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January 20th, 2017

I thought some of you might be interested in hearing about this quirky little place we found semi by accident while we were on holiday. My parents have moved from rural Queensland and now live on the coast near Bribie Island. A few days after Christmas we thought we would take a short drive up the road and visit the Caboolture Warplane Museum. Sadly, contrary to the information on their website, it was closed for the holiday period. This was of great disappointment to Andy who is a bit of a plane buff. However, driving back we saw a turn off for a place called the Abbey Museum and thought we might as well not waste the trip.
It turned out to be a very odd little treasure indeed. It was not a large museum but it had a range of artefacts from across human history including some rather neat ancient and mediaeval objects, such as a whole suit of 16th century jousting armour and some Tudor furniture. Apparently it began as the collection of a nineteenth century antiquarian who started his own little sect of gnostic catholicism in the UK. He had to close his museum in England during the Second World War and then he died and his sect moved to set up a small monastic style community on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, bringing the antiquities with them. Aside from various kinds of objects they also have a manuscript collection, although the manuscript gallery was closed the day we were there. The museum has associations with several reenacting groups and holds annual events for some of them in the grounds.
Since it was a quiet day and we were the only ones in the museum, the attendant gave us a tour of the community church where the stained glass windows are made up from bits of the large mediaeval windows from Winchester Cathedral. These were smashed by Oliver Cromwell, and some of the remaining pieces were acquired by said antiquarian. It turned out to be quite a surprising and rewarding little excursion. Although Andy was still sad that we missed the warplanes.

Alas, I did not think to take any pictures., but here are some of other parts of our holiday:

The kids and their cousins enjoying themselves in my mum and dad's new pool.



A view of the Glasshouse Mountains from Bribie Island


My brother's wedding - it was a trifle windy, but that was all for the best as this was the hottest, most humid day of the whole trip.


He missed the planes, but he found this tank:

December 31st, 2016

So the rest of this year seems to have whizzed past. I swear it was July five minutes ago. Work has kept me fairly busy, which has probably contributed. I had a couple of deadlines in October, and spent the last month of the year acting at a higher level. I managed to squeeze in a few fun things too. I made it to the Feast of Blessed Herman, and the Foundation Day Picnic, and irreparable and I hit the ABC plant fair and a local craft fair.

Now I'm on three weeks leave , which I feel like I have rather earned. We were originally going to have a fairly quiet Christmas at home, but my brother decided that he and his fiancee were going to get married on New Year's Eve instead of July as they originally were planning. So we changed plans at fairly short notice, dashed up on Christmas Eve, and we're currently in Queensland.

Most of this week I have spent lazing by the pool reading books. We had a noisy family Christmas, as you do when there are twelve for lunch, and we just got back from my brother's wedding, which was very nice. Going to sit up and see the fireworks at midnight then we have a day to recover before we get on a plane and come back to Adelaide.

Happy New Year to one and all!

August 3rd, 2016

No, really, still here...

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purpellie
So June proceeded pretty much as I foretold in my last post ie incredibly busy. Then I took a week off in the middle of July, which coincided with the last week of school holidays, and a visit by my parents. That whizzed past much too quickly, and then I got a cold that Erin caught on her school trip/exchange to Malaysia (which is how she spent her school holidays - that was an experience for all involved, and now suddenly we're in August.

The feast went fairly well, all told, and the recipes have been written up, if anyone is interested.

Aside from work and feast I have been doing rather a lot of crochet, a little bit of weaving, playing a fair bit of Fallout (I more or less finished Fallout 4 and Andy suggested I try Fallout 3, which I didn't get into at the time it came out, but which I have discovered is a much more compelling game), and some light gardening. For the latter it's mostly been weeding - at the moment a lot of stuff is coming up in anticipation of Spring and I feel like the garden is in a pretty good place, at least Spring flower wise. I am hoping that we don't get hot weather too early in the year to kill it all off.

I haven't been doing a lot of weaving, as a little while ago I started a beast of a project to make Erin a poncho. This involved winding a 5m warp, which was a bit of an undertaking, and I messed it up a bit, so the weaving has been a bit painful. However, I recently acquired a finer reed and some very nice wool to go with it, so I have a bit of incentive to get the poncho finished.

Anyway, some pics:

5m of yarn, in preparation for winding on


The beast, nearly done:


Dora the door snake is now keeping out draughts:


A blanket I made to keep my beloved spouse's toes warm:


A giant scarf for Liam:


A giant cushion:


A work in progress:

May 24th, 2016

Hello, I'm still here

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So, I rather carelessly put my hand up to act at a higher level for the month leading up to 30th Anniversary (for which we now have 134 people booked), which was a bit silly as this is the time of year when everyone is rushing around trying to get their work program for the next financial year sorted out. And of course the guy I am replacing has somehow managed to not do much of that, so it has fallen in my lap, and I had to take some of my own work with me, because there is no one else to do it. In other words, I have been just a tad busy recently.

Aside from that, life has been pretty quiet. I have been doing a lot of crocheting and weaving when not working or feast organising. We got a cold in the house a little while ago that seems to be going around, mutating as it hops back and forth. The garden is slowly coming back to life, now we've had a bit of rain. I have vague plans for falling in a heap later this month when the feast is over (and my acting period is done - did I mention that was almost literally the same day?)

March 20th, 2016

Mini-meme

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Acquired from irreparable. She assigned me the letter 'W'...

Something I hate: Waxing. I have never actually done it, but that's because I have a strong suspicion that I would not enjoy the process at all...
Something I love: Weaving. Also wisteria.
Somewhere I've been: Wales. And Warwickshire (I used to live there).
Somewhere I'd like to go: Waterloo. As in the battlefield. I expect that would be kind of neat...
Someone I know: I have a colleague named Will...
A film I like: Willow

March 15th, 2016

Not about weaving...

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It's been a while since I wrote about anything except weaving, so I thought I would give a brief rundown of the parts of my life that aren't warped...

To be honest, things have been pretty quiet since Christmas. Most of my time not at work has been crocheting, weaving, or tooling about in Fallout 4, with some light feast organising in between.

The feast is the Barony of Innilgard's 30th Anniversary, which has now turned into a transvestiture too. I am pleased to say that I am once again teaming up with Eleanor/Bron. We did a highly successful and extremely well received Midwinter together back in 2012, so hopefully the results will be just as good.

I am not as enamoured of Fallout 4 as I was of Skyrim, I have to say, but I have played Skyrim to the point where I can no longer sustain interest in it, so it is good to have another open world game to scratch that particular itch while I wait for the next Elder Scrolls game (from my fingers to your ears, Bethesda). I think the two main reasons that I like it a bit less are: it is a less pretty world (kind of shallow, but while the Wasteland is well imagined, it is not beautiful or awe inspiring, and you can't really make it so - even the buildings you can put up are ramshackle and dirty); the character mechanics, while a bit more of a standard roleplaying approach, don't give me the feeling of the character making themselves as they go along that I got with Skyrim.

The garden is usually pretty quiescent at this time of year, as even the weeds struggle in Adelaide summers. I tried to plant a few hardy/ drought tolerant varieties, but this year it was too hot too soon and most of them were killed off before they had time to get established. I was pleased to discover that a couple of clumps of Portulaca (also known as Moss Rose - in the purslane family) seem to be clinging on. They are a perennial, so if they can manage not to be overwhelmed by heart's ease come Spring we will have a few summer flowers for the future too.

And to finish, some pics: the boys cakes from Crazy Birthday Week (a chocolate cheesecake and a strawberry gateau) and a couple of crochet projects...







February 7th, 2016

I can haz twill?

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There's a wide range of twill weaves though a diagonal rib is the most common (think denim). Generally you need a four (or more) shaft loom to weave them. A rigid heddle loom is the equivalent of a two shaft loom. The more shafts, the more complex the patterns you can weave. However, I found a 'recipe' for weaving something twill like on a rigid heddle loom on Ravelry (my new favourite thing that isn't a loom - Andy recently described it as 'like Board Game Geek but for angharad'), so I thought I would give it a go. I had actually been planning to do something like this on my small frame loom before I realised it would be extremely difficult, so I had the yarn to hand already.

First things first: I mentioned in my last post that I was going to try the 'proper' way of warping up the loom. Instead of a thousand words, here's a picture:

It's a bit hard to see, but basically you clamp the loom to the table, tie one end of the yarn on and then wind it back and forth between the back beam of the loom and something carefully positioned the desired length of the warp away. In this case, a chair with a long post.


This was substantially quicker. I got the warp wound on and tied up ready to weave in about two hours, which was much quicker than the six hours for the previous piece, even considering that this was only about half the width. I suspect that as the complexity of the pattern increases the new method will approach the old one ( there probably wouldn't be much difference if you were swapping yarns or colours in the warp every end or two).
It was reasonably easy to keep a good even tension in the warp as I was winding it, but I think it would become a bit more difficult to do so if the piece was wider or the warp was much longer.

So, on to weaving:

The texture is quite subtle and really only comes out in the right light, so it was tricky to take pictures of. Above you can see I have woven a band of plain weave and am just starting the twill.

It was pretty easy, really, once I got the hang of it, so then I decided to play around with the pattern a bit:


Fat chevrons and skinny chevrons.

And diamonds!

Finally, the finished piece:

This was before I trimmed the fringe.

The yarn used was a fairly bulky cotton acrylic blend. It was quite soft, but the scarf is a bit stiff, so I might try washing it to see if that softens it up a bit. Overall I am quite pleased with this experiment. Next time I might try the twill in two colours and see if I can get a shot effect.

January 26th, 2016

First piece on the new loom

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I finished my first test piece on the new loom about a week ago. I thought I would post some pictures of the process. Of course I completely forgot to take any when I was winding the warp, but I was doing that the same boring way I used for the last scarf I made on the smaller loom (winding the yarn out on the clothes airer basically). The new loom is supposed to have a funky, quick way of doing this, which is difficult to explain without pictures, but I couldn't get it to work for me. Of course, once I had warped up this piece, I figured it out. I have now tried this method with the next piece I am working on, so more on that later.

Anyway, here is all the yarn, tied onto the back beam of the loom.



There sure is a lot of yarn....


And now the warp is tied onto the front of the loom and tensioned nicely. At this point it is ready to weave. Getting to this point was about six hours work.



The first few inches woven:



And here it is just about finished and ready to take off the loom. The weaving was really quick - maybe six - seven hours all up for a piece that is about 2m long (including fringes).



And this is the finished piece, with all the ends knotted. The tension is a bit uneven, but I am rather impressed. I am also impressed with how easy this new loom made it and how quickly the weaving went (once I got the warp sorted out).

January 10th, 2016

My Christmas present

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I've waited a while to post about this, but there was some assembly required and I only managed to get that completely finished yesterday. So here 'tis:



This is a 60cm Ashford rigid heddle loom. It seems enormous sitting on the table, but they do come in larger sizes. 60cm is wide enough to weave shawl sized pieces (as opposed to the scarf sized pieces I can do on the 30 cm loom), or weave pieces of fabric that are large enough to join easily into garments.

When it first came it looked like this:


The pieces were nicely finished, but the timber was raw, and I decided I would seal it with Danish oil before I put it together. This required waiting for a spell of cooler weather ( you don't want to be working with flammable liquids when it's 40°C). This only happened last weekend, and since I needed to let it dry and also was back at work last week, I didn't get a chance to actually put it together until yesterday. Here's some pics of the process:
After one sanding and coat of oil:


Second coat:


If it looks like their are some odds bits of wood in there, it's because I also took the opportunity to finish a niddy-noddy and drop spindle that I got from Ashford some time ago.

The basic frame put together:


And the finished article again:


It's so pretty. I have some black, grey and brown yarn in an appropriate weight for this reed, so I might have a go at warping it up this afternoon.

December 24th, 2015

I bet you didn't even notice we were gone!

I dragged myself through the last week at work (I was kind of busy actually) finishing off with the office Christmas party on Friday afternoon. Then Saturday was shopping and packing and on Sunday we took off for Beachport.

We had a pretty good trip down - traffic was light, the kids were well behaved, and we only got stuck behind one caravan in the Coorong. Beachport is a small historic town on the south eastern coast. It is small enough that you can pretty much walk everywhere, but being that small there is not a lot of entertainment there, and in the last few years they have converted the beach to be more boat friendly and less swimmer friendly. However, it's not a bad place to have a few quiet days away from the hustle bustle (and the internet), the local food is great and I've long preferred a wilder coastline anyway.

Andy's family used to own a shack there, and so two or three generations of his mother's family spent most of their summer holidays there. This is a slightly alien concept to me. My peripatetic family are always looking for new horizons, and rarely make second visits to places, no matter how much they enjoyed them. But this was part nostalgia trip, as we celebrated Andy's mum's 70th birthday there. Her birthday is very close to Christmas, which made the timing rather tight, but we had a nice little holiday, all told. The only downside was the wind. We packed on Saturday, when it was 44°C here, forgetting that it is always windy in Beachport. Literally, always. That part of the country skirts the edge of the Roaring 40s. The wind starts off in the morning as a nice, gentle gale, builds up to hurricane force in the evenings, and then settles down a bit overnight. The first day we were there we had to buy jackets!

Anyway, we packed up last night, and set off for home early this morning. Andy dropped me off at the shops on the way so that I could pick up a few last minute things, then we came home for some cooking, light tidying and a bit of unpacking. Tomorrow we will have 12 for Christmas lunch.

But for now, the chocolate mousse is setting in the fridge, the ham is marinating, Ashwyn has sprinkled a mix of glitter and oatmeal on the lawn (to attract reindeer apparently), the presents are all wrapped, there are cookies under the tree, and I am going to have a cup of tea and a sit down. Merry Christmas everyone. I wish you great food, good company, peace and joy (maybe not at the same time).

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