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More experimentation – we got given a ball of undyed arran yarn 50g from New Lanark Mills in our conference bag for In The Loop so on my return I started dunking it in dye. I was a bit alarmed by the brightness of the colours so it went through as second bath of a violet/black. I’m trying the same colours again on a merino. Its drying on the radiator… and I might just leave it without the second colour.

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Rubbish photo from the In the Loop conference which I decided to go to at the last minute after listening to Louise Scollay’s podcast KnitBritish. I got myself off my metaphorical sofa and emailed on Monday about going for one day. Got up stupendously early to make it on the 7.45 train. I’ll have to look at the programme to remind myself of the range of topics covered. Oral histories of machine knitting in Easterhouse in the late 70’s early 80’s, crafting and the digital life, a presentation by an artist who collects unfinished knitted items, NZ traditions in knitting, the trade in hand knitted stockings in Elizabethian times, Dorcas Societies … barely scratching the surface here. Also good stimulating discussions in the breaks and lunchtime. (Covering MOTHS, the thorny issues of sponsorship and podcasts and the lack of racial diversity on Ravelry).Sorry to miss the Norwegian Sweater presentation yesterday… but was able to fondle a collection of them and buy postcards. If you are interested in craft in terms of history, anthropology,  sociology and art  do go to this if you see it on again. I’m so sorry I can’t go tomorrow but must do some work :(

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So on my first day in London I went to the very good Shirley Baker exhibition at The Photographers Gallery then set out to find the fabric shops of Soho. This is after buying an umbrella at M&S as it was monsooning it down. I chanced on The Cloth House and stepped in. I had peaked in the window before but didn’t realise there was another room at the back and a basement. I was in search of black linen to copy a beloved but worth through skirt I got from Hobbs some years back. I’m tired of traipsing around shops being faced with horrible fabrics and even worse designs. So am opting out of it all my making my own. This means reacquainting myself with my hand sewing machine. I’ll keep you updated.  The assistant was very helpful and I bought some black cotton for lining as well. It was beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and in a cloth bag, then a plastic bag to protect it from the rain. Just as well as it was quite pricey.

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Well made the plunge… read lots of blogs… those yarns soak up an astonishing amount of dye. Finally found a use for all those jars I’d been keeping! First skein is a basic cheepo Wendy which I experimented on. The second is the posh Falkland Bluefaced Leicester which is v soft and I can’t wait to see dry.. but I’ve discovered how long yarn takes to dry. Days and days.

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Today I tried to prepare for dyeing striped sock yarn. This necessitated about an hour with a yard/meter converter on my computer. Much calculation with pen and paper. And probably winging it. It seems that most seasoned yarn dyers use a warping board which I do not have. I measured the 4.55 meters I needed for a 5 colour sock stripe around two chairs. It went fairly well until that appauling tangle appeared and I sat down and untangled it WITHOUT CUTTING IT. It took an hour… Miss F just sat and looked at me in that ‘what the hell’ expression. Later I dye!

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Dyeing experiments… the rail in the spare room makes a makeshift drying rack!. I found that the microwave was much speedier than on the stove and less worried about standing over it. Super organised with labels so I remember what dye colour I’ve used for each hank. They are all food colouring dyes so I didn’t have to worry about the Fatblackcat.


Seriously rubbish day at work today… and apparently there’s been fraudulent activity on my account so my bank card is suspended. Am knocking back fake Pimms with tonic (the fake Pimms is from Lidels half the price). About to haul out a unfinished craft project and finish it tonight. I need to stitch and create and feel I’ve done something REAL. I’m sure this is why crafting is so popular we want to have an end product, a sense of accomplishment. Rare indeed in the modern work place.


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