In which I am very, very late, otherwise known as "hey, the Tour de Fleece starts on Saturday - want to spin with me?"

The last 6 weeks or so have been a completely ridiculous blur of very long work days, coupled with trying to get fibre club out the door and keeping up with a bunch of tech editing that all seems to have landed at once. In other words, complete chaos.

But this morning (a full week and a half after finishing the work thing that took over my life), I finally felt like I had a) some breathing room, and b) had recovered enough to be able to think a bit about other things. Imagine my surprise when I realised that the Tour de France starts in a mere five days! So I've started the Team Porpoise Fur 2017 thread on Ravelry, posted to the wildcard thread in the Tour de Fleece group and spammed the Yarn in the City group hoping to drum up some team mates. 

The whole thing is very simple: set yourself a challenge for the duration of the Tour de Fleece/France (1st July - 23rd July) and go for it! Some people pull vast piles of fibre out of their stash and commit to spinning pounds of yarn, some people challenge themselves to learn a new technique or try something outside of their comfort zone, some people aim to spin a little bit every day. Whatever is a challenge for you is all good!

Once again this year, my Tour de Fleece is going to be somewhat impaired by a bit of travelling, but my goals are as follows:

  1. Spin the four exclusive TdF colourways from this year
  2. Spin up at least four of my oldest Hello Yarn Fibre Club offerings
  3. Spin at least a little bit every day

If you'd like to get some of this year's TdF colourways, this is your last chance! The pre-orders are supposed to close today, but given my lateness, I'm going to leave them open until the end of the day tomorrow, 27 June. You can find them here, and all the details on the inspiration here.

I can't wait to start!!!!

Diffident Light

I've been enjoying a long-ish break from most web things and social media over the holiday period, but as it's New Year's Eve, it seems like a good time to share some words.

The past year has been a pretty awful one in a number of ways - I feel like I'm hearing more hate and vitriol seemingly everywhere I turn, there is an appalling lack everywhere of people using what I still refer to as "listening ears", and hope has been in shockingly short supply in my neck of the woods. Every morning seems to bring reports of new atrocities, or the loss of yet one more public figure, or the normalisation of yet another example of horrible things people say about those that are different. I'm hoping that with this last day of 2016 I can leave some of that behind, and start looking forward to 2017.

Every day on my way to work, I take the train to Waterloo Station and walk through the underpass below the Imax theatre roundabout towards the Southbank. This means that everyday I get the opportunity to read what has become one of my favourite poems - Eurydice by Sue Hubbard. So at the end of a year that is best left behind in our collective rearview mirrors, I share it with you, and hope that it speaks to you in whatever way you need. Happy New Year.

Eurydice by Sue Hubbard (2004)

I am not afraid as I descend,
step by step, leaving behind the salt wind
blowing up the corrugated river,

the damp city streets, their sodium glare
of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain;
for my eyes still reflect the half-remembered moon.

Already your face recedes beneath the station clock,
a damp smudge among the shadows,
mirrored in the train's wet glass,

will you forget me? Steel tracks lead you out
past cranes and crematoria,
boat yards and bike sheds, ruby shards

of roman glass and wolf-bone mummified in mud,
the rows of curtained windows like eyelids
heavy with sleep, to the city's green edge.

Now I stop my ears with wax, hold fast
the memory of the song you once whispered in my ear.
Its echoes tangle like briars in my thick hair.

You turned to look.
Second fly past like birds.
My hands grow cold. I am ice and cloud.

This path unravels.
Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust
and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping.

Above the hurt sky is weeping,
soaked nightingales have ceased to sing.
Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue.

I dream of a green garden
where the sun feathers my face
like your once eager kiss.

Soon, soon I will climb
from this blackened earth
into the diffident light.

What's in a name?

I've got a yummy new design that's almost ready to be released into the wild, and I'm running up against my old enemy: Naming the Thing.

Sometimes the name for a design is obvious: the Shard Hat is named for The Shard, surprisingly enough. The Ja'ali Stole name came from the ja'ali screens I saw in Moghul palaces on a trip to India. The Harpswell Pullover is named for the seaside township in Maine where I spent summer holidays as a child, and where my parents now live.

But sometimes picking a name for a design is like pulling teeth. Bonfire Night was called "The October Cowl" in all correspondence and files until I realised that it was going to be published on Guy Fawkes Day, and the name came to me out of the blue.

Handspun Shetland

Handspun Shetland

Luscious, luxury sock yarn

Luscious, luxury sock yarn

I'm really, really hoping something similar will happen for this piece. It's a garter stitch crescent shaped shawl with a lace edging. The first prototype was done with the leftover handspun Shetland from the Fjord Mitts (also quite easily/obviously named), and is easily big enough to wrap around me twice (note to self: must get final measurements soonest). The second, smaller version was worked out of approximately 350 yds of fingering weight merino/silk/cashmere blend from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. It's a really nice shawlette size - it sits on the shoulders without sliding off, but won't stay closed at the front unless pinned shut.

Sooooo....anyone have any good name ideas they want to share?

Poor, nameless shawl babies

Poor, nameless shawl babies