Hamble Campbell's Home Page

An occasional window on Hamble Campbell's world.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The wonder of wool

Went to a secret location today and came back with loadsa wool - some of which you can see here cluttering up my house. Actually I think it looks lovely. In all there is about 25kg of yarn - enough for a few winter scarves and maybe a liitle bit to spare. The reason I went mad and bought so much is that it was all an absolute bargain at £5 kilo for such beauuuuuuutiful wool. The people who are selling it are importing clothing instead of making it in house - the economy you see. Most of the yarn producers are now out of business apparently - that's how it goes.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Waffle weave shawl

A difficult to photograph waffle weave shawl which I just took off my loom today. It took me all week to put on the loom but only a few hours to weave because the weft is put in so loosely. When washed it shrank from 21" to 17" width and from 59" to 48" - that's why the weft is put in loosely. It felted up nicely and is nice and thick.

The story of the troubles I had putting this warp on the loom is long and possibly boring - suffice to say that it involved making the warp too wide for the loom; taking the shafts out of the loom and removing some of the heddles with the warp still threaded through the heddles and through the reed; finding several broken warps and ignoring them as they were generally one half of a two-ply thread; running screaming round the room in dispair but being stoical etc etc. It's a shame the weave structure doesn't show up that well, coz its loverly.

What to do if a horse fly bites you

A much easier prospect than if you have been bitten by a horse. Though I don't suppose many people are. More likely to be kicked by a horse. Of course if you were kicked by a horse fly you probably wouldn't notice.

I myself was bitten by a horse fly yesterday while on my weaving course - being out in the sticks where all the horse flies live. I was attended to by two non-medically trained people but even so I am entirely free from the usual effects of a horse fly bite. This was my treatment and I cannot recommend it too highly:

As soon as I felt the sting I brushed the creature away - there was a drop of blood on my ankle indicating the puncture site. I applied a dab of anti-histamine cream and then gave six small electric shocks to the area of skin immediately around the bite site. This was from a little gadget I am told they sell in the travel section of Boots the chemists. It was like a mini gas-hob lighter and sounded like one too - you push the button at one end of the syringe-like device to generate a little spark and a small stinging sensation.

Today there is no swelling, redness or itchiness around the bite, though the puncture site is still visible. A swift and remarkable recovery I think. As soon as I can drag myself to the shops I shall buy myself one. I think they are made by Technimed or some such similar.

twill weave

Well, I went on another one-day weaving course yesterday - my third, and another booked for August. This was a twill sampler in blue and white cotton to accentuate the weave effects. I was mightily pleased with it and am now all keen to choose some of the patterns for my own customised cloth. It was threaded up for me ready to weave, which is lovely, considering the trouble I still have with warping up. There are six different threadings - as you can see, and I'd done about twelve different lifting sequences for the weft. I would have done more but I was chatting.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Are we too many or too few?

Cross again, listening to Radio 4 this morning. Today we are told that we are an ageing and shrinking population - (shrinking in number - the individuals in the population are doing the opposite) - and we should all have bigger families. Yesterday we were told that there were so many of us that there aren't enough houses for us to live in and there won't be enough water for us all to drink.

Part of the answer to this anomaly is that there are a great many of us who live alone. And our ex-partner lives alone too. Everyone is getting divorced and then buying two houses where one previously sufficed. Children have two bedrooms each.

Then there are all the workers from foreign countries who find that the low-paid jobs in this country pay more than the high-paid jobs in their own country. These workers live here in temporary accommodation that would be unacceptable if long-term until they have made enough to make them rich back home. This must put a strain on housing stock here and it must cause low wages to become even lower.

One wheel on my wagon

This is a picture of a DM Ringmaster unicycle which has recently come into our possession. It was bought on a whim for Olympussina, who herself had a whim to learn how to ride one, having mastered stilts. Next thing - a length of washing line.

You see the bike here in its most typical position - recumbent. It is very easy to fall off of, although I think I would have got on a lot better if I had changed out of my trademark skimpy PVC mini skirt before practising.

Dogs are greedy and don't know when to stop eating .... so give them plenty.

I often think of this when weighing out the dried pellets my dog has for her tea. 40g twice a day. This blog post's title was written by one of the ten-year olds in the class I work with (actually, he's the class rascal). They had to write a report about dogs for someone who doesn't know what a dog is. Just shows the way their minds work. Such generous souls.

Me 'n my Matstone - (the love of four oranges)

Still a joy, since I bought it nearly two years ago. This is my champion machine - a juice extractor. Two oranges make a lovely glass of juice - just like you get for breakfast on holiday in Crete but without the food poisoning.

This machine uses an auger which revolves quite slowly and squeezes out the liquid from fruit and veg. Apparently this is the best way to preserve all those healthy anti-oxidants in the juice so the consumer can benefit most. Hooray.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I've a yen - to read that book again

Haven't thought of the reason yet, but for the past few days I've had a niggling yearning to re-read John Masefield's The Box of Delights. I wonder if it's not because of that funny local priest business we have had lately (see A Man in a Dress post a few days ago) which possibly put me in mind of that villain Abner. Anyway, it's been on my mind. I want to read about the Punch and Judy man Cole (who in turn makes me think of Hoban's Riddley Walker) and the box that makes you go swift or small. Magic.

Incidentally, since I worked as a medical secretary for a disgusting old consultant physician in a private hospital I have been unable to think of the word "box" without also thinking of unwelcome gynaecological connotations. A female patient was being treated by said doctor for a liver complaint but she also needed to be referred to a specialist for her specifically female malady. He asked me to type, "I have asked Mr Foster to look at her box." I transcribed the letter, but ommitting the final word for niceness.

Which makes me remember my stupidity when working for an orthopaedic surgeon who had dictated, "I examined his hip knee ankle colon these were healthy full stop." It was the absence of commas and strange phrasing that threw me, plus having worked for a gastro-enterologist only the week before.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Palm oil.

How can I avoid buying products with palm oil? I want to save the orang-outangs.

Smells nice too. And not grown in a greenhouse in Kenya.

The one with the waggle-ee tail.

Gone to bed

Her favourite place.

Boundweave in opposites

and on a rosepath threading.

This was supposed to be a bag but it didn't quite turn into one so I've sewn it all up and now it's a cushion (and popular with our Jack Russell). It has a linen warp and rug wool weft. I think it could have been a rug if I had got the right sort of loom. Such a loom would be a big countermarche floor loom, I believe. I wonder how difficult they are to work.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I haven't done this since I was seven

I went on a dyeing workshop yesterday, which was lovely. We were dying unspun sheep wool with garden plants. We also had an indigo dye bath which was very interesting because when the material is taken out of the dye it is green and it only turns indigo blue as it oxydises. I did tie and dye using an old sheet (that had been previously sides-to-middled and then worn out again and sent to the jimble jumble sale where I found it), which I last did at primary school. Good fun.

I dyed yesterday

The gang again

Roses from the garden

Here are Sarah Bernhardt and the Duchesse de Nemours, both peonies; with Mme Alfred Carriere, the Rambling Rector and Compassion, all roses; in a vase with some alchemilla mollis - lady's mantle and nice to say.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oxfordshire art weeks treasure pot

Here is a photo of a ceramic pot I bought at the local artweek event. I am very pleased with it.

For the inquisitive - I am using it to store my shuttle quills.

A man in a dress -

Seems like my advice to my daughters not to join the church choir was wise. One of the local vicars is currently facing allegations in the magistrates' court of bad, inapropriate behaviour with a young person that is also illegal. He likes to swan about in a swirly black cape and of course all the clerics seem to wear those long frocks during the service. I don't know if it's a compulsory uniform, but while I am all in favour of eclesiastical embroidery, I think it is best displayed on the altar cloth or the Mothers' Union banners. I shall not repeat the allegations specifically as I do not want unwelcome visitors to this blog and besides they are currently just allegations.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Wall hanging hanging on a door

I thought, for completeness that I would show you a photo of my wall hanging now it is finished. I need to knock a nail in the wall and then I think it will look quite warming. It is really a sampler on a rosepath threading from the Davison book I mentioned before.

A slug's breakfast

Can't plant out these junior peas, beans, tomatoes, asters, nicotiana etc because I haven't dug the weeds out of the veg patch/flower bed or forked in the chicken manure pellets.

Don't know if I can be bothered to, seeing as the small slimy creatures have destroyed the last lot I put in; I can't use a hose 'coz they're banned and its a long way to carry a watering can; and I'd rather be doing my weaving (although once I'm out there gardening, I'm happy).

My garden

En mon avis, my garden looks lovely at this time of year, despite noone having troubled themselves to weed the borders for many a long week. Through the arch there is a vegetable plot with a lot of snail food.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Colour and weave

Well, here is a photo of my colour and weave sampler I was telling you about. The main mistake here is that I forgot to divide by two when calculating the sett and so there are twice as many warp threads as there should be. Consequently the finished article is rather rigid and inflexible, but it is of equal width for all its length so I do pick up a few points there.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What I am weaving now

If you would like to know what I am weaving now, I shall tell you. It is a sampler of "colour and weave" effects. It's a re-run of the project I started at my lesson that I turned into a handbag. This current weaving is doomed to imperfection because I do not have sufficient yarn to complete it and so I will not be able to see all the colour and weave effects that I should. Never mind. I shall probably weave it again in different colours and using different yarn and maybe wider, when I put in my yarn order with whoever I chose to buy from. This one is just using old knitting wool oddments that my mother gave me. I will post a photo when my camera's battery has recharged.

New shoes

I decided I had to do something about my legs. They are growing, but alas not in length. Either I give up chocolate or I take up running, I told myself. So today I went into Reading and bought a pair of New Balance running shoes. I was pleased with my purchase because the label says they are made in the UK. So they won't have been transported across the world and, hopefully, won't have been made in a sweat shop. But who knows? However, now I wonder if they are not perhaps a little too small.

I did actually do a tiny run in them when I got home. So if they are too small it's too bad because I can't take them back now - they are covered in mud.

I was out in my new shoes for twenty minutes and possibly I was running for almost ten minutes. The rest of the time I was staggering along in pain at a walking pace. I shall have another go tomorrow or maybe Saturday and shall report back just to keep you informed.