26 March 2012

the eerie peace of Mondays

It's Monday, and the most exciting thing I've accomplished today is this.
Granted, I'm pretty excited about it. I mean, it's a pattern, and I designed it, and that's neat. This is a new thing for me--it's not my first design, but it's the first one I've put up for sale. I'm planning to re-vamp Harvey the Vampire Squid at some point so he's available as a PDF on Ravelry, but he'll stay a free pattern. These mitts, titled "Aragonite Mitts," will have a companion coordinating hat.

Mondays are such an odd day of the week for me. Sundays are usually so busy that Mondays are strangely quiet. Saturday was busy, too, so I'm sitting here revelling in the quiet. No music, just the sound of my tapping on the keyboard and the traffic outside. Relative silence.

Some weeks it feels like Monday's the real weekend, because it's so much quieter than the last half of the week, regardless of what I need to be working on. Today's the day I recuperate from the social activity of Sunday.

Silence, plus tea, plus writing. I think it's going to be a decent day.

21 March 2012

procrastination and fleece

I'm sitting here with my computer, trying to gather the focus to write more about phrasal verbs. Instead of doing my work, most of me just wants to sleep. Or do something else, which is why the fourth load of laundry today is now on its way through the dryer, and I have hand-washed a sweater, a silk top, and two pairs of socks.

Anyway, I'm going to write a little about my trip to FibresWest on Friday and then start writing about verbs again.

FibresWest is a fibre festival/trade show of sorts. My guild (the Fraser Valley Knitting Guild) had a table there where we set up swifts and ball-winders, and wound yarn for free for people who'd bought hanks of yarn from the vendors there. I got to wind a massive skein of mohair yarn that made me wonder if I'd ever get to the end or if I'd just be stuck there, winding yarn like it was my punishment in Hades.

But, no, really, it was a lot of fun. This is my third year going to the festival. The first year, I bought some yarn and spinning stuff, and a spindle, but didn't stay too long. The next year, I stayed longer, and came home with more yarn and more spinning fibre.

This year, especially after Yarn Harvest back in September, I decided it would be best to limit myself to spinning fibre only, since I really don't need to buy more yarn (wanting to buy more yarn is an entirely different problem, but I just stayed away from the yarn as much as possible to avoid temptation). I told my friend, Jenny, with whom I was manning the guild table, that I was going to buy some cotton for spinning. Which I did. I now have half a pound of organic green cotton fibre, which I've started spinning using my takhli spindle (I like trying new fibres that I haven't spun with before--this is my first time spinning plant fibre). Then I walked past the llama breeder's table.

This is Max, the newest member of our family.

The look on Jenny's face when I walked back to the table with the giant bag of llama fleece was priceless, especially when I said, "This is Max!" Max is the chocolate brown llama from whom this fleece came. I chatted with the breeder, heard an anecdote or two about the llama whose fleece I now have (he recently became a daddy llama, father to a baby llama with black fleece), and decided that whatever sweater I end up knitting with Max will be named after him.

I've been carding my way through the fleece over the last few days, since it was clean enough that I didn't feel the need to wash it, and once I'm done carding it (and once I'm finished spinning up the Romney fleece), I'll start sampling and figure out what type of yarn the fleece wants to be. It's wonderfully soft and has a delightful barnyard scent to it (why yes, I'm probably a little nuts, but I've been characterized as a country girl who happens to live in the city). The chocolatey shades are really nice, too, and I'm looking forward to see how the natural variegation works up in the knitted item.

I think I may end up liking llama more than alpaca. Since there is a mound of llama fleece rolags on the coffee table, and llama fibres attaching themselves to my clothing every time I get the carders out, I'd better enjoy it.

13 March 2012

I do have these occasional moments

While the rain in Spain may stay mainly in the plain, here, the rain is everywhere (granted, I think we're closer to the Langley plain here, but that's beside my point, as I'm sure it's also doing this over in Walnut Grove, which is hillier). The view out my living room window today consists of lots of rain mixed with snow. Earlier it was hailing. Sometimes it's raining and hailing sideways, because it's also somewhat windy.

This has put a crimp in my plans to go on various errands, because as much as I love walking in the rain, I'm not sure I'd love walking in this rain. I do have to venture out to the grocery store, because we are out of milk, but that's just around the corner.

While this is the middle of March, and this weather seems a little weird for this time of year, it makes my tendency to knit woolly things seem like genius. I made this cowl last week. It's 100% wool, and because it's a slip-stitch pattern, it's nice and dense. Perfect for a day like today. I'm going to layer up and brave the elements (especially because the rain seems to have momentarily paused, but it did that a few minutes ago, and started pouring again in the time it took me to walk from the living room to the kitchen table).

09 March 2012


I realized that it's been a while since I've been here. This is a place for me to write, but a great deal of my writing is not suitable to share here. My fiction stays unposted here because I would like to eventually be paid for writing it, and my academic work, well, I'd rather have it published than post it on here, although I'm happy to write related things and talk about them here.

And my personal life, well, I want to limit what I say about it here, too, because coming off as a bizarre Christian mystic (while that is me, certainly) is not what this blog was started for. Although the mystic side of my life is pretty interesting these days, I'm not really in the mood to write about what I did all day.

Instead, I'm going to talk about my latest form of exercise. It started when I ran across a music channel on YouTube called "ThePianoGuys." They do really beautiful, interesting instrumental pieces. Out of listening to their music, I suddenly realized that I felt like dancing.

So, I started dancing. I put on a song, and let the music tell me what to do. I may not always be graceful in what is probably a combination of ballet, jazz, and me just making it up, but it is joyful. It is uplifting.

I could not have done this a few years ago. I was not comfortable enough with my body to be willing to just move with the music, to the point that dancing at my sister-in-law's wedding felt acutely embarrassing. It goes further back than that--that was only four years ago. I remember my drama teacher in grade 9 having us listen to music and just move with it, and I was so uncomfortable with this exercise. I couldn't get past the idea of people seeing me move, and me feeling awkward.

And yet, now, the movement sometimes borders on the subconscious (a la Floyd Merrell and his coinage bodymind). I can't always tell you why I chose that movement for that phrase, and yet it works.

I still primarily do this while no one is watching. It's easier to let go and not think about how it looks to someone else, but music is beginning to move me when I'm around people as well. I don't think I'll be dancing in the back of the sanctuary during worship any time soon (although you never know), but I don't feel embarrassed dancing around others anymore.

My husband has described the way I move as "carelessly graceful." Given that I occasionally run into doors and the corners of tables, I'd say careless is probably a good descriptor. He may be a tad biased, so I don't know if "graceful" really works, but I like to think that it does. If I decide I need some dancing time tomorrow (having not had any today), he may change his mind, since I don't know what my dancing looks like to other people.

But these days, I'm at home with me, and me is not just my mind. I'm a good postmodernist, after all, so me is also my body. Movement is meant to be natural. I'm just rediscovering that lately.