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Archive for March, 2011

This spring thing is fast-moving.

When I was poking around in my garden a couple of days ago, the cherry and the apple sported the merest buds. This morning a friend of mine who has several cherry trees told me that the first of hers was going to flower in the next day or so,  and I figured I should check mine. You see, in the past, it has been rather reticent to move from flower to fruit (we’ll not even mention the apple tree, which flowered two months late a couple of years ago), and this year I’d really, really like that to change. We’re hoping to get them together, in a manner of speaking (her blossoms, brought down in a bag, to pollinate mine). As it’s warmer down here in the city than it is at the top of her mountain, I shouldn’t have been surprised by what I saw, but I still was. That’s the thing about spring – it’s like a magic trick. It rushes in, and does some really fast, sleight-of-hand stuff, and then Bam! everything’s green, and you wonder how you failed to see any of it actually happening.

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Our clocks finally sprang forward last night, only about a week or so after spring well and truly arrived in Cardiff.

It’s been a benediction to have some sunshine, and a couple of days have even been warm enough to go outside without a coat. Today, we will feel it even more, with that first hour of extra evening daylight to enjoy all those delicious greens, from the bold to the muted, and the soft to the bright.

The bulbs are out in the garden, and the unidentified, ugly, pest-ridden “weed tree” is blossoming and fragrant for the only two weeks of the year when it’s anything less than hideous. I do so wish it were a magnolia.

My street has gone from grey to green in a week, and the rowan directly outside my bedroom window has even started a push towards flowering. I hope we don’t get any late frost to thwart the poor thing’s optimism. My own optimism is strengthened immeasurably by a little sun on my back, and occasional, precious glimpses of blue sky.

But, it still gets cool in the evening. And I, for one, am quite glad it does. Some people might call me a simple pyromaniac, but I prefer to think in terms of the unquenchable human love of a warm hearth at the center of a happy home. So I’m resolutely lighting a fire in the evenings, and will do so (with no apologies for the fossil fuel use) until we transition seamlessly into barbecue (or braai) season – since summer in our house is marked by merely moving the fire outdoors, and cooking on it (more than the vagaries of the damp Welsh climate would suggest is possible).

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A few months ago, I read a Yarn Harlot blog post about knitting directly from some unspun, undyed silk hankies – mawatas – and thought, “that looks interesting” and “I must get hold of some of those in my next yarn/fiber order”. Then, a few weeks ago, they came up again, in a Ravelry conversation, and I remembered that I was going to, and set about placing my order. Well, it turned out that she’d blogged about them again, only not in plain black and white, but in full color, and this time, the knitting world had – as one woman – apparently gone crazy. I find that interesting: truly, color speaks. Suppliers were suddenly running out of stock left, right, and center, and the company she bought hers from was even forced to pull their listing from the online store in the face of frenzied demand. (As an aside, sometimes I think I would love to have that level of popularity, either as a dyer, or a blogger, and then, I read through as many of the sycophantic comments on any of her posts as it takes to make me change my mind. Turns out, not as many as you’d think.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short (for once: am I quite well?), my first supplier was out of stock; my second supplier claimed to have stock “but we’re running low for some reason” (I knew the reason, if they didn’t), but turned out not to; then my first supplier got them back in and I was able to get my hands on some.

Oh, swoon – the delights of playing with pure silk. The tactile pleasure. The colors. The sheer sensuous feast.

There’s a good news/bad news aspect to this in that I’ve sold the first batch already. I’m not even sure I have any left to play with myself, which was all I ever expected to do. So, my ‘good problem to have’ for today is, do I order some more, while the dyeing’s good? Because, I sure loved dyeing them, and I would totally love to sell a few more, and hey, I’d still quite like to try knitting/spinning some, actually. And they take a pretty photograph, too.

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