Sunday, February 27, 2011

Scottish Sundays, brighter pastures

Today my sort-of-stepson Ryan is off to start Basic Training so he can be a wheeled vehicle mechanic in places where people might shoot him before becoming his friend. I've decided not to worry about this too much until I have to. Good luck to him, and well done for sticking with his decisions. It won't have been easy.

Anyway, brighter pastures.

It wasn't too long ago that I emerged from the latest Big Dip, so to be complimented was a minor triumph. Apparently, I've made a few new strategies and gained some insights into how my brain works. Practically, I've found 3(!) vacancies to apply to, one of which closes on Thursday. Some urgency required, obviously. RSPB and Historic Scotland, you can expect applications by me and I strongly urge you to at least look at them before tossing them out. Thanks in advance.

How awesome is my tent?

Can't wait to be back.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Craft Fair Zwolle, softly softly

Oh my....

Yesterday, I had a well-deserved days off and managed to let myself be tempted to go the Craft Fair in Zwolle. It's a good (really?) thing I brought the big yellow backpack that I usually only use for hiking because we managed to fill it up with yarny and fibery goodness.

In this image you will find Angel Yarn by The Natural Dyestudio, Noro Kureyon Sock (both from Wereldwol), several bats by Dutch Wool Diva and some from Storm op Zolder, Evilla artyarn twice (Astrid's Dutch Obsessions) and some Ashford spinning stuff I needed some extra from for Mythos, you know the Unfinished Object

Please find which is which yourself... All I can say at this point in time is that some of it is already being spun. If you have a soft-fetish, my stash is where you want to live.

Anyway, the Fair was super busy when we arrived around noon. Miraculously, we found a parking spot real easy right by the door. This was explained later, when I saw a sign "parking for vendors" as we left. Oops. Free parking though, well done Zwolle!

No lines to get in, but then we were stopped by the mass of people in the hall. Once we fought our way through to where most of the knitting and fiber stalls were, it was a little more civil, so we never moved far from there. Mom loaded up as well, getting some nice Mission Falls for a pattern I gifted her last Christmas. We weren't just spending all day, mind you. We brought bread rolls and drinks. Probably saved us enough to allow some of the yarn we got ;)

Amazingly, there were a great number of fellow ravelers to be recognized, as there were buttons to be used. It's nice to be part of an online community (hello, marriage, anyone?) but it's always nicer to meet a great bunch of creative people in real life. As by appointment we met with Dutch Wool Diva, whose actual name I don't remember, and Marieke (?) from Wereldwol. Unfortunately, the tweetup with Aafke didn't happen, but that's really not so strange. There were thousands in the hall at one time, and if you don't look exactly like your ravatar or Twitter pic, there's a good chance you'll be missed.

In the end, we had a great day, and made it home before dinner. It was nice that traffic kept itself to our agreement, there was hardly any in our direction. It'll be another month until the next Fair, I wonder if we can control ourselves until then...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday, dyeing to be me

Oddly, I wasn't as off-track as I thought I was. I just didn't know so I felt *a bit* down about it. Did you notice?

Back to the good stuff: I dyed. As it's mom's birthday soon, I figured I'd use my awesome spinning skills (spin thin, ply, awesome, right?) for a special gift this year. So on Saturday we set up the kitchen and I prepared some food dye while mom played around with colouring pens. Together we dyed half of my stash of white Shetland top in two sittings. The first came out a bit... light

White with a hint of colour

So I put a lot more dye on the second try. It worked!

With all of that coloured goodness drying, it was time to get the brown Icelandic off the bobbins. So I finished it in one sitting that evening. If only you set your mind to it, apparently, you can get things done.

On Sunday, I spun the lightest top and it just screamed out its name. Now since it's still a gift I'm not showing you the bobbin up close, that'll just have to wait. You will have to take my word for it, if ever I've seen spun sugar on a bobbin, this is it, so that's what it will be.

Suikerspin, brown Icelandic and the remains of skein #2 of the Secret Project

In other news, I'm not fixing O.W.L.S.. Apparently, it doesn't want to be fixed or it would've been by now. Instead, I'm frogging back to where it went wrong. It's such a fast knit, I might even get some more use out of it this winter. We had a small (short?) flurry of snow today and I've been freezing my butt off this weekend. Spring isn't here yet...

Tonight I'm spinning some more, knitting a bit and sleeping early, as I'm off to the Handwerkbeurs (craft fair) in Zwolle on Friday! This means a 2 hr drive there and back, in Friday traffic. I better be rested...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Scottish Sundays, misplaced mojo

No, I didn't forget.

Not really anyway, it just slipped my mind. Trying hard to keep on track, and applying to more underpaid jobs at organizations I know and appreciate. It's not easy to keep the enthusiasm levels up all of the time. I had better do it quick too, because I'm not getting any more positive about them over time.

In the mean time, I'm turning down teaching gigs I can't and won't do. Just the thought of it fills me with dread, and that doesn't seem like the way forward.

I know it's the me being tired to the bone who is typing this, but in many ways it feels as if I'm back to where I was, only a bit more aware of it.

Yes we're hoping for things to work out soon, which means me making plans for me is futile. It's not futile, I know that. We've been hoping for almost 2.5 years for things to work out soon. Going by the assumption (the truth) that things will change at their own pace (making a snail seem F1-like), I need to make plans for me.

The fact is that my current job will end by 31-03-11. That is in 6 weeks. As the sole earner in this family, this means I need to find another source of income and I need to find it soon. And then, in 4 months, I'm supposed to be in Scotland, where I think I belong and need to end up. Right now, all I'm finding are jobs I'm hopelessly overqualified for, jobs that disappear from websites and jobs that would suit me, but "please send your cv next year."
Previously mentioned by-lines and side-tracks have been abandoned as fast as they were conceived, going downhill with the positive vibe. My sorry attempts at designing knits are not far behind.

I can't believe I felt positive about all this just a few weeks ago. I wonder when I'll get it back. I'm running out of time...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday, unfinished business

Oh dear, oh dear.

As it turns out, I get a lot less done now that I'm more or less back to full time work (surprise!). Choices to be made, which means many things do not get chosen. Think: kid-who-gets-picked-first, instead of last-to-be-picked-for-the-team.

The secret knitting project which was last started received a little pepper to put up the proverbial arse, so it's getting most attention these days. There may or may not be a group willing to test-knit. I better have something to test, won't I?

basket of unfinished goodness

So there are 4 WIP's that got started this year and none have been finished. Peaks Island is probably 75% done, and has been for a while. O.W.L.S. is waiting, but I'm dreading to cut it so I can fix it. The spun yarn for the birds'omasomething has been decorating a pillow for weeks. It sure looks pretty, but it can't stay. I might one day need that pillow for my head.
The first-picked WIP is at least at 50%, because that is how much yarn I have left. More or less. I tried to do the numbers, but maths and excel sheets are not my strong point after 18.00 (after 15.00, but don't tell my boss).

Somewhere, Manu is still waiting, Mythos is in hiding, I have only 1 Manolo sock and the Spot Check Socks have been frogged because I needed the needles for the Favoured Secret Project. I'll try again sometime, on my new short circulars. It might go a lot faster now that I've mastered the art of two-handed stranded knitting. Hurray for the internet! The other Secret Project won't make it to its recipient in time to do any good. Sorry.

I promise not to start anything new, and to finish something soon.

Deep Breaths.

PS: the underpaid nifty job-people sent a reply to this extent: "this job would be great for you, but we're not actually hiring due to re-organisations, so send us your cv next year please." Which seems awfully useful, trying to find a job soon. Big strike through this one then...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Scottish Sundays, on the road (sort of)

Dear reader,

I'm afraid this is another blog post with lovely pictures but not a lot to say for itself. Scottish Sundays was called into this virtual world to keep me on track, to have a reason to work on achieving my goals. I have to say, it hasn't been easy to stay on track as it's so easy to stray. Straying means doing things I truly enjoy, but which can only be a by-line, at least in the foreseeable future.

However, in an attempt to keep on the road, I did manage to find a job opening that sounds mightily exciting, hopelessly underpaid, but seemingly satisfying. I've sent enquiries. Fingers crossed, light a candle and help me hope.

A narrow road, not very travelled

Anyway, I think too much. And I do it often. Often, it doesn't do me a lot of good. I sure hope this thinking does, for once. Also, if you have any advice on sticking to the road, it's very welcome!

Not my Thinking Face

Sometimes I think not the right thing, but I'm working on that. I bought a book.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Message of International Importance

Dear reader,

If you see this man, do not step away before giving him a hug and a kiss (or a firm handshake) because it's his Birthday today!

You make me laugh and you make me cry and sometimes you make me laugh so hard that it makes me cry. You chase away my demons and you're my rock when I need something to cling to. I love you with my little toes, my tummy and my Heart. One day we'll make our dreams come true and it'll be better than we could ever imagine. Until then, please make do with this message. You're a difficult one to shop for.

Much love, me

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

WIP Wednesday, in which the main road is once again left in favour of a dusty ol' sidetrack

Oh, hai!

It feels as if I've been super productive, but in the end, I don't have a lot to show for it. Does that have anything to do with not going by the earlier designed Grand Design? The answer, my friend, is a solid yes. After frogging for 3", which is to go back on your knitting for 7,5cm, earlier this week, I'm now slightly ahead of where I was.

(Dear DH, please send me my software so I'll be able to carve this in CS4 so I won't forget Things I've thought up...)

Anyway, quite a bit of knitting went into it, and this is what's left of a 300mtr cake. Only 2 more to go after this one.

I can't believe I haven't touched Bea the orphaned wheel this week. I've been such a bad mother. As punishment for my lack of attention, I haven't been able to keep my legs still for over a week. I have great plans for this weekend. Can't wait to stop twitching my feet.

Instead, I've been playing around with some felt and hot glue. A few more a ready for glue and then they only need some finishing. I see a few more things in my future, and they will involve glue! I can't believe I haven't hot glued before. It's so much fun, if you can stand the constant glue burn. (or if your fingers come with Teflon built in)

I think I might cover myself in them on V-day

On Saturday, I finally put to paper what's been floating around my head for a while. It might appear somewhere soon...

Have you been crafty this week?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Scottish Sundays, a work in progress

As you can tell, this blog looks a tiny bit different than it did before just now.

That's because I made sure to reserve some time with the DH this weekend, and asked (made) him help me out with the sizing of Things. Right now, I can only show you this One Thing, and it is quite late (he also told me to go to sleep).

Just know that Things are afoot after a good kicking of the behind. Stay tuned for some exciting news* later this week!

Goodnight, good night.

*involves glue

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

WIP Wednesday, and we're back


Thanks to some soul-searching, a good session and some retail therapy (no chocolate or actual spending of money involved!) we're back. 'Twas a bit a of a Big Dip, so much so that I didn't even get chastised this week (minor triumph, in a way). But, as they say, one comes out the other end a bit wiser and a bit older (do they say that?). Either way, ideas aplenty, and never enough time. Yadda yadda, heard it before.

I poked myself in the chest carrying this secret knitting around to take a picture of it so I could show you. The things I do to put up a half-decent picture for you, eh? It's all out of love! (told you it's better now)

I did spin a bit throughout the Big Dip, and this is some black Icelandic. It's nice enough when plied, but it wasn't a joy to work with. Seems to be a recurring thing with the darker versions of a sheep breed. I've started the brown, and it's much nicer and less hairy. Updates next week!

I did learn something non-Dip-related during the Big Dip. When in a Big Dip, it's not a great idea to start designing. The birds thingymawattums was knit to 3" about 7 times and frogged as many. After 3 I remembered to put in a lifeline. As it is, it's not reconstructed, but there are Ideas! Something will come out of it, I'm sure. Above, design #6, discarded.

Some books I'm enjoying, some newer than others, collected gifts. I like how, leafing through, I recognize patterns and stitches used by some pretty famous designers. It's like having a peek in their kitchen. It also helps with the idea that it only takes a good idea and perseverance to make something pretty. Stay tuned. (scary!!!)

Ehm, no, he's never been tumble dried. He allows us to use it, sometimes. Since his stroke he's not been able, and now not allowed back to his old sleeping place on top of the washer. It seems he just really likes being off the floor, so one night he crawled into the drier. Another night, it was emptied so he could go to bed, but one of the ridges was in the bottom so he tried the washing machine that night. It wasn't a success (Cat later told me it was like sleeping on an old mattress with the springs sticking out).

We now take care to have His Majesty's bed turned up by nightfall. As one does.

PS. Peaks Island Hood is coming along. Yippie!