27 August 2010

Naturally, after I posted about my life getting better, it all went to hell. I had several of my bad days in a row, complete with careening into a doorknob and then jumping up and down because my arm hurt from the doorknob and then making my ankle hurt from the jumping up and down (that was Wednesday). There were a few spots of good stuff. I'm starting to feel more on the mend this evening, but am reluctant to trust it, given what happened last time--I felt pretty decent again and then all of sudden, spiralled back down into whatever it is that's not working quite right. But, list of good things:

1. I ran across some walking trails through a marshy park near here that I had realized existed (I knew about the marshy park but not the trails). They are pretty.

2. I got a copy of the pattern for the Ranunkel doily by Herbert Niebling from Doilyhead, and am working my way through it. I like it very much so far. I'm on row 18 out of 40. I have never knit a doily before, nor have I really seen much use for one (I have some crocheted ones made by my great-grandmother, and they live safely in a box so they won't be damaged), since I much prefer coasters and trivet-tile things for setting stuff on, but something about Niebling's patterns makes me want to knit doilies. Maybe it's just that I need something complicated to do.

3. Had to go to the bookstore today, and when rummaging through the sale books, found Diana Wynne Jones' House of Many Ways in hardcover for $6.99, but when I got up to the till, I was told that it had been further discounted and was now a whopping $2.00. A toonie for a brand-new hardcover Diana Wynne Jones book? Sweet. (Why don't they ever do that with the knitting books?)

4. It poured down rain today, which improved my mood no end.

5. And finally, I'm sitting here with a fresh hot cup of tea and just-out-of-the-oven ginger cookies.

So I'll risk saying it...life would seem to be getting better again.

23 August 2010

This summer has felt, weirdly, like a summer in Limbo. You know, that's the shadowy in-between place that isn't hell but it's not purgatory either. You're just stuck there, with no chance of moving foward. Granted, the days go by, so time moves on. It just hasn't felt much like that for me over the last month or two. We moved and then it seemed as though life slowed down. Or, at least, I spiralled into something where it felt like nothing was moving, and all I could do was get through a single day at a time. Sometimes I'm still in that place, and some days are better than others. So far this is a fairly decent day.

However, life seems to be getting back into motion again. The countdown to when classes and my job start up again has turned into a couple weeks, rather than a couple months. I'm both nervous and excited, since my job at the school this fall involves working with actual people, rather than shelving books. I'm also starting my thesis. That should be fun, but it's an intimidating project. I suppose it's a good thing that I have more than one semester to finish it.

I'm still knitting like a maniac. I have a shawl I want to finish up this week, as it's a gift. There's a sweater I want to finish within the next month or so. And of course, there's the list of projects I want to knit. Seems like every time I take something off the list, I add something new. One of the newest items is a Herbert Niebling doily. Just because I want to be able to say I've knit one. There are some Christmas gifts to knit, too. I promised my mother a pair of socks, and I've had the yarn for them since July. There are some small-ish shawls I want to knit for various grandmothers, and if anyone else gets knitted gifts, they'll probably be dishcloths.

Now I need to get back to the kitchen, since there's a cake that requires frosting. I promised J. a cake since it's our anniversary, and a cake isn't a cake unless it's been properly assembled.

07 August 2010

The rain came back! I looked out the window this morning and the lower mainland I love has returned (although, according to the weather forecast, just for a couple days, then it's going to get hot again).

I finished my Ballet Camisole a couple days ago. It turned out well. It actually fits, for one thing, unlike the Askew top I knit last summer, which didn't. I had the good sense to shorten the armholes by an inch on each side, so the neckline is low but not plunging. The only problem I can see is that I wore it outside yesterday, when it was still sunny, and forgot to put on sunscreen. It reveals just a tad more skin around my neck than anything else I have, so now I have a lovely bright red sunburn.

The sunburn's just in time for that wedding I'm in next Friday. Hopefully it'll fade by then.

The spinning is going well--I spun up a couple bobbins-worth of single-ply, and now I'm plying it into a 2-ply, which fills the bobbin up very quickly. Plying isn't difficult, but fine-tuning it is. Now that I have a spinning wheel, I'll have to learn how to Navajo-ply. I'm guessing that's more complicated but probably worth it. I think I'll want to refine my technique with the single-ply first, though. It's still messier than I'd like, but I think some of that is due to the wool. I'm using some of the Clun Forest wool I bought last year (something like 200 g for $6, so I bought it for practicing with). It's much rougher than some of the other ones I've tried (so far, just BFL, Corriedale, and merino) and there's still lanolin in it. But practicing with it before I move on to the merino seems like a good idea. I think I might use the yarn for a teacosy when I'm done with it, because the teapot doesn't mind having rough wool against it.

Speaking of tea, a cup of tea sounds lovely. I'm going to go make one.

03 August 2010

We have been living with sunshine and no rain for what seems like far too many weeks. I seem to be one of the few people who prefers the cloudy, rainy skies to the bright sunshine (although at least one of my friends is a kindred spirit in this regard, so we can complain about the sunshine to each other). I don't hate sunshine, but the heat and I are not friends. I feel like a wilting plant when it's hot outside.

Today, I walked to the library, and the sky was clouded over, but it was hot and humid. By the time I came out of the library, it had started to rain. I walked home in the rain, delighted with it. Sadly, our little cloudburst lasted a very short time, and soon the muggy heat was back. But there was rain. I got wet in it, I looked up at the sky and let the rain fall on my face. I felt renewed. Autumn will come, and bring with it the cool, damp weather I love. And that time is not so very far away.

02 August 2010

introducing the spinning wheel

This is Caitlin. I briefly posted yesterday, mostly to get pictures I could put up on Ravelry while I was asking a tech question. But here she is, in the living room, by the balcony.

And here she is in the spare bedroom/study/storage room/place where all the craft junk ends up. She has an eighteen-inch flywheel, and stands, at the tallest, about 35 inches. If you don't count the bit that looks like a distaff (I don't know if it is or if it's just meant to be decorative), she's somewhere between 28-30 inches tall.

According to my research, Caitlin is a bobbin-lead spinning wheel. There is no marking visible on the wheel, so I don't know where she was made. I do know that she was a fairly decent bargain, as most spinning wheels I've seen on eBay have been over twice what this was and we only had to replace the hooks on the flyer assembly. Also I need to buy a washer or two tomorrow because the bobbin slides forward a tad and then the fibre wraps around the spindle shaft. Other than that, she needed cleaning, and the spindle shaft had to be twisted back to its proper position so the hole for the orifice was actually visible. That's it.

I wasn't actually in the market for a spinning wheel, given how expensive they usually are. The last time I'd seen a used one for sale locally, it was at an antique shop, and then it was a couple hundred bucks. It was very pretty, but it would have been impractical at the time, and I don't even know if it was in working order. I was pretty happy with my drop spindles, although I wasn't really looking forward to spinning up some beautiful blue merino I bought at Christmas on my spindle, given that there was a decent amount of it. I haven't been doing much spinning over the last few months, but I'm slowly making my way through some purple merino using my top-whorl spindle. I love spinning but between school and moving and everything else, it's been easier to shelve it for a while and just knit.

J. dropped by Salvation Army on his way home from the produce store on Saturday, noticed the spinning wheel, and told me about it when he got home. We did the practical "can we afford it?" bit before I went to look at it, then we bought it and brought it home. I've been practicing treadling, and I started trying to spin when I ran into the problem of the bobbin moving a bit. That'll be fixed tomorrow and then I can practice properly. I have some practice wool I bought last year and there was a decent amount left over from my practicing with it on the drop spindle.

My efforts so far have not been encouraging, as coordinating treadling and handling the fiber is not as easy as it looks. I'm so used to the vertical aspect of spindling that feeding the fiber in horizontally feels very strange. A decent amount of practice should fix that, though.

In the meantime, it is getting late. Good night!

01 August 2010

new member of the family

Look what we found at Salvation Army! It's not in working order yet because it's missing the orifice, but I'm working on fixing that. Hopefully, in a few days, it'll be useable.