Monthly Archives: November 2009

What I Read in November 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness by Nahoko Uehashi
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong
The Blythes are Quoted by L.M. Montgomery
The White Garden by Stephanie Barron
Knit The Season by Kate Jacobs
Knit Two by Kate Jacobs
Never Learn Anything From History by Kate Beaton
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith
An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
Ironside by Holly Black (reread)

I had deep things to say about a couple of these titles but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten my pearls of wisdom. I know; such a terrible loss. So the short form:

Leviathan: Utterly brilliant, and the first of a trilogy, which I did not know, and was left on a nasty cliffhanger at the end. Argh!

The Blythes Are Quoted: Definitely not The Road to Yesterday, the book cobbled together from bits of this, Montgomery’s last manuscript. This was sensitive, painful, and an interesting balance between Montgomery’s usual themes and storylines and unexpected ones.

Twenties Girl: I wasn’t impressed with the last couple of Kinsellas I read (the latter half of the Shopaholic series), so this was a very pleasant surprise. It had a plot! And characters I didn’t find completely vapid!

Knit the Season: Jacobs is getting more mileage out of Georgia now that she’s dead than she did when she was alive. This felt flat and kind of forced. Knit Two was a decent read, though not as good as the first in the series.

Never Learn Anything From History: Kate Beaton is a brilliant Canadian artist and humourist who produces history-based comic strips. Here, lose yourself in her website and her journal (the comic up at the time of writing is Sexy Tudors, which is a scream.) Chortle as you will. The Brontës shirt will be mine; oh yes, it will be mine. (And here’s the link to the original Dude Watchin’ with the Brontës comic because, well, just because.)

Redeemed?

Well, someone on a spinning e-list I subscribe to said that 4-6 oz of fibre spins enough for a pair of socks or mittens, an adult hat, or a scarf, while 8 oz is good for a small kerchief kind of shawl. I’m feeling a bit better about possibly needing to spin up another two ounces to make a total of eight for my goddaughter’s wrap.

I need to knit it up quickly so I can find out how much more I might need to spin and knit onto the end of the wrap, as well as to have the use of Ceri’s blocking wires before she leaves for Christmas in Halifax.

HRH’s call for snow to fall this weekend just barely squeaked under the wire. I know he was aiming for Saturday, but the rain we got last evening turned to snow late last night, and it’s still snowing now. We have definite sticking to the ground happening.

Sigh

Great all-day co-coven workshop yesterday, despite three people missing due to illness, work schedules, or unavoidable extracurricular responsibilities. Today? Hello, full-blown cold and fibro flare-up. I can’t even lie down without the body hurting, but I don’t have the energy to do much while upright. HRH took the boy to monthly playgroup, thank goodness, although he really didn’t want to. I know he’ll enjoy himself once he gets there.

This afternoon is the group cello class, and then tonight is the monthly steampunquian RPG. I know everyone will understand tonight if I just kind of sit there and listen. The cello class is what’s going to be the challenge, but I also know that once I’m there and in the middle of it adrenaline will carry me. It will take a day or two to recover from the weekend, though.

My LYS e-mailed me yesterday to tell me that the winter issue of Spin-Off had arrived, even though I hadn’t asked them to put one aside for me. I love them. When I was last in to place that big order for fibre and a bobbin, MA said that I could come in and use the store’s drum carder any time I wanted to mess about with it. I suspect she’s figured out that I am easily sucked in by new toys if casually left alone with them and allowed to talk myself into acquiring them. (I have neither the space or the money for a drum carder, or the need for it right now. Nobody worry.)

I officially finished the first skein of yarn on my goddaughter’s wrap yesterday, and wound the second into a centre-pull ball and joined it to the WIP. I’ll knit up what I’ve got then wash and block it to see how big it is, but I suspect that due to the weight of the yarn it won’t open up as much as I want it to. Which means, of course, that I will have to acquire and spin up another two ounces. Despite having swatched with the yarn and the needle size I’m using, I think I should have gone up a needle size to account for the alarming amount of blooming the yarn is doing while being knit. Six (or what might possibly become eight) ounces for a shoulder capelet/wrap/hood really seems like too much. I should have spun it finer, or perhaps the test yarn I made was plied more tightly. Handspun yarn blooms sneakily as you knit, even after you’ve set the twist and thwacked it. Oh well; lesson learned. It’s a learning curve, right?

I need more Tylenol.

List of Things Accomplished on a Friday

schedule set in stone and released
reminders sent out
ritual polished
(and retyped)
final research completed
which enabled
workshop lecture notes to be fully written out
incenses blended: one, two, three
grocery list made
laundry done
two loaves of bread made
(now awaiting eggs and more flour
to attain cinnamon bun dough
that shall rise overnight in the dark chill of
the fridge)
cello played (though I practiced
none of my assigned work)
various small things
looked up, followed through,
checked, and confirmed

to unwind,
I spun bamboo (for the first time)
not as pleasant an experience
as it ought to have been

dinner (homemade pizza) was
a trial
(not the pizza, the dining experience)

I would be looking forward to this weekend
so much more
if every single waking moment wasn’t scheduled

and it’s not even December yet.

Purple Mohair Update

Well, this is nice. I was worried that the mohair would get stiff when spun and plied this tightly, but I am pleased to be wrong. It’s not silk, or even Corriedale, but it’s not awful. It feels very sturdy, and it looks quite good. I don’t think I’d spin an entire project of sock yarn out of this (or rather, I don’t think I’d want to wear a sock made completely out of this yarn) but I’d probably wear a sock knit from yarn made of this plied with something else. So for what it’s worth: 0.2 oz/5 grams of hand-dyed 70% mohair/30% merino, chain-plied into light fingering weight yarn (that’s the orifice threading hook I made for myself this morning above the yarn):

For those who were interested in how the colour split in the dyeing process, yielding the pale purple, hints of blue, and touches of pink, here you go: this is what the variations look like spun up and chain-plied:

I have got to start remembering to throw the penny into the pictures for size comparison again.

Mohair!

Ceri has asked for pictures of my mohair adventures thus far, and so:

Today’s dye experiment: a soft lilac (it was supposed to be a pale plum, but purples are tricksy dyes)

Mohair laceweight (or what will be laceweight once I ply it) [IT WANTS TO BE LACEWEIGHT, I swear; it drafts so beautifully in a semi-woolen draw into a thread-thin yarn]:

Yesterday’s two-ply worsted weight (the large skein) and a mohair singles yarn (sport/DK weight, I suspect):

In non-spinning news, I am slogging through another epic fantasy project (I am definitely taking this genre off the list of genres I’ll accept from now on), and I roasted pork and made pork-onion soup today. Also, yesterday Gryff pelted down the hall into the living room, jumped on the wooden chest, and slid right off into the window. You know, the window that HRH sealed with plastic last week? Yes. One large cat-shaped hole in the plastic. HRH was *not* be pleased. (It was hilarious to me, too, until HRH came home.) He patched it with a spare bit of plastic, but there was much grr in the atmosphere. Not so fun. And then the boy brought a deck of cards into the kitchen and enthusiastically proposed that we all play Go Fish, and all was well.

And bloody hell, our phone battery is dying. It holds a charge for about a half-hour. This makes my weekly hour-long chats with my mum somewhat challenging. So tomorrow I’ll head over to Angrignon and buy a new one. (We’ve had the phone for about eight years, and the battery seems to last almost exactly four years, so not so bad.)

Weekend Roundup, Concert Recap Edition

We had a tremendously lazy Saturday morning which we all needed for our collective mental health. Saturday afternoon while the boy napped I weighed out a quarter-ounce of the Tussah silk I’d bought on Friday and spun it up into a 56 yards of two-ply laceweight:

The silk drafts and spins like a dream, into a lovely soft yarn that I pat a lot. The tiny green skein is also silk, coloured with some leftover dye solution I had in a jar. Wow, does silk ever gobble up dye. It’s variegated because I dropped the dry mini-skein into the dye instead of untwisting it and soaking it first. I don’t doubt that pre-soaked and properly loose it will dye very evenly.

When the boy got up he and HRH worked out in the backyard, putting away the garden furniture and toys for winter, and emptying the very broken sandbox so it could be recycled.

We had an early dinner, and then it was time to dress up for our first official concert under the direction of our new conductor. The boy chose a very nice red cabled sweater to wear. The concert was lovely. Pressing past the usual enthusiastic support I had feedback that the sound was more focused and rich, so evidently we’re doing something right. I was very happy with my performance in the first half, but intermission apparently broke me because I lost focus in the Beethoven. Still, it was very enjoyable. Our clarinet soloist was a knock-down success; I really enjoy doing the second Weber clarinet concerto. We had a fabulous audience of about one hundred people, among whom were Jeff and Devon, Lu, Ceri and Scott, and HRH and the boy, who stood on his father’s lap to applaud and cheer loudly at the end of the Beethoven. Thanks, everyone! And our spring concert has already been announced: Saturday 27 March 2010 (2010, yikes) at Beaurepaire United Church (25 Fieldfare, Beaconsfield, QC) we will be playing Vaughn Williams’ ‘Wasps’ overture, a Haydn symphony (I forget which one, sorry), a Debussy suite (possibly ‘Images’? I don’t think it’s ‘Bergamesque’ because I would certainly remember that, but I didn’t get the title noted down in time and now I’ve forgotten, woe!) and something by Butterworth. Mark the date down now (or whenever you get your 2010 calendar).

Sunday morning I picked up Mousme and Ceri and we met Jan over at Karine‘s house for a couple of hours of knitting and sewing. (Bonus points to those of you who recognise the membership of Random Colour.) It was very nice indeed. Ceri delivered two bags of cotton pencil roving that Meallanmouse had ordered for me to dye and spin up for her, and Jan brought me the pound of merino/mohair blended fibre that I’d arranged to buy from Finney Creek near Alexandria… and she bought another pound for me to spin up for her at some point as well! So I’m pretty set for spinning, at least for the next little while. We followed the crafting up with a delicious lunch of homemade pumpkin-apple soup and freshly baked rolls, and topped it off with Schadenfreude pie. Lunch was a bit later than I’d expected (this happens when you do not watch a clock) and by the time I’d dropped everyone off and gotten home, instead of having an hour to myself I had only fifteen minutes to change, grab my cello and music bag, and leave again for my monthly group cello class. Fortunately HRH agreed to drop me off and go grocery shopping with the boy while I played, so I had an extra fifteen minutes to sit and relax before we all headed out (and as a bonus, we actually got groceries this weekend!). Group class was very enjoyable, as usual. We worked on our ensemble pieces for the upcoming Christmas recital, which are going okay. We had an interesting non-teacher-initiated chat at the end about how when things sound wrong we all automatically think we’re the ones in error instead of trusting ourselves. It’s not an isolated thing. We have another group class next Sunday, as the recital happens in three weeks and we’ve only had two group rehearsals so far. M and I have a coached duet lesson together on Wednesday night, and then I have my regular lesson on Friday evening. With a week off from orchestra, now I can really focus on my lesson and recital pieces and not feel like I’m losing ground in my other music.