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).


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.


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


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)


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


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):


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:


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.


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:


I love that it almost stands upright on its own!


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:


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


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:



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:


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.


I had a tasty piece of cake…


… at the beautiful museum café…


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!



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?


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.


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!




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!



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:


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:



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.


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.)


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!

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.


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.



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


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.


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:


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


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



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.


This is another spindle I couldn’t resist!


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.


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:


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



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


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


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!


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 :-)!


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!


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….)

Yarn, glorious yarn! (part 1)

So, I’ve finally managed to catch up with the blog posts in my google reader inbox and writing a few comments. The new semester started yesterday and I’m a bit overwhelmed by balancing dissertation work and ‘work- work’ (i.e. teaching three courses). Today I admitted defeat around noon as I seem unable to concentrate on anything. I’m still a bit rattled after a fierce migraine attack on Saturday which caught me right in the middle of the university library. I had to take a cab back to my flat which is on the other side of town. The rest of Saturday mostly took place in my bed. But enough of the bad stuff!

I realized I have a huge backlog of finished handspun I haven’t shown you yet,  mostly because of the battery problem I mentioned in my last post. Since I also have one Finished Object and another WIP to show I decided to make two posts out of it. So, let’s get started with the yarn!

#1: Hello Yarn Cauldron



Fibre: Polwarth

chain-plyed; ca. 85m/4 oz; Bulky weight

I had this on my wheel for the better part of three months (I think I pulled the fibre out of the stash around the end of october 2011) and only finished it in January. This is the much coveted Hello Yarn Club fibre which I scored on a destash and I have a nother 4 oz under my bed. It’s destined to become a huge, fluffy cowl for next winter and I spun it fairly thick and then chain-plyed it so it came out at about chunky weight (no idea how much wpi).

#2: Wildcraft/SpotSpins Fibre Calendula Shades


Since this yarn will also feature in my second post I’ll keep it short. The fibre is an oatmeal BFL overdyed with a dark golden orange and darker browns. This was my first attempt at a woolen spun yarn albeit with a worsted fibre preparation. Nevertheless, the resulting yarn is very light and fluffy and looks very different from my usual handspun.
It’s a heavy fingering weight and I got about 388 meters out of 4 oz.

#3: Southern Cross December ’11 Fiber Club Oceanic



Fibre: BFL /Silk
2 ply, light DK weight
213m/4 oz

This BFL/Silk mix spun like butter or, well, like silk! It also went incredibly fast, I think it took me just one weekend to spin, ply and finish the yarn. The skein feels very heavy and the yarn is smooth and lovely. I’m totally in love!

#4: Spunky Eclectic Club Fiber Tossed Salad


Fiber: Karaoke (50% fine wool/50%Soy Silk)
2 ply
91, 5m / 2 oz

This was the luxury club offering last year and something of a wild card for me. It was a bit hard to spin because the Soy Silk tended to stick together in chunks but the finished yarn is great. The colour is fresh but not too loud and the yarn almost feels like cotton.
So, last one for today:

#5: Spunky Eclectic Club Fiber Mordor



Fibre: Corriedale
heavy DK weight; 177m/4 oz

I had planned to spin this for socks but decided against it. Not sure what I’ll do with it as the colour would look a bit odd with my wardrobe.
So, this is it for today. As you can see, I’ve got my spinning mojo back and there’s more to see. I’ll return soon with the rest of the lot – some more yarn and a bit of knitting, too.

There’s a change in the air…

Remember my recent spinning spree? Well, after finishing the Southern Cross fibre I immediately dived back into my stash and fished out another bag of fibre.


Spun the first bobbin last week…


… and finished plying on Thursday.
I really like it!


The details:
Spunky Eclectic Club fibre
Colour: Change
Fiber: Falkland
Worsted weight, 132 m/4 oz


This is my first time spinning Falkland and I loved it. It’s not quite as slippery as Merino but equally soft. I couldn’t resist casting on for a modified Eternity Scarf yesterday – the weather has finally turned autumnal (if only for a short while, weather forecast just now said something about 20 ° Celsius on Monday 😦 ) No pictures yet, it’s still to dark outside so you’ll have to wait for the FO.

Speaking of changes, I’ve managed a good work flow this week and got a lot of things done (even the dishes 😉 ) so my master plan seems to do the job! As you can see, it even had an impact on my blogging – three posts in one week. I’m pleased!

Time to finish my tea and get the day started! Have a nice weekend!