Daily Archives: November 9, 2009

Yarn, Glorious Yarn

I just had to ply the singles on my bobbins, because I needed those bobbins in order to practice long-draw. Right?

Right.

It’s 83 yards of two-ply yarn spun on a Louet S15, from a Louet Northern Lights roving (colourway: Fire Moss, the sample of dyed fibre I got after the spindling class Ceri and I took this past spring). I love how these colours have blended; they’re all my favourites (deep reds, mossy greens, bronze). I call this Autumn Sumac because it has all the colours of a sumac tree in fall. I want to roll in this colour. I think I’ll spin the other ounce I have and maybe knit a neckwarmer. I may buy a whole half-pound of the stuff and do the Wrist Warmer Cocoon Shrug pattern with it. I thought about keeping these singles aside and trying to find a silk thread in a bronze colour to ply with them, but I needed those bobbins. Ahem. (One could have wound the singles off onto cardboard tubes, but that takes time, and one is not patient.)

Time to close all the windows. The problem with the jump away from EDT is that the sun suddenly goes down earlier, ergo it cools off rather abruptly. I should probably also think about something to do for dinner. Tacos? Tacos.

Weekend Roundup

This was a truly lovely weekend. We didn’t rush around, the weather was nice, we crossed things off the to-do list, I got work done, got reading done, had a cello lesson, and ate food. Really, that’s all I ask for.

Friday afternoon I had the deeply satisfying experience of refusing that benighted UPS package, and the driver said, “Good for you.” I’m going to be saving around twenty dollars by having the parcel shipped out via USPS, even paying the USPS shipping fee, and I’ll have to wait another couple of weeks to finally get it. I refuse to cave in and support UPS’s extortionate practices.

Saturday morning I took the boy to get his hair cut, and then we went next door so I could pick up The Intentional Spinner that I’d ordered to replace the copy of Spin Control that I’d bought and later that day won in an on-line draw. The boy had saved up twenty dollars and though he tried to get me to say he could buy a train instead of a book, he eventually went up the escalator with great enthusiasm and chose the copy of Warman’s Lionel Train Field Guide 1945-1969 that he’d been sighing over every time I checked out the needlework books on the adjacent shelf. (We have proceeded to read this book before each nap and bedtime. No, really. We started with some of the text on how to use the book, then the evolution of the Lionel packaging, and then the captions under the pictures of the trains. Not exactly a brilliant narrative, but he’s enthralled.) When we left the bookstore we stopped by Jess’s house to finally collect the carton of Vanilla Coke she’d bought for me on a trip to Vermont at Thanksgiving.

Saturday afternoon I got some Yule knitting done and read another chunk of An Echo in the Bone. I also learned that my proper 7/8 soft case arrived at the luthier! This is going to be a straight trade for the 4/4 case that my 7/8 cello came with. I originally told the luthier I’d stop by next Saturday but that doesn’t make sense time- or gas-wise; I’ll send the 4/4 case over with HRH on Friday, and he’ll make the ten-minute trip to the luthier’s shop after work on Friday on his way to collect the boy. We also moved the DVD cabinet out of the living room and into the hallway, where it doesn’t look bad at all, to free up one whole baseboard heater. As the house has been very damp and chilly lately despite the heat being on, we also trotted out the dehumidifier that had been part of the downstairs apartment’s appliance suite, scrubbed it within an inch of its life, and plugged it in to see what would happen. As we’d suspected (and yet still to our somewhat grim horror) it pulled a good couple of cups of water out of the air in just ninety minutes. This flat has always had a problem with window condensation and mold in dark corners, but we’ve never actually used a hygrometer to measure the relative humidity. The recommended level is around 50%; from the lists of warning signs we’ve just read we suspect ours is about 100%. Anyway, we don’t particularly want to be running a dehumidifier all the time, as it takes a shocking amount of electricity, but the difference in the air was palpable. I think we’ll run it in a different room for an hour or so every day.

Saturday night we attended a dinner party chez Luanna, and ye gods, it was everything anyone who’s ever attended one has said they are. We’ve had to miss every single one of these we’ve been invited to for the past gods know how many years, so to finally be there was a huge thing. The food and the company were spectacular. We had a fabulous time and came home with souvenir programmes menus complete with recipes and photos of what was served. Shall I boast about what we ate? Oh, of course. When we arrived the wine was flowing freely and there were platters of hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen, delicious little crab things on baked wonton wrappers, homemade bruschetta, and prosciutto/melon/fig bites in crisp little bite-sized cups. Our first course was a potage of zucchini, mushrooms, and leeks, followed by duck a l’orange, roast baby potatoes with herbs, and green beans with pine nuts. Dessert was the impressive poached pears dipped in chocolate… which turned out to be stuffed with chocolate-nut truffle filling. I am not a huge pear fan, but these were cooked to perfection, and the chocolate and nuts didn’t hurt in the least. I have not been this enthusiastic about food in possibly years.

Sunday morning we went grocery shopping, which was oddly enjoyable. Usually we are very tense when we shop in grocery stores, generally due to the oblivious and rude nature of fellow shoppers or the non-availability of an item of which we are in dire need, but people were moderately sane and the only thing on the list that we didn’t get was the name brand butter that was on sale, which wasn’t a huge issue because the basic no-name brand of sweet butter I usually buy was only twenty-five cents more expensive at its regular price.

The weather this weekend was a treat. Yesterday in particular was a gorgeous warm fall day, with sun and only a slight breeze and a high of something like fifteen degrees. When we got home from doing the groceries the boys played in the pile of leaves outside. They claimed to be raking, but I knew what was actually going on.

The huge maple tree out front drops an equally huge number of leaves around this time of year, and after scraping them up into a huge pile (and spreading it all out and raking it up again and again) they hauled the leaves into the backyard to pile on the vegetable garden on top of the compost we’d already spread there. It was so warm that we opened the windows. (Also good for removing extra humidity in the fall, we learned.)

While the boy napped I worked on the assignment I’d received on Friday afternoon, because if I could finish it and hand it in, chances were very good that both it and the one I’d already handed in on Friday would be approved by five PM on Monday and I’d be able to invoice for both of them, doubling this invoice total. I managed to do it, too, so I’m just waiting for the approval codes for each so I can plug them into my invoice and send it off. I’m getting better at the efficient handling of evaluating these manuscripts. It helps when they’re non-fiction; I can scan them with less investment. The co-ordinators have just figured out that I’m experienced in religion, so that’s what three of the last five have been. I greatly prefer them to the epic fantasies.

And I had my cello lesson last night, where we worked on the group pieces for the recital. The great Focus on Shifting continued, with the key thing I brought away from this particular lesson being the concept of shifting over the wall instead of through it, using the slight elastic bounce off the fingerboard to travel on the string to the target position and then rejoining the fingerboard with another elastic motion. I worked on this about a year ago, using the mental image of a jellyfish or a squid swimming for an analogy to the motion required (whatever works, okay?) and it’s so rewarding to see that absolutely none of it stuck with me once we stopped talking about it. I also had a note on my Brahms waltz/lullaby piece that said WRONG FINGERINGS, noted as such after the last group class when I got tangled up and saw everyone else was shifting differently, and hoo boy, were they ever wrong. We went forty-five minutes over time as a result of trying to get them corrected. My teacher is an absolute saint.

Today’s to-do list includes a short proofreading job, doing up that invoice, and typing out the draft of a formal ritual which also involves transcribing Norse poetry. Also, it would be really nice if my late freelance cheque finally arrived.