Quantum

It seems like spring has made several attempts to gain the upper hand in the last weeks, but it’s still cold enough in the mornings to wear wool! The new semester is only two weeks away and I am neck-deep in preparations for my classes.

Fortunately, there has been enough time for other things like reading, knitting and spinning (and busting my overall budget with fibre and books purchases).

DSC_0453

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a new event on Ravelry that has since then occupied most of my free time – the MegaSAL (link to Ravelry group). This Spin-along / book club brings several hand-dyers together in designing colourways based on the late Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels and the participants in reading the novels and spinning up said Fibre from april to the end of June. Although I had heard about him I hadn’t read a single book by Terry Pratchett before (don’t ask me why – I don’t know!) but since I joined the group I have devoured the first seven books in the series and have fallen in love with Ankh-Morpork, Rincewind and the Luggage, the Witches and Death and I’m very glad there are another 37 books to read, with a last novel being published sometime this year. Sadly, Terry Pratchett passed away little over two weeks ago but I am grateful he left such a legacy of wonderful, satirical and funny stories.
To prepare for the SAL I have nearly managed to clear my bobbins and I have scored a lot of lovely fibre which is now slowly making its way through customs and the post to my wheel. That means I have lots of finished yarn and a bit of knitting to show you!

1. Shetland project

Ages ago my obsession with Fair Isle knitting made me attempt to divide some lovely hand-dyed Shetland by Southern Cross Fibers into its different colours and spin it up for a colour work project.

southerncross_islandparadis

Separating the colours proved difficult so the result is not ideal but combined with a neutral colour I think it will be fine.

2015-03-23_04-49-35

2. Getting back my spinning mojo

Since I spent very little time at my wheel I felt I needed to get back into the rhythm before the Spin Along. I grabbed random braids out of my overflowing stash and got to work:

Combo spin with Southern Cross Fiber Club “Metamorphosis” and “Sweet Wine” both on Corriedale (349 m/ 220 g)

DSC_0443

Crown Mountain Farms Blue Face Leicester Top, 429 m / 100 g

DSC_0418

I have another SCF braid on the wheel at the moment and there is some knitting getting done as well (sorry about the picture, I can’t get it to rotate the right way):

DSC_0450

It’s another Honey Cowl (and another obsession), this time in Southern Cross “Dark Wing”.
I always have to think about “Darkwing Duck”, a cartoon my little sister used to watch and which is a perfect transition to a recent arrival to our garden pond:

Ducks

I haven’t seen them for a few days now but maybe they were put off by the loudly snoring hedgehog who spends the whole night directly under my bedroom window…

So, I’ll be back on April Fool’s Day with tales of our marvellous Spin-Along kick-off with cider :-)! It will be quantum*!

* in: Pratchett, Terry: “Pyramids”

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.

DSC_0351

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:

DSC_0407

I love that it almost stands upright on its own!

DSC_0409

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:

DSC_0391

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

Neandertal

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:

texel1

texel_plying1

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:

Untitled

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.

klapheck

I had a tasty piece of cake…

baiser

… at the beautiful museum café…

cafe

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!

sky

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?

Homeoffice

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.

desk1

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!

plants1

plants3

plants5

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!

spindle2

spindle1

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:

sunset1

Have a good week!

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:

dark_wings

dark_wings1

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.

wildcraft_sea1

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.)

hilltop1

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!
southerncross_shop1

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.

hilltop_batt4

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!

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.

cauldron1

cauldron3

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

cauldron1

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.

southerncross_club_july12

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:

banana_bread

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…

Still here

sky1

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

spinin_loot

spindle2

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.

fibreegg

This is another spindle I couldn’t resist!

spindle1

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.

london_yarn

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:

big_ben_cup2

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

big_ben_cup1

Autumn

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

curious_action

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

pumpkin

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!

sky2