28 October 2010


This is what happened to the BFL roving I bought during Yarn Harvest. I spun it up on my wheel and then plied it. It ranges from worsted to bulky weight, and I have three small skeins which total about 170 yards. I love the way it turned out. It's a soft red with bits of white and a shade verging on black in it. You'd think it'd look like candy-cane yarn, because of the red and the white, but it doesn't. Instead, it reminds me more of warmth. Not fire, because the red isn't orange enough for that, but when I look at it, I think of fire and heat.

It's very gratifying to be producing yarn that I feel confident about knitting with. I'm even decently happy with my plying job, although I think that's going to take more practice, too. Right now I don't have anything on the wheel. I have the last ball of some purple merino that needs plying on my Turkish spindle, and I have some of the Wensleydale roving on my top-whorl spindle. There's also some blue merino that I'll be starting on the wheel when I've finished those.

In the meantime, I have other things which need to be done. My cold's getting better. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and suddenly I could breathe. My voice is still a little rough, I'm still a bit congested, but I feel way better than I did yesterday.

27 October 2010

home sick

When I was a kid, I used to think it'd be nice to get sick and have to spend all day in bed and not have to do school (since we homeschooled, getting sick meant getting out of homework). I'd read about it in books--kids who got sick and got to stay home and have lunch in bed and read books all day. Once in a while I'd day-dream about how nice it'd be.

Then when I got my wish, I realized it wasn't so great as I'd thought it might be. I remember one day in particular. I was thirteen. That morning we were scheduled to go visit a school that my parents were thinking of sending my brother and me to the next year. I'd had a sore throat for a couple of days, and I woke up that morning with a case of tonsillitis. I got to stay in bed and eat lunch in my room, and read through T.A. Barron's entire series on the Lost Years of Merlin, but it wasn't that much fun, because my tonsils felt like they were on fire. Four and a half years later, when I finally got referred to a specialist who took one look at my tonsils and said they needed to come out, I refused to skip more than one day of school for the surgery (and the day I got them out, I made it through a pre-calc midterm and French class before heading off to the surgery center, skipped dance class that night and writing class the next morning, spent the weekend eating jello, and went back to school on Monday, and then the next weekend, I supervised preschoolers at the Thanksgiving retreat at the camp I'd worked at the summer before...and yes, it was rather hellish and I probably should have skipped a couple more days of school and really shouldn't have volunteered to baby-sit small children when I couldn't take my medicine while watching them because I didn't want to be high from the painkillers while making sure they didn't eat the crayons).

All this to say, I'm home sick today. It's just a cold. But it's the kind of miserable cold that comes with a sore throat, clogged sinuses, and the inability to sleep deeply because I need to breathe. It's not fun. I'm exhausted and lightheaded and I can't fall asleep and it seems like I'm cold no matter how many layers I'm wearing and I'm sure I've gone through most of a box of kleenex. I called in sick, since spreading more germs around and sneezing and sniffling my way through class tonight are not my idea of fun (the prof I TA for agreed; besides, I might make everyone else sick and that's no good). The hope is that by taking today off, I'll be able to function tomorrow. It's too bad I'm too sick to enjoy having a nice quiet day at home.

But I do remember how much fun it sounded like when I was a kid. Like a day off that you had to take. But it's even less fun when no one's around to look after you. It isn't romantic, like in The Secret Garden or any of those other books. It's just bleah.

21 October 2010


One of the few things I like about Halloween is the candy corn. It's colourful, it's sweet, and it's relatively cheap. I'm sure it's full of all sorts of things I oughtn't to be eating, but I don't really care.

Halloween wasn't a huge thing when I was a kid. Sometimes we went trick-or-treating, sometimes we did something else. I think the years we did something else were less about being opposed to Halloween for various moral reasons (like some people we knew), and more about the fact that my parents didn't feel like getting four kids dressed up and walking them around the neighbourhood after dark so they could collect free candy which would then make them hyper. And whether or not we did go trick-or-treating, my grandparents always gave each of us a decent-sized bag of candy.

Add to that the fact that I was a very fearful child, prone to weeping if someone mentioned death (like the time my brother started talking about how the sun was going to blow up in a million years, and my parents tried to reassure me by telling me that we'd all be dead by then anyway. That didn't help). Halloween, where everything that terrified me was celebrated, wasn't bound to seem that great. Spiders, ghosts, skeletons...none of them made me happy. The candy part was fun but the rest of it wasn't.

So the years we skipped Halloween and did something else were actually kind of nice. More interesting than if we'd wandered around the neighbourhood collecting candy. If we had a party, my parents based it on whatever we were studying in history at the time. So once we had a medieval feast. Another time we had a mountain man rendezvous, complete with spitting contest. By the time I was in high school, we just didn't go trick-or-treating. Instead, we stayed home, made homemade doughnuts, and listened to "The War of the Worlds." One year I went to a friend's house for their annual Halloween party, where we watched Alfred Hitchcock and ate caramel apples.

We didn't always stay home, though. We did go trick-or-treating a number of times. I remember the neighbours who handed out fruit snacks and tracts. I wasn't impressed with them. I was impressed by the people who were handing out king-size butterfinger bars one year. I don't remember a whole lot about the kinds of costumes I wore. Once I was a princess. Another time I was Pippi Longstocking. I remember one of my brothers going as Spock one year.

Instead of going to the Halloween party at school my first year of university, my friends and I went Christmas-carolling. I'm not sure whose idea that was, but it did get us some candy. Something to do with people thinking we were funny.

Over the years I've ended up at the odd Halloween party, but it turns out I'm not much of a party girl. I'm sure buying my own candy doesn't really have the same thrill as getting it from strangers, but it's a lot more practical. Plus I can buy the kind I actually like (no more Snickers bars!). I'm a lot less fearful than I was as a kid; one of my favourite TV shows is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I still don't love Halloween. I just like the candy corn.

09 October 2010

It's been a busy few weeks, so I haven't been much in the mood for writing on here. A lot's been happening, but I don't really feel like writing about my thesis, since I do enough talking about it already. Nor do I feel like boring the few people who read this with details of literacy class (although literacy itself is not a dull topic).

I'm not really sure what to write about. Between school and work, I don't have as much time for knitting as I did over the summer, but I am managing to work on a few things. My Amelia sweater is still in progress. I've started the sleeves, but I have a couple more inches to go on the sweater body before I have to attach the sleeves and start the raglan decreases.

I don't recall if I mentioned the scarf I've been working on. It's red and the pattern is interesting. I'm trying to work through about 50 grams of fingering weight yarn. I'm knitting until the scarf is the length I want, or until I run out of yarn, whichever comes first.

And next week I start on a new shawl project for a KAL. I'm a little unclear as to how many of us are doing this particular shawl, but I know that I'm doing it. It's gorgeous and I'll write about it once I've started knitting it.

In the meantime, I should get back to work on something. Knitting, writing up literacy homework, or reading more Anna Wierzbicka. I absolutely love the book I'm reading right now. She's got some fantastic things to say. And I'm learning to love semantics, which is good.