Friday, September 26, 2014

FO Friday: Poppin' a Wheelie

Hallelujah!  I have been connected to the world wide web once more!  And who is to blame?  Squirrels.  Squirrels nibbling the cables outside.  Squirrels.

Anyway, moving swiftly on.  Remember, way back when, all those weeks ago, when I learned how to spin on my Ashford Traveller?  I spun and I spun, and then I plied, and was amazed at how much yarn you can end up with compared to what I could get from my drop spindle.  Just shy of 200 grams in two large and one small hank.  Here's the breakdown of weight and yardage:
  • 95 grams, 86 yards
  • 87 grams, 97 yards
  • 14 grams, 12 yards
There's a mix of colors, fibers, and techniques in there, between the supplies from the class and the gatherings of fluff that I had in my stash.  A little bit of very colorful silk, various long-staple wools, some natural and some not-so-naturally orange, purple, get the idea.  I added them to my single ply at random, taking whatever roving I had on hand and switching it up at intervals to mix it up.  We did a simple two-ply, so the randomness twisted together just as randomly again.

Here are my fabulous photo shoot shots:
I kind of love it.  But then, it's hard not to love your own handspun, isn't it?  I found a pattern for a chunky little monster/toy in one of the knitting magazines I bought on my UK trip, so some of this might work for that.  Although, I also kind of feel like it's so pretty, I want to wear it, which makes me lean towards Syrinx Shells from my blogging friend Alicia at Woolen Diversions.

So this is kind of a finished object that will then become a WIP, and then an FO again.  Hurrah for learning new crafts!  And again hallelujah for thwarting the mischievous gnawings of squirrels.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Offline, but still in progress

There are a couple of things that have made me better prepared to face a week at home without either cable or internet.  There are the obvious things, like having the barest of online lifelines in my smartphones data connection and having a job that gives me internet from 9 to 5.  But more specifically, I think that having a ginormous DVD collection and being a knitter have made this technical isolation more bearable.

I’ve always had a relatively large movie collection, from dozens of VHS tapes that are now hidden away in a closet somewhere and should really be handed off to Goodwill to today’s bookshelf absolutely bursting with TV and film on DVD.  I’m the kind of person that, when I like something, I want to watch it multiple times.  And if I love something, I want to watch it so many times that I could recreate it in a one-woman show at the drop of a hat.  Imagine the way that little girls watch Disney movies again and again.  I basically never grew out of that.  Also, I have a need for constant background noise, otherwise my mind will get distracted by the normal creaks and squeaks of the world.  Which is why a majority of the collection also came with me to college, because without access to television for the most part, I needed to ensure a steady supply of entertainment options.

So I have plenty of reserves when faced with more than half a dozen evenings that cannot be filled with ‘Big Bang Theory’ syndication or football games.  Mostly, I’ve taken this opportunity to watch the complete series of ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ with my mom.  I’m happy to say that we do not have an Edina-Saffy relationship.

And, of course, while watching the drunken antics of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, I have my knitting to keep me busy.  I’ve alternated between my Head in the Silk Clouds shawl, which I began during my UK trip, and Vlad Helsing Shawlette.  Both are coming along nicely.

Silk Clouds is pretty mindless, with three rows of seed stitch, five of stockinette, and steady increases along one edge.  That’s what made it such a great travel project, and now it makes it perfect for knitting while walking back and forth across the living room to rack up steps on my pedometer.

I’m on the final repeat of the main body chart for Vlad.  No picture for that one, so I’ll leave it to your imagination.  I’m still crossing my fingers that the yarn colorway will turn dark in time for the end of the shawl…

Alright, that’s my progress for this WIP Wednesday, don’t forget to check out a few others at Tami’s Amis.  I still don’t have internet, so I’ll take all of your virtual mojo in the hopes that tomorrow’s service appointment will be a success.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Don't worry, Lassie, this blogger hasn't fallen into a well

Hello all!  I'm sorry to have sort of popped up after my vacation and then just as suddenly disappeared again.  I've been without internet (or cable for that matter) at home since last Wednesday.  Rather than try to compose a post via my smart phone, or subversively blog while at work, I've just been offline.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that when Time Warner finally comes to visit on Thursday they'll fix it, and if they do, maybe I can finally show you my handspun yarn in an FO Friday post...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer cinema: The Birds

One thing I noticed for the few days I was able to spend in London is just how much of a theater town it is.  I already knew this, because my childhood summers usually included going to see one show.  As I grew up, I checked a lot of classic musicals off of my list: Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago.  I also saw some Shakespeare, both at the Globe and in Stratford.  But being in London again, everywhere you look there's a poster advertising the latest, greatest show on billboards or a passing bus.  And there are plenty of theaters to house them all, around every corner.

Here in Austin, we have just a handful of theaters, including of course the Paramount.  Before I left, I caught my final summer classic film, The Birds.

It's interesting when you watch classics like this, because you have to remind yourself that what you've now seen many times over was being done for the first time.  When we watch these kinds of movies now, we're coming from a place of awareness and cynicism that audiences just weren't back then.  So you end up mentally shouting at the screen, 'Don't go in there!' while the blonde wanders into a situation that should be obviously avoided.  You have to appreciate that this is the foundation of what made Buffy the Vampire Slayer so cool, and just enjoy the show.

While others did it for decades after him, no one does it quite as deftly as Hitchcock.  Because you still end up with moments, like when the crows gather on a school playground, when you are still totally, uncynically, scared of the birds.  I found myself eyeing the pigeons of London very suspiciously, I can tell you.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wind-swept and interesting, the traveller returns

'Ello, 'ello, 'ello!  I'm back, jolly blog readers!

I was already back last week, but between wicked jet lag and possibly having caught a bit of a bug, I felt lousy and decided to extend my blog vacation past my real life vacation.  I'm feeling better now, though, so it's time to try and get back into the swing of things.  My trip gave me a lot of ideas for blog posts, plus I have some drafts of things I didn't manage to put out before I left.  So there should be plenty to talk about for the next few weeks.

I'm not sure where to start, though, so I'll keep this a fairly lazy Sunday and tease you with some highlights from my trip:

  • A few walks in the park, and a visit to a stately home with a rose garden
  • Lots of culture, as absorbed from the National Gallery and Tate Modern
  • Several cups of tea, but even more cappuccinos
  • Some essential shopping on Regent Street
  • A delicious journey through Borough Market
  • Two DIY presents finally revealed in a birthday celebration
  • Delicious food from cuisines across the globe, from a full English breakfast Indian curry takeaway to Korean steak tartare
  • And of course, a couple of yarn stores!