Friday, January 29, 2010

29 January: Busy, busy

How time flies when you're busy! After discovering the new cousin, I was prompted to tidy up a lot of the family history, and then of course got interested in another bit, and started following leads, and ending up with a lot more bits of paper and notes that needed sorting out.

Our pile of snow in the front garden has finally gone, though there's still a hillock of ice 3 or 4 feet high at the dead end of the street.

Recent spinning has been non-wool fibres - tencel, milk protein fibre, and flax. Maybe for weaving, when there's enough, and they are dyed - though I might just leave the milk protein fibre as natural cream. :)

And there's been knitting - another hat -

A simple stranded pattern in handspun Shetland yarns, very easy and satisfying to knit.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

20 January: A new branch

Recently I've been collaborating with a second cousin on some family history research, trying to find out more about our grandfathers' other siblings.

She is in touch with several sisters (our great-aunts) in Canada, but the youngest brother had been a bit of a mystery. The mention of his name had brought out a rash of pursed lips, head-shakes and tuts from older relatives, so of course we were dying to know!

I spotted him in the 1911 census, with a wife, which was a bit of a surprise, as his marriage certificate dated 1926 describes him as a bachelor.

Then Cousin P found a record of a birth following on from the 1926 marriage, and we we on the trail!

In the last week we have found details of 3 children of this marriage, then a marriage of one of the 3 children, and children and a grandchild. And this evening Cousin P has rung me to say she has been speaking on the phone to a grandson of our "black sheep" great-uncle! His mother and father may be able to give us more family information, too, and possibly even photographs.

It's all quite exciting.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

17 January: ....can Spring be far behind

The snow has cleared enough to get down the path to the compost heap. On my way there this morning I saw these -

Couldn't get nearer for a clearer picture, I'm afarid, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

13 January: Spindle spinning

Today we have mostly black ice, so I spent the morning playing spinning with a hand spindle.

I have tried before, and know why it's called a "drop spindle", but I have a new book with improved instructions. It took all morning, but I did produce 2 (very) small skeins of yarn, about as much as I can spin in ten minutes on my wheel.

Probably Corriedale wasn't the best fibre to start with, but it was all I had to hand. There are issues to be resolved, like how to keep the fibre under control while drafting, and leaving the centre-pull ball on the nostepinne while plying, but on the whole I was pleased.

It's called Curate's Egg yarn.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

10 January: More snow tonight?

The slight thaw we've had all day must be official now - a snow-plough came round the estate.

Pushed all the snow off the road into everyone's carefully-cleared drives.....

Thursday, January 07, 2010

7 January: When icicles hang by the wall

Prompted by Durham Daily Photo, I have tried to take a snap of our best icicle -

Not easy, as it's right outside the window, and behind it is white render and snow. It is beautifully rippled and about 3 feet long.

Edit 8 January: This morning The Icicle has grown to 4 feet long and twice as thick as yesterday. My Dear Husband has moved the car from underneath it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

3 January: Normality soon?

The regular suspension of normal life over the Christmas period, combined with weather that hampers outdoor activity, has led to a concentration on stash-reducing.

There's been another double cap made, plain brown with variegated yellow/apricot/green, and 2 triangular scarves, and a couple of "bags" - the first is knitted from Jamieson and Smith's millspun 2-ply Shetland yarn, and then felted, using a pattern called "Numbers" from knitty -

and the second is crocheted from yarn I spun a couple of years ago, from recycled plastic bottle fibre. I find the yarn is nasty to knit, but fine for crochet, and this little bag is just the right size to keep one of my bowstringers tidy -

The trouble is that this took only 15 grams out of the 200.....

(If you want to see the other knitting, pictures are on my Flickr page.)

Friday, January 01, 2010

1 January: Deep and crisp

This morning we were the only walkers without a newspaper or a dog.

Even the trees that are normally completely unremarkable make an interesting pattern -

There was a bit of blue sky towards the south -

- though it looks to be snowing to the north of the Wear valley.

When life returns to normal again next week after the holiday hiatus, I do hope the snow is not going to hamper our activities.