Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Would You Believe It???

Yes I have bought a caravan. In England this is called a static caravan. They are available on sites where everyone owns one and they are all plumbed and serviced.
It is situated between a stream and the River Wear (Picture left)areally empty bit of the "North Pennines Area of Natural Beauty"
This picture shows the bridge over the river Wear which is the start of the footpath into the village of Westgate. This is about a hundred steps from the van.

It's a 12x35 ft van with a double with en-suite and a twin bedroom with bathroom, followed by a pretty good kitchen, dining space and a very good lounge area which can be more sleeping area if needed.

It doesn't look great at the moment but I shall create some decking and a ramp for easy access. The stream at the back has been "landscaped" by other van owners. I shall see how it all goes but I hope to be in before the end of August.

The inside is quite spacious because it is 12ft wide, not 10ft and there are only two bedrooms so that the daily usable space is much larger. It even has a gas fire and is double glazed.

At the end of the run of vans there is a lovely grassy bank which gives you access to sit inside the rock shelter and fish!!!

Another disaster involving GAS occurred today. It is a bit nerve racking to be told that there is a possibility of another explosion, people were evacuated and the driver of the gas tanker died.
It is understandable to find that people are a bit jittery and questionning the traffic of such things through the narrow confines of the Wolsingham streets.
I hope people can return home soon and I am sorry for the family of the tanker driver.
I heard a massive roar earlier tonight and thought that it might have been the tanker but it was probably thunder.
We have had such dreadful stormy weather in the last couple of days. My mother says that her sister Julia's next door neighbour , sitting peacefully at home with the cat on her knee in the sitting room was struck by a lightning bolt which came down the chimney like a great ball of red fire. The cat is not recovered and Carol is now very shaky at the thought of what could have happened. The chimney is totally disintegrated and all the bricks fell and damaged the houses on both sides
There is no doubt that the weather is not just changing ....It is becoming so unpredictable that we cant even enjoy joking about the weather forecast.
Cheers to all, Gillian

Sunday, July 15, 2007

In A Spin

After the graduation celebrations at Durham University for my niece Sally, I put my sister (Sally's mother) Trisha and my mother in the car and drove south to Bedfordshire and dropped my mother off at Cathy's, my other sister's place. Then we headed off again, further south to Dorset to Trisha's place. I had a lovely time knitting, cooking and eating and watching the Morris Dancing competition in the local shopping centre. I thought I had loaded a picture but my blogging skills, which were never very good are a bit rusty.

A few days later I headed north to my brother's place, where we were all gathering to celebrate the 18th birthday of my niece Jenny. She had already received a pair of socks so I measured up my nephew, Martyn's long feet and set-to with the grey opal striping wool, to produce a foot-long-foot pair for him too. I also knitted the green ones with the Lana Grossa that I got from Tabbydashery. I think they will be mine.
My brother John has an allotment and so I came home with potatoes and salad from him (leek and potato soup) and blackcurrants from his allotment neighbour (blackcurrant and apple jelly). Apparently the wet summer has been a particular disaster for allotment tomatoes. The "blight" has got to all of the ones in John's area.

Trisha lives in Christchurch in Dorset where they are lucky enough to have a "Wool Shop". A delightful, tiny, overfilled and heavenly refuge on the main shopping street. I had just bought a couple of balls of the Town and Country sock wool and was about to turn away from the counter and leave when I noticed the colours of the Rowan Tapestry arranged temptingly on the shelf behind.
I dont need it. I dont know what I can possibly knit with two balls (NO, no thankyou! Please don't sugggest a scarf). Maybe I shall just get it out now and then and admire it. I think that single-plyed wool always looks better in the skein or ball than actually knitted up anyway. This particular colour combo reminds me of opals. A beautiful stone with sad legends attached.

After 750 miles of driving I arrived home late on Wednesday. On Thursday I decided that the spinning wheel glue had had enough time to set. The wheel held well and the conrod clip had arrived from Haldanes (wonderful Haldanes, prompt, polite, honest and so helpful) so the wheel turns without wobbling. However, as soon as I put pressure on the maiden bar it split. I got the glue and clamps and put it together again. While I waited I started on the fleece that had arrived. It is a very long-stapled, Teeswater fleece and needed combing rather than carding. I did a big boxful with a dog comb. The next morning was the moment of truth and I was much more careful in handling the maiden bar. I had drilled two new holes in the wheel support because one of the original screws had sheared off and I bought new screws and drill bits. It wasn't a breeze but I got it all together.
A year ago I would have left it all to Robert to fix in his workshop. He had put a lot of effort into teaching me how to use all the tools I would need so the least I could do was have a go. It was six months ago he died so I did a bit of crying and quite some swearing but in the end I had a wheel that worked.

And I made this.

It's meant to produce a lustrous yarn and mine is under-spun and under-plyed so it has come out too fluffy. At first I criticised the wheel for being wobbly but eventually it seemed to lose its wobble so I realised that it was me who was wobbly. I'm on the next two bobbins already. Of course they have extra spin and will be more tightly plyed, but these two small balls are more precious to me than the Rowan Tapestry. They signify that I have come a long way in a short time. Perhaps it's time to slow down a bit for a while now and just spin on a bit.
Love to all of you who have been so patiently reading my blog for the last eight months. The next eight will be better reading
Cheers Gillian

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Some Fixed Some Broken

I bought something called "Serious Glue" and borrowed some enormous clamps from the man at the hardware store and glued the hub of the wheel together and it seems to have stayed. So then I glued the Maiden bar together and screwed it back on. One of the screws had sheared off so it's only held on by the skin of its teeth . I'm now awaiting a conrod screw and a tension spring from Haldanes and I have a complete wheel. I have yet to get some fleece to spin and as I'm off on holiday for a week I shall leave the wheel so that the glue has plenty of time to set.

However, I dont think that the "Serious Glue" will do much for the next item. Another ebay purchase, broken in the post. I was so looking forward to this piece of lustre ware and had just the spot for it. Perhaps I should stick to the local secondhand shops. There are so many around here.

I had some left over wool so...

I knitted a pair of fingerless mittens for a friend of Mum's who has been ill and lost a lot of weight so that even in the warmer weather his hands get cold. I hope these will do the trick.

And to keep myself occupied I have got busy onn More socks. These ones are for my SIL who I shall visit next week and while I'm away visiting all the siblings I have selected another couple of balls of self-striping sock wool to accompany me on the tour.

Ipersonally want the green ones for myself, but I haven't kept a pair yet so we'll see who's around as they get finished off.
Cheers to all, Gillian