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!

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!

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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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!