Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Regrets July 12, 2016

I haven’t played my recorders for a couple of years or so.  I was just busy with other activities and the time and place where the monthly recorder meetings were held were no longer convenient.  But recently I tried playing the recorder again and found that arthritis in my hands made it difficult to play.  Alas.  Up until now the things associated with aging haven’t really bothered me.  But now, trying to play the recorder is painful and it is bothering me to find that I just can’t spread my fingers with enough agility to make playing the recorder possible.  I really wanted to attend and play in an up coming one day jazz workshop.miscellaneous-ian-009  In younger days with the bass recorder.  7 or 8 years ago?  in my early 70’s

I have a friend of similar vintage whose mother had very bad arthritis in her hands.  My friend is taking piano lessons to hopefully ward off similar problems.

Come to think of it, my own mother also had bad arthritis in her hands in later years.   She was an avid knitter, as am I.  When she moved to Hawaii, knitting was no longer so important in her life.  So I don’t know if she could have continued to knit if she had wanted to.  Knitting is still important to but I could substitute other fiber activities just as satisfying.  After all, my abandonment of weaving has been partially age related and I don’t really miss it – I can still maintain my interest without physically crawling under that big Glimakra loom.






Going Through Old Files March 14, 2011

Filed under: Dyeing,Knitting,Music,Scotland — Janet @ 7:25 pm

I have all sorts of filing to do, as regular readers of this blog know.  I tend to save a lot of old, and odd, papers.   Here are a couple I found today.  A copy of a  picture taken in 2006 and titled Concert at The Galley.  I can’t remember who in the Orkney group took the picture – a bit of research would unveil the name so I could make proper attribution.  But I hope you can recognize the person in the center, holding her alto recorder.  Fay, on the left, used to be an opera singer.  She, and her friend Ingrid on the right, are much more expert recorder players than I.  We had a good time together in Orkney.  Ostensibly there to knit and spin and dye etc. with Liz Lovick  but there was so much more.  It was a wonderful week!!  My pictures are stored in the computer somewhere but this morning  it’s the paper copies that have turned up.

The group picture was taken by Lynne the socklady who spins in the wilds of northern Canada.

It’s fun to find these pictures this morning.  I hope to be playing that recorder this coming Saturday at St. James Cathedral.  It’s a Handel Play-In, with the Seattle Recorder Society.


Soup and Cinema March 9, 2011

Filed under: Dyeing,Films,Friendship,Knitting,Yarn shops,Yarns — Janet @ 5:46 pm


 soup and cinema at the Nordic Heritage Museum.  This is what we did yesterday.  Allt Flyter/The Swimsuit Issue  was a Swedish film so we had a Swedish soup – it was delicious – a kale soup and a nice bread to go with it.  The film was wonderfully done.  Excellent acting, an unusual centerpiece for the story line – the formation of a men’s synchronized swim team.  So that was the offering this month.  Last month it was a Norwegian film, Elling.  Next month is Denmark’s turn with the film Adams aebler/Adam’s Apples.  And then in May it will be Iceland with Mavahlatur/The Seagull’s Laughter.

As we enjoyed our lunch I reflected on how yet again I didn’t think to wear something Scandinavian.  Rather ironic since it is the colourful knitting and weaving tradition of the Nordic countries which is part of the big attraction for me.  I did wear something handknit at least.  Handknit but not by me.  It was a vest knit with handspun naturally dyed yellow/green yarn.  I’ve had that item a long time and wore it very often when I was working in Kenya.  I bought it at the Spinner’s Web, just around the corner from the Norfolk Hotel.  The Spinner’s Web stocked those balls of naturally dyed yarn with the Kenya Leo label.  They also sold items knit with that yarn and I was a frequent admirer and purchaser.  Thinking about all that, part of my association with the Kenya Leo label is that I knew one of the founders, if not the founder.  She lived upcountry but she used to come to Nairobi for the Kennel Club Dog Shows.  I always looked forward to the Shows – and also the chance to visit with Jean.  That’s all long ago now.


Mud Cloth From Mali March 8, 2011

Filed under: Africa,Art works,Design,Dyeing,Weaving — Janet @ 4:22 am

Yes, Mud Cloth from Mali, that’s what the tag says on a little bag I bought today.

Simple, elegant.

To quote the tag:  “The traditional cloth of Mali is called “bogolan,” known here as mud cloth.  Historically, men weave the white cotton and women create the intricate designs, although the roles have become interchangeable today.  It starts out as hand spun cotton, made on site.  Then an elaborate process of dying (sic) with the mud and bark takes place.  It is said that mud cloth was first dscovered when a hunter chased an antelope into a river in Northern Mali, getting mud on his tunic.  When his wife tried to clean the tunic, she could not remove the mud stains.  This same river provides the best mud for making cloth which is now used for everything from scarves to table runners to handbags.”

  map of Mali from the Lonely Planet website


More Postcards – These Ones Relating to WSD February 13, 2011

As readers of this blog know, I collect postcards, and one of my themes is postcards relating to weaving, spinning, and dyeing.  My friend Bettina of Woolly Bits  – in the west of Ireland –  recently sent me a few cards to add to my collection.  Thank you Bettina.

The cards are from the National Museum of Ireland, Country Life,  near Castlebar in County Mayo.  A wonderful museum if you ever have a chance to visit.

  this card is of an Aran sweater but a most unusual colour.  I know red was worn by the women in the Aran Islands but a red gansey I have never seen.

     the caption on this card is Spinning and Carding Wool, but as Bettina has pointed out, this caption is incorrect.  Only one person is spinning and the other person is beating flax, I think.  Is that retting?

  the caption here is Carding wool, Connemara.  She certainly is carding wool – and looks very hard done by.  Poor woman looks very care worn.


Sketchbooks and Photographs February 4, 2008

Filed under: Dyeing,Fibre,Knitting,Photography,Sketching,Spinning,Weaving — Janet @ 8:46 pm

The workshop theme this month for the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers is sketchbooks.  Our first assignment was to select a photograph, any photograph, any source, and examine it for a couple of days.  Now we have to say what we like about our chosen photo.

town-centre-fashion-avenue-resized.jpg  This is the photograph I chose.  A photo I took some months ago of one of the approaches to the new DundrumTown Centre.

I sat in Starbucks this afternoon and thought about this photograph.  Starbucks is away in the interior of the new Dundrum Town Centre here in Dublin. The new Centre is vast and my photo shows only one aspect of it – and it’s an archival aspect.  This area used to be one of the approaches to the Centre.  However, several months ago this approach was sealed off and there has been a lot of construction activity going on behind the hoardings.  Secret construction activity as far as the general public is concerned.   What will be revealed when the hoardings come down??

My thoughts about the photo as I sipped my coffee

1. the photo is mine and I can do what I want with it – crop it, enlarge it, reduce it, etc.

2. I know the location

3. it’s an archival photo in our changing urban scene – this area is now all construction material and machines and hoardings – what will it look like when the barriers come down?? – will that lovely stone cottage on the left still be there?

4. in the photo I like the clean lines, the reflections, the pop art, the sense of depth, the sense of height

5. I like the boldness of it all – this is a multi-purpose area – a Bold New Town Centre cum Shopping Mall

I’m not sure where all this analysis is going to lead to in our workshop but here is another photo showing some of the activity going on in this area.

fashion-parade-in-dundrum-sealed-off-resized.jpg  not a very good photo of the barriers – I’ll try to find a better one.


360 degrees of pink October 29, 2007

Filed under: Dyeing,Running,Scenery,Spinning,Weaving — Janet @ 5:43 pm
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What a beautiful sunrise earlier this week.  It was dark dark dark at 7:40 a.m. then when I next glanced up at close to 8 a.m. there was the most beautiful array of pink in the sky.  I went outside to get the full view and there was pink everywhere!  I worked hard at trying to turn off the flash on my camera but still couldn’t get it.  Technology – grr!  I must get that figured out for next time.

360-degrees-of-pink.jpg  here’s a hint of what it was like – this photo was taken earlier this week.  Now we have had the time change so I would have to be up earlier to catch the sunrise.

Today was Marathon Day in Dublin.  Dublin City Marathon.  It was a lovely autumn day and there were almost 11,000 runners pounding the streets of Dublin.  We are very proud of son Andrew who came in well ahead of his goal of breaking the 4 hour mark.  Well done Andrew!!  Here he is approaching the 16 mile mark.


Now to get ready for the Knitting and Stitching Show which is opening on Thursday.  Set-up day is Wednesday.  The Irish Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers will have a stand and I hope we have lots of visitors.  Pictures to follow.

Meanwhile I have 2 knitting projects on the needles.  One, a scarf in pink and yellow and the other the eccentric blanket.  The eccentric blanket is almost finished – the stray ends are sewn and only a bit of I-cord border remains to be done.  The pink and yellow scarf is about 3/4 along.

pastoral-visit-024.jpg  eccentric blanket at an earlier stage

pink-and-yellow-scarf.jpg pink (Jamieson & Smith) and yellow (Frog Tree) scarf


Yellow tank top on Stage 8 Day of the Tour de France July 15, 2007

Filed under: Books,Dyeing,Knitting,Reading,Tour de France — Janet @ 4:35 pm

baby-tank-tops-and-kal-project.jpg  Here’s my next project for the Tour de France Knitalong – the baby tank top knit in naturally dyed yellow.  I’m about 6 inches along – I’ve shown it with a couple of completed baby items.  The yarn, 100 % Irish wool, originally white but dyed with weld.  The mordant we used was alum.  I’m not sure whether I will introduce other colours or not as I get further along. 

The colour yellow is one of my favourites and I have a yen to knit a gansey for myself in a nice yellow.  The baby tank top project is part stash reduction – must reduce my stash before buying any more yarn – will see at what point my resolution weakens and I order some Norwegian Heilo in an attractive yellow.

One other semi-knitting related item – I’m reading a very good book by David Kennard, A Shepherd’s Watch – through the seasons with one man and his dogs in North Devon.

james-at-the-pbp-resized.jpg  And a sketch I did the other day in art class of a Stage winner in the Tour de France.



Filed under: Cycling,Dyeing,Knitting,Tour de France — Janet @ 7:47 pm

How many of my readers recognize these words – now it’s your turn …….. to speak for …….. minutes without hesitation, deviation, or repetition – starting now!!

 Well, I have deviated from the Tour de France Knitalong.  I have decided that my KAL project, the circular blanket, is big enough.  I had almost 500 stitches on that circular needle and it was still increasing – I had had enough.  Time to call it a halt and cast off.  So that’s what I did and here’s the result.  The small black marker on the right hand side of the blanket shows where I was when the Knitalong started.  My initial goal of continuing to knit round and round adding an inch a day became overwhelming.  I’m quite happy with my decision to call it a day.


So now what will I do for the Knitalong?  I wish I had some Norwegian Heilo yarn in a bright yellow – my favourite colour.  Then I would knit another gansey.  Alas, I can’t wait for an order from Norway to arrive, and besides, that would not be in keeping with my other objective which is to reduce my stash.

So I have dipped into my stash and found some nice yellow wool to knit a baby tank top.


This wool was handdyed in a workshop held over a year ago.    Not much to show yet – just an inch of ribbing on size 3.25 mm needles, 70 stitches. 


Logo for the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers March 10, 2007

Filed under: Dyeing,Knitting,Spinning,Weaving — Janet @ 1:14 pm

Online Guild logoThis is the logo for the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers – a wonderful guild with over 300 members from all over the world.

Check it out at the website   http://onlineguildwsd.org.uk