Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A Busy Few Months

Well hello again! It's been a while, hasn't it? I've been so incredibly busy this last little while I can hardly believe it's been 5 months since I last posted an update. I have been without an internet connection for 4 of those months though, which hasn't helped really! Life has changed quite a bit since I saw you last...

I have moved into my own little house!

It's a little cottage on a working farm not an awfully long way from where I've always been. Except that it's out in the countryside! It's so beautiful and peaceful here, and the whole place is buzzing with wildlife. There are hares, roe deer, owls and foxes, and last night I had a little baby hedgehog snuffling around the garden! The land's quite flat here, and the view stretches on for miles and miles.

Moving in and getting settled was hectic and just a bit stressful, but this last month or so it's really properly been starting to feel like home. I'm having great fun adding little finishing touches to the newly-painted walls, flowers to the window-sills, roses to the garden...

But there was something missing.

There was no-one to talk to.

Until I found Charlie.

Now I have all the company I can handle!

He's a right little maniac, but I love him!

There's not been much time (or peace!) for crafty stuff in all these months, but my creative side's been getting more of a look-in over the last couple of weeks. I've finally managed to locate some Rowan Pure Wool DK in elusive Hydrangea (shade 27). It's been discontinued, but thanks to Jannette's Rare Yarns (who I can highly recommend, by the way!), work on the border of my Attic 24 (not-quite-so-big) Big Blanket can finally continue. It's been a year in the making, on and off, so I'm feeling ready to get it finished!

(Apologies for the picture quality on that one!) I started out making it for a single bed, but I've upgraded my sleeping arrangements (finally), so I have no idea where its home is going to be. Though apparently these little houses cost a fortune to heat in the winter, so it will probably be wrapped around me most of the time.

There's still a lot of work left to do to make this place really lovely. There's painting to be done, and the garden's not quite finished. More on that next time though. Charlie's woken up, and he's attacking my laptop and trying to eat my Wotsits!

It's good to be home!

Carrie xx

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Back to Life

Thanks to everyone who wished Truffles well on my last post. She is doing much better now, and seems to be back to her old self. All her tests came back negative, and she's finished all her medication (which she's pleased about!). I don't know if we'll ever really get to the bottom of what was the matter with her, and to be honest I'm happy to leave it at that. We just have to hope that it never, ever happens again. Here's a wee snap of her enjoying the spring sunshine:

I started back at my job in the garden centre on the 1st of March, and I have to say it's brilliant to be back! It's like coming back to life again after being in hibernation. I hate to think of all that time I had off, and how little I did with it all. I hate being unemployed full stop. I'm already feeling more motivated. For the first few days back I felt a bit useless not knowing where everything was and what we had in stock, but I'm starting to get back into the swing of it again. If only I could get used to getting up at 7am!!

I've been playing around with the inkle loom and managed to churn out a couple of dodgy looking little bands, nothing special at all so I haven't even photographed them. Then I took some inspiration from ASpinnerWeaver and decided to try making some bookmarks for practice. I'm so pleased (and relieved!) with the way they have turned out! I've managed to stop the weft showing through, and even the selvages are looking pretty even. I've been following the instructions in Helene Bress's book 'Inkle Weaving' to the letter, and it seems to be doing the trick! I read on someone else's blog (sorry I can't remember which one - thank you if it was yours!) the idea of using ice lolly sticks to seperate them, and it works very well! Please forgive the rubbish quality of these photos by the way, the flash is drowning out the colours, so they're either too bright, too dull or a bit shaky!

See what I mean? I really should do photography in the daylight!

That's about all I've done creatively. Not much really, but it's better than nothing. I've started a retail horticulture diploma through work, so that's taking up a fair bit of my free time now (the rest is being taken up by sleeping!). So I am still here, and I really, really appreciate all your comments! I do still mean to update more often, it's just difficult to find the time!

Carrie (and Truffles!) xxxxxxxxx :)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Worry Days

This is Truffles, my little lady. She's been sick since Saturday - sleeping all the time and not eating or drinking a thing. I took her to the vet's on Monday morning, and she was kept in for blood tests. Apparently there's something wrong with her kidneys. At first the vet thought it might have been caused by poisoning. She had another appointment this morning, and this time she's found swelling of what she thinks is her gall bladder. Because she's not drinking, we've got to give her a glucose solution through a syringe. She's also got tablets to take, so that's an awful lot of stuff we've got to force down her throat. She hates it, and fights like a fiend. I hate doing that to her when she's feeling so miserable. She just wants to be left alone, but if she gets dehydrated her kidneys could shut down. The vet has sent off more blood to be tested, so hopefully we'll have more answers soon about what's causing it. She has another appointment on Thursday morning, and I really hope she's picked up a bit by then. She's only 4 years old.

My crochet cotton has arrived from Texere, and I think this lot will work well on the inkle loom (though I can see me running out before I've got very far!). I might warp it up tonight, if I can get my head to feel more creative. I've been playing a bit with Baltic patterns using the linen and silk I bought from Texere first time around, but managed to snap one of the linen warp threads. I think I put the warp on too tightly. This cotton seems a bit stronger though.

That's all for today really. Please send your happy, healing vibes to Truffles. I can't stand to see her so sad. :(


Sunday, 7 February 2010

Must... not... neglect... blog!

That's what I've been telling myself every day for weeks now. 'Update your blog... post something... anything!' I wanted this blog to be almost a running commentary of my day-to-day life, and I don't want to have huge month-long gaps appearing in it!

The truth is though I've had very little to report for the long month of January - that black hole of boredom where time itself stands still. Every single year without fail I seem to be unemployed in January. It's become my most miserable month, and when I feel like that I find it so hard to motivate myself to do anything. I have all this time on my hands, and have done nothing to show for it.

So THANK GOODNESS I'm getting my old job back on the 1st of March!!! Three weeks tomorrow, and I'll be back in the land of the living! I can't wait, I really, really can't!

I know when I get back to work I'll wish I had more time on my hands, so I'll be trying to make the most of these three weeks. I always feel more optimistic once we get into February anyway - the nights are starting to stretch a little, the snowdrops are opening, buds are swelling. The seed potatoes are in the garden centre already, so I might get some of them on the go nice and early!

Crafty-wise there's not been an awful lot happening. I've been working on a crochet shawl using Garnstudio Drops Fabel. I'm just going with this until I run out of yarn. It was a difficult yarn to get hold of, and since I've only got one ball left, and the store I bought it from seems to have run out, I don't think it's going to get much bigger!

I bought an inkle loom last week! A Schacht inkle loom to be precise. It's nice and simple and, unlike my Knitter's loom, I can warp it all by myself!

There's nothing in my stash that's really ideal for this (according to the instructions, 5/2 or 3/2 mercerised cotton is ideal), so until I can find some, I've been practicing with left-over sock yarn:
1st attempt. I tried to use sock yarn to make the heddles, but it had too much give in it, so I ended up with uneven tension. I also made the ridiculous mistake of tying the warp to the first peg, so this is as big as it got!!

2nd attempt. Made the heddles from sewing cotton this time. I was worried it would be too thin and snap, but it turned out to be pretty strong. The band ended up about 33" long, and I used a check pattern:

The selvages are very wonky, and the warp seems to be a bit too spaced out at the edges. That is, I can see the weft through it, and you're not supposed to (although it's less noticeable now it's off the loom).

I've got quite a lot of DK wool in my stash, so I might have a play around with some of that, see if I can make some pretty patterns. I'm just not sure it's strong enough though, and it's quite fluffy, so I can see it sticking to the heddles. I ordered a bit of a random selection from the Texere weaving section before I really knew what I would need, and I've just this minute realised I would have been better off looking in the crochet section. I didn't notice that before, that's exactly the stuff I need! Oh .... !

What else has been happening?

Basil's going in for a big service on Thursday. He's been having some serious 'kangarooing' issues after about 3 miles into every journey. He won't go above 30mph when he's jumping about like that - it's very scary. Apparently it could be some simple electrical thing like HT leads or the distributor cap. Hopefully it's nothing serious! The bodywork on the other hand... that's in a right state! I need to get that sorted before I can get into the interior properly, which is a shame because I've got a ton of ideas for him! I won't scare you with pics just now, I'll let you see him when he's a bit prettier!

That really is about everything I think - told you I hadn't been up to much! I am very excited about the inkle weaving though, so I'll be back soon with more updates! See you soon!