Thursday, July 28, 2011

New toys!

So, Internet, a new spinning wheel has come to live with me! She's a vintage Lendrum ST which came to me via the wonderful dnorton. Isn't Ravelry a wonderful thing?

I've been drooling over Lendrums since I learned to spin, but I'm not comfortable on double treadle wheels as my lower back issues mean I have to constantly readjust my sitting position to stay comfortable, and I find that double treadles force me to stay in one position for extended periods. I've also wanted a more portable wheel so I can start attending local guild meetings and meet spinners and take classes. So I was contemplating buying a new ST Lendrum in the fall when this wheel happened to come available on Rav, and at a price I couldn't resist. But couldn't quite convince myself that I could afford it without selling Thecla. Thankfully, my husband, who doesn't have the same kind of Grad School economics mindset as I do, suggested it would be an excellent addition, and that we could afford it without having to thin the herd, so to speak. I've had an awful lot of mileage out of my Ashford Traddy so far, and I love her to pieces, and I'm especially fond of the jumbo flyer that Nathan bought me for Christmas, so while it would be an upgrade to take the Lendrum, I would have been pretty sad letting Thecla go to offset the cost. Now I feel like a totally spoiled princess who gets to have TWO spinning wheels and ALL THE FIBRE <3

She spins like a dream! I snuggled up on the couch with some Corgi Hill Farm BFL last night and spun happily (and silently) away while trying to catch up on Coronation Street (I'm about four months' behind the Canadian broadcasts, so I've got a lot of spinning time in my near future.) After some fiddling with adjustments and tweaking of bits and bobs, we found a wonderful rhythm together. I got through about three weeks' worth of episodes in one sitting. Glorious!

Now I need to get some batteries in my camera so I can take some photos of her in all her blonde maple glory. And to capture the plying head, which is enormous. Seriously, it looks like a missile launcher.

This weekend I'm having friends over for a bit of a fibre party: we are going to play with colours and dyes! I am looking forward to making a mess of the kitchen. I've been doing a bit of dying over the past few months and I'm pretty excited by the results and looking forward to doing a little workshop with my best buds.

Today it is drizzly and much cooler than it has been over the past few weeks, and I am going to brew another pot of coffee, contemplate paying my library fines, and then knit away the balance of the day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I am still alive, honest. Still knitting and spinning, although I haven't been cataloguing all my projects. Too lazy, too overworked, too...whatever.

The first year of my PhD is over and I swear it nearly killed me. I took a TA position on top of a whole whack of terrible, terrible courses and by April I was slitting my wrists with unmarked student exams. The teaching experience was fantastic and the course was brilliant and the students were wonderful and I got some very positive feedback but holy wow, is it ever time-consuming. I have applied to work in the same course again, but I've also applied for a course that's actually in my field, and although I feel a sense of loyalty to my original course I think if given the chance I'd like to work in Medieval History. Fingers crossed. Chances are the History department will make the decision for me anyhow.

It is summer, I am on vacation (read: unemployed) and slowly frittering away my savings in anticipation of my contract in September. Married life continues to be blissful, domestic life is cozy and full of cat hair, and we are planning on moving later this fall, hopefully out to the Beaches where there are trees and water. At the end of August I am heading up to the Bancroft area with my parents-in-law to stay at a rented cottage with them for a week and I plan on bringing a few knitting and spindling projects to enjoy while I stare out at some calm Muskoka waters and breathe in the piney air.

Life is pretty good when it's full of coffee and fibre and love!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jingle Boo!

Ok, I said I wasn't going to knit any Christmas presents this year, so I may have just shot myself in the foot by casting on two last-minute gifts. I put down my own Ringwood gloves so I could knit a pair for my mother-in-law. There was some incredible Viola DK in a silvery/grey merino/silk at the Purl, anI just couldn't resist it. And then I found out my aunt is coming for Christmas a I decided to knit her a hat. This may be her last year: she's been battling cervical and bowel cancer for the past year and so far her prognosis is uncertain. So I splurged and got some gorgeous Mirasol in alpaca/silk/merino which is pretty much the softest thing I have ever touched, and I am going to whip out a nice warm hat for her. Bless!

It has been cold and snowy here! Toronto hasn't gotten much, only about 7 or 8cm, but out London way they're buried in about 2m of snow, so I hear! Downtown Toronto looks wonderful and Christmasy and I'm finally getting into the spirit of things. If I didn't have this damn paper to write I would go out shopping today and do a bit of wrapping and baking. Alas, research calls.

This post has been very difficult to type as there's an adorable orange kitty trying to sit on my keyboard. He is all ready for Christmas! <3

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Pretty things

Remember I said I've been working on pretty things? Well, I have!

Here's the first Ringwood glove! This pattern was written by the fabulous Rebecca Blair. She's an amazing friend and an even more amazing designer. This is a fun and quick knit and I am doing it in the most ridiculously soft angora blend and oh my god I barf rainbows every time I touch it <3 I also bought sweet little bocote buttons to embellish them!

I am also working on a Central Park Hoodie in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, which I bought off a Rav destash. It's the first time I've ever knit a sweater for myself!

There has also been a lot of fibre excitement, which I alluded to in my last post!
This is the eight million pounds of unsorted Angora clippings and combings which Soho and I bought at the Royal for a song. This may be the greatest bargain I've ever found, ever.
 Here it is, sorted by colour. Ridiculous!
And here's a little bit spun up on one of my spindles (the Bosworth of Major Internet Drama, for those who know me IRL.) It's tough to spin pure angora, and it's a bit clumpy at times. I'm spinning right from the cloud without carding it, but there's enough here for me to try carding it to see if that improves its spinnability.

 I recently also finished spinning about 2-3 oz of the alpaca roving I picked up at the fair. I was going for a two-ply laceweight, although I still don't quite have the control down pat so it's a bit lumpy in sections, but overall I am really pleased with the results. There's still about half a bag left and I plan on getting back to it soon and then maybe knitting the whole thing up into a Swallowtail.
This is some awesome Romney from Fleecemakers which is my new favourite fibre source. A few months ago I bought a half-pound of romney roving from the Purl and spun it all up super fast into an awesome worsted yarn and from that I learned that Romney is basically the best fibre EVER and I scoured the internet for more. The Romney from Fleecemakers is absurdly soft and lofty and it all comes from sheep on their farm. It's a joy to spin, has virtually  no VM in it (unlike the bag I got at the Purl) and I want to buy all of it and spin everything.

 And since I loved it so much, I went back to her store and bought 4oz of Cotswold locks to play with. They are dyed in the most gorgeous greens and browns which I just can't seen to capture on my camera.
These locks are really awesome and shiny and around 6" long. Fab! I recently bought some hand carders and I'm going to flick-card the tips and butts of these and spin them into something wonderfully shiny.

 And now for one last bit of absurdity: about two months ago we visted a sheep farm and hundred mile market out near Arthur, Ontario. I bought 3 3/4 lbs of Colombia X carded wool. This is what that looks like. It is absolutely ridiculous.

Unfortunately, it's also a pain in the ass to spin. It's absolutely full of VM and wasn't cleaned very well before it was processed. This is why I wound up buying hand carders, so I could re-process the wool myself by hand. Very, very frustrating, but somewhat fruitful at least: I can pick out a lot of the VM as I go, and the carders help take out a bit more, and hopefully whatever is left over will fall out as I spin.

There's a lot more fibre goodness going on here, including some awesome buys from other online stores and some other knitting projects! My fingers have been crazy busy, although I should be using my time to research and write a paper D:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It, uh... it's been a while.

I'm not sure if you knew this or not, dear reader, but getting a PhD is HARD. Or perhaps I am making it unnecessarily hard. I'm enrolled in three courses this year, plus two language reading groups (Catalan and Attic Greek), plus I am TAing for my first time and running three tutorials a week plus marking and consultation, and trying to put together a paper to give next term, and also recovering from giving one *this* term, and sometimes feeding myself and washing.

I am looking forward to having two weeks off at Christmas so I can collapse in a pile of yarn and sleep.

I have been busy, though! Thecla and I continue to get along well, though she complains about how dry our apartment has been now that the forced-air heating is on. I feed her a good meal of spinning-wheel oil every day before I sit down to spin, and that seems to settle her a bit. She spins well, although the mother-of-all doesn't adjust well enough to accommodate the smallest whorl on the new flyer, which means that spinning fine laceweight requires substantially more work than it should. I am going to take a drill and sandpaper to her over the holidays to widen the slots in the MOA so she can slide far enough to align the smallest whorl more evenly with the wheel.

She eats fibre, too! So far we have been doing a lot of long-draw, which is my favourite technique at the moment. I picked up some carded romney a few months ago from the Purl and spun it up in no time. Loved the fibre so much (despite the VM and heavy remnants of lanolin) that I bought another half-pound from a different supplier on Etsy. I think Romney may be my favourite fibre of all right now since it is so wonderfully crimpy and sproingy and crisp. My finished yarn has an incredible bloom and a friend has called dibs on a pair of slippers from it. The new Romney I'm spinning up now is even softer and a much lighter colour and I think I might keep this all for myself.

Two weeks ago Sophie and I went to the Royal Winter Fair and wound up buying a massive bag of Angora, which I will write about later, but suffice it to say I am virtually swimming in animal fibre right now.

Knitting is picking up, too. I have a bunch of projects on the go including a SUPER BORING hat for my husband, who insists that everything I knit for him must be in a 2x2 rib. GRAH. So to compensate I am also knitting a Central Park Hoodie and a pair of Ringwood Gloves, all for myself. And socks, too! But there are always socks on the go.

Today is going to be a day for sitting in and knitting. I was planning a trip down to the Purl but we slept in far later than we expected so I think that plan has to go out the window. I just want to curl up on the couch with a pot of coffee and some soft angora yarn and knit away the afternoon. Mostly to avoid marking.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Reader, I married him.

So we did it.

And it was pretty amazing. I laughed and cried my way up the aisle, and when I got up there I could see that Nathan was barely holding it together himself.

The whole day was filled with laughter and joy. Our photographer was incredible, everyone looked beautiful, and we were all just relaxed and happy even when we were delayed by terrible TIFF traffic (though it did result in some amazing celebrity run-ins.)

And now we're married, and we're happy, and I feel an overflowing of love. Despite the fact that I've hardly had time to breathe since the big day: the first month of classes and teaching is killing me. But I'm happy nevertheless, and in a very good place in life.

Friday, September 10, 2010

So this is it!

In just over twenty-four hours I'll be marrying the love of my life. Guests have arrived from out-of-town, we picked up tuxes, we arranged the flowers, and we ran through a smooth and effortless rehearsal last night with all our folk. The forecast tomorrow is 22, partly cloudy, just as I called it a few months ago. So far it has been snag-free, but I'm in such a state of zen about it all that even if some big snafus did happen I think I could just shrug them off. So long as I can make it to the end of that aisle and return with my new husband, I'll be the happiest woman alive.

Nathan left for his parents' place about an hour ago, and we said a teary goodbye. Next time I see him he'll be at the end of a long, long aisle, waiting for me.

So I guess I don't have time to finish knitting my wedding shawl I started way back in the spring. Oops! :D