Friday, May 22, 2015

A moment of pause

Apparently more than a moment of pause in my posting, but I can be a touch on the scattered side. (Just a touch, stop laughing. Fine. More than a touch.)

The last month has been a glorious whirlwind of stuff, from A&S in early April (which I did post upon) to Fool in mid-May. I taught beginner bobbin lace on the cheap (hello Imposter Syndrome, how nice of you to come out to play), met awesome people and feel really content with my choice to not commit to a lot of classes, but rather drift in and out as social and whim caught me. One of said new friends commented on his blog about a gaming con that he knew things were good when he missed panels because he was too busy enjoying the conversation, and therefore wasn't bored and watching the clock, waiting for the distraction. That was Fool this year for me. I'd realize I was 20 mins late for a class I was interested in, because the company and conversation was too enjoyable to leave, and then decide to arrive late, or not go at all. Such a difference a year makes, when last year we knew about 4 people on site when we arrived and there was a lot of lost drifting.

With no more teaching/speaking obligations facing me 'til the Fall (huzzah!), my warm wooly knee high stockings done (just in time for summer!) and my fian challenge not yet started, I decided to a) take up a new to me skill and b) enjoy a bit of a handwork palate cleanser.

The first? I got an inkle loom on the cheap, because apparently looms really /are/ like pringles, you can't have just one. It looked a bit different than most of the pictures, but through copious stalking of weaving groups, I found another that looked the same and got it warped up.  43 threads of crappy but ubiquitous size 10 cotton. (I think it breeds in my house, I keep using it and I keep having MORE. I may be weaving with crochet cotton forever.) I think my tension is settling in, but wow am I slow at this. It'll come with practice, but this is not going to be knocked out in a blink.

The second is my palate cleanser piece. My first lace love was knitted lace, and it's a familiar comfort to settle back into tiny thread and needles and a nice chart. I've had this super tiny Dandelion doily on my ravelry queue for ages. Its a modern designer (few of those doing anything that's not a shawl), and so I figured I'd give it a go. Size 30 cotton here, and 2 mm needles.

Ideally I get this little guy finished up before I face a year's worth of needle lace. (What was I thinking? Seemed like a good idea at the time!)

Friday, April 24, 2015


A new pet arrived at the house last weekend, and his name is Fred. Clearly I am comfortable enough to use my pets in food, as this pet is all about the food producing, and the 'him' is a little bit of overkill, to be honest.

Fred in his jar
As you can probably guess, Fred is a sourdough starter, and has been named after the last sourdough starter I had years ago. Somehow, giving him a name makes me more likely to remember to feed him. There were offers to pick up starter at A&S and I was so caught up in Pent, I totally forgot. However, someone (Thanks E!) in the neighbouring canton was kind enough to share some of hers with me, and so Fred is slowly taking over the counter.

As much as I adore sourdough bread, I decided to branch out and baked up some quickbread with a chunk of Fred. Cinnamon quickbread (a muffin recipe baked in a loaf pan.) Turned out pretty well!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Where to next?

Other than a forgotten chunk of sewing and a class to prep for FOOL, I am at a glorious crossroads. I have no big deadlines for handwork. There's nothing that HAS to get done, for this or that. I get to plot and consider, dream and muse. I'm in that happy neverland where projects are quick, easy, stunning and without any snags. They don't get tedious, you dont run out of yarn, you still love the colours.

Do I pull one of the many items off the UFO list? Knitting? Spinning? Embroidery? Modern? SCA? A&S worthy? There is always something in the backpack to work on. Currently it's the second sock from my Pent entry, and a little cutwork piece. So always there's something small in the bag, but what else? 

I'm musing on next year's pent (yes, already. Researching first, how novel!), and next year's QPT, but I think perhaps for a little while, I'll get a few more things out of the UFO pile.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pent 2015

Well, it probably should rightly be titled A&S 2015, but as I entered pent this year (apparently that's not normal in one's first big A&S event.. seemed reasonable to me!), this year was All About Pent.

Pentathlon is hard! 5 entries, 6 presentations (one overview and then a period of judging for each piece). You're talking about your work /all day long/. Which is at once awesome and amazing (and throat rending.. NB: bring ricola next year), and a smidge rattling when you get near the end of the day and you look at a simple entry and look at the judges and go 'yep. It's .. er.. lard. There's not much to say about lard.'

The final slate of entries ended up being the aforementioned lard (rendering pork fat into lard), knitting stockings, a carved drinking horn, pysanky and the tape lace bobbin lace hanky.

See? Lace hanky. It and the eggs were the pieces that made people pause and go 'ooh!', which is fair. There's few people who do either. Socks are socks, a beginner horn isn't exciting, lard is /really/ not exciting, but eggs? What's up with the eggs!? And lace? Most comments on the lace involved variations on 'you're crazy'.

Which is not inaccurate. ;) I came away from the event with nothing but warm fuzzies. My judges were helpful and enlightening, people were interested and respectful, everything went smoothly (the bumps of forgetting two of my pieces at home, and having two pieces judged in the same time slot were minor hiccoughs, we coped. My husband is a saint.)

I loved it, I am delighted by the winner, her stuff was amazing (both other entrants had great work, losing to either of them was no hardship whatsoever.)

I did manage to finish Secret Project #3 (I'll make a whole post about him soon). A little crowned penguin for Her Highness.

Doesn't every almost queen need a knitted penguin with a crown?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In just an hour a day!

That really does sound like an infomercial that I'm about to try and sell you the ab stuffer, or something equally absurd.

No no, my hour a day is that hour after I get home and before my darling spouse gets home. When (these days) its finally daylight, it's just me and the cats, and quiet. I work in tech support, so I spend my day helping humans, and there are more than a few days when I don't actually like people by the time I get home from work.

I've been working on a giant (for me giant) lace piece on a deadline. (Apr 11 soft deadline), and these days the only way I will make that deadline is by working on it Every. Single. Day. I can't sit at the lace pillow for epic marathon sessions (at least not and still walk afterwards), so there's no making up for it later if I miss a day. Every. Single. Day.

I usually hate that sort of thing, as soon as I /have/ to do it, generally I hate it and kick and scream like a toddler being dragged away from the all you can eat candy. I'm really enjoying this, though. I'm enjoying that pause to be quiet, to sit in the sunshine and sometimes listen to a podcast, and sometimes just listen to the quiet click of the lace bobbins. Hopefully once this current project is done (I'm 3/4 of the way!) I will find something else to fill that hour in the sunny back room. My loom lives there, soooo. ;)

Secret project #2 was finished just in time, and was a knitted ram as a thank you for our Baroness for coming out to College Royal. He's been christened Ramsey, and looked like he settled in Penda's chair quite well in Penda's absence. I'm really pleased with how he turned out. I love the pattern, and the addition of wee horns just added to it.

Ramsey's glamour shot on my lace pillow, complete with mood lighting