Friday, June 19, 2009

A Grand Day Out

Yesterday we had one of our increasingly infrequent days out. We went to Gloucestershire for reasons I will tell you about later in the post but it was a day of ups and downs.

We started off in Cirencester where we turned the corner from the carpark and Pete said "There's a wool shop over there." Never one to miss a wool shop I headed straight over. First thing I saw was this sign in the window -

Now if there's one thing I like better than a wool shop - it's a wool shop with a sale on.

Then we saw this -

Aaaagh! A wool shop with a sale on - that's closed for the day! The fates are conspiring against me. How am I ever going to get inspired and recover my knitting mojo.

The charity shop gods were not on our side yesterday either and pickings were slim in Cirencester and later in Gloucester. We enjoyed mooching round though and had a cup of coffee or two.

The main purpose of our visit to Gloucestershire was to go to an auction. Those of you who have been long-time readers of the blog may know that we used, in a previous existence, to be second-hand bookdealers. In those days it was not uncommon for us to go to three or four auctions in a week. Now that we're not dealers any more we hardly ever go to an auction. Yesterday though the auction was so special that we really just wanted to go and look at the stuff that was being sold. We thought we might buy a couple of bits if the prices were right - it was Pete's birthday this week and he collects British comics and comic art. Dominic Winter are primarily a book auctioneers but a good proportion of yesterdays sale was British comics, artwork and related books. It was the sale of someone's collection - his life's work by the look of it, and what an amazing collection it was. There were thousands of beautiful comics, and many many lovely books and a couple of lots that we really wanted to buy (including one that included a couple of boxes of Textile History journals that I had my eye on). Sadly we came away with nothing. It seems that the secondhand book and comic market is not suffering from much of a recession. The prices that some of the lots sold for were astronomical. We were astounded. We came away a little sad that we hadn't managed to buy what we wanted, but also relieved that we were no longer competing against all that to try and make a living.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bear with me

I'm still finding myself curiously out of sorts with the world. I just cannot settle to anything, be it a book, a bit of knitting, sewing, spinning. You name it I've been picking it up and putting it down again recently. I am bored with my current knitting projects but cannot summon the inspiration for something new. I have started several books and not got any further than a few pages with any of them. I have a lovely quilt-top finished and waiting to be quilted but I cannot decide on a pattern to use. I am feeling flat and listless, which is most unlike me.

I have nothing of interest to report from the allotment either, bar that weeds are growing faster than anything I planted.

Please bear with me. I'm hoping this will pass soon and that normal service will resume shortly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Knitters in the Rain

I haven't told you yet about the Ravelry Day last week.

I went with Maggi (Ravelry link) and her Mum and we had a great time despite the rain.

And it really did pour down - all day which was a shame and it did detract from the day a little. It would have been a much nicer day if we'd all been able to sit outside the hall on the lovely wide stone benches and knit and chatter. However the good old British summer let us down as usual so we had to make the best of it - as only knitters can.

It was so cold and wet even the alpacas were shivering.

There were lots of great stalls with some great indy dyers and yarn producers, and although a few had been put off by the weather there was still plenty to choose from. I was quite restrained and just bought a couple of bits -

So, here we have a carded batt of unknown composition (my fault not theirs) from Fyberspates at the top. It's mostly pale turquoise with strands of blue, yellow, green and purple with sparkly stuff through it. Only about 40g so it won't go very far but it looks lovely and I'm sure it will be fantastic to spin. Also from Fyberspates is the skein of laceweight superwash merino & nylon called Faery Lace in colourway Java. I'm planning a shawl with this. The fibre is an alpaca/silk blend in colourway Stormclouds from Krafty Koala. Very soft and beautiful. I'm hoping this will help me find my knitting mojo which has still not returned. I'm blaming the stressful last few weeks and the fact that I've been ultra busy but I just can't seem to concentrate on anything at the moment. I'm even struggling to find a book that I really want to read. I've picked up several and put them down again because they're not quite what I wanted. I suspect I'll be the same with knitting at the moment - lots of casting on and lots of frogging again when I don't like what I've knitted. I'm sure it will all come back to me eventually.

Anyway, apart from the stalls there was lots of stuff at the Ravelry Day - workshops, demonstrations, spinning, knitting. We met up with some of the knitters from the Birmingham Stitch n Bitch group which I haven't been to for absolutely ages. It was great to see them all again. I was wearing my Astrid shawl and it was very much admired. One lovely lady even went as far as to say it looked better than the one in the photo in the pattern book. As you can imagine I was well chuffed.

One of the odd things about the blogosphere is the way you read other blogs and you feel you know the person behind it and you forget that they don't know you from Adam. I may have surprised Jo from Celtic Memory Yarns a little by leaping out of the crowd at her saying how nice it was to see her, totally forgetting that she doesn't actually know me. I read her blog but I'm not a big comment-leaver so of course she doesn't know me. It was still nice to meet you Jo. Loved the Noro waistcoat.

I'm at home today having a well-earned day off and grumbling about the weather - it's sunny outside which is not at all what was forecast. Today's forecast was for rain all day so Pete has gone off to work with all the gardening tools in the back of his car and there's no point me going up to the allotment with no tools - it's very frustrating. The sooner we can get a shed up there the better.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Allotment Photos

It rained all weekend here so we didn't get to the allotment at all but I've been up today to check everything was Ok and I've taken some photos.

The potatoes are growing well - they'll need earthing up again this week. These were the very first thing we planted so I'm pleased they are doing fine. We have another bed of potatoes just starting to come through as well.

The Little Gem lettuces, radishes and beetroot are all coming up in their rows. Soon be time to sow a few more of these.

The sweetcorn is doing well - I still think they should be further apart but I was overruled.

The courgettes seem a bit on the spindly side but a couple of them have lots of flowers so that's OK. In the cage behind the courgettes the salad leaves, rocket and lollo rosso are getting better after a ropey start.

The broad beans (to the left of the courgettes) are a mixed bunch - some look good but a couple are very sad and one's been very eaten by something. I have more broad beans and several different varieties of other beans to plant out this week. I'm hoping the weather will be dryish for the next couple of days (not a big chance of that) so that I can get some planting done.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Has anyone seen my mojo???

I've been really, really busy over the last few weeks and there have been all kinds of other stuff going on and it seems to have resulted in the loss of my knitting mojo. I completed the intarsia project I mentioned - it was a baby jumper with fish all over it. I was so out of it last week that I forgot to take a photo of it before I parcelled it up and gave it as a gift. Anyway it looked like this - Sorry for the really bad picture, taken in the pub. I don't blog about work as a rule but it's been a stressful time lately and we were in the pub together to mark the end of an era. Our lovely manager was going on maternity leave and we have lost four member of our fantastic team through redundancy. It's been a tough few weeks and I'm glad it's over - happy that I still have a job, but sad that everything is changing.

I've not had a lot of reading time as you can imagine but I finished the Charlaine Harris and enjoyed it. I'm not sure it has converted me to the evil ways of Paranormal Romance but as a one-off it made a pleasant change.

I've given up on The Sweet Smell of Decay - it just wasn't doing anything for me at all.

I then read The Property of Blood by Magdalen Nabb. When the Evilpixie was small she was a big fan of Magdalen Nabb's children's books, about a girl called Josie Smith and I think I've read all of those (over and over again as you do when your kids love a book), but this was the first of her crime novels that I'd picked up. I liked the character of the main policeman, Marshall Guarnaccia, but I thought the plotting was a little weak.

Allotment news will appear later in the week - if I actually manage to get some photos taken.