have definitely had the first taste of the changing seasons already.

   Blue morning skies and golden leaves.
   Seeing your breath in the air over your first cup of coffee.
   Wrapping up warm and feeling the chill on your fingers as you step outside.
   The anticipation of the first light frost on the lawn.
   Warming stews, and even more warming ale.

I feel it’s time to put away the as-yet unstarted summer projects, and break out the wool.

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Way behind!

I am so far behind on my blogging it’s just unbelievable.  I need to:

  • update my template
  • start FO galleries (properly!)
  • sort out my sidebars
  • get my blogroll up and running here at Typepad
  • set up my ring and group links

There are also numerous projects/current activities that haven’t been blogged.  These include:

  • a pair of Lorna’s Laces footsies (these are actually an FO!)
  • a brand new cardigan project
  • a brand new pair of socks – the first one is heading for complete
  • a wool prep/spinning workshop on Bowmont wool – this is running for a whole month and I’ve just ordered some of the equipment I’ll need from my fave spinning and weaving suppliers

So, see, I’m way behind!  But in truth, I’m also behind on the Bowmont workshop, so I need to go and make more progress on that now, so I can blog about it later.

The week in summary (so far)

  • one bad meeting with the boss
  • once dance class
  • two cuff edgings, 0.1 body edging on ‘Lily’
  • two doctor’s appointments
  • one gym trip
  • one bloodletting (by a doctor, not accidental)
  • possible glandular fever
  • one announcement of an upcoming office move
  • four days in work

What, only four??  Damn, it’s still only Thursday.  Will attempt to elaborate more anon.

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