Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Too Pooped to Pop! (photo heavy!)

I've had a really busy time since I last posted here. I think I told you about the Sanday Soulka Weekends, which have been happening each month. We have just had the Wrecks and Signals Weekend, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. The Sanday Spinners were having an Open studio, at one of the members' conservatories, so I decided to make some things for sale. I dyed a whole lot of fleece with Kool Aid, carded it and made up some bags with fleece and co-ordinating beads. I also machine embroidered some bags. 

(Sorry about the quality and I forgot to photograph the other designs!) 
Three of the embroidered bags sold, but nobody was interested in the beady fleece bags. 
Here you can see my husband having a go at carding. You can see some of the carded fleece in the background, some drying on my ruler shelf and some soaking in the sink. It is great fun to do, and I want to go on to natural dyeing from here.
Back to the Soulka Weekend. We had a talk on shipwrecks then a concert  with Frank Keenan and Logan's Well on the Friday. On the Saturday I went spinning and met some visitors to Sanday, who had come over for the Soulka. 
We went on a tour of the buildings which were left over from the war. Seemingly the army requisitioned some land and the islanders did not know what was going happening in the camp. It was extremely top secret. The first building we saw was the morgue -

Only two people were killed on the island during the war, and the bodies were brought into this building.

 There are still no details about what happened here during the war, but it was supposedly extremely important. This building was enormous, and it was surrounded by mines. The army was supposed to get rid of them after the war, but the farmer had to drag a wheel behind the back of a tractor and set it going, so that he wasn't blown up tilling the ground.

The shaped concrete at the front was where the diesel was housed.
This was a communication shelter, and would have had a huge antenna on top. 
After this, we had a lecture on the Rev. M Armour, who sought land reform for the crofters in Sanday.
(The following pictures are not mine. I forgot to take my camera with me!)

The Kirkwall City Pipe Band played (and marched!) in the school playground later, and then we had another concert inside. 

It was fantastic!! The pipe band leader was really funny and so enthusiastic!! He said music and learning music should be fun and the concert definitely was!! We then had a dance and at 11.30pm a huge supper was brought out, sandwiches, pizza, sausage rolls, pies and cakes. The next day they played again, but less formally (grin!!)
What a difference!! There was a 7km run in the afternoon, a balloon race and more music from the band. I have only told you about the things we attended, but there were loads of other things on offer, including Open Studios, talks and workshops. What a weekend!!

Last night and this morning the Sanday Spinners did some indigo dyeing. I will tell you about it in the next post. We have had glorious weather recently. We went for a walk on the beach and had a paddle. Then I came home and had a snooze!!

Till next time.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Videos and Apology

I thought you would like to see one of our sheep and the ram being shorn by one of our friends. Ian is in great demand to shear the sheep on the island. We were given these sheep last year as 'caddy lambs'. A caddy lamb is a lamb that has been rejected by its mother, or the sheep has had a multiple birth and cannot cope with all the mouths to feed. We (or should I say my husband) hand reared the lambs. The ram was supposed to have been 'done', but he grew into an imposing beast and fathered twin lambs this year! One of the twins was rejected, so we started hand feeding again, and got some more caddy lambs for company.

I am sorry I have been off Blogger for so long. My patchwork friend Pat died recently. I have known Pat for more than thirty five years. She was like a second Mum to me and was a great support when my own lovely Mum died. She was great fun, a fantastic sewer,  a font of knowledge and I loved her dearly. She will be sadly missed.

My father-in-law also died two weeks ago. He was suffering with Alzheimer's, and came to live with us before it was properly diagnosed. Unfortunately he did not like living in Orkney, as he had lived in Glasgow for sixty years, and missed the hustle and bustle of city life (if we get two cars in a row, it is a traffic jam!) Dad was an extremely intelligent man, who helped and cared for people throughout his life. He will be sadly missed as well.

Sorry this has been a sad post, but things are definitely more cheerful now. We have new lambs, ducklings and goslings, I have been out in the studio and the sun is shining. What more can you ask for?
Till next time.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Back Again.(Photo Heavy)

Edit - this is the third time I have tried to post this! You know what they say - third time lucky!!
Sorry I have been so long posting. A great deal has been happening here, and I have not felt like posting worries (as well as losing posts into the ether!).

We went off island recently. We were going down to a joint birthday party for my grandchildren. My husband, who was an entertainer before he retired, said he would do one final party, so we combined that with a lot of other things that needed done.
In the summer, we are able to take the Hamnavoe ferry from Stromness (Orkney Mainland) to Scrabster (Scotland), and sleep on board overnight. We went onboard after 9pm and had a very comfortable cabin with an en suite and a breakfast as well. I get a lovely sleep, but I feel awful as soon as the ferry moves at 6am, and I have yet to manage the cooked breakfast in the dining room.
I was really excited this trip, as I was going to meet one of my new Internet friends. Elly lives in Thurso, and I met her through Rosa, who was such a good support when my sister was ill. Elly was such fun! We met up for coffee and we sat and nattered for an hour. I could have sat there all day, but we needed to get on our way.
The picture above was taken in Inverkeithing. We took our granddaughter to a park, whilst we were waiting for our other GD. There appeared to be a pit dungeon in the foreground and two dungeons dug out of the rock at the rear. I have no info on these, but hope to find out more soon. The weather had just turned a bit warmer, and I managed to catch this butterfly sunning itself.
The party went well, and you can see 'Mr Tubbs' with the party girls - the ones on the left in each picture -

 and here is the other granddaughter with Granddad!
The hotel where we stay in Penicuik has such a peaceful lounge I always want to do some applique, when I see the windows.

We brought the two older girls back with us, and they (and we) had a great time. The weather was cold, but that did not damp the enthusiasm. They are back home now, but things have been a bit hectic. Hopefully, things will quieten down soon (and this post will post!!!!)
Till next time,

Friday, 29 April 2011

Disappearing Posts!

Is anybody else having problems with Blogger? I keep on losing my posts when I publish them.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


I am sorry I have not been blogging recently. I was all ready to post, when our power went out. Now this is not unusual. We are a small island, and when there is a fault, it can affect a small area, or it can affect the whole island. We have two men on the island, who do the repairs, if they can, and if they can't the power company sends out mechanics from Mainland Orkney, either chartering a plane or a launch, to effect the repairs.

So the power went out. It was nearly 2pm. still daylight. We are all electric. except for a wood burning stove. The fire went on to keep us warm, and then I started having problems. I wanted to use my computer - NO ELECTRICITY! I wanted to use my sewing machine - NO ELECTRICITY! Also my machine was out in my studio -NO HEAT. There was no chance of watching the television, listening to the radio or cd and the light was not good enough to do hand embroidery. I could not do any baking, which I love or do any cooking, but I solved the question of a cup of tea by putting a pan on top of the wood burner, much easier than getting out the small, gas camping stove. I ended up reading a book, and using a torch , when the natural light began to fade.

This failure of power made me think how dependent on power we really are. I need light to see, a cooker to eat, television, radio and cd/dvd to listen to, heaters for comfort. It made me wonder how we managed before I became so dependent on 'gadgets'!! Our island did not get electricity till the 1970s (I think 1972), so it was tilley lamps, aga cookers or individual generators. Suddenly we cannot do without ipads, ipods and mobile phones. Now I may drool at the adverts for ipads,  but I hate mobile phones! They are intrusive. Who wants to be phoned when you are walking down the street, or, in my case, walking along a deserted beach, listening to the surf and the seagulls? Yuck!!

From there it was a small step to thinking about the disaster in Japan. Can you imagine what the Japanese are going through just now? It was bad enough that they had a massive earthquake, but then the tsunami arrived, and now they have the radiation from the damaged power plant with which to contend. Just watch this-

It beggars belief. I think one of the most poignant pictures for me was people queuing up in a very orderly fashion, waiting for food. Adults were handed a very small package of rice (maybe about 3oz) for two adults. This is in a country that only the day before had the third largest economy! The Japanese people must be asking themselves, 'Are the government telling us the truth about the radiation?" Imagine what these people are going through? People who are used to the highest types of technology, reduced to nothing.

And to add to all this distressing news, our government has involved us in another war. Where and when will all this madness end? It doesn't bear thinking about!!

To go back to the power failure. The transformer had failed in the field behind our house and about thirty people were still affected, fours hours later. A launch had been chartered from Kirkwall, and the engineers came out to repair it. We went down to the hotel and had a lovely meal and then decided to go to the bingo! We had a great evening, won some money and came home to find the power had just been turned on - seven hours after the initial fault! I have appreciated electricity ever since.
Till next time.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Hexs, DJ, Log Cabin and Applique Tutorial

It has been simply ages since I posted. My back was playing up again, and then I had to get a small growth cut from my eyelid. It looked as if someone had socked me good and proper, but the swelling has gone down, the black is gone, and I am back sewing once again. I always thought if you were not feeling well, the natural thing would be to pick up a bit of sewing, but when I am off-colour, it is the last thing I want to do. 
Anyway, you do not want to hear my grumps and groans, you want to see some pictures!

I usually sew some of these hexagons, when I go on the ferry, so it is slow going. I want to make this quilt -
I saw this on the Net a long time ago. I do not know who took this picture, or did the sewing, but I thought the design was absolutely gorgeous!! It will take me years to make it, but I like being able to pick up and lay down the pattern, and still know where I am, when I go back to it.

 This is the latest Dear Jane block - I 3 - Family Album. It is hand-sewn. It looks wonky, but is just not well pressed.

I started this log cabin last year too, so this has to be finished soon. I am trying to be really good and not start any new projects. I have made a pact with myself that I have to finish two UFOs before I can start anything new this year. I was doing really well. I thought I would pick two small UFOs, trying to be sneaky , and that way I would get two projects finished quickly, and I could get onto something new! Best laid schemes o' mice and men and all that. I lost one part of a table topper and can't find it anywhere, and have run out of material to finish another! Mind you I have had a lot of UFOs, so don't need to worry about sitting around, doing nothing!!

I really love applique, but am always worried I don't get it right. My friend sent me this wonderful link to a tutorial or tutorials on Back Basting at  
There are three tutorials on Back Basting, and they are really good. I have permission from Marjorie to pass on the links, so enjoy the tutorials here, here and here!
Thanks, Marjorie (and Cyn for telling me about them!)
Till next time.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Eilean Dubh

This is my third attempt at putting this up! You 
can see the Eilean Dubh book in all its glory, but
Blogger is mucking about with the layout, and I 
am not changing the html in case I spoil the pictures.
Enjoy, (if i can get Blogger to behave!)