Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WIP Wednesdays: it's all about the due dates

Oh I know, I do go on about the local baby boom, don't I just?

Don't be so fast to judge, there may be more to it... Remember this? Back then the blackbird nest was very much Under Construction, with very real Mind Your Head This Might Collapse warnings all around it.


Turns out our building team is quite good at construction, because it ended up looking like this!

Mother Blackbird is usually on the nest, so I grabbed the rare opportunity to take a snapshot from above to see if there was anything in it. Obviously, no Empty Nest Syndrome here!


At least 4 perfect little eggs of a strange blue green hue... I'll have to mind they don't poop out the side of the nest... I walk past there thrice every day!


Obviously, there was also some knitting. I finished, then frogged the bind off and refinished the Jeweled Cowl, which goes by the name of Silkie on Ravelry. Which reminds me, I should update that. Normally, finishing one project means I get to start a new one, but there's another Due Date looming. Someone else is about to drop a little bundle of joy in about 2 weeks, so I've gone back to Tomtom because it needs rapid finishing! Just 7 more 8-row repeats on this sleeve, and it's downhill from there. Just as well because there's another Due Date!

You might not care, but I'm signing up for the Tour de Fleece this year (not to be confused with the TDF, which I follow diligently on the radio and tv, but nowhere else...). I believe there will be a lot of spinning involved, so that should be good. I have this single to finish, park it and ply some linen for mom, and when that's finished Navaho-ply the singles before moving on to the package we got from the Landelijke Spindag last year. I may or may not be able to go this year, because of another Due Date!!!*

The Photographer (remember him?) arrives just after the TDF is finished and is staying for a whopping 3(!) months this time! Due to changes in circumstances, he's able to stay the maximum allowed, and will do so unless the job calls and tells him he's needed and they will actually pay for his effort. Now I just have to convince him to pick my camping trip idea for our camping trip and everything will be as close to perfect as this year could get. Almost.

For now, I'm due some sleep and a good ponder about my next project...

*Yes, another one
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Scottish Sundays: Back to School

As the mailbox is filled with shop folders promoting the latest in School Fashion, the summer holidays are just around the corner. In my day, you know, last century, we started looking for agenda's, notebooks and pens mere weeks before school was about to start again. Apparently, there just so much to choose from, we have to start looking months in advance. It doesn't affect me, but it leads to another subject I wanted to talk about.

Yep, I said it. How much did you like to go to school when you had to? And, admit it, be honest, how much did you long back to those days once you started real life?
Real life, I call it, as it's such a stark opposite to the mythical days in which maths was the bane of our lives, or even when writing a 30 page paper on The Idea of the Self in Modern Literature (modern, as in early 20th century Modern) seemed like an unclimable hill. The days of sleeping in when a class was cancelled or sleeping on the bus for an hour while whizzing past traffic on the way to uni.

We may not like to admit it, but we all learned skills in school, or I wouldn't be writing in English here. Graduation comes as a relief from all that learning, and we vow to never go back. After a certain period of being a computer drone, we may, just "may" be ready to challenge ourselves again. Maybe you start learning a new language (hello Spanish, long time no see, como estas?). If we're that kind of person, we start 'expanding our self' to become more aware, or if we're honest, we jump headlong into a quarterlife/midlife crisis of our own making. African dancing, Jembé or pottery, while all having their own merits, call up an image of a certain kind person. If we're still being honest, and lets say that we are, we all have the image of a slightly voluptuous lady of a certain age who likes the sense of natural fibres close to her skin and who dies her hair with henna when we think of African dancing, Jembé and pottery.

Now, if you could let go of these projections and look at the idea itself, we might see something else. We live in a time of affluence. Most of us don't have to spend the larger part of a day on finding food and shelter. This leaves us with time to let our minds wander. And with that time come the questions.
Imagine having to live hand to mouth. Would you care what colour to paint your bedroom walls? Probably not, because asking and answering that question wouldn't make your stomach rumble any less.
When we live on a small budget, we let ourselves be led by our budget when we decide on the colour scheme of our bedroom walls. And most of us do. Only when we can afford to pick whatever we want do we have to ask the question:

What is it that I want?

Inevitably, this leads us to question if what we have is, in fact, what we want. E presto, a crisis has magically appeared.

Some will turn to materialistic things to answer that question and compare the merits of one portable device against another until they see blue in the face. Others, let's call them our earth mothers, might enter a course of African dancing to bring them closers to themselves.* Whatever you do, do something that fits you.

I fit a toy wheel around a piece of dowel rod, and attached some fibre to the hook i screwed into the top of it. Eventually, that led to this:

During the 2010-2011 school year, I thought myself how to spin.
Next year, I'm learning how to play the Oboe. Neighbours, beware.

Are you challenging yourself?

* or fencing, or race car driving. Why not?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WIP Wednesdays: Summertime and the living is... windy and wet

Does this look like summer to you? Well it doesn't to me. However, this is the view through my window tonight, so there we are. This is what we have. After a rainy weekend, it's supposed to be nice again, just in time for everyone to be back at their offices.

Luckily, amidst the doom and gloom of office life and low-hanging clouds, I've been working on this lovely example of a Jeweled Cowl, even if I do say so myself. Handspun Bfl-Silk/Silk and beads, what's not to like?

Nothing, I hear you say, there is nothing not to like!

Even the beadless bit is a wonder to behold. I like it anyway.

Little spinning happened this past week, but that's ok. Slowly but steadily, I'm working through the lush greens, blues and purples and eventually, I'll get to the plying bit once again. Maybe not today.

On a last note, I tried a group session of Mindfulness on the recommendation of a friend who benefits from them. Since finishing therapy, I've let myself slip a bit, stressing out about the job thing. Very uncharacteristic, I know (oddly, so very true and also so very untrue), but something had to be done. While I'd already figured out the source of all the unrest and duly dealt with it, I already found myself inquiring after a trial session. Nothing hurt, I figured, so tonight I drove off to find it in an odd industrial, office-y type area. It was good, relaxing, slightly odd and whoozy. I left feeling good about it, having more or less committed to taking up 6 sessions and see where that would lead me. And then I sat down in the car and said NO. Exactly like that. Weird, right? The mouth says Yes! and the mind goes Hell No. Does anyone else ever get that?

I'm taking up Oboe Lessons instead. There. Committed. (just have to enter...)

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Scottish Sundays: No rest for the wicked

Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic enda thu.

No I haven't lost it. Those are the first Dutch words written down EVER (that still remain). Roughly it means something like "All the birds have started their nests except for you and me". If you look around... that's kinda true. Big bellies are popping up all over the place, and I think I've mentioned that before. Never mind that, look at this picture!

This past week, a female blackbird (I'm guessing) started ripping bits off of our vines and flying in tufts of moss to build this nest! How weird, it seems rather late in the season to start building. The nest has grown in size since then, but I haven't spotted anything in it. Yet.

Nothing much has happened this week, apart possibly from the fact that my job got extended for another 2 months. In spite of that, some more job applications have been sent. Luckily I had already decided to stop stressing out about it, as there isn't much point to it. Something will come up, eventually.*

So, while I was procrastinating this weekend, I got the pictures off my phone and stumbled upon this, which shall be the Scottish picture of the week. It was taken at the Ullapool Golf Club. it includes DH, who, I've decided, needs a nickname like every other DH mentioned in blogs. From now on, he shall be called the Photographer. He doesn't often appear in pictures because he hogs the camera.**

I want my summer back. With sun and time off. No more of this nonsense.

Back to knitting warm cardigans it is for now. I hope that bird can swim...

* So I've been told
** He will deny this

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WIP Wednesday: I'm Blue ladadee ladeedaaah

You must be so grateful that this is a written medium, without sound. Or, not to put myself down, you will wonder forever what that sounds like coming out of my mouth. Well Ladeedah to you!

Blue is still "the thing to be" if you want to be a thing that's made by me. Just look at these pictures. I can't get enough of it.

Rock Island, or the Rock 'n Roll project turned out nice after blocking just a few hours with mom's new blocking wires! Such an addition to her set of tools (that I get to use)!

And one more, just because I can, obviously.

Tomtom needs just the last sleeve, an i-cord border and some embellishment. We can do this in 4 weeks. Baby, take your time, because I need some.

Just another picture of goodness, this yarn has now been named Storm in a Teacup, because it refers to the shop I got it at and my ability to turn a midge into an elephant. Clever, no?

Last but not least a guilty pleasure... Starting something you shouldn't is such a joy, don't you think? A cowl I ask you, do I need one? Not really, but as the summer solstice is supposed to be a 16C day (that's Celcius), I might want one. It won't be finished on time for that.

If this wasn't enough, I read a book the other week (Fistful of Feet - Jordan Krall) and got about 200 pages into Bill Bryson's At Home so far. Both great reads for very different reasons.
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Scottish Sundays: of ripples and refocussing

If nothing else, the past year has led me to learn that life will probably never be completely without ripples.

So, this glass lake does not represent life. Bummer, because wouldn't it be nice if it were like that even for just a little while? Sometimes smaller ripples would make things a lot easier, but I guess the point to it all is to build in such a way that any ripple can be easily absorbed.
Last week was a bit of a struggle, what with too short sleep, hormonal challenges, job sillyness and a lovely DH reaching point of explosion all at the same time. I let myself be led down the path of the unwanted career-thing, while I'm not even *that* worried about there being something, or being able to get by on benefits for a while if we had to.
With life twisting and turning and not settling on any direction at all, some things seem like better plans than others, but none of them seem to gel with the Big Plan, whatever it may be in the end. Not a full time job being scared out of my mind before even starting it. I'm fairly certain that is not the plan. Part time, maybe. I need to send an application tonight, and instead I'm blogging. It'll be all right, I can do this, you see? It's all for practise anyway. Apparently, it doesn't have to be perfect in one go. Someone should tell my head about that.

Dear head, please take this advise from the people who write on Scotland's roads, and SLOW DOWN. Thanks.
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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

WIP Wednesday: In with the New, while the Old is still lingering...

With life turning increasingly Craptastic(!), crafting gets increasingly more important to help with my sanity. Having found my Office-Away-From-Home, I've noticed that a week without it quickly turns more and more annoying. Tomorrow I get to go again (stupid Jazz festival*) so sanity might return. Eventually.

As I'm not really capable of commenting on non-crafty things without covering you in verbal blubber I'll stick with things with pictures.

Some of the fibre I got at the Breidag in early April, which has since turned into 360 meters of Navaho 3-ply, with much, much more to come. I might have enough for a garment! Also, I should note, I've mastered the art of Navaho plying. It's not that hard once you look it up on youtube.

The Babyknitting is coming along, just sleeves to go, and finding something to brighten it up with. This Zimmermann** woman is really onto something here. (Love, I shrink in her brightness)

If you recognise this, you've been through as many repeats as I have. Stunning result, but this garter stitch baby cardigan is less boring to knit. Getting someone else to buy blocking wires, because I'm not tackling this baby without them.

Ah yes, Manu.
As soon as I have a need for something warm, I'll finish it, promise. It's too warm to even look at it. Still only needs pockets and blocking.

Not sure I've shown this before, but it still needs all the digital work to it done. I can't quite find the energy to battle software to give me neat-edged cable symbols. If you know how to select/cut line sections in Illustrator, please please help me out...

Tomorrow, I'm taking some of that sock yarn I'm using for the baby knitting to try out something that's in my head. It'll help figure out what I want to do, while I try to make a decision on the yarn to use for it. I'm leaning towards cascade heritage sock, because just about everyone can have access to it and it won't quite break the bank.

See you back Sunday. Unless I implode before that. I hope you won't have to witness that...***

* Ok, it was a bit of fun, specially when we went to see Mr Pink with a pretty amazing impromptu drummer. He owns my microwave oven, he wore my dad's socks. It's a long story (not really)
** Elizabeth Zimmermann, of Tomten-fame
*** thinking good thoughts, chocolate, puppies, bacon, more chocolate. etc.
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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Scottish Sundays, of milestones and how they hurt when you loose your balance.

Yes, still alive. Hai. Let's move on.

Last week I was confronted with my goals and wishes as they were when I started therapy about 9 months ago. There was little more to do but laugh about them and how they relate to now. I get to go on without the training wheels.
Oddly, it feels like hard work now that I'm officially declared sane enough to be left to my own devices. It's been a lot of Me Me Me Show* which I suppose is a necessary thing to deal with the Not Me Not Me Not Me Show** of the last years. Now it's more or less dealt with and every day has become more about NOW and how to make that work instead of the What If's of yesteryear, and about finding balance... Right.

Balance is not my best quality, which you would be able to tell if you were behind me at leaving the cinema last friday. No alcohol involved, just relative darkness etc. It's not something I possess in oodles, but something one can aspire to, can't one?

Anyway, during the time I just really didn't feel like blogging much, I've been trying to get out of the dip left by the high of the night of the performance (the higher the high, the lower the low?) which was great fun, and led to much hurt and drunk idiocy and trying to fit in without my wing-lady. It hurt the head and the soul, but dear therapist, who we ran into at the bar, said I looked really in my element. So, obviously, drunk and surrounded by relative strangers is where I really come into being me.***

Also during the non-blogging, 1 baby was born, a set of twins wasn't, and still isn't yet born, and then another baby. Are they handing them out for free or something? So including the twins, 4 are still to be born this year. Unless someone still has a surprise to tell me, I think that's quite plenty. One can only do so much baby-knitting in a year, can't they?
On a more serious note, the inevitable baby boom one encounters at this age does reinforce the notion of living life through others. People all around are getting settled, or at least have started a long process of doing up their dream home in order to get settled there. They are doing things that, I can only assume, make them happy in their being. So when those around us are taking the steps that some of us can't just yet, it is sometimes a little difficult to deal with those who don't appreciate what they have. While I'm very happy for people to vent their peeves (after all, that's what this blog is for sometimes) and make their own decisions about their lives, I'm often left baffled by the level of complaint and the decisions that are made. I'll have to go by the assumption that's just me not understanding others and their choices and remain silent in my bewilderment.****

Anyway, it's not all doom and gloom. Fancy me, being annoyed at not going out on an evening for feeling horrible? Uhuh, it happened, and again the next evening. I am still a bit bummed for missing the concert, but everything hurt, so sitting outside in the cold was not the best thing to do.
On my list is start Oboe lessons in the new school year, finally digitising a pattern, reading a few books and one day, maybe, book DH a ticket. You know, nice things. For now, I must continue knitting.

with this, for one of them unborn babs. 5 weeks to finish, or thereabouts. Oh, and send a bunch of postcard which have been sitting on a shelf for weeks. You know, now my head's out of my ass?

Due to the nature of my dwellings I encounter a lot of young parents, as well as in my personal, online and professional lives. My disbelief and bafflement can be contributed to all of you and no one in particular. Please assume I am talking about someone else. I probably am.

* Copyright to Louise J Hunt.
** No one in their right mind should want to own copyright to that.
*** Not really.
**** These things end up on the please kick my butt list