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Archive Entries for April 2011

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Saturday April 30, 2011

Books in April

  • The Girl of his Dreams Donna Leon [read by Gordon Griffin] BOM-GirlofHisDreams.jpg
    Another excellent Commissario Brunetti story. The backdrop is a social comment - as usual - this time involving the Romany community around Venice. The contrast is easily drawn between the children sent into the city to pilfer, and the "idle" rich in their far more oppulent surroundings. Differing viewpoints are elicited through the mouths of Brunetti, his colleagues, and family members - some more naive than others.

  • Forfeit Dick Francis [read by Tony Britton] BOM-Forfeit.jpg
    Interesting listening to this, as I believe it was the very first Dick Francis novel I ever experienced. From memory, it was serialised on Radio 4 around 1977 in their regular afternoon slot at about 4:30 - frustratingly cannot remember the title of the programme. I don't think it was narrated by Tony Britton. I was addicted to the radio then (while knitting of course - I have precise memory of the sweater - a gift for my Mother from a pattern in Stitchcraft!). They followed it with a reading of Flying Finish. Utterly thrilling, and for all that - still an excellent book, even discounting the knitting nostalgia, with his wife Mary's influence apparently clear.

Posted on April 30, 2011 at 9:56 AM. Category: Books of the Month.

Wednesday April 27, 2011

La Pharmacie d'Autrefois


The chemist in St Pois has a lovely display of "old stuff".

Posted on April 27, 2011 at 9:41 AM. Category: France.

Friday April 22, 2011



I did not know rhubarb could do this. It's hard to see but it has shot up a flower spike and is now about 6 feet tall. I read now that you should (as I suspected) cut this off if you plan to crop it. As we have not eaten any of it yet - waiting for the poor neglected thing to get established - I hope it makes it feel good.

Posted on April 22, 2011 at 9:36 AM. Category: France.

Saturday April 16, 2011

Dyeing Day at the Guild


Today we learnt how to hand paint fibres and yarns under the guidance of Jan Blight. We started painting individually with supplied samples, as well a our own fibres. Then we moved finally to making a space dyed skein; this demonstrated, by experiment, exactly how long the sections of colour need to be in order to produce a reasonable sized stripe in the subsequent knitting. Each member of the team went home with a few turns of the resulting skein




Here are the results of our labours hanging up to dry. I think the most interesting lesson for me was the realisation that the type of fibre and the way it is spun influences how it takes the colour. My yarn was highly spun worsted superwash sock yarn and the colours I got were bright and clear. Other people achieved lovely soft muted shades with their fibres.


Posted on April 16, 2011 at 9:12 PM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.

Sunday April 10, 2011

Sheep to shawl

OK - I admit - not a shawl.


Some time ago, I was tempted by Lloyd and Marie to pick up a bundle of fleece which they had hand-clipped from the small flock (which came free with their rented house!). Heavy hints - or direct instructions - were given to produce something " a hat or scarf" as it would be much appreciated.

The fleece - although not in a complete fleece shape, but rather an untidy mixed up mess on the barn floor - was exceedingly soft in places, but unfortunately I had "help" picking it up so I got a very mixed bag. It washed to a lovely white colour, and spun up well. I was pleased to be able to make 2 hats and a scarf. The latter I did not think much of - it just used the left overs, but the hats based on my apparently popular fisherman's rib hats were pretty good.
But as is the way of things, I'm not certain that the gifts were in fact much appreciated - I think I am viewed as just a bit of an elderly eccentric and this is just what I "do". My view of myself of course is an artistic artisan in the prime of life. Like Miss jean Brodie, I had hoped my prime would last the rest of my life.

Posted on April 10, 2011 at 9:06 AM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.

Saturday April 9, 2011



An outing to Wisley to view the spring flowers, gain allotment inspiration, and tour the hot-house.


All the Wisley subjects are so wonderfully photogenic.



Posted on April 9, 2011 at 5:44 PM. Category: The Garden.

Friday April 8, 2011

War Horse


Last night we went to see War Horse at the New London theatre. It was as fantastic as everyone says - though it is a childrens book with very adult content, and the audience was full of sobbing little girls (and some big girls as well...).

Prior to the show, at Tony's suggestion, we ate an excellent meal at Sophies Bar and Grill in Covent garden.

Posted on April 8, 2011 at 9:25 AM. Category: Art and Culture.

Monday April 4, 2011

Natural Dyes


Getting in the mood for our workshop later this month, I tried home dying some Portland fleece. These are not all natural dyes, but the grey green is - from nettles. I was quite pleased as the colour I got - while some might say it is not very inspiring - is exactly the colour my dye book shows: a grey green. I followed the instructions, adding a pinch of iron, and managed to get green rather than yellow.
The other colours are OK but not what I was looking for. I tried mixing the French reactive dyes (red and blue) to make purple but got a very dark red colour, (top); the pink mauve at the bottom is a second dip in this same bath; and the blue mauve in the centre is a Dylon all-purpose dye. I think I badly mistreated the fibre in the process, and it is hard, matted, and singed. However, I have managed to selectively card it to make some usable batts.

Posted on April 4, 2011 at 6:29 PM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.