The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Saturday, 29 October 2011

oh dear and lovely......more wool

Look... can you tell I've just got the hang of some image editing software!

I've been to a few spinning groups, it's lovely meeting other people passionate about the same things. At this meeting there were 5 of us with wheels, all different, and one person learning on a drop spindle.
I made the mistake of admiring some black fleece that someone was combing. Uh oh. Before I knew it someone had trotted up the road and brought me back a feed bag stuffed with lovely black wool. That's it tipped out at home bottom left. It's a bit course, but nice and clean and barely needs combing before spinning. Which is more than I can say for the North Ronaldsay, which is starting to drive me nuts as it's so fine, sticky and full if grass seeds. However I'm persevering because I'm pretty sure it will be lovely once it's spun up and washed.
SO..I think if I spun continuously for a few months (or years?) I might get through all the wool I have sitting around the house in bags.
I wonder if that dinky wheel, middle right, will fit on a boat?!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

We might get to sea after all

And so the Owl and the Pussy Cat may finally get to sea. Unfortunately it's a mostly white boat with bits of blue, and as you know colour is THE most important criteria when choosing anything like a car/boat etc. So, apart from being the wrong colour for my blog, it's a very lovely boat, and (once we have parted with some money) it should be ours to sail wherever we want...very soon!
These are the salesman's and previous owners photos, not mine...

The boat called Hope
yup, that's what she's called, cute eh?

The sitting room
Where am I going to put my spinning wheel?

The main bedroom
We'll need triangular sheets and a triangular duvet..

Kitchen, (sorry 'galley'), on right
Navigation station on left
Front door straight on

And I guess this should become my blog header now?
Oh my word I'm so excited I don't know if I'll sleep tonight..

Book Workshops

I've been teaching a few workshops recently which I really enjoy. I didn't take any photos at the first two. Fortunately Ren, who came on one, took loads and did a lovely blog post about it.
Go here to see lots of fab photos

Here's the very beautiful book she made
(structure taught by me, cover design by Ren!)
 And here's a few of the photos I did get round to taking.
A medly of images from the
concertina, single section and stab binding workshop
If you live down in the Devon area and would like to come on a workshop, I can put you on my mailing list. e mail me at
I can also do workshops for art/craft/embroiderygroups
gosh...I sound almost commercial!

Estate maintenance

I always rather grandly and jokingly call this stuff  'estate maintenance'. In some ways it's the down side of owning land. Fortunately I enjoy it.
We have about 2 acres with our house and it was pretty neglected by the previous owner. Fences need patching/propping up, actually they need replacing but we can't afford it, gates need replacing, fallen trees need clearing (hence the huge firewood pile), weeds need keeping in check, hedges need cutting (we pay a man with a tractor to do that)
Why would I want to be lounging in the sun, watching telly or simply going for a walk...
when I could be doing this for example?

overgrown and falling over fence

 fence liberated from undergrowth
waiting for new fence posts

As I work I keep reminding myself how very fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place.

And oh my goodness we have a river too

I'm almost embarrassed to show you what an amazing place we live in.
Perhaps I think I don't deserve it?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Cobwebs and butterflies

Hi there

ok, so I'm actually missing blogging ......a bit
trouble is I've now got SO much news I don't know where to start!
How about some pretty pictures first.. taken a couple of weeks ago before the winds and rain came.
You'll have no problem spotting the cobwebs.
 but you might have trouble finding the butterflies, they are there, honest... the flowers are quite pretty anyway



Red Admiral

Monday, 17 October 2011

Not Blogging

Funny, but I've got bored of blogging now...I've been to a couple of local knitting and spinning groups, knitted my mum a little bag for her birthday, and been keeping away from the computer, it's lovely!..

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Vince's website

I've been working on a website for Vince for a while now, and I've finally got it to a stage that I can start letting people look at it. A couple of friends have pointed out a few spelling mistakes and made a few suggestions, but overall I (and he) are happy with it.
here are some highlights..

Roof trusses, made by Vince, for a small barn restoration
up on Dartmoor

A hooked scarf joint
(impressive eh?)

An exterior door, made from locally grown oak
I particularly like this one

Oak door in situ
It's been there for a year now and still looks lovely

Re-plastering our sitting room ceiling

what it looks like now
 Can you tell what he does for a living?

To see more lovely stuff that he's done visit

p.s. more boat news soon..

Monday, 10 October 2011

Free wool from Nort Ronaldsay

Ok, so it's not actually from North Ronaldsay, it's from a couple of miles down the road....

One of the mixed blessings of living in the countryside is that if you mention to someone at a coffee morning that you spin, they are likely to say 'oh I have a shedfull of wool you can have'. Now, whilst not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth I also didn't want to end up with a ton of wool that's terrible to spin. So, I went home and did some internet research. Now, the internet is usually full of tons of information about anything you could ever want to know. But there isn't a lot about the wool from North Ronaldsay sheep which is what I'd been offered. There's a lot about the sheep, and about buying the wool but all I could find out was that it's supposed to be a mixture of coarse and fine and prone to felting, and fairly rare!
So, I went to meet the dear little curly horned things (but forgot to take a photo), and came home with about 6 fleeces in 5 pig feed bags, having promised the owner of the sheep some spun wool to knit into something!
And I must say it is the most fascinating wool I've ever handled/spun. Not that I'm any expert, but as I say I have bought/been given a multitude of different bits of wool over the years ranging from lovely, to only suitable for the compost bin! I had expected the North Ronaldsay wool to be fine with some coarser 'guard hairs' I think they are called on the outside. However, these are ram lambs from last year and this was their first shearing, so I think that the fine stuff I've extracted from the outside of the fleece is last years lambswool, it's not unlike cotton wool and makes even the softest other wool I've got feel like rug wool, it's absolutely AMAZING!

a pile of North Ronaldsay fleeces

Close up of the wool, cut/skin side on left

Coarse (left) and fine(right) wool separated by pulling

bit from a different fleece, same coarse/fine mix

Pile of the coarser stuff

Pile of the finer stuff

Fine stuff on left, coarse stuff on right
I thought the coarser stuff would be difficult to spin, but it's got enough fine stuff mixed in to make it spin up ok. I've got a peg loom on order for my birthday..I think it might make good warp for it.
I think I'll make a woolly vest with the fine stuff!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Lots of boats

The Owl and the Pussy Cat have been boat hunting this week

Vince can spend all day looking at and talking about boats

I get bored and go off to take arty photos

Rusty anchor
I became fascinated with the names of boats. Did you know that most boats have names, and that it can be bad luck to re-name a boat unless you do it in the 'right' way? Here are a selection of weird and wonderful boat names that I found.

I assume this is the name of the boat this trailer belongs to?

I don't know what this means (I hope it's not rude?)
but I like the font

lovely shadows
And what also never ceases to amaze me is the number of boats .
Look at all those masts!
You can just see 'Guelder Rose' in this shot...
 that's a nice name.

Apparently there are around 600 boats in this marina
and there's another marina nearby with a similar number...

What a lovely day we had
We found a boat we quite liked.....but I can't possibly tell you any might be bad luck?!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Getting my books on etsy...

I've been photographing more of my books to put in my etsy shop. I've still got a lot to learn about image sizing and I also need to work on making my shopfront look more lovely. Here are some pics of some books that need listing. These are the four I finished most recently, they are all about A5 size and only have a few pages, but of really lovely heavyweight fabriano paper with deckle/torn edges.

And here are a few larger books, all around A4

woven cloth cover

Rust dyed cloth
with gold & yellow embellishments

This one is an album
i.e. it has thick pages and hinge spacers
This is where the two whole books that I've listed are ...

Gosh, so much to do....The Owl and the Pussy Cat have some boat hunting to do this week!...