Monday, July 29, 2013

Spinning Plates . . .

How is it that the last post here was July 7th?

Obviously I have slacked off on my 365 Project this year.  I made it a little more than halfway, but I'm not sure I'm going to finish.  That makes me sad in some ways - I don't like to not finish something I start . . . but in attempting to be gentle with myself, I'm trying to let go of some stuff.

Letting go.  Once again, I have over-booked myself into oblivion this summer.  It's not good.  This is what my life feels like most days lately:


I don't understand how I do this to myself year after year . . . and every year I say I'm not going to do it again . . . but I do it anyway.  Silly me.  Now that I am piping seriously again, it behooves me to figure this stuff out.  I need practice time every day.  August will be busy, but I'm planning for things to calm down in September.

And speaking of piping - I just spent a week in SoCal at Bagpipe School.  It was just awesome.  My piping is better - I learned so much, and it was wonderful to actually see my teacher again. 

I met some amazing people there - people of all ages and abilities.  Ian and his co-teacher, Colin, created a great atmosphere of inclusion and learning. What an awesome week!

Bagpipe Camp_27

Not my pipes (I think they are Colin's), but I liked how they looked here, resting on the altar at the church where we spent our days  :-)  I can hardly wait until next summer to go back!  Hopefully by then I will be able to keep up better on my pipes.  I did well on my practice chanter, but my stamina is lacking on the pipes.  It didn't help that, although I had been working on my practice chanter again since mid-May, I had only started to actually play pipes again two weeks before school started. 

It was rough.  But I survived  :-D

I also did really well with food on this trip - it was much easier than my trip to Austin, earlier this year.  We stayed in the dorm condos at Marymount College, so had access to a kitchen, which made everything a lot easier for me.  Yay!  And we went out a couple of nights for dinner - once to an amazing seafood place, and another to a great Italian place where I was able to get something I could eat.  Double Yay!!

It was the first time I had been back to SoCal since I left nearly a decade ago - and I was reminded how much I do not like driving in LA . . . thankfully nearly all my time was spent in South Rancho Palos Verdes, which is right on the coast and is very lovely.  I was sorry to not be able to see any of my old friends while in the area, but the week was school all day and practice all night.  Seriously.  There was no time for anything extra, and I could not stay any extra days this trip.

Yesterday was my recovery day, but I spent part of it talking to the Windy City Gardeners in Oak Park - what a great group of people!!  I love that they invite me to come and talk to them every year about African violets.  So much fun!  Still, it was tough to go there the day after returning from a week away - but that speaking engagement was on the calendar before school was, so I could not not go.  See, this is how it starts :-D

So, I will go on spinning plates for another month, and collapse in September.  Wish me luck  ;-D

Sunday, July 7, 2013

184:365 Finished . . .

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You saw this yarn on January 1st! It was part of a kit - the Gypsy Scarf Kit by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I bought it at The Fold as part of their New Year's Day sale - I've never seen another one like it.

Three yarns knit together - made what is commonly called a "fashion scarf." Narrow, and short - still it's pretty and I like it very much :-) The colorway was called X-mas Rock.

I knit this up today - just needed to actually accomplish something.
 
So - thought you might also like to see part of the process - as mentioned, I've never seen this kit before, and I have to say that I wonder if that's because of what a nightmare it was to wind the yarn.  Three separate yarns - nylon ribbon, nylon novelty and rayon boucle. 
 
 
Gypsy 01
 
 I put it on the swift . . .

 
Gypsy 02
 
 
. . . but I wound it into a ball by hand.  I got pretty far, but I did end up having to break the yarns at one point and wound a second, smaller ball.  It wasn't bad to knit, though.  12 stitches in seed stitch on size 15 needles.
 
Gypsy 03

It's a little short - and I suppose it qualifies as a novelty fashion scarf - but I have to say that I really like it  :-D


183:365 It's That Way . . .

184_365.070313


Back in the day, many advertisements were painted on the sides of buildings here in Chicagoland. Shot at the mouth of the short alley from Randolph Street to the theatre. It's pointing toward State Street, where the entrance is :-) Those are the fire escapes from the different seating levels in the house.

I got off on the numbering somehow so have corrected it here.

182:365 Mothra! :-D

183_365.070213
 
This moth was hanging out on my garage door. Had he been on a tree, I would never have seen him. Best viewed larger :-)

I took this on the 3rd. Once again I've been skipping days - just too much happening and I forget to jam the camera into my bag in the morning.
 
Please tell me I'm not the only person who loved those old Japanese movies!  :-D

Monday, July 1, 2013

180:365 Um . . . ick

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I don't normally spin "art yarn." I challenged myself to try something new. It was horrid to spin, with a ton of VM (vegetable matter) in it, and some of the locks were raw and the lanolin was hardened - like spinning wax . . . :-S

I wanted at least 100 yards of this for a Tour de Fleece challenge - it was a 3.6 oz batt of fiber. I got less than 55 yards. Live and learn :-D

179:365 Mmmmmm . . . Top!

181_365.063013


My favorite prep to spin with. This is 100% Merino top from LunabudKnits. It looks good enough to eat, doesn't it? ;-) The colorway is Garden Ivy. I have more in a gorgeous buff shade, too.