Monthly Archives: October 2013

Spinning And Knitting, September-October 2013

I sold some unused spinning accessories for my Baynes wheel today. (As a side note, spinners are awesome people, and as I have been the recipient of awesome spinning karma in the past, I reached out and passed some along with my offer to sell the jumbo flyer and bobbins I’ll never use for this wheel, and made a spinner very happy.) I had just finalized the price with the buyer, and the e-mail from Paypal confirming that she’d paid me arrived.

Four seconds later, the e-mail from WEBS announcing that they’re now carrying Malabrigo Nube spinning fibre lands in my inbox.

Coincidence? I THINK NOT. Curse you, WEBS. Curse you and your spying, tempty ways.

In other news, I spun stuff and dyed other stuff. Like this 325 yards of superwash merino for a somewhat secret project. Lovely, springy yarn, about a DK weight (a bit lighter than I was aiming for), spun longdraw on the Baynes Colonial upright wheel from faux rolags rolled from 4 oz of commercial SW merino top, and then chain-plied. I’ll probably have to cut my yarn when I get to the few super-thin bits you can see in the skein, remove the thin part, and reattach the thicker stuff to knit again. That can be a problem with chain-plying; it tends to magnify a variance in grist instead of evening it out, the way a true three-ply does.

And Mum’s handspun luxury yarn came out a beautiful deep autumn blaze colour; I am so very, very pleased with it. We’re still not positive it matches the original colour card, but we like the colour it ended up, so we’re counting it a success. (You can’t tell the second batch of silk/cashmere was a buff instead of white at all.) I can’t tell you how hard it is to photograph this colour. It doesn’t help that the fiber content is about half silk, which messes with light reflection. The true colour is somewhere between the two photos.

In the knitting column, I am knitting socks, my first really real socks for me, using the sock yarn Elina sent me in the summer of 2012, and they are looking like real socks so far. I wibbled about switching to stockinette, because I was tired of ribbing but I like the socks Elizabeth knitted for me last December, and they’re ribbed all the way down to just about to the ankle. I had two inches of ribbing, and figured any more would make me snap somewhere along the line, so I switched to stockinette. Except… I should have kept ribbing them, as much as I hate ribbing. Plain stockinette is not as quick as I remember it being (when did I get quicker at doing 2×2 rib?) and I prefer how the variegated yarn looks in the ribbing over the plain stockinette. Bah. Also, these pretty DPNs are teeny and I am bending them as I knit; I’m worried I’ll snap one, and sure, I have an extra, but still. And I need to loosen up my knitting, because I am so tense when I use these teeny needles, and the stitches are too tight. Meow, meow, meow.

Anyway, pretty socks, about a week ago; I have about 2.5 inches of stockinette knitted now:

And I have a shawl problem. I have a lovely shawl pattern, but no yarn for it yet. And I have handspun yarn for shawls, among them this one, but can’t decide on patterns for them. Finally, I have yarn I spun for a shawlette, the pattern for it, and am paralyzed because I don’t think it will look very good in that pattern after all. I give up.

And as a bonus, I am getting the itch to weave again,which entails emptying an awful lot out of Owlet’s cupboard to drag the loom out from under the stairs. I have no idea what I want to make; I just want to be weaving. Because I have so much spare time, of course, and nothing to fill it with.

Owlet: Twenty-Six Months Old!

What’s new this past month? Owlet now has her colours pretty much down, though white, black, and brown are still giving her problems, and she has trouble parsing the difference between shades of the same colour, like purple and lavender. One is definitely purple, but what’s the other one? It’s not pink, but it’s not exactly purple, either, and it frustrates her. Purple and blue are her favourite colours. Playdoh also continues to be awesome, but we need to limit her to playing with it while sitting down, because I am finding tiny crumbs of Playdoh all over the house, often ground into someone’s sock. She correctly points letters out in signs and in text, of her own accord.

We are SO CLOSE to potty training. SO CLOSE. She can tell us when she pees, and she knows when she has to poop, but she freezes up when she’s on the potty. She can hold both for ages, probably longer than she should, but I don’t think she knows how to deliberately release. What we need is a few accidental successes while she’s sitting there, like we had in late spring before summer vacation and relative schedule chaos hit, and it will click, I think.

Her Leapfrog fridge farm is her new favourite toy. (Thanks, Jess!) She likes to hit the music button and spin, or bob up and down, or rock back and forth with a beaming grin on her face. “Clap!” she will order us, and we clap along with the music, or “Dance! Spin!” Eventually she will figure out that Grandma and Papa have one, too, and then the circle will be complete, and there will be no relief from the tinny banjo tunes.

Another wonderful addition to her world is the playhouse! A friend and her children are moving back to the UK, and they passed along a pile of books and games and electronics to us. Among the gifts was a Little Tikes playhouse. We disassembled it and transported it home, scrubbed it well, put it back together, placed it under the trees in the back garden, and let Owlet see it when she woke up from her nap. She was over the moon.

She and Sparky played Tim Hortons drive-through with it for ages (it has four windows, two with shutters) and they thought this was hilarious. We also acquired a Little Tikes picnic table, which they set up nearby to be restaurant seating, and served us leaves.

She is obsessed with the small park near daycare that they’ve visited once or twice. The play structure is designed to look like a castle. The problem is, it’s hard for her educator to bundle up six kids and take them out alone, especially when five of them are in the middle of potty training, so they don’t do it very often. But Owlet practices in the car on the way in every day: “Ask, ‘Park, please, Cahanne? Please, park?'” she says in a very sweet voice, trusting that one day, her educator will indeed say yes.

One of the most exciting things to observe is the development of her imaginative play. For example, her toys can talk to each other, not just to us. (At the moment it manifests in such ways as all her ponies going to the potty in her dollhouse, one by one, and being rewarded with “two chips!” when they’re done. (Chocolate chips, that is, which is what we and daycare use as rewards. The ponies get pretend ones, and they always say thank you. They are very polite ponies.) Phone play is a new thing, too. She’ll hand us a toy phone and we have to talk into it, with her prompting the other part of the conversation. Not actually conversing as the other party, you understand; telling us the subject of the answer, and we have to improvise on that. “Who is it?” we will say into the phone, and she will whisper, “Jacob,” or “Nana,” or “owl” in our other ear.

She uses an adult-sized pillow in bed now, in a rainbow pillowcase. We only have one (it must have been a hand-me-down from a twin bed sheet set), and when it’s in the wash she gets very upset, asking for her rainbow pillow, no, it has to be the rainbow pillow, where is the rainbow pillow? We’re currently planning for the switch to a big girl bed; our daycare director contacted us out of the blue a couple of weeks ago to ask if we needed one, as there was an antique twin bed at her son’s farmhouse that needed a new home. As the frame for the second bunk bed got warped in the move to the house, we accepted gratefully. We could do the crib-to-toddler-bed conversion like we did for Sparky, but it’s cramped for storytime and she is a very restless sleeper to boot, so the more acreage the better, we suspect. We’re thinking of doing the switch around Christmas, or whenever potty training is successful, whichever comes first. Janice recently showed me the completed quilt top she’d pieced for Owlet, which is absolutely spectacular, and once the backing and quilting part are done, it will look beautiful on the new bed.

Her current favourite books are Everyone Hide From Wibbly Pig (a hide and seek flap book, which is an enormous success; we need more Wibbly Pig!), Going on a Bear Hunt, and Murmel Murmel Murmel (“Anybody down there?” she says into cup-like things, then will say “Pop! A baby!”). I scored a miniature four-book boxed set of the Madeline books at the thrift store the other week, so we have just gotten into the first book, which she likes very much.

She has been using an open cup to drink from for the past couple of months. She adores ‘dips,’ where she dunks whatever she’s eating into her glass. Usually it’s a cookie or a bagel (bagels are the bestest food ever), and the contents of the glass are usually milk or chocolate milk as a treat. She loves drawing circles (usually adding dozens of dot eyes with great enthusiasm), and ovals are her newest favourite shape; everything is an oval. She likes playing memory match-up games on the iPad, and giving Angry Birds a try (although she ends up dragging the slingshot in the wrong direction and catapulting the birds away from the target). Her favourite movie is still My Neighbour Totoro, and she’s going to be Mei for Halloween. I wish we could find the little white Totoro that Ceri crocheted for Sparky; it would be a great prop to accompany her costume. We will have to default to the soot sprites, which will work just as well.

Here’s Sparky’s twenty-six-month-old post for comparison.