Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010, with extra snow on top

As promised, the post with actual pictures...

The Texan came over for christmas this year, so we got to treat ourselves to a little getaway (I love chasing down cheap lodging) as soon as he arrived. The destination: a small village not too far away, close to a nature reserve. The snow held off until we made it safely inside, and we didn't even get stuck in the mud when the navigation turned us into the shortest but muddiest route possible.

At least I didn't turn right into a ditch...

Anyway, East Brabant had snow, as you can tell and yes, I hugged a tree. Live with it!

We even found the narrowest tractor ever!

A while later, when we got back to the house, it snowed more. Is it a myth? I'll leave it to you to decide...

WIP wednesday, a week of finishing and starting all over again

This week, the golden oldies are still where they are...

My scarf got a little work done on the way back from the airport, but I slept most of the time, so I'm still not half-way done with the supposedly superfast scarf. The last secret Christmas knitting didn't gain a stitch, but that's ok. (I'm being nice to me!)

I did manage to finish the pink monstrosity I posted about last week and even made its blue sister in time for the plane they needed to catch, neatly stuffed into the Texan's hand luggage.

The dreaded kilt hose were done on the second day of Christmas, so technically, that was on time as well. I'm just a little proud of the way they turned out!

After the Airport Trip, I finished the last bits of the therapeutic spinning, and plied all together into 500 mtr of coloured goodness. It'll probably become a Peak Island Hood (announcement for future WIP)

Since I didn't want this winter to pass by on unfinished projects, I started another one in a bulky yarn. O.W.L.S. Oh yes. Just this evening I finished the 2x2 ribbing (2") on 128 stitches in the round. So far, I'm loving the speed of it, but not the fact that the picture I just took refuses to sync from web albums to Picasa proper so it's not blogged this week.

In spinning news: I'm already trying to work out how to combine natural colours of wool into a Fair Isle project I haven't started yet... Oh dear

Thursday, December 23, 2010

remember what I said about the laptop?

Oh yeah. At least that frees up the phone so I can play Angrybirds
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WIP Wednesday, back again

Last Wednesday, a week ago, I didn't do a WIP Wednesday. There were 2 reasons for it, the main one being that not one project got itself finished or even close to finishing. To be honest, none of them are very inspiring at the moment. This is bad, because it often leads to startitis. Instead of casting on more unwanted projects, I chose to buy more yarn. Yeah. Whaddayagonnado? It'll become an O.W.L.S. which I hope to finish before Spring.
The other, non-secret Christmas knitting thing that was going on last week was a full agenda. Yeah. again more of the same. Increasing work hours, therapy, teaching (being taken out to dinner to practise "ordering in a restaurant") and tidying meant there was little time left on the computer. The next day I got to get up at 5am to drive to the airport, drive back home after standing at the gate for over an hour with a Texan in the passenger seat. The day after that looked a little (completely exactly) like this from our hotel window.

On Monday it was back to work (such fun), and back to work on projects that will not be finished in time. Hurrah!
So now, another Wednesday, I've stolen the laptop back from the Texan for 30 min so I can post this, the newest secret WIP.
Don't smirk, it's a present and needs to fly on Tuesday. So there.

So now I just need the Texan to put last weekend's actual pictures on here and make this laptop speak with the printer. There might be a chance I won't go ballistic before the weekend, but I'm not making promises. I just wish I could spin all day.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

WIP Wednesday, or can I have mulligan please?

We all have them. Weeks that start out badly, and never recover from it. It's only Wednesday, and I would really like to go back, throw my dice again and start over. (minus the one day, obviously)*

The past 8 days haven't tried their best at making themselves memorable in a good way. Memorable, certainly, in a screwed-up admin-y insurance-doctorish way, and it's best to just ignore everything that went wrong and pretend all is well with the world. Like the fact that just about every female I know, who is in a relationship and in my age-bracket, seems to be pregnant. Including Annie (follow her here) and myself, I can still count the number of non-preggers on one hand!

Annie has just pointed out that this means Options! Buy stocks in baby related items, start a daycare, or become the world's best loved aunt!**

There is a bit of a downside to this situation. There will be many more secret projects that can't be shown here. In fact, all of my own half-done projects have been patiently waiting in their respective plastic bags*** for weeks while I work on secret things for other people.

Tired and grumpy, I finally gave in to one of the few basic rules I've learned these last few months, and did something for me. Initially, it involved a lot of swearing. I attached some of the fiber I got from "the Belgians" to my leader and all was well until I stopped to guide onto another hook. Breakage, and more breakage until there was hardly anything left on the spool. After a bit, I gave up and spun some rough merino I had sitting around, in shocking pink.

If I run into you this week and accidentally bite your head off: I'm sorry and I'm working on it. Now if only I managed to get some sleep....

* If you don't need explaining, you must be a... person who hangs out with the kind of people I hang out with.
** Yes, I'm claiming all your unborn children
*** I am fixing this. I'll have actual project bags soon!****
**** Hurray!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WIP Wednesday, the secret edition

In which not everything is as secret as the title suggests. About 25% of it is "out there" in the public domain.

Like this, my superfast Snelle Jelle, after a design by Jen Reilly, who blogs here

Snelle Jelle is to replace an old scarf I made almost a decade ago, and which should be retired. That said, I might just wash it and see what happens...

In a while, a few people might get to recognize these pictures as their newly unwrapped presents. I'm not telling you who you are.


(that is my super secret evil laugh)

(I'm also stroking a cat)

I'll see you around next week, when it will be only 1 week until the even eviller DH arrives. There will be more secrets....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wouldn't you like to be a teacher too?

At this school, anyway...

Dad works for ROC, a vocational college, who organize an outing every year. As I understand it, they have been doing the same thing a few years now, which is to take all (6000!) employees, spouses and children/grandchildren to the Efteling... So I got to come too!!! (sorry , I was a bit excited)
Me and Pardoes

To those of you who are not familiar with the Efteling, here's a short history:

Starting before 1952 as a recreational and sports area, it opens in that year as a sort of permanent carnival for families with children under 12.

There is a steam-driven carousel and a 'floating' pagoda which gives you a view of the entire park in just one ride.

The steam train goes around the old park, with stations North, West, South and East. I remember this being one of the attractions with a long long queue...

The fairytale forest is one of the highlights for the little ones, and everyone will recognize something from bedtime stories. Here is Little Red Riding Hood about to get into trouble at her grandma's...

Eventually, bigger and more exciting rides found their way into the park, starting with the Python, with its corkscrew turns one of the most scary rides, once upon a time. One of the newest is the Flying Dutchman, which was great!

Later on, I got to accompany a 6-yr old, because his grandparents didn't dare to go on Joris en de Draak, vaguely based on the legend of St George and the Dragon. Unfortunately we had a few small children in our ride, so our combined weight made us (Fire) slightly slower than the other ride (Water). It was amazing anyway!

The ice ring was reserved for the ROC-visitors and it was set up with Koek en Zopie (cookies and... well, hot drinks) and Stampot en Rookworst was there for the taking. So was the hot wine, hot chocolate and hot coffees.

Uhuh, rookworst... nom nom nom

Lightly frozen parents...

And how's that for a grand entrance? It's no wonder this park was voted "Best of Europe" and "Best of the World" once upon a time...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WIP Wednesday, or not?

My unstable arm is acting up again, which means it clicks and clunks and misbehaves in general, since I sort-of-slipped on wet leaves while trying to mount my borrowed tiny bicycle. Apparently I still can't make a sudden move without being punished for it.

All of the above a clear message: grab that long piece of pink elastic band and use it for good, not evil. (I'd have to find it first...)

It doesn't make for perfect crafting conditions in any case.

I'll tell you what I've worked on (some) this week: nothing but secret projects. I knit and I dyed, but just in case someone's watching, I'm still not showing. Maybe next week...

Meanwhile, enjoy some blogs I like...

Visit the home of Saz, who makes pretty things, lives in Bonny Scotland and keeps hens. She keeps finding interesting things around her new house.

Reading about mariajhmom's life I'm reminded I'm not the only one... (who goes a bit loopy over all things fiber-y)

Annie Bee knits, and does a lot more than just that!

If you don't mind I'll sit on some of my other favorite blogs. I might some more filler next week!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WIP Wednesday, projects that just go on and on and on...

You get it, right?

I have a few works in progress that just never seem to end. Working is all dandy and such when it comes to the expansion of the Mighty Stash, but it sure doesn't help with tackling it to the ground. As any good fiber hoarder will agree, things do tend to build up if you can't spend every waking hour trying to turn the mountain of yarn and unspun fiber into pretty things to wear and give away. However, you're not going to learn about them today. Nuh uh. You see, I forgot to take pictures when there was light and I was too busy about cake and flowers anyway. Some pictureless projects instead then...

In the Springtime, I brought some lace home which was in desperate need of dyeing. Since then, I've spun lace, and more lace, and all of it was turned into lovely shawlettes for me to wear (see here) and the bland blank skein of lace just sat and waited....

I can safely say it is now a lovely colour, which I can't show you because it's the trial of something secret!!! The trial is coincidentally also my first ever attempt at designing something myself, if you don't count Alexia's mittens, also here.

A while back we got some baby merino in white to try out our first dyeing experiment. I went all out and got 10 balls when that turned out to be fun! Some of those ended up in the mittens, others are now slowly turning into another secret project, of which I can tell you nothing!!!

I can't leave you without a picture, so as it's our 4th anniversary, I'll leave you to enjoy this lovely couple...

I can't believe it's 4 years already. It feels like yesterday and a lifetime away...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And she asked if I ever got round to finishing anything...

So instead of starting a new feature WorkInProgress Wednesday, or WIP Wednesday, I thought I'd start off with some Finished Objects, or as we like to call them: FO's. (a little bit of jargon there).

As you can see, I have been busy since summer, although possibly not with anything that is going to help with anything but the fast approaching winter cold. I promise you, I'm working on getting better, in more ways than one.

Below, find Marnie Maclean's design Tolovana, in lush Shilasdair luxury 4-ply. An absolute joy



Next, Echo Flower Shawl, by Jenny Johnson Johnen in my first ever handspun single ply



Next up, Pea Vines, by Anne Henson in my first handspun 2-ply lace, which is much greener really. Shame I can't get the colours right on this new camera.

A quicky Icing Swirl hat, by Ysolda in a chunky Noro that Ron kindly brought me from Japan

An finally, a hat and mittens for my littlest cousin Alexia, a quick knit and simple design by My Head*

I hope you enjoy this, there is more to come, next week...

* The head on my shoulders which is known to work, sometimes. If you would like to visit, please let us know in advance so we can drag it to attention...

edit: re-loaded some images

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Things left unmentioned...

...don't just go away.

Especially when a cat keeps kicking you.

You'll remember (or scroll down a bit) the adventures of my cat, Mop, this last winter in the snow. It was his 19th winter, and sadly it was his last. A year before those pictures were taken he lost a lot of weight in a dramatically short period of time. The vet diagnosed him quite easily and got him on some pills which kept him on weight, though didn't put a lot back on. He was 18 at the time so there wasn't much to expect. In fact, the vet gave him a few months back then. A year and a half later, his predictions came true during a horrible Ascension weekend, which is a long weekend off over here.

On the Tuesday before, his long-time bully/housemate Flip fell off the washing machine where they both sleep. It was the second time in a few months that he did that, but this time, he didn't get up. I was at work, so my dad drove him to the vet on his own. Diagnosis: a stroke. At the tender age of almost 18 not something he was supposed to recover from.
The next day Mop lost control over his hind legs so off we went to the vet again. He got a steroid shot and some fluid injected under the skin, in order to carry him over the weekend and give him a fighting chance to recover from this. We weren't ready to lose two cats in the same number of days. That night he lost all the fluids and he never touched his food or drink again. After watching him slowly slipping away we decided to give him a nudge in the right direction and took him back to the vet's on the Saturday morning. The pet cremation people sent us back a lovely card.

In the mean time, Flip had struggled back to his feet. We shouldn't laugh, but it was hard not to when he ran across the room sideways. The stroke affected his right side so in order to keep himself upright he was making good speed until he lost momentum and fell over again. After all the drama it was quite relief that he at least seemed to still want to go on.

Months later, he still has a bit of a funny walk and he's stopped looking for his long-suffering co-cat. He lost a lot of weight but seems to be as eager to eat as before. As I'm writing this he's kicking out in his sleep, and these spasms seem to be the worst he's still going through.

He's still packing quite a kick for a disabled old cat...

Besides the dull dull drudge called a job, the translation thing which lurks at the back of my mind and the teaching (scary! much freaking out! badly organised!) I manage to occupy myself well, if and when Flip steps away from the plastic project bag...

In personal achievements, I'm proud of my felted and now being knitted single ply lace, hand spun on a home-made spindle

I've turned the bulk of 200 grams of merino/silk mix in 2 colourways into singles and it's slowly turning itself into a 2-ply, light fingering at a guess. So far I've plied 186m, which means I should have 1000m or so by the time I'm done with it. Next comes the question: what to do with it?!? When I bought the above roving/bat, I got another 100gr roving in blue, which is slowly and "rustically" turning into a Navajo 3-ply. I'm actually a little proud of what I'm getting done on my own lonesome self.

Besides that, I've almost finished an Audrey in Unst. Just the length of a sleeve, a buttonhole band and the collar to go and she's done! And looking quite splendid!
Next projects are already lined up, but choices need to be made. And difficult they will be...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Clearing out the attic

As the summer temperatures lowered to something more acceptable, and frankly, something more familiar, I took the opportunity to clear out some attic space.
Some of you might be aware that I actually 'live' in that attic, but it's also the place where years of Stuff has been put into every little spot available.

It is generally known that when I finally move my things out of the attic, the house will rise by a good 5cm (that's 2"). Today, we've moved a few boxes of Stuff that belonged to another life that got left behind about 7 years ago.

That's a good rule to go by: if it's been boxed for 7 years, you probably don't need it. Of course the 7 years happened because of Circumstances, but nevertheless.

The car is now filled with a few boxes of things I won't need or want in the next life, which should happen sometime in the next 10 years. We're taking this marriage thing slow, you know ;). Just a single box of glassware and bowls got to stay, as they are things I would buy back if I threw them out now. They were specially chosen, or in the case of the Foofer mug, a reminder of times now long gone. 3 boxes got turned into just one, and someone else will be happy with the plates, mugs and beer glasses that are going to Kringloop (recycle centre for all your unwanted goods).

In and amongst the pots, glasses, bowls and cans, we found a box of picture albums we lost track of a while back. One of them was mine, where mom stuck all the pictures that were taken of me in 1989. The highlight must be this

This picture was taken just moments before a school bus stopped and the beach filled with Spanish school kids ready for a dip in the Atlantic.

Something else we found has great sentimental value, and will most likely never ever be used again. They'll never go though. My very first pocket money (probably a number of weeks worth) got spent on these beauties

My very last pair of roller skates...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Is it Summer already?

Well 'tis, and I'm not quite sure what happened to Spring.
I've discovered that the 40hr/week job drains much more out of me than just those hours. Even with the 10 min travel time to/from work, it takes me hours to recover from the self-inflicted monotony of doing the same thing a large number of times. This does mean that there is much less thinking involved (I only have to solve a problem once) but still my head seems to be nothing more than a large container for cotton balls while I vegetate in front of the TV until about 9pm.

You'll understand this leaves me far less time for doing the things I like, and then there are the small but important matters of "The Other Job" (which needs the brain to work) and "Getting Enough Sleep." In between Vegetating and The Other Job and the occasional illicit Crafting, Getting Enough Sleep doesn't happen often enough.

So, in order to deal with this, I got the DH to come over for 5 weeks (what was I thinking?) which was fun, but didn't help too much with the Sleep thing until I also took time off of work. DH has since left and work starts again tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to less Craft/Sleep time, but I guess the "Magically Appearing Money" in my bank account is a good thing.

For now, enjoy some of our pictures. I know I did.

Driving through London at 3am Wednesday morning. The only time to do it.

We ran into some hefty traffic near Plockton, or "Those make big dents"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mr Mop investigates...

Hello folks,

I'm your special reporter as today we have launched an investigation into the unknown substance that seems to have landed in our garden during the night. As I went out, I recruited a random photographer to supply you with images of this dangerous but interesting field trip.

As you can see, the stuff seems to have landed on everything...

I did look in the corners, and they look untouched

We tried to look around the corner, but something scared us off, and there wasn't much to see anyways. We will continue on the other side of the garden.

Indeed, it's paw-high here as well.

In a risky bid to uncover the truth about the cold white substance in my own garden, putting myself in grave danger for the sake of you, dear reader, I sniffled the substance, and got some on myself. It was then that I discovered the true nature of the white stuff.

There is SNOW in the garden. I therefore conclude that it must still be winter.

We like to thank our special reporter for risking his life to uncover the truth (and dragging us along to take the pictures). He is now warming his paws over the central heating unit. Apparently his lack of thumbs prevents him from doing the posting himself. Whatever.

Monday, January 11, 2010

After the Naughties, do we call it the Teens?

You must, yes you simply must have noticed it's a new year. A new decade even. Time for reflection? You bet. Sorry.

Lots of things happened to the world over the last 10 years, and to people too. Since You've all witnessed the big things yourselves, I'd like to share my little things instead.

I met a girl called Annemarie, who led me to the start of A Great Love Affair, for which I have to thank her.

Then there was A Tragedy, and the forging of a great Friendship, which lasts until this day, and which, if I have anything to say about it, will last until the end of time (or we all die, whichever comes first).

At last there was the Even Greater Love Affair which came attached with the Great Unknown and Some Little Ones.

There was a Personal Conquest, which came with a title.

There were trips, and good times were had. Another Great Tragedy followed, and the sharing of the Great Love Affair with People Who Matter.

In no particular order, and with much omitted, but You Are What Matter. Just so you know, 'n stuff.

In little things, there were great discoveries
- The digital camera, and the fact that I can take a picture I can enjoy
- The great community of people that can grow from a silly online game. You Are All Also Important, but I don't keep your pictures around (much). (that you know about).
- I do finish what I start, most of the time anyways.
- The blogosphere and Ravelry, with tons and tons of creative people who make my head spin with the possibilities offered by a scrap of yarn, a square inch of fabric and a zipper (or a button). You're all McGyvers, the lot of you.
- I can wear dresses. No really, I can.
- You are better at life than you think, and
- Life isn't always what you plan it to be, but that doesn't mean it can't be better than you imagined.

Traditionally, I don't make new resolutions, mostly because I forget and then would forget the instant I'd make one up. There's really only one thing to do over the next ten years. Just Keep Going... (works for me)