April (Fool?)-ing

Is there a bright side to Lockdown (‘confinement’ in France!) ? Could be just having more time for all of this:

Spinn-ing: some art yarns from my batts – natural dyed stuff from France (goodness knows when we’ll get back there) – mostly lichens and mosses – and madder, of course.

Gloat-ing  (again!) over my indigo stash. I can’t set the indigo bath up very often, so my projects have to be chosen with care. Further sneak peek:

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Knitt-ing: This w(ork) i(n) p(rogress) is for me. Mostly alpaca! It will be some form of log cabin blanket – just to prove I can do neutrals…

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Classic BSJ (Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket) for new grandson:

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Winter stock (and lots of it) for my Etsy shop:

 

And – of course – Egg, tomato, lettuce, and Swiss cheese sandwich (!) for 4 year old granddaughter:

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Crochet-ing: Apparently you need sun shades for this one – a baby blanket:

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And another wip all for me, and in my colours – a Spice of Life blanket from Sandra Paul of  CherryHeart .   Really enjoying this one – AND – a first –  threading in the ends as I go (well, more or less).

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Bak-ing: Is there anyone in Blogland who hasn’t made Lucy’s oat pancakes yet? Well worth a go – thank you, Attic24! I also managed a batch of her oat cookies, which seemed to vanish overnight. Just added loads of seeds, so they look a bit different – but basically Lucy‘s recipe again!

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Finish-ing Rachel Cusk’s trilogy. I’m very impressed with her writing and the issues stay with me, though I have trouble recalling the detail…maybe go back and start again, it’s worth it. AND I’ve got time….!

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All about the trees?

 

 

 

 

Mine, with a few others from Standen – plus my bowl of quinces. All over now, except the quinces which have morphed into jelly.

Bit late, but it seemed churlish to ignore it altogether! I do feel nostalgic for the festive greenery, despite still finding trails of ivy under the sofas. On the whole, though, I’m glad to be emerging from what is always an unreal few weeks.

But January? The blogs I read (and do really enjoy) are urging me to ‘welcome winter’ and ‘go with the seasons” etc etc.  All very good advice – what is the alternative after all? So I am happy to reflect on winter walks, icy bracken, subdued colours of nature, roaring fires, hearty food, cosy reading (in fact, everything ‘cosy’) – but this is definitely an idealised view.  The reality out there, from this urban window, is mild, damp, grey and full of scuttling, rather miserable-looking people. Luckily, I can move to another window which will give me twinkling lights and sea views!

Maybe the best thing about January for me is the holiday I take from my Etsy work. Apart from some custom dyeing I don’t usually do much for the shop. Just a little fancy spinning for myself, and stuff for friends and family. I’m currently crocheting a blanket for daughter number 4 (I’m pretty sure she never reads this!) and a few other projects mixed up below!

 

 

From batt to skein: brief but fun part of a textile journey.

 

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!

 

What will survive of us is…..colour.

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.