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Where Have You Been?

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Well may you ask! When I came back to Turkey for a few months, I hadn’t realised that a combination of heat, intermittent internet, and a general lassitude would keep me away from work for so long. Many events have passed unrecorded, including my birthday, and the Skein Queen contest I won, to name one of her gorgeous colourways. The name I entered was ‘Summerhouse Love’, and it’s fairly descriptive of my current state. Ironically, I must await my return to Wales to fondle the Plushness, but the cool colours will be a reminder of my indolent summer days. I had already treated myself to a hank of Skein Queen yarn for my birthday (look at Deb’s gorgeous packaging! I admired it for a long time before I let myself open it), along with a tiny hank of Artist’s Palette ‘Glisten’. Really, the difficulty of the larger questions of life (its meaning, what one should do with it, etc.) pale in comparison with the painful hours of deciding which colourway of handpainted yarn to purchase.

skein queen package

another early birthday present

Much of my time has been spent reading, listening to Cole Porter songs, taking photos of congruous colours, and of course, doing a lot of mindless knitting. These socks are now finished, though it’s too hot to wear them.

sock & colette
Olive pressing against my window
sock & colette
bits of houses

I mentioned in my entry to the Skein Queen competition, how much I love summerhouse novels. Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Proust’s Swann’s Way (the only one of the series I’ve managed to read so far), and Colette’s Ripening Seed are the chief ones that occur to me. To a lesser extent perhaps von Arnim’s The Enchanted April (which I suppose is not summer), Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Forster’s A Room with a View, and maybe even Bellow’s Herzog, though they’re all very different books. Admittedly A Room with a View doesn’t even involve a house, but it is still one of my favourites.

And if you’re looking for musical accompaniment, here is my Cole Porter mixtape:

  1. I Concentrate on You by Frances Wayne
  2. I Loved Him but He Didn’t Love Me by Kaye Ballard
  3. Get Out of Town by Chris Connor
  4. Night and Day by Ella Fitzgerald
  5. Just One of Those Things by Diana Krall
  6. I’m in Love Again by Bobby Short
  7. The Laziest Gal in Town by Marlene Dietrich
  8. Where Have You Been? by Judy Holliday

So close to your side I’ll stay,
You can never say,
“Baby, where have you been?”

13th July, 2009  // Inspiration, Life, Literature, Travel, Yarn // tags: , , , .

Wonderwool Wales Tales

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I was at Wonderwool Wales on Sunday, and it was such a treat! Living in the Welsh countryside I’m surrounded by sheep, but I have yet to find a yarn shop close by that stocks anything inspiring. I spend ages looking at yarn (longingly) online, but to actually be able to see and TOUCH it all was simply overwhelming. Seeing all the Ravelry badges, the smiling faces, and finally meeting some of the lovely people I follow on the internet was also very exciting, and I even spotted Sasha Kagan holding a workshop! I’d love to share my small purchases, but most of them are intended as gifts, and I must be a little secretive. I did get some Faery Lace from Fyberspates though, which is all my own.

my first handspun!

I have known for a long time that if I ever tried spinning, I would be hooked, and I really didn’t want anything else taking away from my knitting time (and fund!). Well, all such prudence vanished from my mind when I spotted a lovely spinning starter kit at the Blueberry Angoras stand. Angora! Having grown up in Ankara, I decided it was fate that I should start spinning with angora mohair. I could hardly wait to get home to try it out, but on sunday evening the only winding I managed was to wind myself up. I could spin about 2 inches of yarn which just grew kinkier and kinkier. But knitting hasn’t taught me anything if it hasn’t taught me patience, so I calmly put the spindle aside.

I spun all night, metre after metre flying through my dreams. On Monday I watched all the Youtube videos on the subject again, and realised my problem was with the elusive term, ‘drafting’. Spinners throw this word out with much abandon, but it took me a while to understand it, and even now I’m not sure I’ve fully grokked it. I do know that I was trying to spin a thin yarn with way too much fiber though, and separating the roving out into thinner strips helped a lot. I still do a lot of stopping and frantic drafting, but I managed a vaguely consistent yarn. It’s magic watching the spindle spin and spin and spin, the twist shoot like electric up the fiber, and the way the spinning thread will pull everything (fiber, hair) into it, like a small tornado. Having spun all my fiber I tried to ‘set the twist’, but the twist has no intention of settling just yet. The yarn writhes with energy, too full of my novice over-enthusiasm, and its own life. The angora is gorgeous, so soft and nice-smelling, and I would love to travel over every inch of yarn again with my knitting needles, but I think perhaps my first handspun is fated for a small hank, to mark the beginning of another journey.

Participating in Fiber Arts Friday.

28th April, 2009  // Life, Spinning, Yarn // tags: , , , .

How My Knowledge of Fiber Saved My Life

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Last night I was sitting on the sofa by a lovely roaring fire, typing away at my blog post. My boyfriend had gone down to the pub with his friend, and I was all alone in the small Welsh cottage. As I got up to get myself a mug of tea, I glanced at the woodburner and noticed that the candle that had been left on top of it (note use of passive) looked a bit lopsided, so I thought I’d better take it off there and put it to one side. The saucer was full of hot melted wax though, so it was rather tricky to do, and I noticed that the flames were licking away at that side of the burner, making it even hotter. Not knowing a whole lot about fires, I opened the woodburner door to try to rearrange the logs. Woosh! The flames licked out of the hinge and one side of the woodburner caught fire. It finally clicked that there was hot hot wax dripping down that entire side of the woodburner. In a few brief moments, many thoughts ran through my head:

– My God, the fire is outside the woodburner.
– Maybe if I leave it, it’ll just burn up.
– I can’t call my boyfriend.
– How am I going to tell him I burnt his house down?

(read more…)

10th November, 2008  // Yarn // tags: , , , , .
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