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Sunday, 27 February 2011


We walked along the pier opposite the Seal Point oil refineries and the Corus steel works. It was blowy but fine and in a few months the blast furnace at the steel works will start up again as will hundreds of jobs. A sense of mild euphoria hangs over Redcar with this good news. The north-east has always seemed to be particularly badly hit in economic slumps and this re-opening of the steel works and the hundreds of jobs it provides is good news all round.
And more good news is my new wheel! It is my sixth spinning wheel and my third "Traditional Ashford". This one was new but greatly reduced because it had been on display in the came ready lacquered. We put it together in less than an hour and it went to work straight away.
I have a Nagy and adapted it to something like "scotch tension" but never felt comfortable with it, so when I saw this for sale I snapped it up. I shall restore the Nagy to double drive and sell it on. I have some Teesdale Lustre wool which needs combing but these days I prefer the ease of ready combed tops like the Merino beside it.

And these Blue Faced Leicester natural colours made me want to blend them into something tweedy.
I hope to spin the BFL into some yarn for a waistcoat for myself and have also been using up some ready dyed and other tops to produce these balls of mixed wools. They are all suitable for felting and will be used to make a bag like the one called Knitted Bag with Mitered Squares from here.
But before I get onto the knitting I must finish this WIP. I'm up to 39 squares, each about 8"square and reckon another six will be enough for a throw to go in the new snug when it's rebuilt. At the moment it is empty and all the stuff from the sheds and the snug is in, or soon will be in, a lock-up container down the road.
Some stuff like the cookery book bookcase has been squeezed into the sitting room beside the sofa where I sit and knit, so the squares are piled on top of Mrs Beeton and friends.
The weather is brightening up and I'm hoping that we get a dry spring so that the building work can go ahead unimpeded. There will be a building site outside the back door for a couple of months and that is if all goes well!!!
Cheers to you all

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Extra Pics

This was an attempt at a fast shutter speed of the waves to show the clarity of them breaking on the beach. My camera only does what it wants and so it is much blurrier than it could be.
This is a "night" shot from the automatic selection. This was taken from the top window at about 6pm watching the night traffic go home.

These are the little sparkles from the shake-up dome that C sent for xmas. It seems to be much easier to get a sharp focus if you take the pic from a distance of about a meter and zoom in.

Last but not least is Tigger. I hung over her bed with the camera in hand and the wrist strap dangling down by mistake.
She went for it....fangs and claws.
Cheers Gillian


About a year ago I got a refund on a digital camera that developed a spot on the screen and I spent the exchange £100 on a Fuji480. It has produced all the photos for this blog and more for about a year or so. I have been very happy with it. I use Windows Photo Gallery to do simple alterations to the pics and mainly to crop them. This is an example of it's "artistic" view of the flames from the coal fire in the kitchen. The pic was quite highly regarded at class review, for its artistic qualities also for the fact that it is a photo of something which is not obvious!!!This is obviously a pic of Tigger's left eye checking out the magic sparkle storm that C sent for xmas. She loves it. You shake it up and a mini battery sets it off. It has silver sparkles which swim in the LED light changes.
I have also got a smashing pic of the close up sparkles.
This Impressionist vision is the early evening shot from the top room. Very Monet!

We were supposed to be doing "more movement" shots. DJ reckoned that the pigeon and chicken crees on the fells would do so we went up this morning. Cockerel decided to give me the arse and these three hens were busy climbing up the dung heap.
Most people on the course have a much better camera than me and so today I volunteered to go first so that I could get mine off the viewing table and then the really good ones could be reviewed.

It's not a greatly fulfilling hobby. The extension is making us busy and so bits of "have to do my photography homework" don't always fit well in the job list.
I'm a perfectionist and I would like to do it all a lot better but I don't think it is worth a camera upgrade right now. My next blog is just some lovely pics I've taken as homework.
Cheers Gillian

Friday, 11 February 2011


A few weeks ago we bought some really lovely fresh fish from Carrick's van in Leyburn market. It was truly good and so today we went in search of their shop in the little village of Snape, three miles south of Bedale in Yorkshire.
There have been road works on the A1 in this area for years. They will be on for another year at least while the A1 is transformed from dual carriageway to full blown motorway. But a decision was made recently to cut all future funding so the super-duper bit of road will end when you get to Leeming Bar if you travel northwards.
Smooth travel ended for us at the roadworks as we travelled southwards today and we were diverted through the village of Leeming Bar on our way to Bedale in the other direction! A fortuitous turn of events as it happened. We had never been to Leeming Bar before and would probably not have made the effort unless forced to do so.
We found the start of the Wensleydale Railway line. They said that they will start running trains this weekend. We sauntered along the platform and plan to return for a ride as soon as we can. The trains go up Wensleydale to Redmire and then you can catch a vintage bus as far up as Hawes and even further. The pic below shows one of the old snow-plough trains.

Next door to the station is a large emporium called Simply Dutch. It sells an amazing array of objects for the home, especially for people who have everything already. A life size Elvis to help populate an empty room or a beautifully made "Butlers Cupboard" for your butler perhaps.
We then drove under the A1 and on through Bedale. This is the avenue which leads from the main road into the village of Snape and it was lined with snowdrops.
We found Carricks and bought some haddock which we have just finished and it was as good as the last lot. There were lovely fresh veggies too , so I bought a celeriac. I have not cooked or eaten one before but plan to cook and mash it with some spuds to go with a steak and kidney suet pie this weekend.
I keep complaining about my weight! But I did do three sessions at the gym this week. And it's not really weight that worries me but size. I want to be able to do up my waistband comfortably.
A new Traditional Ashford arrived this morning and when we got back we set about assembling it. I'm off now to do some more spinning before going to bed to watch Graham Norton. He has good guests on tonight and I think he's a dear too.
Cheers Gillian.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


This week's photography assignment is to take pairs of photos showing contrasts. So here's a small number of trolleys... ...and here's a large number of trolleys.

This new Sainsbury's in town is a pleasure to visit. There aren't many people inside and there are fewer cars in the carpark. Hence the abundance of trolleys in the bays.

My next pair of contrasts was finished/unfinished. So I finished both the jigsaw and a piece of cake. The contrasting photo was, of course, some unfinished knitting but I shan't bore you with the whole assignment.Tigger helped with the jigsaw. Here she is putting in the last piece. She gets into about a quarter of all photos somehow or the other, because when I'm at home she rarely leaves my side, rather like a puppy.
Here she is again in her bed on the sofa watching me set up a tripod to take a shot of the glowing coals in the grate and looking rather Queen Victorian about it! I think there is an assignment later on based on capturing movement. She'll come in useful for that when she feels like it! Cheers Gillian

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Well here is some sea-coal from Seaton Carew. Taken by my fuji480 compact camera.
It was in a red plastic bucket and so the light reflected through and lit up the coal. These pebbles were found on the shore and brought home. I bring a pocket or a bucket of rocks home every time I go to the beach.
They are corallian limestone, You can see the corals in the rocks.
My "close-up-photo" folio session is now finished. The next session requires the class to produce five pairs of contrasts and one intact photo which displays contrasts. More about that later.
We went to Saltburn today, to pick up a couple of lovely leather office chairs.
On our return we staggered upstairs with them and then spent a great time spinning, rocking and rolling in them.
Cheers Gillian