Everything seems to have happened on Saturday. The first half of Saturday, at that.
Saturday morning I had my first cello lesson in just under a month. Suddenly I had to decide between the Lully gavotte and the Bach gavotte for next month’s recital, which felt slightly unfair because we’d set the deadline at the last lesson and I haven’t had a chance to work on it with my teacher since then. I really do want to play the Bach, though, so my teacher said we’d do it. On the way home I second-guessed myself and was sure I’d made the wrong decision, and I’m still fairly certain I’ll blow it badly. But then, I’d feel the same way about the Lully, so I can’t win either way. In the lesson we worked on the upper body being free to move from side to side with the elbow-led bow stroke, which felt very awkward and wrong, but it did create some very nice sound. I think I’m too locked up when I play, so my teacher’s trying to get me to loosen up while still being aware enough of my body to control the sound.
Things to remember: Keep fingers aimed more toward the bridge instead of parallel to it, remember to use the back of the thumb instead of only the side in thumb position, don’t shortchange the last note before a new bow or phrase, stop leading RH movement with the wrist (my teacher was also initially trained to do this and her teacher still calls her on it, so I don’t feel as hopeless about this as I could, although I still feel pretty hopeless indeed), and the speed of the shift needs to match the speed of the song.
I raced home from the lesson to pick up HRH and the boy, stopped by the grocery store to grab cold meats and cheese and bread, then went to Angrignon Park for Tristan’s naming ceremony. (Yes, two naming ceremonies in one week.) It was lovely. Very different from the previous week’s ceremony, which was more formal in the setup and dress. This one was a circle of friends around blankets, balloons in the wind, and a baby who decided to protest the delay in feeding. We did a couple of fixes on the fly (a dandelion for the flower, the candle went out so I used the cloud-covered sun as the light) and there was laughter, which always blesses a ritual. And I finally got to use part of the baby-blessing ritual I wrote for my second book, which was intended to be used for the boy, but he ended up arriving early and in the race to keep up we never got around to holding a naming ceremony for him.
When it was over we all hauled out our picnic stuff, sat on blankets or camp chairs or around the picnic table, and ate. The boy ran around with MLG (fencing lessons with sticks; I love my friends) and a younger boy whom he decided needed looking after, so he kept feeding him, much to our amusement. HRH and I got to play with a cheerful ten(?)-month-old, who proceeded to impress his mum by trying to take steps on his own (with support, of course) and feed himself, and rather capably, too, for someone who didn’t do it regularly. And his mum asked if I’d do a naming for him, as well! It was so nice to just sit and relax with friends, and watch kids play, and nibble at stuff. A couple of hours later the threatening clouds eventually started spitting actual rain so we all packed up in about five minutes and headed for home, where we put a movie on for the boy and I was ambushed by a ninja nap.
Sunday was a very quiet day. HRH ran around, though, getting the summer tires put on (to our dismay, the sound the wheels were making was not entirely the winter tires; seems the bearings may need repacking, too) and heading over to his parents’ house in the afternoon to lay the new bathroom floor. Not having the brainpower or the energy to do much, I pulled out the spinning wheel and spun up two more samples from the January Phat Fiber box (yes, I’m only a third of the way through the samples; I’m making this last). I also wove in the last few weft ends on the baby blanket I wove for the last naming ceremony, and machine washed it to block the weave. I want to run it by Ceri first to make sure I’m not going to embarrass myself by gifting it (there are a couple of errors where a warp thread didn’t rise or lower properly so there’s a skip, but while I can see every one of them like they’re circled with blinking red lights, others probably don’t). Actually, I wanted to weave instead of spin, but since there was nothing on the loom, I didn’t. I had nowhere near the mental focus or energy required to wind a warp then get it on the loom. Maybe this week. I finally got a copy of Betty Davenport’s classic Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving, which didn’t reveal anything earth-shattering to me, but did clearly outline the process of warping from back to front, which I will try next time instead of direct warping.
Hey, my new reeds ought to be here at the end of the week.
Ceri lent me her point-and-shoot camera (I am discovering that a manual setting on a point-and-shoot is a rare thing, which makes me sad because I’ll have to pay more for it), so I can show the blanket off and the stuff I’ve spun over the past couple of weeks… once I have the energy to set it all up and photograph it. And in other random fibre arts news, I thought the size 4 Harmony tips for my circular needles from KnitPicks were faulty; one kept falling right off the cable, the screw not catching at all. I thought I’d have to contact them this week so I could keep working on my sleeveless sweater without losing stitches when the cable fell off the needle, which is what happened on Friday night. But I remembered that I had a second set of size 4 tips, which came in the full set I bought after testing a separate pair of tips and cables, so I tried one of them instead. It turns out that it’s the cable that’s faulty, not the tip. I tried another 24″ cable, et voila! The previously suspicious tips are just fine. I could call them for a replacement cable, but I have three other 24″ cables (one other from the original pair I bought, plus anotherpair from the full set) and I doubt I’ll ever have them all in use at the same time.
Finally, for dinner last night I used Karine’s garlic-teriyaki pork slow cooker recipe, and it was fabulous. Slow cooker recipes are usually simple, but this one was gleefully easy. Definitely a keeper. Next time I’m going to caramelize onions and fry mushrooms to toss on top of it before the sauce is poured over top at the table.