Friday, 19 March 2010

Hadrian's Wall's Birthday and a Visit from the Dutch

It's so long since I last blogged that I am not even going to try and catch up. Apart from to brag about my perfect 100% score test I took the other day when I went to sign up for my course. No big deal though since it was a basic litercy/numeracy test. I don't know which is worse: the fact the test was so patronisingly simple or the fact I am apparently the only person to score anywhere even near top marks. It wasn't just easy for me, it was primary school easy. Shocking really, and just goes to prove my theory that school is holding kids back. But I will refrain from writing a pro-natural, autonomous learning essay here. (It's all in my book anyway!!)

At the weekend there was a celebration of the fact Hadrian's Wallis now 1600 year old. The wall was lit along its entire length from Segedunum in the East to Of course, living practically on top of the wall itself, and being extremely proud of the Northumbrian fraction of my genes and of living here in the most beautiful part of England, I was really excited at the thought of the wall lit along its length, as if would have been every night hundreds of years ago. To try to get more of an idea what it would have been like back in the days before the National Grid and light pollution, there were calls for households and local businesses along the route of the Wall to power down from dusk, so there would be total darkness lit only by the large flares burning every 150 metres or so along the Wall. This blog, of an amateur photographer,has some great photos, taken I think from Once Brewed. The official Iluminating Hadrian's Wall blog has some too. This video on the Guardian website is pretty good, if a bit too short :-(

Below is a photo of my adorable niece, when my brother and schoonzus were here with her - on a short trip over from Leiden - a couple of weeks ago. It astounded me that at 5 she is so computer-literate - I got her on the Dora site and it very soon became clear she had visted the site many times before!! Here she is playing a very conservation-concious game starring Diego.

Mik, El and Saartje were here a couple of weeks ago and I gave Saar her little handspun hat. She did look cute!! She was so happy to see Thom-Cat again, and he was unbelievably well-behaved and as we expected, he went straight into "Devoted Animal" mode, instead of his usual default mode (manipulative, destructive, devious pest!) However, in the photo belowyou can see the look on his face says "See how much attention I'm getting!!"

I recently attended a West End Transition Towns group (and I think the best thing to do here is just have a link to explain it all.) It's like Tyneside roots, all mature and grown up, and indeed a few of the people involved are ex-Tynesdie rootsers. It's all based around Peak Oil and Greening our cities and alternative, renewable sources of energy and so forth. Common sense. They're planning to have a knitting group which will have demos and workshops and so on, maybe coinciding with Time Exchange events. I have been trying to think of something I can do to earn T.E. credits and thought of giving demos in spinning, dyeing and also viola and violin lessons, making small woolen items to sell, such as baby bootees and soakers. I want to earn enough to have my garden completely dug and a couple of raised beds put in; and my hallway floors sanded!

I have also been spinning, spinning, spinning....

I spun the lovely Strawberry Fields Forever merino/bamboo, and am knitting two small things with it: a little bag for Saartje, which I will probably fill with little chocolates and some stickers etc. as a Spring presie; and a small pouch for myself which I will probably make into a Fanny Pack - there! I said it!! Rob was asking me what it was going to be and when I told him, he said "I've heard everything now!!" "What do you mean?" I replied."A KNITTED sanitary towel?" So, yes, he thought I said "pad" rather than "pack".

I also spun the gorgeous A Fine Romance in merino/baby alpaca/silk:

Mm-mmmmmmmm!" It is knitting up into a yummy pair of Toast wristwarmers, which I shall wear with my new tops. I got these lovely v-necked, thin rib, three-quarter sleeved tops in a slub cotton jersey from Next. Perfect for dressing up or down.

It was Mother's Day on Sunday; I got chocolate and - from Josh - the fantastic "Mum" gift box from Lush. I must admit, I had coveted it, even more than I covet the Blue Moon Sock Club. In this lovely box were two types of soap: Miranda and Porridge; Sakura bath ballistic, Happy Blooming bath melt and Dorothy bubble bar; Yummy Yummy Yummy shower gel; Vanilla Dee-lite hand and body lotion!!! The box itself will be perfect for keeping my special yarns, as I am now hopelesly addicted to gorgeous sock yarns!

I bought some Silkie Socks that Rock in The Incredible Shrinking Violet:

Dream in Colour Knitosophy in Strength, and Posh Yarns' Esme in Plaid.(Photos soon)
I have also recently bought more gorgeous fibre from the talented Jo at Lime Green Jelly!! I don't know why I would ever want to buy it from anywhere else!! This was last week's choice:
Sweet Dreams (yes, yes I know: AGAIN! I had to!!) in Merino with 30% silk:

A Song for the Lovers in Merino/Cashmere/Silk:
And last night I grabbed two from the latest update (which appears to have sold out immediately, and the shop is now emptier than I have ever seen it!) I made the choices from the Flickr preview beforehand then as soon as the update was live in the Etsy shop my fingers were flying!!! The one at the very top of this post is One Life Stand, in merino with 30% Tencel, and this one, which I know several people coveted due to the blend of luxury fibres, is Language of Love in merino/camel/silk:

I've also been browsing the Loopy Ewe, and plan on buying some stuff from there as soon as I get some more spare cash. Hopefully I will have a better income in the next couple of months! I am going to start applying for full time jobs, which shouldn't be too difficult. My reward will be the Ashford Traveler spinning wheel I have coveted for the past month or so, or similar wheel which hopefully people at the Centurion group can advise me on. I've been thinking I would really like to start spinning more often, and also start dyeing my own fibre. It would be nice to make some sort of living out of it. I think the difference between some of the hand dyed fibre you see and the likes of Jo's and similar is that Jo's looks like it has been dyed and then over painted with accents here and there. It makes all the difference. you do need an eye for colour, which I have. I got a half pound of merino to experiment with and I intend to give some of the results away for people's reactions. is almost 1a.m and the Internat students next door are making a racket, so i am going to knock on their door and ask them to keep it down and then I'm off to bed.