Over this weekend I have had to offer two sorts of sock yarn. (I think people must be starting to knit socks for Christmas, though it could be for summer shawls instead!) My first instinct is always to grab the dye pots and have some fun experimenting – but I peeped into my stocks and decided to get realistic. I fished out the first 20 skeins (probably about a third of the sock yarn ready to go) and spread it around.
The first choice was not too tricky – ‘luxury, soft and feminine’. So I went for some silk and alpaca in more pastel colours, and will probably end up with this top one, which is more subtle than it looks, especially when knitted up. It was a very successful batch, though I say it myself.
But choice number two is harder. It is for ‘something different’. Hmm. I assume that EVERYONE who orders Indie hand dyed yarn is looking for ‘something different’ – otherwise there are dozens of perfectly good commercial yarns out there….
Does it mean in-your-face, saturated colours, like these?
Or just unusual combinations – maybe these?
I’m really not sure. Any ideas?
The tree that never grew
The bell that never rang
The fish that never swam….
The four miracles of Saint Mungo, represented on Glasgow city’s coat of arms and commemorated in stained glass in the Cathedral.
The outside of the cathedral did not look too promising – but what a feast inside. A magnificent medieval building, on the site of Saint Mungo’s shrine. His tomb is in the crypt, which is mid 13th century and just as atmospheric as the one in Canterbury – a really special place.
As you may have guessed, I seem to be having trouble leaving Scotland behind. That trip was over a month ago now – but it still surfaces in my thoughts every day. In a very good way.
The spinning bit! My favourite. Carding can be tedious, fighting the drum carder to make the art batts is usually interesting, dyeing the silk threads is always exciting – but nothing beats the actual spinning process on the wheel. Once you have decided on the effect you want, and how you are going to get there, you can sink into a sort of rhythmic trance, watching the magic spool out from under your fingers…
Then you have to decide whether to use it, stash it (!) – or toss it into the Etsy shop and hope for the best!
This is a bit of a test. I had decided to skip any post with June flowers in it because the serious photographer/gardeners are out there doing their stuff with spectacular results – stunning rose shots in particular – and I thought people might have had enough. But then I stumbled across this:
and wondered if my little wild shots might count? The light was not great – bit of a mist – but I was impressed by the acid rhododendrons growing crazily all over the place, often on a background of equally violent yellow! Not colours I often put together in my spinning, but you never know… I do like that rather menacing gorse in the bottom picture. There were also a few orchids – and bluebells still flowering in June (pretty much finished here on the south coast by the end of April). I have been back several days now, but am still haunted by that trip to Skye – a great experience and fabulous views, but still somewhat intimidating. Maybe that’s how one SHOULD respond to Highland and Island scenery though!
To return to Normandy Life – do check out today’s Mosaic. It is on the theme of the Austrian Empress Elizabeth, known as Sissi. I found it particularly interesting as we seemed to follow this tragic woman all over Vienna a few months ago – there was a detailed exhibition in the Hofburg while we were there.
I have been trying to reduce the size of that link (!) but have decided to leave it in, as it turns out to be another mosaic anyway!
(TREES, four floors up?!)
Via Lomond and Glenfinnan….
To Mallaig, via Morar…
And then to Skye!
Fabulous trip, even though it did involve two planes, five trains, two ferries and a taxi! The West Highland line from Glasgow to Fort William, then on to the West coast at Mallaig is an unforgettable experience.
But still got ten tickets left for Brighton Festival events this weekend – 8 for a family outing to BOAT for lunchtime picnic/outdoor Shakespeare – the Tempest this year – and a couple for Medea, Written in Rage. Not at all sure what to expect for this one, but it is apparently ‘different’ and much hyped!
I may already have mentioned how much I appreciate living in Brighton…?! I came to the University of Sussex from small town Berkshire a zillion years ago and, despite the definite problems in the City (housing, drug-related, traffic and parking…) it is such an open minded, creative, quirky, vibrant and simply beautiful place that we have never left. I am lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time in rural France now, but cutting ties with my City by the Sea is just not going to happen.
Maybe I’ve just spent too long contemplating my yarns. But as anyone with a serious Stash Beyond Life Expectancy will understand, I can be overcome by the idea that THIS is what I will leave behind – my ‘final blazon’.
So I’ll move on quickly – and the yarns had better be good!
I have finally finished three new batts and have just begun spinning them up. They were inspired by a recent visit to the Picasso 1932 exhibition currently at Tate Modern – but not by the actual Picassos, which I found only mildly interesting. For me, the smaller colour collections did the trick – Matisse, Gerhard Richter and Bridget Riley. The red and black batt (top left) is loosely based on the Mark Rothko Seagram murals – huge, and splendidly displayed in dim light. I eventually produced three versions of this one and with any luck they will all mix and match. When I’ve finished the spinning I will have to decide whether to make the yarn up myself, or put the skeins (‘slow suspended’ or not ) into my Etsy shop. Or I could just add them to my memorial….
With apologies to Philip Larkin.