New book

 Look what ceb made for me :)

I'm using it to keep a record of knitting, especially the size of various people's and useful generic sock patterns.

I'm starting some new weaving projects. I've just finished a belt for Vera, but no photo as she's  getting it for Xmas and I don't want her to see the pattern before hand.

I'm just starting a belt for Clare.  I like trying new techniques, so this one is using a style of inkle loom weaving know as Baltic weaving.  It uses threads of different thickness.  (CEB, that was the final decider on which yarn is used).  Hopefully, I'll get the loom set up tomorrow.

 Clare's book

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.

And so it begins...

 Well, actually, it began over a week ago, but the next step is now in motion.

Fireplace removed last week.

The man has just arrived to remove the boiler and the downstairs radiators.

Much of our furniture has already been moved up into the bedrooms where we'll be living for the next couple of weeks. (hence, removing the existing upstairs radiators will be the very last part of the job, as they're hard to get at right now)

I've got my computer set up in what used to be my son's bedroom.  It's quite nice up here, light and airy and on the warmer side of the house - which may be useful as we'll be relying on a portable electric radiator for the next few days.  

I've got my knitting (I'm getting much better at socks these days), and my book rest and my loom.  Plus the essential board game supply!

There's the added advantage of being well away from the dust created by stuff happening downstairs.  My husband is in the process of removing the downstairs carpets (very old and very worn, and full of stuff that sets off my asthma).  One room now contains nothing except the paperweights on the windowsill - really odd to see the bare concrete floor.

When all this is over, I'm hoping for several real gains.  Going for a vinyl floor should get rid of all the dust mites, etc, that have made the lounge carpet an asthma trigger for many years.  Being able to control heating independently in different rooms should also help.   At present, the office is a fridge when the lounge is warm (because the master thermostat is in the lounge).

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.

Installing a Heat Pump

 Everything is a bit manic right now...

We're installing a heat pump.

Our boiler was on its last legs, so it was either replace it with another boiler, thus locking us into using gas for another 15-20 years, or replacing it with something less dependent on fossil fuels.  Hence the heat pump.

As our downstair carpets all needed replacing (the only one that don't have holes covered with duct tape is 39 years old and  a major asthma trigger because of all the allergens trapped in its deep pile) we're going for a complete change of flooring as well and have the heat pump feed an underfloor heating system instead of radiators.  (Upstairs will still be radiators)

We'd originally decided to go for an engineered wood floor, but vinyl tiles are half the price and conduct heat better.

The first stage of the process has been completed.  The chimney in our lounge has been bricked up, the hearth removed and the wall plastered.  We chose not to remove the chimney breast entirely, that would have cost a lot more.  The lounge looks quite a bit larger just removing the fireplace.

My asthma is not very happy about all the extra dust in the air, but I'll survive. In the long run, this whole process will benefit the asthma.

Next week, two large items of furniture go to auction.  Neither of them are terribly practical for what we need to store in them, and sentimental value is all very well, but you can't keep things forever.  Several other inherited items are going as well.  Space is finite and it will help cover the costs of new shelving for our board game collection.

At the end of next week, all the downstairs furniture moves upstairs....  Old carpet goes to the tip.  I stay out of the way as the dust raised will be horrendous....

This will be a major undertaking, roping in other family members to help move everything.  For a week or two, we'll be living in a rather compact space in one of the bedrooms as every single downstairs room will have the floor being removed/replaced.

Friday coming, the boiler and the downstairs radiators all get removed.  (Can't remember when the upstairs radiators go - they have to be replaced by larger ones, as heat pumps deliver heat at a lower temperature they need a larger surface area on the radiators)

We survive for several days with a portable electric radiator and thank heaven we have a well insulated house...

Monday, the underfloor heating people start work, they and the heat pump people will be working around each other (they're liaising very well) for several days.

I've still got to finalise dates for the flooring and painting people. We've only just finalised the heating dates, but the flooring people are getting back to me today or tomorrow, and the painters have already said they're flexible.

A good chunk of the heat pump and underfloor system should be covered by the Government's Renewable Heat Incentive, though we're not yet sure how much.  They pay you back over a five or six year period, which to my mind is very wrong, as only people able to pay upfront (which we can owing to a legacy) are able to take advantage of the scheme.

What we need are government schemes to insulate the homes of people on low incomes and to directly support environmentally friendly heating systems.  Heating homes is a large part of the country's carbon footprint and one that has to be tackled as quickly as possible.  Every replacement gas boiler is a problem for the future.

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.

Phone call

 I just phoned someone to discuss a dance event.

I thought you might share my enjoyment of her reply "Please can you phone back in ten minutes, I'm just washing a rabbit."

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.


 Climate change is becoming depressingly real.  More wildfires in Australia and the US, floods in the UK.

My sister lives near Sheffield. Her village is on high ground, so her home is safe from the floods, but river levels are over a meter above their normal height, breaking the previous record by a large margin.  Many people are not so fortunate as she is. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-50343977

We've had a massive amount of rain in the south of England, but not as bad as they've had it in the north.

We finally got access to our new allotments (long saga which I'll fill you in on later), but the soil, even on the higher ground, is totally waterlogged.

We're getting pinned between summer droughts and endless heavy rain in winter.

On the plus side, there does seem to be some movement on the political front - all political parties are now starting to make climate change promises, though how many will survive beyond the election is an interesting question.  This is our first election in which a majority of voters have said that the climate will be  a factor in who they vote for. This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.

Funding Circle

 I know one or two of you joined Funding Circle several years ago when I recommended it, so a follow up post...

Although I've had good returns over the years, I'm now getting out of Funding Circle. 

Several reasons -

1.  I started the process because they didn't have a method of automatically paying my bank interest/repaid loans when I wanted to take an income.  Lending Works is MUCH better in that regard.

2.  You can get stuck with a long tail of loans that are bad debts. Yes, they'll recover some of them, but the rate isn't brilliant.  (Lending Works have a provision fund for bad debts)

3.  Funding Circle are losing a lot of money.  In my eye at least, that looks like increasing risk of platform failure. (most peer to peer companies appear to lose money, but Funding Circle is running at a very big loss)

I'm staying with Lending Works, as they are much lower risk, but I am reminded of the need to diversify.

Read Financial Thing if you want a good guide to Peer to Peer lending.

My next project is to take a serious look at ethical investments.  (One of the things that originally drew me to Funding Circle was the opportunity to choose which businesses I invested in. This allowed me to avoid anything I found unethical. That option no longer exists)

I need to ensure none of my money is invested in fossil fuels, and that's a lot harder than it sounds.  I've already changed my bank, but there's a lot more to do yet.  (Insurance, pension?, all kinds of stuff)

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.


A major new work of modern art by Oswin Proctor (b. 2014)

Kimmer the Dog (2019)

Ball point and felt tip on 80GSM plain paper.

A six-legged, multicoloured, flying dog with no ears, Kimmer hears through the extra pair of tails on the ends of his wings.

2019-09-21.jpg (1960×1660) This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.

Clothing and Carbon Emissions

 I'm just about to patch my pair of dungarees for the third or fourth time...Luckily, they were a patchwork design to start with, so the new patches blend in very well.
Clothing is a big hitter in global carbon emissions, and also in water consumption (if you think clothing uses a lot of water, then up your estimate - it uses even more than you think!) Then add in the problems of microfibre plastic pollution every time you wash synthetic fabrics, and the pesticides used to grow cotton, and you quickly realise that there are no easy answers.
There's a good summary of the issues in a report produced for the UK parliament .
One good thing, is that the sheer scale of the problem means it's easy to reduce your individual contribution to it.
I recently completed a year without buying any new clothes (charity shops are allowed, as second hand purchases are keeping stuff out of the waste stream). Since then, I've had one lapse by buying a new waistcoat for my sword dance costume, and I suspect I'll need new underwear at some point, but apart from that, it's surprising what you can manage with a bit of darning, patching and new elastic.
This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.

Dublin Dragons/Dragons Heads tablet weaving

 This entry is mainly so that anyone else attempting this pattern will have a chance of finding all the information about it. It's a lovely pattern, but a absolute pig to weave!

The reason it is so difficult is because it's a pattern with deliberate missing threads in the warp.  Most tablet weaving uses four threads, one in each corner of the card, but this is a pattern that only uses two of the four holes.  It gives a slightly three dimensional look to the weave as there are small pits as part of the pattern.  It's a style known as Hochdorf weaving after an archaeological find in Germany. (some people call it pebble weaving, because it looks a little as though pebbles of  a different colour are showing through the weave, but this tem 

I fell in love with the pattern when I saw a photo of it, but would never have managed to weave it without this page .  Not only does it have a diagram on how to turn the cards, it has a trouble-shooting guide to help you recover when you go wrong!  And boy, did I need that guide!  I only wish I could thank the author, but sadly, comments are disabled.

Why is it so difficult to weave?

The short answer is tension.  When you have a warp thread in all four holes, the cards stay where you put them.  If you have warp threads through two diagonally opposite corners, the cards want to be diagonal too.  This is not too bad if you're working on a warping board where the cards tend to rest level on the board, but I was working on an inkle loom, where the cards are suspended in the air.  Every time you let go of a card, it flips to the diagonal and you lose your place in the pattern.

After much swearing, I eventually resorted to using stitch holder pins to pin the cards together through the corner holes.  This stopped them flipping and also made it easier to turn the card bock.  After that, I still made occasional mistakes, but far, far fewer than before.
If you look at the photo of the cards on the loom below, you'll see that each pack (there are three at this particular point in the pattern) has it's own pin.

If anyone is insane enough to weave it, and knows how to do tablet weaving, the pattern chart is below.  The letters on the RH edge of the lower diagram indicate which hole is at the top back at the end of each pair of turns.  It's the same hole right across the pack - this simple fact will be a lifesaver if you go for it, as it allows you to check your position regularly.

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments.