First things first – THANKS!!!

I've been a lousy blogger and exchangee recently – more on the reasons for this and general navel-staring another time, but first I need to make a big, public THANKYOU post for the two wonderful gift – partners out there who have been sending me such wonderful packages.

Firstly, my Rowanette exchange partner sent me the cutest pair of felted baskets I have ever seen, and a hot water bottle cover from one of the earlier Rowan magazines (I have a copy of it myself, and could go and look up the number – but I'm too lazy.):

Perfect for my spindle and my lucetting supplies, see?
…maybe it's appropriate that I blog this just as the weather seems to be turning…

Then, to my shame, I have TWO Secret Pal parcels to report on! The first has provided many hours of inspiration. See here:

Straight from my Amazon wishlist; I love being pampered!

I adore this book; I have spent so much time trying to work out a dyer's palette that I can grow in my own garden! I have the front garden earmarked for this; it desperately needs a 'plan', and I'm trying to build one. I would love to be able to dye my own spinnings, using natural dyes, native (where possible) to the UK! In my ideal dreamworld, they will also be dye-plants documented for use in the middle ages, but let's not get too excited here. At any rate, I'm unlikely to be using stale human urine as a mordant, or any of the other rather icky or downright toxic practices of the time.

I haven't started using the cute notebook and pencils yet, but I shall. Possibly to document the front-garden-dye-plants plan, once it emerges from my head….

And, finally, we have my Secret Pal Reveal Parcel. Now, I warn you, prepare yourselves before viewing the following photographs. I can assure you that I was very glad to be sitting down when I opened this package; I was blown away!

First, an overview of most of the package's contents. Snacks galore (little biscuits to have with my coffee; and, ooooh, chocolate!), a postcard-letter, bamboo sock needles, and some really cute beaded stitch markers:

Goodies!

A close up for you – the stitch markers hanging from a couple of the needles. These have been a bear to photograph; they are a really rich berry-red, not the slightly murky brownish red they appear here. The needles feel wonderful; all my sock knitting thus far has been on metal dpns, and these feel so warm and light in the hands! I do worry slightly that I will break them, though…

dpns and stitch markers – how cute!

and – please make sure you are sitting down to read this – the whole was topped, surpassed and overshadowed by *the* most beautiful knitted shawl I have ever held in my own two hands! Knit for me! By my secret pal!!

Mine!!

It is the Yarn Harlot's snowdrop shawl; (I don't have to link that, right??), and I just can't stop staring at all the perfect little flowers:

Just beautiful.

Thankyou, again, to both my Rowanette gifter, and my Secret Pal – who is, of course, no longer secret! In case any of you are so jealous of my wonderful gifts that you want to make offerings to whichever powers you believe in, in the hopes that she will be your secret pal in another round, I can now reveal that I have been spoiled beyond my wildest dreams by Susan, from knit two, purl two – she will now be on my regular blogroll reading, and reading her blog will doubtless help me brush up my very rusty German… Go visit -you don't need to read German to admire her spinning, nor her beautiful socks and shawls!!

Grafham Water

Back from Canada and out for a morning's walk with Kita and J…

Grafham Water is a really beautiful reservoir and nature reserve about 40 minutes drive from home. It is a site of special scientific interest, and comprises a fair amount of land as well as the water; there is open grassland and wooded areas, and paths throughout. Dogs have to be kept on leads at all times (although we saw lots of dogs off leads), and aren't supposed to go near or into the water (ditto).

There is a lot to do at Grafham, if you happen to get bored just walking around the place; there is sailing, waterskiing, power boating, wind surfing… There is also a lot of cycling; there is even a cycle hire/shop there. We'll definitely be back; there is a lot more to see than we managed today.

Kita appreciates the sunshine and all the new smells:

Twenty-one hours in skies

05:30, British Summer Time, Cambridge, England

10:30 BST, London Gatwick Airport, overlooking the runways


19:30 BST/12:30 Eastern Standard Time, overlooking Lake Ontario


22:30 BST/17:30 EST, out the window of my room in Waterloo, Ontario 02:30

BST/21:30 EST, overlooking Wilfred Laurier University's newest building site, Ontario

…a very long day. But with some very fine skies.

Mad, bad or awful?

It's been brought to my attention by a very dear friend that I have not been blogging much (or at all) recently, and she wanted to know if things were 'mad, bad or awful', which I think is a very fine phrase.

And it's true. I've been exceedingly lax. I now have so much stuff to blog about that it's almost overwhelming and I don't know where to start, which is only making it worse. How about a quick summary?

  • I have very belated public thanks to give to both my Rowanette exchange pal and my Secret Pal (bad. Not the thanks, or the gifts. Just the belatedness.)
  • I've decided that I don't like Minnie, which was finished for WoolFest. I'm contemplating surgery (mad, or possibly awful).
  • I've finished spinning the second lot of my Day's End roving (good)
  • …and started on some superwash merino which is very different on the hands… (mad)
  • I've ordered a new spinning wheel! (great!)
  • I'm going to Canada in a few days (mad)
  • I'm still not back at work, at all. I went in for a very brief visit last week, and some people hadn't even noticed I'd gone. (hmmm…)
  • I've knit a swatch for my Ginko Leaf Tunic, and it's too small. (bad)
  • I fell over spectacularly earlier this week, and did a real number on my right knee. In a few weeks, it will match my left. (awful)
  • J and I have bought a new car; he's traded in his Civic and we now have an estate that we could camp out in (mad!)
  • The new Rowan magazine is out! (a little of all three…)

Regular blogging will, I hope, recommence soon.

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