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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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!

Honey, I’m back!

I’ve been absent from the blog again and reverted to lurking around the blogs I read instead of commenting 😦 Part of the problem is a certain laziness that comes with the time away from regular work (the new semester starts next week) and the other part is the always looming deadline for my dissertation.

At the end of last year we were notified that the building I work in (and studied in most of the time) is contaminated with PCB which is known to be toxic. Apart from being angry that this fact has been known to the university for about ten !!! years and they now seem very reluctant to do anything about it this has seriously disrupted my routine. I have a hard time motivating myself and avoiding my office has put a wrench into my plans. So, I got myself an upgrade on my home office and started moving most of my books from the office back home. Have a look!

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So, I have worked on my dissertation research both at home and at the library and now I’m neck-deep in lots of necessary preparations for the classes I’ll start teaching on monday.
There has been knitting and spinning since my last post and I have in fact some FOs to show – as soon as I get the batteries for my camera charged. Until then, I’ll leave you with some short notes:

  • I have become obsessed with podcasts, especially The Electric Sheep by Hoxton Handmade. I might have downloaded the last ten episodes already…. If you like podcasts and don’t know her yet, go have a listen!
  • As if I didn’t have enough spinning fibre already I found a new shop on etsy – Hilltop Cloud. I’ve ordered a beautiful BFL/Shetland/Silk roving and four fluffy balls of North Ronaldsay roving. I can’t stop petting this fibre it’s incredibly soft!
  • My blog has been nominated for an award and I was at first a bit shocked and then excited and now determined to get back into blogging.
  • I fixed the problem with my Celery cardigan by cheating with needle and thread. And voila – the offending bits just vanished!
  • We enjoyed a brief period of lovely spring weather and I’ve been outside as much as possible. I’m glad I did because apparently spring is now taking a break and the temperatures dropped by almost ten degrees and this afternoon shall bring rain.
  • I’m dentist-bound today and while I’m no longer as anxious as two months ago I still hate it 😦

That’s it for now, I’ll be back as soon as my camera works again!

A grand day out

After a hectic first week of the new semester I decided to believe the weather forecast and spent the probably last sunny day of October  – yesterday – outside!

Today I’ve already “had a row” with the lovely people from our examinations department – the hazard of red tape – and dragging my heavy notebook to the library on a tram stuffed to the brim was no picnic either.

So, I’m really glad I had such a nice walk yesterday and I’ve sneaked back to flickr to lighten my mood the whole morning (it’s Monday, after all). Have a look:

 

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I seem to have developed a slight obsession with bridges since our London adventure so I took the path along the Rhine to the Theodor-Heuss-Bridge upstream and crossed the river. The sparsely developed left river bank adds a sense of open space and vastness which is usually lacking in the city.

 

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Getting down from the bridge and back to the river bank turned out a bit tricky but involved walking under these beautiful trees…

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Good thing I’m so short, the branches were very low.

Then it was back to the Rhine walking downstream…

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I seldom walk on this side of the river which is a pity because the view is really nice from here:

 

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My father and I used to come here sometimes when I was little to look for shells and skip stones. Lots of those to find on the beach! Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my skills in skipping stones 😦

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There were some early kites even though it wasn’t really windy enough, but what a lovely old-school kite!

 

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…and lots of people just sitting in the sun, having a picnic and enjoying the afternoon. I forgot to pack something to eat or drink so  I took to the bridges again on my way home towards a much needed cup of tea .

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As you can see I was not the only one having a grand day out!

 

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Now it’s back to work and back to knitting tonight – weather forecast tells me I really need to get my cold weather gear in order!

Have a nice week!

The return of the flock

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Yep, it’s that time again – today uni starts and with it comes the return of the flock called students. This semester it seems as if their number has tripled. While listening to the radio  this morning I learned that this term sees the largest number of  fresher ever counted in North Rhine Westphalia and it certainly shows. One of the classes I teach will have 110 participants…

Another slightly unpleasant side-effect is the overcrowded campus. It’s back to scheduling our lunch hour exactly right so as not to have to wait 40 minutes in line to get to the food and then waiting the same time span to pay for it (resulting in perpetually cold meals).

Back to taking the tram to work either extremely early or in the middle of morning classes and  – more important – to avoid leaving campus when everybody else does. The similarity to London rush hour on the Tube fails as soon as you enter the Tram and wish you had packed the earplugs – my limited amount of this London experience was sweaty, claustrophobic and stressful but also blissfully silent. No such luck here.

Ok, I’ll quit whining here. Everything will be fine and I’ll try to keep calm and carry on 🙂

Still no pics of my Eternity Scarf – the photo shoot fell through due to rain. Back to work now! Have a nice week!