Daily Archives: March 15, 2011

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before

I’m tired and swamped with work, and stressed by that raft of family health issues. I figure saying “I’m tired and I have a lot of work to do” is kind of boring to read and so rather than just write that, I don’t write anything at all. It’s only fair to check in at least once a week, though.

The weather has made a marked improvement in the last week. It’s been beautiful the past couple of days, and the snow is disappearing rapidly. We are watching for robins. The sun does wonders for my mood and the generally warmer temperatures do likewise for my general fibro malaise. The time change had a surprisingly positive effect as well, although I’d already been having trouble gauging when to make dinner because it had been staying lighter longer and now it’s worse.

Cello practice with the boy got difficult. He already had an after-school routine, so trying to introduce cello into it was a challenge once the novelty wore off. We’ve switched to mornings before school instead, which seems to be working so far. He’s resisting working with the bow, and I fully understand that it’s hard to get it to do what you want it to do; I worked pizzicato for a couple of months before starting with the bow myself, and I was twenty-three. My teacher keeps reminding me that it’s process not progress at this point, and I have to keep telling myself that it’s impressive that I get him to sit down for fifteen minutes every day at all. The other issue was getting him to want to do the exercises that had been set for him instead of making things up. Part of the point of music lessons was to cultivate focus and commitment to working on an extended project, so in that respect we’re doing just fine.

My teacher agreed to do our lessons back to back on Saturdays, so that solves my problem of losing most of a work day to my cello lesson on Tuesdays. I have so much work to do that I’ve been having to slip work in on the weekends to cover for cello and doctor’s appointments and hospital visits for tests lately. Right now I’m checking the proofs of the repurposing project I handled last fall, which means the bird book is on hold for a couple of days yet again; I had paused on it while waiting for feedback from the publisher’s review of the almost-half and then again for a copyediting project, which proved to be lucrative but time-consuming.

HRH has been working on the what-will-be-the-stairs-to-the-attic, tacking the stringers up, taking plasterboard down and measuring to see where beams and joists are. He bought all the stairs on sale a couple of weeks ago, so now we just need the risers so he can actually start putting them in one by one. He hung an unused door in the doorway too, which helps the general augh-there’s-a-hole-in-my-hallway issue I was having.

The boy has discovered Mo Willem’s Pigeon books, and thinks they’re hilarious. They’re also really easy for him to read. We read The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog aloud together, and he does the duckling in a hilarious high-pitched cute voice that makes its masterful manipulation of the pigeon with anger management issues side-splittingly funny. We have all four main books (thank you, Scholastic Book Club) plus a bonus board book called The Pigeon has Feelings Too, sent to us as a freebie to apologize for temporarily being out of stock of the four-book set.

I finished my first sweater ever, a child’s cardigan in garter stitch. I used KnitPicks Comfy cotton in a worsted weight, merrily adapting a pattern I’d never used before that called for doubled yarn to make a bigger size to use thinner yarn and make a smaller cardigan, and it turned out okay. I even found nice little wooden buttons for it. I haven’t sewn them on, so no pictures yet. I am rather chuffed, because I’ve never actually knitted an article of clothing other than a scarf before, so I am rather proud of it, twisted stitches and weird increases and all.

No spinning this week. I’m waiting for a shipment of Wensleydale to spin a special yarn. This was originally supposed to be done in the wool-bamboo blend, then I realised that I’d have to dye it twice to get a solid colour, one round of acid dye for the wool, one round of fibre reactive dye for the bamboo, so I’m going a different route for the special yarn instead. This means I will have a pound and a half of wool-bamboo blend all for myself. I am dizzy with the potential. Last night I pulled out some organic Merino to sample for a two-ply yarn to use as warp for a new baby blanket (the weft will be a lovely Manos Clasica thick-and-thin in a discontinued pale green colour, so pretty!). I tried the second-to-last fast ratio on the flyer pulley plus the faster bobbin pulley on the new wheel, and I made a thin, thin thread like magic. Wow. Also, the organic Merino is like a soft fluffy cloud that drafts like a dream. I just need to decide if I want a really thin warp yarn to create a weft-faced blanket, or something akin to the Manos weight for a balanced weave. I’m leaving the Merino in its natural off-white state. This may call for a sample of both a really thin yarn and a loftier yarn, and a tiny sample woven on a card or something to get a better sense of my options.

That’s enough for now.