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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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!

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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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.

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Spun the first bobbin last week…

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

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

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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!

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So, after my total absence from my own blog and commenting on the blogs I read let’s try a recap of the last, well 2 months?!

Overall, there was lots of work and reading and teaching and I’m really glad this is the last week of the semester! Two more seminars tomorrow and of course 204 tests to grade but after that there will be time to relax and time to work on my dissertation research!

I’ve spent a weekend in Berlin at the beginning of June and met up with fellow blogger and knitter Katie. We had lots of fun! Berlin itself was nice as well and I had to let go of some of my reservations about that particular city.Unfortunately, I took a total of THREE pictures and none worth showing here 😦

After this weekend outing things sped up in my garden and I’ still swamped with beans, zucchini, cucumbers (yay, finally!) and as of yesterday with potatoes and beets. And the pumpkin plant shows the first tiny pumpkins! My back still hurts after bending over for quite some time and lugging everything back home afterwards. While it is really cool to grow my own veggies it is also hard and above all time-consuming. I’m not sure if I’ll do it again next year.

Right now I’m looking for new ways to cook the abundance of zucchini and tried my first zucchini galette, courtesy of smitten kitchen and recommended by barefootrooster’s blog.

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Delicious!

Right now I’m really busy with the Tour de Fleece but before the start I finished my stripey shawl!

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The details

Pattern: Stripe Study by veera from Rain Knitwear design

Yarn: Araucania Ranco solid (purple) and Old Maiden Aunt Merino Superwash (Marmelade skies)

I really like how this turned out! It looks crazy and stylish and is very soft.

I’m off now to my baking hot flat and my spinning wheel. Also, I’ll have to bake a vegan cake for tomorrow’s last lecture. Top-floor flat + baking + 29 °Celsius = not a good combo! More on my plans to remedy that by next summer later. I’ll be back soon with Tour de Fleece progress pics and more tales. See U!

Of stripes and studies

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When I got up this morning I looked out of the window and smiled. Not because of a blue sky and a sunny day but because of what you see in the picture above: lots of clouds full with rain. Yep, I’m really looking forward to the rain! The last three weeks were nearly totally dry and I had a hard time watering the plants in my vegetable patch (no pics yet, forgot my camera on Friday…). The weather forecast predicts two days of rain and the odd shower for the next week. Finally!

And I finally have some knitting and spinning to show!

1. Blue-green Corriedale 3ply

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This is my first try at a 3 ply and I’m aiming for a fingering-weight yarn with a high twist – maybe for socks.
This is only the first bobbin but I made a small dent into the second part of the fibre. Hopefully I’ll have this plied and finished in time for TdF!

2. Stripe Study

This new shawl by Veera of Rain Knitwear Design caught my eye on several blogs I follow and since I needed something fresh to get me going again I started looking through my stash for suitable yarn. I had some Merino sock yarn in a striking blue left over from my Damson but no yarn for the contrasting colour. After some rummaging around I pulled out another skein of Old Maiden Aunt sock yarn in ‘Marmelade Sky’ and went to my LYS to look for something purple to go with it. I came home with a skein of Araucania Ranco solid in purple wich works great with the vibrant orange, don’t you think?

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I had to rip back the first main colour section because I messed up the increases and created giant holes. Yesterday afternoon I met up with a friend who showed me how to knit short rows (my first time for those!) and I was all set!

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The wrap & turns left some small holes but I hope these will vanish after blocking!

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I’ve finished the fourth stripe and it’s addicting! Today I will have to study and finish some material for my class on Wednesday but I intent to sneak in some stripes as well today! So, it’s stripes and studies for now! See U!

St. Monday*

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My day started out like this – dreary, icy and grey. It started snowing around noon but it was just ‘industrial snow’ as I’ve been told. Double dreary!
Despite this I managed to finish my assigned reading for the weekend (*see Billy Bragg ‘St. Monday’ : “Monday’s still the weekend to me” on ‘England, half English’) which means ‘goodbye Mr. Paul! I only have to add the relevant quotes to my data base tomorrow.

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I braved the sleet and went for a walk in the afternoon (see goals for 2011 ) and I finished a pattern repeat of my current lace project which unfortunately proves impossible to shoot.
So, last week of the semester. I’m keeping myself sane and happy by spinning awesome Hello Yarn…