batcat and catbatt

Whenever I groom my cats, unless the bin is right next to me to throw away the fur, I find myself spinning it with my fingers, then twisting it up and plying it back on itself, over and over until i have a short thick length. Which i then throw to the nearest cat who plays with it excitedly. Oh, except that one time that i wrapped some wire round it and Gren and Wormy played around with creepy cat fur handlebar moustaches. So a while ago I decided I wanted to spin some proper yarn out of cat fur, so i could knit it into a cat toy. I mentioned this wish to my dad, and he started collecting the fur from his cats.

Last week he remembered to give me his collection. 26g of it. It’s been kept in a plastic baggie, so it was pretty compressed in the photo, but trust me, that’s a LOT of cat fur.


I didn’t want to spin it on its own because the ends seemed a little spikey, and it wouldn’t make a very good yarn anyway, as it’s got no crimp, so I decided to blend it about 50:50 with wool, and ended up choosing some humbug BFL that was similar colours. I made a few rolags before I realised I don’t particularly like hand carding, so did the rest on the drum carder. After 3 passes it was pretty evenly blended. Another couple would probably have made it super smooth, but I don’t mind if it’s a bit lumpy and bumpy.


I decided that there is way too much there for just a silly toy mouse or something, so I’m instead going to make a stuffed toy kitty as a present for my dad. Hopefully he’ll appreciate it as something to remember the kitty who contributed most of the fur by, as she died a few months ago, rather than thinking ‘ew gross’.

I am going to wheel spin most of it, but I was feeling too tired to sit at the wheel tonight, so I spindle spun a little of it in bed. It’s actually surprisingly soft and the spiky ends of the fibres aren’t as noticeable when spun, though this may well change when it’s plied.


It’s not the nicest or most fun thing I’ve ever spun, but it’s not difficult, and it’s certainly interesting. Turtle finds it especially interesting; while i was carding the rolags she came and put her head in the bowl of fibre and was sniffing really deeply with her mouth open. After making a handful of rolags I realised I needed a nap, and later this evening gren noticed one of the rolags was a little messed up and sitting at the end of my bed, so she must have liked it so much she stole it to play with.

Aaaaaand now, batcat! Completely unrelated to the above, but it made for an awesome title, and I like this pic so I’m going to share.

Turtle’s brother lives with my parents. He has learned that they have bats living in their roof. He has also learned that if he sits really quietly on  the roof at dusk, he can hear them coming and catch them as they fly out. It’s really fucking high, I have no idea how he manages to get up there, but he’s super cute. There was a period of about a week when he brought them a dead bat every single night, but I think he’s got bored of that now, which is good, cos bats are so awesome and soft and cute, and don’t deserve to be nommed by naughty cats.


Even more unrelated to the above, I read a thread on LSG earlier that was talking about disgusting things found in kitchen cabinets, and I remembered that there was a jar of ‘seafood salad’ in my fridge that Nik had bought for Alice about 5 years ago when she was in her ‘eating gross things and blogging about it’ phase. I bravely opened it (in the garden in case it smelled gross), and these two little cuties were in there. I love mini squids!

squids copy

BOOBS! and other stuff, but who cares about that cos there are boobs

So, today is my birthday, so i went out shopping with my parents and then went to lunch and i ate noodles and dumplings and it was nommy. AND i actually bought stuff. I’ve not bought anything for aaaaaages. AND I BOUGHT BRAS! For a while i thought the world was going to end as the stupid posh bras in the stupid posh department store didn’t go below a 32, but i went into M&S and actually found a couple that were pretty and not too expensive. And i bought something green. i don’t think i own anything green, but they didnt have the pink one i wanted in my size, and the green is kinda growing on me. I guess having something different for once is nice. and it’s silk, and pretty. oh, and a fucking DD cup. I refuse to believe i have DD size breasts,  it is a physical impossibility, they are SMALL…ok, well not small, but smallish. Stupid indoctrination from my teen years i think makes me think anything bigger than a C cup is OMGHUGE. But it clearly isn’t. anyway, bras that fit ftw.

anyway, you dont care about all that crap, you just wanna see boobs, right?

Well, tough, you’re gonna have to wait.

I also bought this. I am becoming a complete bedding whore, but i REFUSE to spend hundreds of pounds on my bedding. but yay for sales. fucking 500 thread count bitches. I am never going to leave my bed. Though i have a huge dilemma, as i only put clean sheets on like 2 days ago, but i wanna use these nooooooow.


And the most exciting part of the day was my dad just being all casual like and saying ‘you know that lens you’ve been going on about, well we’ll buy you it if you like’. Our attempts to get to the shop before it shut were thwarted by GPS, roadworks, and heavy traffic, but that’s ok, cos it’s cheaper online. So soon this blog will be full of OMGWIDE photos. mmmmm, wide angle.

oh, right, yeah. boobs.


little bunny foo foo

I can’t sew. Imagine if a monkey were given a sewing machine. I’m not that bad. But like, if it were a genuis monkey who’d spent its life working in a sweatshop in order to feed its monkey would probably be better at sewing than me.

But but but i can knit. and i can seam knitted garments AWESOMELY. and i can do spinning and felting and dyeing and anything else related to yarn and fibre. So sometimes I forget that I CAN’T FUCKING SEW.

A couple of years ago, Nik asked me to make him a little bunny foo foo outfit for his lenore doll. I agreed, and bought the fabric and looked at it and stroked it and procrastinated, then i put it in a box. It’s Nik’s birthday soon, and he is the hardest person on the planet to buy for, as he buys every single thing he wants (and lots of things he doesn’t want), and somehow crams them into his 2 bedroom house in boxes and boxes lining the walls. I try to avoid adding to his mole-man-ness, as when he runs out of space things mysteriously appear at my house. He was getting rid of some garden stuff a few weeks ago, I asked if he had a hoe (and not JUST because the name amuses me). I am now the proud owner of 2 hoes, a spade that is different to the 2 spades i already own but i forget how, 3 garden tables, and a green trolley thing on wheels that i think is meant for planting grass seed or fertilising the lawn or some shit. So when he said he didnt know what he wanted for his birthday, and i didnt know what i could get him that would be useful, appreciated, and not mean that something else from his house had to come live with me, I decided i would make this outfit.

I can kinda sew from a pattern, but obviously there is a gap in the market when it comes to patterns for bunny outfits for dolls with vastly oversized heads. Then i had the dilemma of whether to make the costume from the comic book or the one from the animation. In the end i chose the latter cos there are better pics of it on the internet, and the comic book one would have needed a giant oversized zip that is probably not something that has been invented yet.

So over the last few days I’ve been drawing and cutting and making templates out of muslin and sewing and sticking pins into my hand and whining. I have NO idea what was going through my head when i picked the fabric. I can only assume it was ‘wow, this is cute and soft and the right colour pink and it’ll make an awesome bunny outfit and doesn’t cost a gazillion pounds a metre’. The fact that I’d have to SEW it was clearly not at the front of my mind, cos it was horrible. It’s some sort of fleecey stuff but not really fleece and it’s stretchy and really thick and i couldnt do 1/4″ seam allowances cos it all bunched up under the presser foot and wahhhhhh. Oh, and making the ears stand up and not be all floppy. NIGHTMARE.

BUT, tonight i finished it. Vampy 1, sewing 0


how i fixed my car using a stick and some duct tape

About 2 or 3 years ago, the front electric window on the passenger side of my car stopped working. Being a cheapass who doesn’t take stuff in to be fixed until she knows what the problem is, I took off the door panel and had a look. The window goes up and down thanks to a motor which winds and unwinds metal cables kinda like those used on bike brakes. The one that made the window go up had obviously snagged on something and had sheared through. So I switched the cables round, figuring i’d rather have a window that goes up and not down than the other way round. It stayed in place for a while, but over time gravity had its wicked way and the window slid further and further down, the tension in the cable just wasn’t enough to hold it. I occasionally got pissed off with it and tried to tape it to the door frame so stop it falling down, but that rarely fixed it for more than a week or so.

Then last week, the driver side window started doing the same thing. Today, in a fit of ‘OMG NEED TO DO SOMETHING NAO’ I decided we should fix it, and made Gren stop playing WoW to come and help me. After getting the panel off, we discovered that it was the same problem as before, one of the cables had sheared through, though this time not as cleanly and there were probably bits of cable in the motor too, but it still goes bzzzzzzzz when you press the button so maybe not. At this point i started to lose interest in the whole thing. Diagnosing and fixing problems with stuff is awesome if there’s an actual way to fix it, otherwise it’s just boring. Eventually we got some sticks wrapped in felt (for padding) and duct tape (to make them thick enough) and rammed them into the runners and used a bit more duct tape just to be sure. At least the stupid window won’t fall down again. hopefully. Then we had to do the same thing on the other side, and I was getting more and more bored, but after doing the first side I realised it was pretty much a one-person job, so I just stood around and flailed and whined a bit while gren did most of the work on the passenger door. score.

The most annoying thing is, all it needs is a new bit of magic metal cable, but, according to some guy in the pub who i kinda know and who works as a mechanic and said he looked it up, you can’t just buy the stupid bit of metal that obviously breaks ALL the time seeing as it broke on BOTH my windows. You have to buy the whole extra motor and all the other bits that i don’t even need and it probably costs like a million pounds. If I still lived in London I’d probably make the effort to check out some salvage yards (mostly because omg i LOVE salvage yards, they have so much cool STUFF in them), but I don’t think Norwich is sufficiently advanced to have such areas of awesome, or if it is, i dont know where they are. So instead i will just have to sit in my sweltering hot car with both front windows up and sob gently to myself about the unfairness of it all.


when it rains we won’t get soaked any more, and the wind won’t go ‘wooooooooooooo wwwwweeeeeee’ in a really annoying way when you drive more than 30. so in my book that counts as at least a partial fix. so yeah, I FIXED MY CAR USING DUCT TAPE (and some bits of a stick i found on the floor)

return of the lensbaby

So I’ve not really done much that’s bloggable lately. Actually, thinking about it, that is a complete lie, I did a talk on felting 2 days ago, but well,  a presentation that relied on pretty soft fuzzy things to admire and stroke, and needles to poke unsuspecting fibre with probably doesn’t translate that well to text. Suffice to say it went well, one lady is almost certainly going to become an addict, I sent her home with some needles and merino to practise with, and most of the others seemed to really enjoy it too.

I’ve spent much of this week in bed whining about my uterus, but the doctor gave me magic pills that seem to be working, so I’m just dealing with the usual tiredness and blah rather than feeling like there are weasels gnawing my internal organs. This was enough to make me decide last night that i needed to find my camera bag RIGHT NOW, cos i’ve just been shooting with the 35 for the last few months (when i’ve even bothered with the SLR at all)…and while that is still my favourite lens (and probably will be until I’ve saved enough pennies to buy the sigma 10-20…mmm wiiiiide), a little variety is nice, so after eventually finding the bag (not in the photo room OF COURSE, but in a ‘secret safe place’ in my wardrobe) last night and messing around for a bit, I decided i missed playing with the lensbaby.

So I had a play today, and realised I’d not used it for a while cos it’s a pain in the ass. With my limited skills i already need to take a hundred photos to get one decent one, with this i need to take a gazillion. If i had the one where you can fix the lens in place to fix the focus that would probably help a lot, but even so, trying to take photos of cats and chickens and things that move is not fun. stupid cats. I think imma try find something worth photoing and get the lights and tent set up so i’ve not got as many variables to worry about. I do love you lensbaby, you are just hard work.



The wheel spins!

It is pretty and almost finished!


In this context, ‘almost finished’ means ‘actually works and spins yarn, but still has a buttload of work that needs doing before it looks how i want’.


I have issues with painted wheels. I LOVE the idea, and then I see pictures from people who’ve just painted random sheep or flowers or cats all over them, and that seems to hurt my brain. I think the design should fit with the shape of the wheel, flow with it, add to it, rather than look like a child had stuck stickers all over it. I am well aware that I may be alone in my thinking, and this isn’t a slight at all on people who DO like that sort of thing, but well, i think most painted wheels look ugly. Yet still the idea appeals to me.

I am pretty happy with how this is coming along, it looks all pretty and old and….argh i don’t wanna say it….goddammit, ok, i’ll say it….steampunkish* and certainly much better than the orangey varnished thing it started out as.

And it actually makes yarn, see?


Okay, so i didn’t make MUCH yarn because the flyer only has two hooks on and the band only fitted onto the biggest whorl, and there’s a bit of a wobble on the wheel as i couldn’t put the pin back in (don’t worry, it wasn’t another huge drama, just Gren is stupid and thinks 1am is the time to be asleep, so hitting things with hammers wasn’t polite). But it made yarn nonetheless, and it actually spun amazingly smoothly and quietly considering it has the old solid wooden bobbins.

Now all i need to do is:

– hit it with a hammer!

– replace flyer hooks with pretty new shiny ones

– replace driveband with one of the cool stretchy ones (which i have somewhere, just need to find)

– replace tension spring with one that isn’t all fucked up, and replace the cord with something less irritating than that stupid monofilament crap it comes with.

– replace head of tension screw and mother-of-all-lifty-thingy-screw with pretty brass ones

– do something with the treadle assembly. Probably a brass plate to cover the treadle, or maybe a couple of brass rods. My abilities (or lack thereof) in remembering to buy things, finding things locally so i dont have to waste a ton on postage, welding, and actually getting on with stuff will all come into play here. I may well just end up painting it with the pretty brass paint and calling it a day.

– make a matching orifice hook

– decide whether to do anything with the bobbins and lazy kate, or just not bother seeing as the bobbins are the old solid wooden ones and could do with being replaced with the ones with plastic bearings anyway.

*omg i hate the word steampunk. I LOVE the aesthetic, but I hate the whole ‘imma stick some bits out of a clock on this piece of plastic crap and then sell it as a steampunk pendant’ shit that seems to be prevalent these days. It makes me cry emo tears, so even using the word with -ish at the end makes me feel dirty. *shudder*. I will have to go look at regretsy for a while until i feel clean again. Hmm, on second thoughts, that totally won’t work, but i will go look anyway because it is hilarious.

How to spin coils, an almost-tutorial

This is a lazy post. I keep thinking I should write more tutorials, but then I lack the motivation and extra hands to take step by step photos, so I just post vast swathes of text on rav, and the next time someone asks the same question I end up hunting through my previous posts. This is beyond tedious, as I have over 20,000 posts, most of which are completely stupid, and contain words and phrases such as ‘zombie apocalypse’, ‘sandy vagina’ *, ‘mmmm boobs’, and ‘fucking cat, imma kill her’. They probably weren’t that interesting or amusing the first time round, and they are even less so the second time, so even using rav’s awesome search, it becomes hard work.

Today, someone asked a question about spinning coils, and i provided a suitably verbose answer, so I decided to paste it all here, partly so I can refer people straight to this post without having to search my history, and partly so I can link unsuspecting people to a blog post that contains the word ‘vagina’ several times.

The first thing to note is that there are two types of yarn that are referred to as coils.



The first pic is what most people mean when they talk about coils, it’s just a normal 2 ply yarn with the odd coiled bit in. The second is referred to in the spin-off article mentioned above (Winter 2009 edition) as ‘supercoils’. They both use similar, but slightly different techniques.

Yarn 1
For this type of yarn you want to spin 2 singles from the same fibre. The singles need to have a LOT of twist, far more than if you were going to make a normal balanced 2 ply. I didn’t use enough twist on mine, so its not as tight as i’d have liked. Slightly thick and thin singles are good for this as the thinner areas help the coils to ‘grip’ better rather than stretching out and sliding around, but big fat lumps should be avoided if possible as they don’t look so pretty if they are on the coiling single, and will make the yarn fall apart if they are on the static one.
– When you get to plying, use a low-medium ratio, and a moderate take-up
– position one bobbin to either side of your body. In an ideal world they would both be on tensioned lazy kates to make the crazy amount of singles twist easier to deal with, but if this isn’t possible, I’m sure you can work something out.
– start off by holding both singles at around a 45 degree angle to straight (this is what i wrote, but i actually meant 45 degree angle to each other, either side of straight. So  a 22.5 degree angle to straight i suppose. Clear? no? well just spin a 2 ply for a bit and ignore me), and spin a section of standard 2 ply yarn.
– when you want to make a coil, bring your left hand down so the left single makes a straight line to the orifice, and move your right hand up, so the angle between the two is just shy of 90 degrees. Hold the left one tight and allow the right single to wrap round it. When you’ve got enough wraps, let go of the right hand single, and push it up the left one that you are still holding taught. This will make a lumpy coiled section.
– put your hands back to their original positions and spin some more normal 2 ply
– make another coil as above, this time reversiving the jobs of the left and right hands
– repeat until you are done and marvel at your awesomeness
This method of changing which singles stays straight and which one wraps means you should end up with a balanced yarn, and that if your singles are of the same length, you won’t end up with too much of one left over.

Yarn 2

This is the sort of yarn for which you need a different type of core, and you only need one singles to work with. I used the leftovers from my first yarn, but ran it through the wheel again to add more twist, as i knew there was nowhere near enough.

For the core, you want something that is reasonably thin, and very strong. Lots of people like to use crochet cotton, but i prefer something with a bit more grip that’ll hold my coils in place a little better, so i used some silk noil yarn that i had on a cone, i think it was meant for weaving.

When you are spinning this sort of yarn, the core remains static and all the wrapping is done by your pretty singles, which means a lot of twist builds up in the core yarn. You can spin it onto a bobbin first and guess the amount of twist you’ll be taking out to get an even yarn, but i had no idea, and know it’s always more than i thought, so i went with the alternate method of letting the twist out periodically as i was working.

– take your core yarn, and wrap it onto something that can hang freely and untwist while you are spinning. The spin-off article above uses a drop spindle, but that doesn’t work so well for me as it hits on the edge of the sofa/floor as i work. I found a suitable stone in the garden and wrapped several metres of the core around this, then secured it with a couple of half hitches.
– you’ll want to use a similar take up and ratio to the last yarn, or once you get good at pushing the coils up you may want to up the ratio.
– attach both yarns to the leader, hold the core yarn taught in your left hand, and the wrapping yarn in your right hand (with the bobbin on a lazy kate to your right)…or the other way round if you feel more comfortable that way.
– holding the core yarn tight and the wrapping yarn at almost 90 degrees to it to the right, treadle and allow the singles to wrap around the core. When you’ve got a few inches done, stop and push the singles up the core to make a solid wrapped section.
– There will be a fair amount of twist in your core now, so make sure your stone/spindle is hanging freely and can untwist this extra twist on its own….it might need a bit of a helping hand.
– repeat. a lot. alternating between spinning to wrap the yarn on, pushing it up, and releasing twist from the core
– when your spindle/stone is right up near your hand, let a little more core yarn out and keep going.

This yarn takes a long time to spin, and uses a lot of singles for a very small piece of yarn…but it’s so pretty!

I am plotting in my brainmeats a reworking of this post with more pictures to make the instructions more clear, but for the time being, this will have to do.

* in the interests of science, I did a search. I have used the the words ‘sand’ and ‘vagina’ together in 9 of my 20482 posts, and the word ‘vagina’  (or posted in a thread with vagina in the title) in 89 of them. Do you now see why I don’t want to search my post history?

wheel update

I worked on the wheel a little more today. Sanding the single coat of varnish on this was a lot easier than the gazillion layers on the last one, so I didn’t bother getting more paint stripper. I started painting the wheel as I’d planned, and decided to take some pics…and then I realised i very rarely share my WIPs unless they are yarn related….which is kinda stupid. I’m happy being all like ‘hey, see this dead jellyfish with needles poking out of it? well, in several months time, it will be a beautiful lace shawl!’, but when it comes to something i’m painting, i get all ‘noooo, not finished, no-one must seeee’. I do not know the reason why, but to buck this trend, here is the wheel as it currently looks. It needs more coats of paint and a different colour paint and generally just MORE, but its getting there.


I was initially considering taking the wheel itself apart and using brass rods instead of the spokes, and replacing the treadle with a brass plate (cos it’s plywood, so even with staining it’s not gonna match the rest of the wheel). Then i realised that would be an all-round Terrible Idea, as I am not good enough at precision work on the lathe to be able to get the spokes completly identical, and then attempting to take apart a glued together wheel and get it reassembled so it spins true and doesn’t wobble would probably result in disaster, and the desired end result is mostly to have something that actually spins, as well as looking pretty.

While taking the pics, i realised that newcat was sleeping on the sofa behind, so i got a sneaky shot of her too.


Also, I was going through some old pics today. The original thinking was to see if an old RAF base i photoed last year would be suitable for a knitting photoshoot, but I have long since forgotten which garment I was considering, or whether it was just a hypothetical future shoot when i’ve actually written up a pattern.

Sadly i couldn’t get as many photos as I wanted, as while we were there a man with a gun came and told us we were trespassing and should leave. I tried the whole ‘but i’m only taking photos, and it’s so prettttty’. He informed me i might get hurt, and didn’t seem to be interested that i didnt care or wouldn’t sue him or anything.

Oh, on rereading that it sounds like we were on a working base…what actually happened is that we went on a weekend, when this long-disused area becomes an airsofter’s paradise, so about an hour into our visit lots of teenage boys in combats appeared running around shooting each other with bb’s.  It wasn’t like I was arguing with someone with a real gun or anything! So next time i return it will be during the week, when hopefully no-one else will be around, cos this place was pretttty, and full of super super cool stuff.






eek, no time to proof read, i am late for an appointment killing bad guys on the internetz. if it makes no sense, just guess what i was trying to say, maybe you’ll come up with something much wittier than i managed

procrastination over. kinda.

This morning i realised just how many WIPs I had..mostly fibre related, but a few in other media too. I decided to catalogue them and take pics and post here and try to shame myself into actually getting on with something rather than starting something else. Well, somehow in the time between having this thought in my bedroom, and getting dressed and making it downstairs, I remembered another WIP (which is a very generous title, seeing as I’ve not actually done any W on it at all). So screw cataloguing, it was time to make a mess!

I found this wheel, with lazy kate, 3 bobbins, a niddy noddy (that was so awful I forgot to put it in the picture), and an ‘assortment of spinning books’ at an auction a few months ago. The final price including fees and VAT and whatever was around £40, which was pretty good.


It was covered in dust, had some wool that had been (badly) spun in the grease on the bobbins, and smelled of mothballs, old lanolin, and despair. Oh, and the leather footman/treadle connector was broken. I thought it was an old Ashford Traditional, but on closer inspection (i.e. reading the label) I noticed it was branded ‘Kit Kraft’, so that means it’s oooold.

Oh, and here’s the ‘assortment of spinning books’ that came with it. I guess 2 out of 5 isn’t bad, though how the cheesemaking one got in there I’m not sure.


The reason i was procrastinating was because I was unsure whether to just clean it up and replace the bit of leather, or whether to strip it down completely and restain and paint and oil and all sort of other things. So of course on this day of ending procrastination and getting stuff done I decided to go with the method that would take weeks rather than hours.

As I was unscrewing it, Gren came into the room to talk to me about WoW, and, having got to a rather stiff screw, I shoved the bit at him saying ‘uuuuh’, which I think is the internationally recognised noise for ‘You’re talking and i don’t want to interrupt, but I’m a weak girl and you’re a big strong man, please remove this screw/bottletop/jar lid for me using your awesome powers’. Then he seemed vaguely interested in the whole thing and undid a few more screws until it was time to get the wheel off.

Then the whole thing turned into an old-lady-who-swallowed-a-fly scenario. The axle goes through the wheel, then there is a hole through both in which a long metal pin sits to keep it in place. You need to get a long rod into the hole and hit it with a hammer until the pin slides out. On the newer model traddies this hole is at one edge of the wheel so you can use the hammer without the spokes and wheel rim getting in the way. On this wheel it was right in the centre, so getting something in and hammering was hard enough as it was.  Then I couldn’t even find anything suitable in my tool drawer, and so came back with a strange selection of ‘might do the job’ bits. He tried a long thin rat-tail file. And hammered. A lot. Nothing went anywhere, and then he realised the file was stuck in the metal rod and wouldn’t come out.

Nothing else i’d found was up to the task, so I went out to the garage/workshop and hunted there for more suitable items. I came back with a little jewellers screwdriver and a few nails. At this point Gren showed me that while trying to remove the file he’d broken it off inside the wheel. The shaft of the screwdriver I’d found fitted right inside the metal pin, and the edge of the handle part was the same size as the hole in the wood, so in theory we could put this into the pin from the non-file end and use the screwdriver to push out the pin AND the file.

A couple of minutes of hammering later, and he realised the screwdriver wouldn’t come out. So there was a hole with a pin in the middle, a broken bit of a file sticking out one end, and a screwdriver sticking out the other. At this point he gave up and went to put the kettle on, and I had to take over. I tried some more hitting with a hammer and pulling at the file (that was at least now protuding a bit) with pliers. I was about to hit the file end to try and get the screwdriver out, when Gren came back and said ‘if you hit that it’ll just get more wedged in the pin and make it even worse’. He may have had a point, though it was fast getting hard to see how things could get worse unless fire or velociraptors or crocodiles were involved. He suggested I cut off the protruding bit of file, but having no saw or dremel to hand and not wanting to get up AGAIN, I decided i was going to use the sharp cutty bit on the pliers to dent it enough that I could hit it with a hammer and it would break off (i like hitting things with hammers, ok?). As it was, this plan was awesome, as using that part of the pliers on the rough surface of the file got much better grip than expected, and i pulled the broken bit out.

So, now onto the screwdriver. I hit the pin back the other way until the screwdriver loosened, and then pulled it out. Ok, so we were back where we started, except the pin was actually protruding about an inch from the hub  of the wheel. I got one of the nails I’d found in the garage, put it into the hole and did a little more hitting.

Almost all of the pin was finally visible on the other side!! Oh, yeah, but the nail was stuck, and not long enough to fully push the pin out. I grabbed the pliers and started pulling and twisting. At some point during this part of the process a cup of tea had appeared next to me and Gren had appeared on the sofa opposite me, and he was making grabbing motions, which i think is the internationally recognised hand gesture for ‘you’re a weak girl and I’m a big strong man, it is painful to watch you struggling there using your pathetic muscles, so just let me do it already’. I handed it over and drank my tea, and after a little while of pulling and tugging with the pliers, the pin AND the nail were free.


The rest of the process was even less interesting, so I will spare the details. I will say that last time I used paint stripper i realised it ate through nitrile gloves. This time i double bagged for safety and realised that the vapours can travel through latex gloves AND washing up gloves and still make your hands burn. Seriously, wtf sort of gloves are you meant to wear with this crap? Then i ran out of paint stripper before all the varnish was gone, but decided to go ahead with staining anyway, figuring it would make it easier to see where the remaining varnish was and i could sand it later. or buy more paint stripper. Actually on most areas the odd bits of remaning varnish just made it look cool and old and stuff, but on the wheel itself it looks crap, so i will have to work on that tomorrow. Or next month. or year.

Anyway, here’s how it looks now. If you can imagine this picture was taken in decent light and wasn’t blurry. Or maybe just take my word for it. It’s brown now.


Oh, and if you’ve managed to read all this way, here is your reward. We went on a boat on the broads a while back, and i squeeed a lot as everything had been making babies and they were SO CUTE.