Claire Boley was born in Exeter Devon UK. Aged six she moved to Winslow Buckinghamshire where she went to school in Aylesbury. In between lessons she used to tell stories to her school friends. After leaving school the story telling went on the back burner as she left home to train to become a nurse. After she retired from nursing she read an article about bread making by a friend in a national magazine when she though, “I can do that” and she did.
Since then she has written articles in many national magazines on different subjects including hand spinning, natural dyeing, pottery, jam making, and hanging baskets. If Only I’d Listened is her debut novel but second book. The first was a craft book Hand Spinning and Natural Dyeing which she was commissioned to write in 2011.
Her debut novel is a hard hitting family saga based in London in 1965. Samantha a 16 year old school girl gets pregnant by her sixth form boyfriend Peter Knight. Samantha spends most of the nine months in and out of hospital while Peter spends his time studying for his A levels with view to going to university. Along the way he is encouraged by his mates to go out and about to pubs and clubs in the West End of London.
Published July 27, 2017
IS YOUR GIRLFRIEND PREGNANT? How ready are you for that?
How would you deal with becoming a parent before you’ve left school?
One thing’s for sure, you can’t unmake babies.
A fact that’s borne in on Peter Knight and Samantha Smithson, sixth formers at the South East Comprehensive in Deptford, living at a time when many parents are still of the old school and pregnancy outside marriage carries a stigma. Having to face their parents, their school friends, teachers and gossip is only the beginning. Pete’s plans for university are scotched as he must seek work and accommodation suitable for a young family. And all the time he still wants to have fun, with ‘friends’ quite happy to tempt him to do it. As for Samantha, abortion is no easy option. Yet as her health and her faith in Peter goes up and down, she may have to think the unthinkable.
Spinning is one of the most ancient of crafts. There are few things as satisfying as seeing a yarn that has been spun from a fleece, especially having produced it yourself. With colour and black and white photographs and diagrams throughout, this practical book is a comprehensive, step-by-step, guide detailing everything you need to know to start spinning as well as dyeing so that you can go on to reproduce your own wool for knitting or weaving. The author starts, as all spinners will do, with the wool. What are you looking for when you choose the fleece? How do you clean and prepare it ready for spinning? How do you use a spindle, how do you make ply yarn, fancy yarns, skeins and what is a niddy noddy anyway? Spinning techniques and tricks of the trade are explained as well as advice on getting hand spun yarn ready for hand knitting and a few patterns are shared along the way. The author has also included sections on the spinning wheels themselves. She give good advice on what to look for when buying a wheel, the operation, how to thread, learning to treadle as well as maintenance of the wheel. Claire uses natural plants to dye her wool and she dedicates a section of the book to recipes that will help to achieve wonderful colours not available through commercially purchased wools.