Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Stunned and Floored

After last week, the topic of online friends seems to keep popping up. For instance, Ravelry did a piece on how to make (better) use of their friend option. And as of today, you can find more than 2 million friends on Ravelry. 2.000.000 members, can you imagine? We could populate a country with that!

After a few years as a member, I can't imagine what my life would be like without that community of crafters. I wouldn't be able to knit the things I'm knitting, I wouldn't use the yarn I'm knitting with now. I wouldn't be spinning, or knitting with my handspun. I wouldn't be able to give the gifts I'm making my loved ones, and I wouldn't be able to survive on the ideas my head keeps having while waiting for the world to catch up with my needs.

I wouldn't have met a number of interesting people, learned new techniques or even thought about sending a fabric postcard to the other side of the world.*

If you have any interest in fibre arts and crafts, sign up here and prepare to have your mind blown.

Imagine this blog without the existence of Ravelry... oh 't would be a barren place...

So much for the Stunned part of this blog post. On with the Floor...

Last week I've spent mostly feeling like a wet dish cloth** not quite ill enough to call in sick, but miserable enough to be exhausted from blowing my nose and coughing up bits of lung with only a hint of a raised temperature, some of the time. Too tired to knit, but not tired enough to nap, if you know the feeling... Just blegh, is how I describe it. I tried spinning

But I didn't get very far. Bored, restless, floored. 
I knit an entire Tomten the Third sleeve. It's a baby jacket, in baby size. Short arms and such. I did one in 3 days. That's it. 

I managed to take a few pictures of it. Those will have to do. 

If you need me, I'll be on the floor, recovering. 

*not got my head around that one yet. Give it time...
**a Dutch saying.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Friends

I had been thinking about the topic for this week's WIP Wednesday post. When I thought of all the pictures I had taken in advance of my knitting, there could really only be one: Friends.

For the last 8 years I've probably spent more time participating in online communities than most people. Maybe you're about similar, as you're reading this, and I suppose you must have been active in some online community to have found me here. Anyway, most people I meet on a day-to-day basis spend hardly any time on their computers outside of work. Sure, they check their email, tweet and facebook, do a little Youtube browsing, but all of that is much like reading the newspaper with your morning coffee. 

It started with a game. Its demography was varied, and so there was a variety of characters to go with that. I still like to call a few of them friends I'd like to meet (again), and of course there's the Photographer that I kept from that time. He's lovely, and a friend as well. After that came other games, insane writing contests and finally I stumbled upon the knitting community. All of these have a variety of people in them, but it's so much easier to avoid the ones you don't get along with than in f.i. an office environment. And yet, friendship can be found there as well. 

What pleases me most is when the two worlds collide. I find it easier to be the extravert me* online, while I sometimes find it more difficult to protect the introvert me in real life. So when I met The Lovely Louise (remember the MEMEME-show?), that was rather awesome. Not because she's semi-celeb, but because she's a wonderful person who shares her passion and collects people around her who share the same passions. Today I found this in the mail. 

Handmade notebook
competition lanyard for keeping track of small scissors**

She didn't need to do this, so I'm very touched (and blurry-eyed) that she went through the trouble of sending me a pick-me-up. I will keep trying, Louise. 

It's nice to know these things don't just happen to internet celebs. I've seen it happen more than once before. People, who really have no reason to know each other, from all over the world, band together to help their virtual friends.Sometimes this help fits into the space of 140 characters. Deep down, we know we're all more than 1's and 0's. So if you're reading this and you need a little support, consider yourself virtually hugged. Patted on the back. Hand held. I'll go as far as to pinch your bottom if that's what you need to feel better right now. 

While I'm writing this, I received an e-mail from Teresa of the CanaryKnits blog. I answered a question she posed, which was easy enough for me to answer, and to thank me she gifted me some of her designs. She didn't need to do this, but how wonderful is that? You should totally go visit her blog now. Knitters*** are the best.

I'm not doing a lot of selfish knitting these days. I put some time into Tanit's Jacket when I ran out of gift knitting yarn. I got this far with Tomten the Third...

The Future Women's Gift-gift knitting has proceeded to be this...

When my back gets over itself, I'll continue spinning Tardis for the Photographer. I've prepped...

I worked on another gift, one Which Can Not Be Shown. Yet. But I'll show you this...

Even with all that knitting for friends, there is always time for some for me. Tanit's Jacket, of course, but I skeined and measured and took pictures of my 170m skein of Celebration yarn.

I am after all my own friend too. 

Be good, Play nice, Compliment. Touch wool.

*tests have shown this
**Mom won't let me wear scissors around my neck
***Knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, you know what I mean.

For your viewing pleasure, some pictures that didn't make the main blog post.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Say it with Colour

Maybe I'm tired of winter, or maybe I'm just craving a little colour in general, I don't know, but colour is what I worked on this week! You may also have noticed I picked a new colour scheme for the blog. Much more inviting to the new season, which seems to be on our doorstep now the frost has gone. However, it only rains now, so it might as well be Autumn still.

I spun and since n-plied this bobbin full of wool, I started a third Tomten cardigan for a friend's sister's soon to be born baby*, once more did not read the book club book by Paul Mceuen (Spiral), burnt a few candles. I had a lovely lunch and found a trigger and food for thought, knit some more on the never ending Tanit's Jacket, and listened to some podcasts. 

Dutch Wool Diva

Tomten the Third
Elizabeth Zimmerman

Tanit's Jacket
Gudrun Johnston

Colour Swatches
by me

The Photographer celebrated his birthday and promptly soiled his new Kindle by putting a picture of me on it. I (re-)established some priorities. I slowed down. 

Float on the good stuff, or sink.

*follow my project here

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tough Tuesday: Slowing down


Today seems to have been a day of stress, loud people being louder, energy sink holes attaching like leeches and more such things. I found great quiet, watching this TED talk about slowness. I forgot who linked this, but thank you, dear Anonymous.

As you can see, it's an older talk, dating back to 2007. Seems like a world away. I wonder what slowing down as a society would do to us, at this point in time. I know they're not advocating it in my office...

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Toes not quite in the water, ass definitely in the sand... 

Happy birthday darling, one of these days I'll tell you to your face.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Frosty


I thought it was cold last week, but little did I know*
Doubling up on leather gloves *and* wool mittens, fleece cowl *and* hand spun hooded scarf *and* wool hat, jeans *and* leg warmers and a comfy wool/cashmere coat, I kept unsurprisingly warm while cycling back and forth to work this past week. It's a good thing I don't have to commute by car, since that has been frozen shut (not even the locks, the doors themselves) for almost a week. Well, it's too cold to fill it up anyway...

So, inside I've been, drinking my coco, staying warm, knitting away...

I love yarn cakes. They look so pretty, don't they? Just before they collapse... And there are only two ways to make them look like that. Pull the yarn from the centre just to make it look pretty, but I prefer to pull it out and make something at the same time. Something, like a finished Damask shawl...

Seems more practical, doesn't it? It's even more gorgeous** in real life, which is a bit of a relief. I'm working on an outfit to match it, so I can show it off on Saturday Lunch With The Girls. Where else to better show off a really, really nice shawl, right?

After all that knitting, it was time for some spinning. I finished the first braid of Tardis BFL and transfered it to a bobbin I can't use on my one working spinning wheel. It looks prettier this way anyway, so that's a bonus!

Taking a break from that blue now, and had to do some serious thinking about what to do next. Such pretty spinning fibres came in the post this year. I just had to subscribe to another quarter!

Mixed bat


With all that, the current weather, still not sleeping enough, and oodles of knitting around, I find it very difficult to get up and dressed and out the door in the mornings. However, it does bring a little happy to the gloom of every day dragging on like nobody's business. We seem to be in the midst of another round of everyone feeling "very sorry about the situation" and needing constant explaining that nothing has changed in any direction for the last 3 years. I know I don't need to explain myself every single time someone asks, but every once in a while it does feel like I need to defend the choices we've made, so I do, vigorously. 

I do count myself lucky to be surrounded by friends and family who don't need explaining, who understand the reason for the decisions we've made, even though they don't always understand the decisions themselves. Friends who help keep me grounded and lead me back when I wander of into the deep dark forest of Maybes, pretty and treacherous as it is... So it's a great pleasure to do something back. Which leads me to the last and final (duh) picture of this post.

I'm playing with colours! Tomten the third, you're about to be cast on! In a few days, maybe... I have until April on this one, unless baby decides to arrive early, of course. 

Until next time, dear reader. Keep warm.

*More proof that I could be a weather women, just like the next person (kidding, but only if you're a meteorologist reading this)
**And I do say that myself

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Purple

Hello everyone, 

Good to see you again. Are you cold?
Light a few candles, wrap up warm in a shawl and some mitts, and have yourself a nice cup of tea. That's what I'm doing anyway. 

Gosh it got cold. I'm looking at cycling to work in the morning, when it's a balmy -12C according to some weather forecasts. Within 2 days the skin of my hands has given up on being able to handle it. Wool is my friend, my friends. A thick, long wool coat, handknit socks, cardigan, scarf, hat and mittens, none of which are colour coordinated, are part of my daily wardrobe. Right up to the moment I enter my office, where the heating system seems to think subtropical is the way forward. No wonder everyone at work is sniffling and coughing...

Last week wasn't so much busy as it was tiring, with a few things that should *give* energy surrounded by energy sink holes. Now that they're behind me, I'm still battling to keep my eyes open at work. The bottom of the pile of 'no thought required'-files is finally in sight, and soon I get to use my brain again. It's really difficult not to drift off in thoughts about plans and challenges....

On the bright side, I'm quickly catching up on podcasts I had a huge backlog of, like Hoxton Handmade, otherwise known as the Electric Sheep. While an otherwise very enjoyable and popular podcast, the adventures of the Sheep and it's band of.... I don't know what to call them... fellow... adventurers, are the best bits and make people look at me funny. A heist, a flying bathtub filled with Molotov chickens... Seriously funny. Go listen!

There has been some knitting when I wasn't working or otherwise engaged. I passed the halfway mark on my Damask (I did the numbers) so it's downhill from now on. Bottom Up shawls always take a while to get started, but the good thing is that rows only get shorter, and shorter, and shorter.... until there's nothing left! Right now, I have 7954 stitches left to go. This means I've already done 14468 of them. That's putting row 59 of 143 into the right perspective, isn't it?

Fortunately, one of the energy sink holes did allow some time for some knitting. In amongst a lot of musicians, at least a few recognised the craft of knitting... One of them asked if I planned to finish a sweater before the end of the day. I presume she has little sense of scale, since what you're looking at is the top of a bootee. A baby one. Stretchy though it is, I can't fit my freakishly small hands through them...

The young lad sitting next to me was mesmerized by the magic of the magic loop. Which was good, it's nice to show that a traditional craft can still be cool and technically interesting. Then again, the thing that impressed him most about the moment, was the very, very long sleeked back hair of the 12 year old pianist. the only thing missing from the outfit was a Count Vlad outfit. To each their own, and it takes a special kind of guts to be that young man. Power to him, I say. 

Anyway, I'm working on it, even if it isn't very fast. 

Right, I've got an hour left to knit a few swatches, so I'm going to start them now. Babyknitting for a friend's sister is fun, even though said friend can't decide on colours... This just means I have 11 of them to play with before she decides!