Day 36

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10% of the way to finished….. with this many pieces, it’s counting the small milestones that will get us through.

Spent this afternoon at a family ‘do. It was for a member of ‘the other side of the family’ so we knew about 10 people of the 60 or so people in attendance. Still, there was good music (live, South American guitar!) and food, which is always a reason to spend time with the family ­čśë

This song was spinning through my head throughout the afternoon for somewhat obvious reasons…

Of course, the afternoon was a complete win when we found a wool shop not 5 minutes from our destination. And yes, of course some came home with me. It’s shiny! No really, there’s a strand of gold coloured thread throughout. How was I supposed to walk past it?!

King Cole - Shine

The yarn is King Cole’s ‘Shine’ and yes, these 2 balls are the same colourway, the same dye lot. They’ve just been wound into the ball from different points. I’m thinking ‘shawl’…

Today’s piece is one of the upside down trapezoid’s, the one with the incline on the left hand side from Day 26┬á(shown on Day 27).

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Day 35

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Didn’t know quite what to do with myself today after cramming a terms worth of coursework into a handful of days…. so I knitted ­čśë

20140531_012305-1I worked almost exclusively on attempt #2 of my friend J’s Driftwood sweater. We’re using colour plan #3 which is blues, greens, grey, white and purple. It’s well under way now. There is less than 15 cm left to knit for the body. then it’s just the sleeves and considering they have less than half the stitches of the body each, I might have this sweater done by this time next week. Very exciting.

driftwood-colour plan v3

Colour plan #3

The colours that have been taken out of this sweater will now be used in others. One will be brown and orange, another will be black, pink, red and yellow. I’m pretty sure there will be enough leftover between them all to make at least 1 more brightly coloured, stripy sweater. I think that one might be for me though.

I still love this yarn, and this pattern. It’s been a straightforward knit and there’ll be no putting it together at the end! I love seamless knitting. I still have ends to sew in because of all the different colours but that’s much less stressful than sewing on a sleeve.

day35The blanket gained a red rectangle today! I’m working on a page for the blog that will have all of the basic patterns I’ve used so far. I need it as much as you might. I can’t always remember what I did, then I can’t find it…. there’s been many posts and there are more still to come. I’ve gathered all of the patterns together but am in the middle of formatting. Might have it finished by Monday.

This song has been buzzing around in my head for the last 24 hours so I’m exorcising it by sharing it with you all. We’ve seen the brilliance of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain once already. this time they prove their musical awesomeness by performing ‘pinball wizard’ a cappella – no accompaniment except their own voices and it’s fabulous!

Day 34

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A little ‘competitive’ and utterly brilliant music tonight to celebrate completing my final assignment. Only a week ago I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough finished to submit an assignment that would get a passing grade. Instead I submitted a completed document with 90 minutes to spare.

The music is fairly common but the performance is fantastic! And so clever. I have enough trouble playing a familiar and well-practiced tune without worrying about choreography too.

I got today’s square done but I am shattered. It’s been a long and busy day… I keep dozing off mid word so I shall post the pic of today’s square then call it a night I think.

day 34

Day 33

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einstein-violin

 

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Not much to say, not much time to say it in. Yes, I’m still trying to finish that assignment, so I will just say that today I added another small square to the blanket.

 

 

Also, I adore Einstein but not for his science. His was an incredible mind and to have someone speaking of music in this way is marvellous and shows that the arts are not so isolated from the sciences as some would have us believe.

When I reposted the quote above on Facebook, my brother-in-law shared a link in response that I shall now share with you. Yehudi Menuhin is one of the greatest and Bach is one of my favourites.

Day 32

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It’s not so much a piece of music today – though the video is accompanied by music – but real-time art. This is Kseniya Simonova, the 2009 winner of ‘Ukraine’s Got Talent’, and deservedly so. In this piece of art she is telling a story of the Ukraine from the days of the Tsars, through revolutions and World War. Her talent is astonishing and remarkable and beautiful.

No great revelations to share today except a couple of things I already knew about myself. 1 – I have never been able to complete an assignment without a deadline less than a week in front of me. 2 – my self-confidence is such a fragile thing as to be essentially non-existent. This second one can feed the first and I am in that situation now.

A weak belief in self means that if someone in a position of authority or whom I respect questions a choice I found difficult to make, it wipes out the foundation of that choice. You may say that that means I probably made the wrong decision in the first place but that’s not always so. I am specifically speaking of a decision to return to education to study Engineering. I know that improving myself through education is good and important. It is important to my self-esteem and the way I see my value in society, among other things.

Six months ago I began a preliminary course to get ready for a Bachelors degree. I was doing really well for the first 3 months or so, which is of course when this decision was questioned. I was already worried that I couldn’t do this, that my emotional and family situation would interfere, and this swept away my confidence. I have struggled to keep up since. The course ends on Thursday. I started the final assignment 2 days ago.

I don’t know why I do this to myself and I know how it goes so I don’t know why I keep trying to be more. (Yeah, today hasn’t been so great.)

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Anyway, it was kind of a relief to be knitting just a small square for the blanket today. In the last week there have been 4 trapezoids, and 2 rectangles. And we remember that 2 of those trapezoids needed patterns which were problematic.

 

Day 31

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Today’s music is by Voltaire – not the philosopher – and was unintentionally chosen by My friend J unintentionally chose today’s music when she sent me the link to this piece on YouTube. It’s by Voltaire – no, not the philosopher – and it feels a bit like ‘Danse Macabre’ by Saint-Saens, a slightly sinister, uptempo violin and tambourine dance. So, I hope you enjoy ‘The Headless Waltz’.

It’s hayfever season here and though it’s been raining the last day or so, we had a couple of weeks of gorgeous weather (aka, the English Summer) which set my sinuses to ‘clogged’ and my nose to ‘sneeze’. I try to be philosophical about it – a sneeze is a good abdominal workout after all especially if your sneeze is actually several consecutively. Unfortunately, this style of sneezing has proven to be more likely to throw my back out. I can’t seem to get comfortable today and it’s impacted my knitting which is nigh unforgivable…. ok, maybe not but it’s very irritating. I would like to use the knitting as a distraction from the hurt which stretches from halfway down my back and into my pelvic region and feels swollen and throbs with my pulse. Time to make an osteopath appointment I guess. I am consoling myself with custard cream biscuits. It’s working ­čśë

I’m not entirely sure I’m happy with how I’ve finished today’s new blanket piece. It’s the mirror image of the upside down trapezoid that gave me so much difficulty last week so it’s not really a surprise. But it works so we’re going with it. Yes, there are short rows in this one too.

Pick up 15sts along the incline of day 29’s trapezoid, 1st in the corner, 15sts along the edge of the rectangle then cast on 16sts.

Row 1 – k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k16

Row 2 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 3 –┬ák13, (sl2, k1, psso), k16, turn

Row 4 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 5 –┬ák12, (sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 6 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 7 –┬ák11, (sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 8 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 9 –┬ák10, (sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 10 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 11 – k9,┬á(sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 12 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 13 –┬ák8,┬á(sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 14 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 15 –┬ák7,┬á(sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 16 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 17 –┬ák6,┬á(sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 18 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 19 –┬ák5,┬á(sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 20 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 21 –┬ák4,┬á(sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 22 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 23 –┬ák3,┬á(sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 24 –┬ásl1, knit to end

Row 25 –┬ák2, (sl2, k1, psso),┬ák16, turn

Row 26 – sl1, knit to end

Row 27 – k1, (sl2, k1, psso),┬ák to end

Cast off until 2sts remain on the left hand needle, (sl1, k1 psso), finish casting off.

day 31

 

 

Audience participation – would you like a pdf of all the patterns I’ve used so far? Answers in the comments please ­čÖé

 

Day 30

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In the video from Day 6, Renate Hiller talks about the spirals in spinning that are repeated throughout nature, and the empathy with others fostered by creating yarn. I have always felt a connection to the past through my crafting but spinning has also taught me to find myself in the actual process.

I have been using the guided meditation from GetSomeHeadspace.com. In these, the repetition of your breathing is used as a focus. (I am sure this is true for other meditations but I have no experience with those.) Spinning yarn is a very repetitive process. From preparing the fibre through to the actual spinning. Your hands and the texture moving through your fingers becomes your focus, the rhythm of your heart beating to match the beat of your foot working the treadle and the spinning of the wheel in motion becomes hypnotic in your peripheral vision. Rhythm and repetition. I have lost many hours to this activity and come through it feeling slightly hazy and much calmer, just as I do after meditation. It is a time of intense but low pressure focus, and a time when the mind can be free to wander or to turn inward.

Meditation is, at least for me, about looking inward to re-establish my equilibrium. Some people exercise to do this. Some people clean house. I make, which allows me the opportunity of bringing happiness to other through gifts and through sharing my knowledge. I am very grateful for these skills and talents. In a society that places so little value on them, it is not about proving myself but about improving myself and the portion of the world I inhabit.

I have studied music on various instruments throughout my life. Do not think this makes me some sort of virtuoso. I got bored *a lot* but loved music so would eventually return. A few years ago I decided I would sit the music exams for an instrument. I lack the coordination to be a good piano player, and lacked the funds for a flute or something similar (I adore the oboe!) but I could afford a recorder. For 2 years I learned and perfected and enjoyed. The recorder is capable of such beauty and for many many years it was an instrument for which concerto’s were written. It was not a cheap instrument inflicted on children and parents alike but a valued talent.

It was during this time that I discovered the much celebrated recorder player Michala Petri and by extension some beautiful music that is so rarely heard because the recorder is considered such a nuisance as to never be played beyond childhood.

I fell in love with the music of composer Giuseppe Sammartini through Michala Petri’s performances and this is what I am sharing today. It is more than 12 minutes long but well worth listening to.

While listening to this I knitted another rectangle onto the blanket in the beautiful purple Fortissima Shadow Color yarn.

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My goodness! How am I getting worse at taking these photos?!

I’m more than halfway through the layout I shared a couple of weeks ago. I’ll be adding more to it in the next week or so.

Day 29

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'Upcycled' chopstick spindle

‘Upcycled’ chopstick spindle

Last August I made my own handspindle for spinning yarn. I needed something lighter than the ones I had. I scrounged through the house and turned up a small cup hook, a medium length chopstick and a small plastic plug. Because the plug already had a hole in the centre for the chain attachment to fit into, it was an excellent choice for a whorl. It was balanced which is far more important than you’d think for something that needs to maintain a spin for as long as possible. the only downside is that it has a small circumference. this can be fixed with a piece of cardboard but if you put too much weight on the spindle it can effect the thickness of the yarn you spin – very thin yarn will snap if there is too much weight hanging from it.

trindlestylespindle

Handmade handspindle based on the Trindle Spindle.

Anyway, this grew from a small handspindle to researching different types of spinning devices. There are so many more than you think, some of which used some inspired technology that has essentially been lost. For example, in the 1800’s clock makers devised a way for the spun thread to be fed onto the bobbin that automatically moved the yarn backwards and forwards. this┬áallowed the bobbin to be filled evenly and smoothly and saved time because the spinner didn’t have to stop work to progress the yarn from one hook to another along the flyer unit. There has been a recent development in the technology of the flyer that can do this but it costs as much as the cheapest spinning wheel (┬ú200+).

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Meccano charka

Not my point. I was going to tell you that I made a slew of devices. A couple of different handspindles, some working models out of meccano of a charka and one of an electricly powered spindle. I made a spinning wheel and a charka out of PVC plumbing pipe. I also made my own electric spinner.

motorisedspindle-front

Motorised Meccano spindle

spindle wheel - angle

The PVC spinning wheel waiting for its treadle

pvccharkha

PVC Charka


Electric spinners are compact, tabletop devices that have a motor to turn the flyer unit instead of being pulleys run by foot treadle.

It worked quite nicely but only for short periods of time. the motor was not designed to run for long periods of time and the gears kept overheating. As a proof of concept, it was a win.

You’ve seen only a fraction of the projects I have on the needles at the moment. I don’t imagine that I’m alone in this but the more time I spend crafting, the more ideas and desire there is to do more. Everything must be made and created nownowNOW. That’s why I have 1 lace shawl design in the works, 3 other shawl designs demanding attention and a very strong desire to do some yarn spinning. I am hoping that in the next couple of weeks, hubby and I will be able to replace the motor and gears in my spinner so that I can make more pretty pretty yarn. No, I don’t need more projects but I have found that I have to move through the ‘creative cravings’ to produce the work.

Also, I’ve got random flashes of interesting muscle responses in my right hand. It’s not exacty pain but sometimes it feels like the skin has been scalded. it’s just overwork but if i change the craft I’m doing, it changes the muscles that are most in use and eases any problems.

There are two pieces to show you today on the meditation blanket.

Firstly, I┬áfinally sorted out the trapezoid but you might not like it. We’re going to use a technique called short rows. Short rows are a way to shape your knitting, or a way to create a shape with your knitting which is what I’m going to do with it and it is exactly what it sounds like – you knit only part of the row, 15 out of 20 maybe, and turn your work to knit back over those stitches. It can be complicated by techniques to disguise the point at which you turn your work but I won’t be bothering with that for this.

Start by casting on 16sts, pick up the 15sts from day 27’s rectangle, 1 in the corner, 15 along the incline edge of day 26’s trapezoid.

Row 1  k30, (sl2, k1, psso), k14

Row 2  k31, turn

Row 3  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k13

Row 4  k30, turn (this will be one stitch further up the incline than worked on row 2)

Row 5  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k12 (slipping the first stitch keeps the gap created by working part rows small)

Row 6  k29, turn

Row 7  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k11

Row 8  k28, turn

Row 9  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k10

Row 10  k27, turn

Row 11  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k9

Row 12  k26, turn

Row 13  sl1, k14, dec2, k8

Row 14  k25, turn

Row 15  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k7

Row 16  k24, turn

Row 17  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k6

Row 18  k23

Row 19  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k5

Row 20  k22

Row 21  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k4

Row 22  k21

Row 23  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k3

Row 24  k20

Row 25  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k2

Row 26  k19

Row 27  sl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso), k1

Row 28  k18

Row 29 ┬ásl1, k14, (sl2, k1, psso) – 17sts total

cast off

days 27-28

The second piece is a regular, pink trapezoid.

I’m quite pleased how the green piece from yesterday has come out. Well worth the frustration.

Day 28

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In honour of my son arriving tomorrow for school holidays, here is his theme song (with video courtesy of a World of Warcraft player).

Wasn’t sure if I’d get this post done before the clocks ticked over to tomorrow. I’ve had several ideas for shawls swirling through my thoughts for much of the last week and today i couldn’t put them off any longer. Nothing to show you yet of those I’m afraid but i have a shawl i’m knitting with some yarn I spun myself that I can show you a picture of….

baktus1 baktus2

The fibre was dyed by Blue Moon Fiber Arts, a ‘Sheep to Shoe’ kit which is a superwash wool with instructions for how to spin it to produce yarn to knit socks with. The colourway is called ‘Fire on the Mountain’ and I love it! The pattern is called ‘Baktus’ but I can’t leave a pattern alone so I have tweaked it pattern. It’s supposed to be a long, shallow triangle but I like large equilateral triangle shawls so I’ve ┬áchanged the frequency of ┬áincreases, from increasing on 1 out of every 4 rows to 1 out of every 2.

I’ve planned a corner with two trapezoids today partly because I wanted to see if i could and partly cause i thought it would look nice. And it does but I cannot get it to look quite right.

of course, when i drew up the plan, i hadn’t considered that adding a trapezoid from the short side would involve a new pattern.┬áAnd of course it’s one that ‘m not happy with yet. I shall continue working on it and will have 2 pieces for you tomorrow.