Waking up

This year I feel as if I spent most of winter in a state of hibernation and am just now waking up. About time! It’s slowly getting warmer and there are snowdrops and crocuses everywhere. This waking up is happening in different parts of my life and this year looks like it will bring lots of new opportunities and adventures. After finishing and defending my dissertation last year and the problems I had to face concerning the publication of my work I finally feel ready to let it go and move on!

This space has been in hibernation for a lot longer and I’m still not sure if I want to start blogging again. I’m a bit tired of writing one or two posts, disappearing for months and then come back once again. Writing my PhD has disrupted my life on every level and it’s been hard to be just me again and not me, writing a 450 pages tome Monday to Saturday with a one hour lunch break and the occasional free evening thrown in. I’m glad I did it but I find myself facing the fact that I probably won’t make a straightforward career in academics and I’m not sure I really want to. So, it’s not clear where I’m going and what I’m going to do but I think this year will be one of experimentation and trying new things, things I always thought I wouldn’t be able to do like doing a BA in computer science (mediocre math skills), traveling on my own where I want (too unconfident and wary of flying) and hiking (too unathletic). So expect to read about a wild mixture of things here (if anyone is even still reading this ??)!

For now, I’d like to show off some tiny signs of a reawakening in my spinning and knitting which I also nearly put on hold during the last year.

I’ve cast on for a Hansel half hap shawl using the pattern by Gudrun Johnston and Jamieson and Smith 2 ply Jumper weight. The colour combination has given me a headache and I’m still not totally satisfied. Might have to substitute the turquoise.

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Since the shawl is on hold due to colour contemplation I cast on for a simple cowl with my handspun. Another thing that will happen this year – knitting with the mountain of handspun I have amassed in the last years!

So, this is the Honey cowl (ravelled here) by Antonia Shankland:

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I love that it almost stands upright on its own!

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Last weekend I finally made it back to my wheel and there is a spinning group meeting coming up next week I hope will boost my motivation to reduce my fibre stash! To get going again after so long I started with some old BFL from the now sadly closed Crown Mountain Farm Fibres. After years stuffed into one of my stash boxes it is still soft and the perfect colour for waking up:

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I’ll leave you with a picture of last weekend’s walk and a promise to be back!

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Almost Autumn

I’ve been at my parent’s since last Thursday and the unbearably hot weather my parents complained about in the last weeks has seemingly morphed into an early autumn. It’s rainy and quite windy so my outdoor expeditions have to be carefully timed. I managed a nice walk across the fields near our house yesterday – the openness and flatness is always a welcome change after months being cooped up in the city.

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I also made good progress in my Turnstile, still in the first stripe section but it’s growing fast.

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In preparation for my trip to Brittany next week I’m also working on my meagre French skills.

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Looks like the rain has stopped for now, so I’m off out! See U!

Knitting and walking

So, after another absence from the blog I finally have some knitting to show! I’ve cast on for a Turnstile (Rav link) because I wanted an easy pattern to take on my trip to my parents and later to Brittany. Also, it looks like a very wearable and useful piece of clothing! Sport-weight / Dk-weight yarn is rare in my stash so I’m knitting it in fingering weight – a good pattern for those special skeins of sock yarn.

So far I’ve knitted the first solid section am halfway through the first stripe section (I’m a bit behind with the pictures).

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I’m already in vacation-mode and gave my new trekking boots a trial run this morning – a lovely walk and the boots did just fine!

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Unfortunately there are still some blocked paths because of the huge storm we had in June and everywhere are big piles of cut trees.

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The walk has a nice mixture of woods and open views of the surrounding valleys and hills and I even found a promising spot for bramble-picking – next year, though, because I won’t be here for the next three weeks.

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I’m cautiously hopeful I’ll post more regularly again now I’m actually doing something besides sitting at my desk all day! Then again, I’ve lost count how often I’ve written that on here, but I’m reluctant to abandon this space fully. Anyway, hope you’re enjoying your summer, wherever you are!

Postcards from Friesland

So, to keep with the good intentions for this blog, I finally uploaded the pictures from my camera! It seems like I last did this in June 2013 which means there are lots of things I have yet to blog about (more backlog – fibre, yarn, books, pictures and stories – getting there!). Since I very much want to go forward now I’m starting with the first trip I made after handing in my dissertation in December. Before spending Christmas with my parents I went to Friesland (NL) for a few days with my best friend. We had a lovely time walking at the sea, shopping in Groningen and overall just relaxing. Grab yourself a cuppa and relax with the pictures as well, if you like (or go view the slide show on Flickr)

 

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Next post will be a batch of yarn and fibre related pics, promise! See U!

Reformatting

It’s been a while since I even thought about my blog but as I’m slowly relaunching my life I hope to use this space once more. I handed in my dissertation about two months ago and I’m defending it in two weeks. After almost a year of constant work I find myself in a bit of a struggle to getting things done, even things I dreamt of having time for last year, like knitting, reading, spinning, taking walks outside and so on. So, I’m trying to use and enjoy my free time and hopefully, write about them here. Now I only need to remember to take my camera with me and upload the pictures…

So, I’m looking forward to some of these things this year:

  • treating myself to a short city trip after the disputation – Berlin or London?
  • enrolling in a new subject at university in April (combining computers and language)
  • turning a lot of my spinning fibre into yarn
  • reading the mountain of books I bought in the last years, but had no time to read
  • listening to my embarrassingly huge backlog of audiobooks
  • finally starting a yoga-class

So, if you’re still reading my blog after almost a year of absence, thanks! I’m off for a bite to eat and some knitting now. Pictures to follow!

Keep cool and carry on

This week has been a struggle of trying to keep reasonably cool – hard work if you live in a top-floor flat and your new office building at work is made of metal and has no air-conditioning – and carry on with writing. It was not a pretty sight, I’m afraid…

Still, I managed to make a reasonable amount of progress and by now we are back under the twenty degree mark (Celsius, of course) after nearly 37 °C on Wednesday.

Despite the heat I spun a bit more of the Texel and started plying the first half:

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Wednesday evening I went to see the Watermill Propeller Company play Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew at this year’s Shakespeare Festival. Thankfully, we had seats on the ground floor, as this replica of the Globe Theatre is mostly made of metal:

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If you ever have the chance to see Propeller, do it! They are really good and very intense!

And today I had a lovely afternoon with my best friend visiting an exhibition.

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I had a tasty piece of cake…

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… at the beautiful museum café…

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Next week I hope to finish chapter one of my dissertation and hopefully have some fun at the weekend.  Also, I need to decide which fibre to spin for the upcoming Tour de Fleece! See U next Sunday!

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Plans

Well, it’s Sunday again which seems to develop into my designated blogging day.  With the deadline for my dissertation looming in a few months, my life feels like one big schedule  and I find myself adhering to some kind of plan even on my one free day of the week – Sunday. Not so healthy in general but the blogging seems to benefit from it. Also, the end is in sight! By Christmas this will be over! Since everything revolves about work at the moment I thought I’d show you my working place!

Remember this?

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I took this picture right after I managed to assemble the parts (Thanks, Ikea!) and since then the inevitable chaos has crept in a bit.

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I suspect it will get even worse in the next months…

The highlight of last week was a trip to the garden centre to pick up some plants for my flat!

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There has also been some spinning with my new spindle. Also, I seem to have lost my knitting mojo. I hope to free up my wheel and the spindle in time for the Tour de Fleece!

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I love the look of the cop, but it takes longer to wind it than on a normal drop spindle. I think I did something wrong as well because the cop should start to look more like a ball. The fibre is a Southern Cross Club Fibre, a beautiful Texel in the colourway ‘Spring Meadow’. I love a proper wooly fibre!

I’m off to enjoy the rest of my scheduled free Sunday – I’m dreading next week because come tomorrow the weather forecast promised our first summer heat-wave. Hope you’re having a better June! I’ll leave you with another summer sunset from my window:

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Have a good week!

Busy Week

I’ve had a really busy week doing not much besides writing and reading with the occasional short walk thrown in for good measure. So, I thought I’d Show you some of the things that kept my mood up through all the work!

A walk and a visit to the museum of roman life in Haltern am See
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A vintage type-writer I bought some time ago at a flee-market – it has a place of honour on my sideboard!

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My new turkish spindle from IST Crafts – so cute and it spins beautifully!

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Lunch fresh from the farmer’s market

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Sunsets viewed from my window

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Hope you had a good week! Happy weekend!

Out and about

So, as promised I’m back with some evidence that now and then I do leave my desk now and then! A few weeks ago on the first sunny and warm Sunday I went on a lovely walk along the Rhine in the south part of town and remembered to take my camera with me.

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You can walk directly at the riverbank though I suspect at the moment this will be all underwater. While we didn’t suffer any flooding here, the Rhine is filled to the brim.

There were sheep!

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Lots of lambs:

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Interesting trees:

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And fields full of rapeseed…

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A lovely walk although I managed to get sunburned. I’m enjoying the sun anyway while the temperatures are still bearable.
I’ll leave you with a picture of the Dew Drops Shawl I cast on – finally taken during an afternoon of knitting at the park yesterday.

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halfway through

It’s June and I don’t know where the first five months of 2013 have gone! I seem to be stuck in a perpetual dilemma the longer I go without posting, the harder is becomes to select what to post. Not that I actually do a lot these days, well, apart from sitting at my desk with writing my dissertation (not yet desperately, but getting there). My goal is handing it in by the end of the year and defending in January or February 2014 – I can’t wait until this is done!
The only thing besides writing and reading and working I’ve been doing recently is cooking (because I want to eat healthier Food) and Spinning (because I seem to have lots my knitting mojo).

Here’s the latest output:

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Southern Cross Club Fibre
Colour: Dark Wings
 Fibre: Polwarth
 230m/110g – 2ply

I’m still not sure if I like this colourway, have to see how it knits up.

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This is Wildcraft fibre, I think the colourway is Sea Pool! It’s a Gradient dyed mix of BFL, silk and camel. It came out at approx. 700m/100g – left it as a single.
(I’ve cast on for a Dew Drops Shawl yesterday evening with this but haven’t taken any pics yet.)

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I’ve spun this Hilltop Cloud roving on my IST spindle (took me nearly half a year) and plied it on my wheel. Very squishy! It’s a 2ply – about 310m/100g.

And another Southern Cross fibre, this one from shop update. Polwarth, again!
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And finally my first batt – Hilltop Cloud again and a mixture of Merino, Shetland, soy silk and sari silk. It Looks great but I’m still finding bits of soy silk all over the flat and on my twice washed clothes.

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That’s it for now! I’m still spending most of my time at my desk, but there should be another post coming up soon with pictures of a grand day out and some knitting!