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!

Still here

Well, this has been a record of blog-abandonment so far – it’s been over four months since my last post. On top of not writing anything here I returned to lurking on my favourite blogs instead of commenting. As my very uninspired title states, I’m still here, still knitting, still trying to finish my dissertation and finally be done with my PhD and starting to be a bit unsatisfied with my life at the moment. Unfortunately, there’s nothing for it but to get a move with writing – until then I’m stuck in my current position. Due to the fact that I’m prone to migraine-attacks when stressed too much I have to try to balance everything, getting enough work done to feel good about it but not too much to feel stressed, getting enough sleep and experiencing nice things on the side.

Objectively, I made good progress on the dissertation and I’m much more clear now about its structure and the aspects I want to discuss. If everything goes well I should be able to hand it in around September which means I would be finished with my PhD by the end of the year and therefore before I turn 35.

So, to make this a successful day I need to get back to reading about lexical structures and leave you with a visual account of the last months and a promise to be back soon and post more regularly here!

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Wovember & spinning

As promised, the next post in my November catch-up series! Before I get to the spinning I wanted to tell those of you that haven’t seen it already about Wovember. Wovember is a project initiated and invented last November by Kate Davies (needled) and Felicity Ford (the domestic soundscape) and dedicated to Real Wool during November. This year the project has gotten an addition by Tom of Holland whom you may know through his Visible Mending Project (if not, go take a look!).

The idea behind Wovember is to explore and celebrate the properties of real wool in all its dimensions, from the different breeds of sheep to the shades of the fibre, from the people producing wool to those who use it and from the feel of real wool to the sounds of wool (and for me, the smell. Love the smell of sheepy wool!).

Real wool opposed to what sells as wool in shops, mind. When I wanted to buy a new winter coat last year I simply couldn’t find one made solely of wool! I had to settle for one with a mixture of wool/Cashmere/Nylon but I found ‘wool’ coats with only 10 % wool in total. If you don’t make it yourself, real wool is hard to find in clothes and even finding 100% wool fabric proved difficult.

This year the motto is ‘closing the gap’, meaning the gap between yarn and clothes and the origin of wool used.

You can read more (and much better explained!) about the purpose of Wovember here and have a look at what has already been going on (since I’m late) here .

I really love this project and I’ve been looking forward to November very much.I’m trying to wear as much wool as possible this month and I will be spinning fibre from different sheep breeds (more on that in a later post). My mobile phone has a sheepy ring-tone which you can download from here ( together with other wool related sound files) and I will be wearing the assorted Wovember badges Felicity Ford made for Wovember.

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Now to the fibre and the spinning!

I’ve finally finished spinning and plying the rest of my Hello Yarn Polwarth in ‘Cauldron’!

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Together with the skein I finished ages ago this is destined to become a squishy cowl!

I’m also on the last part of the Wildcraft Falkland I started spinning at the Spin-In in Dorset in September (I forgot all my fibre at home in Germany) and I plied the first half on my wheel.

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I’ve wound the third part on my Nostepinne and got another fibre-egg and I’m now spinning the last 50g.

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Further spinning plans involve making a DKish yarn for a pair of leg warmers and to spin wool from German sheep-breeds. Happy Wovember!!!!

November knitting

I’ve run out of excuses for neglecting my blog – it’s nearly been a month since my last post! We’re now smack in the middle of one of my favourite months (It’s a bit hard to decide between October, November and December) and we’ve had some fabulous autumnal weather:

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Since I’ve caught a very nasty cold I’ve been stuck to my bed and my sofa since last Saturday and today is the first time I felt well enough for a short walk. I’m still using up a mountain of tissues but at least I no longer have to sleep most of the day. When I wasn’t sleeping I knitted. Well, reading was out and so I listened to audiobooks, watched crap daytime telly and knitted. As a result, I’ve cast on and finished two hats, one sleeve and finally made progress on a long forgotten sock.

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pattern: Hurricane Hat by Andrea Goutier
yarn: Southern Cross Fibre Club ‘sugar & spice’
used about 80 meters

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pattern: Marina by Wooly Wormhead
yarn: Southern Cross Fibre Club ‘medieval’

Since my handspun usually turns out a bit uneven and I almost never plan ahead I had to fiddle a bit with the numbers.
Marina is knit sideways and it turned out my stitch gauge was a bit off (what a surprise!) so this turned out super slouchy. It’s soft and warm (the yarn is a BFL/Silk mix) but I have to fold the brim over to avoid looking like a gnome.

With the Hurricane Hat I miscalculated how much yarn I would need and, as I was overly cautious, ended up with a very much not slouchy hat and leftover yarn. I haven’t blocked this one and I hope it will grow a bit after a good wash but this will be the perfect hat for windy bicycle tours as it’s almost windproof.

Then there’s another project I finished before I got ill:

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pattern: Wellenreiter
 yarn: Rowan Colourscape Chunky + Frankenwolle Merino

I saw this in my LYS and instantly fell in love! Fortunately, the pattern was available at the store and when I came home I immediately cast on. It’s constructed with short rows without wraps and the coloured sections a knitted in garter stitch to create a relief-like effect. I can comfortably wrap this around my neck and shoulders twice and it’s very warm and cosy. Unfortunately, we’ve had higher temperatures again so I had no opportunity to wear this yet. Looking forward to the cold! The only action shot I managed to take is very dark but you get the general idea:

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Since I have such a backlog of things to show and tell you I decided to split it into several posts (which I will write now and publish later – thank WordPress for the schedule function!). So, stay tuned for spinning, bike tours and Wovember!

From the cauldron

As promised, reports on my spinning and cooking activities!

Since I’m very much into cowls at the moment – so useful and easy to wear – I wanted to spin up the second bump of the Hello Yarn Cauldron Polwarth. The first bump was finished ages ago (around February, I think) but the meterage wasn’t enough for a nice snuggly cowl.

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I’m attempting to match the yarn I’ve already finished which is a bulky weight chain-ply. Looks ok so far:

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While rummaging around I found one yarn that I haven’t blogged about at all despite it being a novelty for me – a heavy laceweight single.

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It’s a Southern Cross Fibre Club, colourway ‘Wisteria’ on a mixed Corriedale. The singles are still a bit ‘wavy’ but I really liked how it turned out. I got over 400 meters out of the 4 oz which should be enough for a small shawl.

Also, I spent Saturday partly at my desk but also in the kitchen playing around with some of Heidi Swanson’s recipes:

Yummy Sesame Seed Banana Bread:

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I had to substitute the mixture of black and white sesame seeds for all white ones and I skipped the icing. Tastes delicious and not too sweet.

I had a rice casserole for dinner from cookbook I mentioned in my last post but it was already too dark to take pictures. This was equally tasty and I will certainly make this again!

Now for a relaxed Sunday without any work, just knitting and spinning and listening to my new Mumford & Sons CD. Great music I’ve only recently discovered although the cover of the new record strangely resembles a Tommy Hilfiger ad…

Weekend

I’m writing this snuggled up in my favourite wool blanket on my sofa – I’m determined to avoid putting the heater on before November but it’s chilly outside. And it has gotten a bit damp as well. We had a week of lovely crisp and sunny autumn weather and I’ve seen some beautiful sunsets from my window.

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Unfortunately, this week marked the start of the new semester which means that I have to split my energy and motivation (both a bit scarce at the moment) between teaching and grading and dealing with students and my dissertation with the deadline looming. I’ve been struggling to get anything written and the last two days left me especially frustrated. Yesterday I gave up in the early afternoon after hours spent writing what amounts to roughly one page and tried to do something nice.

I made some bread.

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This is the Rye Soda bread from my recently acquired Supernatural Every Day cooking book by Heidi Swanson. It’s easy, very quick to prepare and quite tasty. Since I’m spending six out of seven days at home I might as well use the time I’m not wasting in public transport to cook for myself. This book will see some use, I think! I’ll report on how that will turn out!

There has been some knitting as well and the giant cowl is about halfway done:

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I saw this one at my LYS and since they sold both the pattern and the yarn (it’s Rowan Colourscape) I’m now counting short rows.

Unfortunately the pattern is not meant for mindless knitting so I’m making progress on a sweater I cast on before I left for London, Argo. I had to rip it back twice!!! already; the first time because the armholes were to tight and the second time because I somehow accumulated about 15 cm excess fabric around my bust.

argo2 (Before ripping back)

It looks ok now so I’m keeping my fingers crossed I will be able to put the waist shaping in the right spot.

argo3(after the ripping)

We’re in for a few more rainy days so I imagine I will make some headway with the cardigan in the evenings.
I’ve been able to sneak in some spinning but I’ll save that for another post. Happy weekend!

Still here

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I’ve been back from London and the Wildcraft Spin-In for almost four weeks but with my dissertation deadline looming I had to dive back into it right away. Now I’ve finished the first chapter and I’m feeling a bit better – maybe this will turn out ok in the end and my PhD will be done by next summer. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

I’ve decided against a full post about my London adventure and the Spin-In but you can have a look here and see what I’ve been up to.

I want to get back into blogging more regularly which for me seems to be a question of not trying to write the perfect post but just get on with it.

So, I thought I’d show you what has made struggling with that first proper chapter of my dissertation bearable!

Fibre & Yarn from London and the Spin-In

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I had lots of fun doing the dyeing workshop at the Spin-In and since I’ve been good with my yarn purchases in London I allowed myself to splurge a bit on Wildcraft fibre and spindles.  The Spin-In provided lots of time to get used to my new spindle and I finished spinning the first part of a lovely Falkland fibre.

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This is another spindle I couldn’t resist!

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As for yarn, I only bought some Brooklyn Tweed Loft from Loop London and some lovely soft Tweed yarn from Studio Donegal at Nest while I waited to be picked up for the journey to Dorset.

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New tea cup

Back home a parcel from England was waiting for me and I have been enjoying my tea from this lovely new cup from Cecily Vessey:

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I love the small Big Ben on the inside! Check out her designs at etsy!

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Autumn

In the last weeks the weather has got colder and I finally had the opportunity to wear my Curious Cardigan!

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Also, squash season started at my local farmer’s market, so I made some soup last week.

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The new semester starts next Monday and I’m already dreading it a bit. It will be harder to meet the deadlines in my plan while teaching and preparing the classes. I’m going to enjoy the peace and quiet this week while I can!

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Liquid

As much as I’d like to forget that last heat-wave (I do my best to delete the summer of 2003 from my memory) there were some things that – looking back, of course – were nice. And mostly liquid.

New Gin & Tonic recipe:

Untitled

One of these in the evening made the heat at least a bit bearable.
What’s in it?

a generous (think big here!) helping of Gin
frozen lemon slices (instead of ice)
pink grapefruit juice
sparkling water

Lovely!

New tea mug (and giant macaroon)

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This one is fast becoming my favourite tea-cup (I’m equally picky about the shape and feel of the cup as I am about the tea in it). I bought it up North when I visited my parents. It’s from Le Creuset and I was totally floored to find that they now even make a proper teapot to go with this cup.
I like everything about it, the size, the weight (stoneware not porcelain) and the colour.

New camera (non-liquid)

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I’ve finally managed to find a new camera, so I will spend the weekend and the next week getting used to it and producing lots of test pictures. A week from now I will be sitting in a train to London where I plan to make good use of my electric toy :-)! I’m off to the market now and then back to my desk for a few hours. Have a good weekend!

fresh air

After a weekend spent on my sofa gasping like a stranded whale it seems possible to breathe again today. I even managed to take some pictures of recent knits and spun yarns but for now i’m sitting at the river.

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Weather forecast had warned us about very high humidity and again temperatures around 30 degree (celsius, obviously). Thankfully, there’s a strong breeze and the sun is mostly hidden by clouds.

I’ve been really glad about a recent aquisition which made getting from my private sauna aka my top-floor flat to marginally cooler places (can you guess that I really don’t like summer?!) a bit easier – my new bike!

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(unfortunately, the fallen leaves are not a sign of autumn. They’ve been more like… barbecued on the tree)

Since I’m a bit reluctant to return to my flat this post comes to you from the next park over, where I plan to stay until my home has cooled down a bit  (which will probably take until the end of the week but at least until Wednesday).

On that hopeful note I’ll stop my post. I will be back soon with some actual wooly content and plans for my trip to London. See U

Fibre explosion

I’ve been really busy recently, mostly because I have checked my priorities and number one on that list is working on my dissertation as much as possible. Add to that teaching three classes and some much-needed fun on the side and whoosh – another month gone without a blog post. I’m afraid this will happen again, but for now I have a bit of crafty goodness for you.

There has been knitting but somehow I have spent much more time on my spinning wheel in the last weeks. This is both nice in terms of practice and very necessary because I amass around 8 oz of fibre every month without doing anything. I’m really happy I got the invitation for the Southern Cross Fibre Club but there are storing space issued to consider. Since I still have options for storing I have no intention of cancelling the subscription so I took the train to Ikea yesterday to buy some more boxes :-)!

organizing

I know compared to others my stash is small but for me it already has a significant size. Some organisation was definitely in order! My fibre is now ordered by designer as this was the easiest way – I did contemplate ordering by fibre type or colour family but in the end I couldn’t be bothered :-). What I managed to do is finally take a picture of every braid and bag of fibre I have and put it in my Ravelry stash. There!

Apart from organizing it I actually finished spinning some fibre, too!

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This is the first bobbin of SCF Club November 2011, colourway ‘Dirt’. It’s a lovely Falkland and very soft.

The stats:
SCF Club ‘Dirt’
Fibre: Falkland
method of spinning: modified long draw
2 ply

I have another bobbin plied but not washed yet and I don’t know the meterage but the weight is somewhere between a heavy lace-weight and a light fingering-weight. Should be enough for a shawl!

Right now I have something novel on my wheel – Southdown! – but I’ll save this for another post :-).
So, have a nice Sunday or a lovely long weekend if your from the UK! I’ll be back soon with the Southdown and more fibre news (maybe some knitting as well, and my new bike….)