Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & (Week)ends #27

Mostly photos this week. Enjoy.

Out and About

Beecraigs Country Park

Cuckoo spit!

Costorphine Hill

Scottish Modern Art Gallery

Butterfly World

New Hopetoun Art Garden

From the Mailbag

Easyknits Nerd Sock Club 3: Gameboy Edition

Odds and Sods

  • A Buffy reboot has been announced. 😑
  • I’ve been creating new bullet journals for faith journaling, and writing this week. I’m hoping to give you a peek when I finish.
  • Caitlin Hunter has just released a gorgeous tee pattern and I’m totally cheating on my current WIPs with it.

Upcoming

Busy week ahead: building work, birthday party, blog posts to write, things to knit. 😅
Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

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Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & (Week)ends #26

Heatwave

This is not a complaint about the hot weather. I love hot weather; I spend most of my time complaining about being too cold. This is a complaint about how ill-equipped the UK is to deal with this kind of heat: there isn’t enough shade, all the buildings are too hot (tile your floors, people!), and I don’t live close enough to a decent beach. Grump.

It’s too hot to write a proper post this evening, so I’ll keep the rest of this short.

From the Mailbag

My final #titsoutcollective parcels arrived this week. I had a pattern picked out for the Gamercrafting sock yarn, but as soon as I saw it next to the Giddy Aunt Yarns mohair I knew they needed to be paired, so I’m revising my plans on what do do with my haul. I got a lovely surprise with my Rusty Ferret order: last month I managed to snap my star-shaped gauge ruler by shutting it in a drawer, which made me very sad – not only was it one of the goodies from my first Rusty Ferret yarn club box, but I use it all the time – and Leona, the dyer behind Rusty Ferret yarns, very kindly made and sent me a new one.

Another arrival was this beautiful book, ordered after reading a wonderful review through Brainpickings.

Odds and sods

  • Spotted a lot of cuckoo spit while out for a walk in the woods; and learned that it’s also known as frog spit (which actually makes more sense as it’s a hiding place for froghopper larvae).
  • I’ve been quiet on the knitting front as I’ve been test knitting a pattern over the past week. I’ll share a pic or two once I know it’s ok to do so.
  • On the fundraising front, I recently discovered the Flower Power Fund, which is raising money for Marie Curie in collaboration with indie dyers. There are a number of ways to contribute, beyond buying indie dyed yarn, so definitely check this out and get involved if you can.

Upcoming

It looks like our Glasgow trip will happen this week. Hopefully this cooler weather I keep being promised will show up, and I’ll have the energy to write the blog post about my Gallery trip that I meant to do last Friday. And many more things besides 😅

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & (Week)ends #25

All the Plans

The Technician has some time off in July so I’m making plans to wallow in a bit of culture. I’m hoping to take a day to see Raqib Shaw’s Reinventing the Old Masters at the Modern One, Rembrandt Britain’s Discovery of the Master at the National Gallery, and the Victoria Crowe exhibition at the Portrait Gallery. I recently renewed my Friends membership with Scottish National Galleries, which means free entry to the Rembrandt exhibition, and a cheeky 10% discount in some of their cafes – I highly recommend the scones, even if you don’t fancy the art.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow, The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers will be holding their National Exhibition at the Scottish Universities Insight Institute from 16-29th July. Getting over to see that will probably need to be coordinated with a ‘Tiny Tyrant-appropriate’ activity. We’re thinking Glasgow Science Centre, but if the weather stays this hot an outdoor option may be preferable.

From the Mailbag

The first of my Tits Out Collective purchases arrived this week. And the rest of my David Eddings books (pictured below). I’ve had all the dispatch orders for the Collective, and July’s Clan of Igors, so I’m expecting a bumper yarn mailbag post next week.

Odds and Sods

  • My cistus is flowering with abandon now I’ve moved it to a more sheltered spot.
  • I’ve totally lost control of Amazing Tales – the Tiny Tyrant is now DM-ing, and I found myself playing a knight whose skills consisted of counting butterflies, and growing flowers. A knight who needed to fight a dragon….
  • I’ve finished The Belgariad and now I have a book hangover ☹️

Upcoming

Yet more of the Tetris puzzle that is fitting knitting, writing, housework, and childcare into days that don’t come with that blessed 3 hours of nursery time. 😥

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & (Week)ends #24

Tits Everywhere

So today I got to do the equivalent of a supermarket dash, as Countess Ablaze and a coterie of makers launched the Tits Out Collective: yarn, patterns, notions and more, inspired by the Countess’ iconic limited edition colourway ‘If I want exposure, I’ll get my tits out’. Each dyer/designer/maker chose a charity to donate some of the proceeds to. If you want the full story on how this came about, check out the Countess Ablaze site for her blog post, and a gallery linking you to all 287 individuals and businesses involved.

If you’re wondering how on Earth one chooses what, out of 287 possibilities, to buy, let me fill you in on my approach. First I decided to stick to UK businesses (this isn’t some patriotic thing, I just have a limited budget and I’d rather spend it on wool than postage), then I looked at the charities being supported (I’m sure they’re all meaningful to the person who chose them, but aligning my purchases with causes I care about made sense), and finally I looked at what yarn bases were on offer so that I ended up with yarn that would play well with my current stash (in the case of patterns I chose ones that I felt I would actually knit).

I could tell you what I ordered, but I’d rather tell you that I was able to support 11 charities today: Addaction, Alfred Kennedy Trust, Alliance for Choice, Bliss, Cornwall Air Ambulance, Dogs for Good, Insight Counselling, Rape Crisis England, Refuge, Women’s Aid, and Womencentre. I’ve also discovered a whole host of new independent dyers. If you’re really curious about my purchases keep an eye out for mailbag updates over the next month. Better than that, please browse the gallery (here’s that link again) and support this awesome movement.

Finished Objects

On the topic of wool, I though I’d spotlight a few things I’ve finished over the past month or so.

La Vie Est Belle (Dieppe) Cowl

In May I felt the need to knit something simple and bright. I already had some DK yarn caked, so I whipped up this cowl. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the shape when I came to wear it (the downside of a pattern that requires seaming is that you can’t try it on as you go), so it’s sitting in the gift pile waiting to be loved by someone else.

Lanes Cardigan

It took me exactly 3 months to knit this (including a long stretch when it was sleeveless, and another stretch when I couldn’t quite face picking up all those stitches for the collar). This is another knit that I’m not 100% happy with. The yarn is beautiful and I can tell it’s only going to get softer and lovelier to wear, but the sleeves need to be shortened, and I don’t feel that the shawl collar suits me. If it were one thing I might try to fix it, but I’m wondering if the best solution might not be to frog the whole thing, and knit something I will actually wear – I suspect a Strange Brew yoked sweater would be wonderful, and provide an opportunity to use up leftovers from my Wool Explorations.

Maytham Shawl

I fully expected to be gifting this shawl, as I couldn’t see myself wearing a lace half-pi shawl (even in the colours ‘Eat the Rich’ and ‘Fight for your right to party’ on Countess Ablaze Tia Merino), which I was fine with because I enjoyed knitting it so much. Then I blocked it, and, oh my…, it was like being cuddled by butterflies. So I think I’ll be keeping that one. ☺️

From the Mailbag

Also for a charity initiative, I picked up some yarn from Gamercrafting this week. It’s sort of hilarious because it’s Harry Potter-themed and, as you may know, I’m a heathen when it comes to the Potterverse (or whatever the fandom calls it). I once took some online quiz that sorted me into Ravenclaw, so I think I’m ok to own this. 😂 Also check out the cool sticker. And my first Belgariad book arrived – luckily it was Book 1 so I was able to get started right away.

Odds and Sods

  • The Tiny Tyrant and I have been playing an RPG for kids called Amazing Tales. Which would be more fun for me if she didn’t insist on naming all her PCs Cinderella. 😑
  • Potato Update: one of my plants has flowered. So in a month or so I can go digging for spuddy treasure. Fingers crossed.
  • We bought a new hoover. He’s kind of a hit:

Upcoming

Six weeks of summer holidays! 😰 In which I will also attempt to read some books, write some words, and knit some things….

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & (Week)ends #23

And we’re back…

The final assignment is in, we’ve got over our various colds (mostly), it’s starting to feel like summer, and my brain is up to writing a regular update again. I hope.

Except we’re not?

Other than essay writing, May was mostly spent knitting and reading. Since the knitting was mostly Good Intentions related, I want to dedicate a whole post to that. And as my Read The Year post for May is overdue, I’ll cover the books I want to talk about there, rather than repeat myself.

The Shawl Society Season III

Ok, a little talk about knitting, as the Shawl Society isn’t a Good Intention – more of an impulsive decision. Helen of the Curious Handmade podcast has been running themed shawl societies for a couple of years now, in which participants buy the ebook, patterns unseen, and knit through the shawls as they’re released. This year’s theme was irresistible: The Secret Garden, and so I jumped aboard, hoping to learn a few new techniques, use up some of my more impulsive yarn purchases, and end up with some lovely shawls, either to keep or gift. The first pattern, Maytham, is wonderful – simple, but interesting, and hard to put down. It helps that I’m using some Countess Ablaze Tia Merino. I also love Helen’s pattern layout, which makes it so easy to keep track of where you are.

From the Mailbag

I couldn’t resist picking up a secondhand copy of The Secret Garden to read while I work through the Shawl Society patterns.

Odds and Sods

  • Royal Mail appears to have lost my second Nerd Sock Club instalment, so while that’s getting sorted I’ve cast on a Lamina Wrap. The plan is to use Sock Club remnants and some Wickedlets mini-skeins to gradually knit the wrap over the year.
  • My potato plants are coming up beautifully, but it’s occurred to me that I don’t actually know how you know when to harvest potatoes. Time to Google?!
  • With the TMA out of the way I’m planning on looking at some Craftsy sewing classes and getting the sewing machine out. No doubt much swearing will ensue. 😐

Upcoming

I’m working my way through 14 Days to a Solid Writing Habit (well, my notes from it) again over the next couple of weeks, as it originally coincided with my assignment and I’d like to actually do all of the exercises and, you know, build a habit. I will probably spend every spare moment working on my shawl, but I’d like to get my socks finished this week too. No pressure! 😬

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

Knitting · Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & Week(ends) #21

The Edinburgh Yarn Festival Edition

The Marketplace

 

This year I made a plan for which stands to visit, and what to buy, and I’m pleased to say I largely stuck to it, so I have projects lined up for most of my purchases. The impulse buys: a fabulous skein of DyeNinja’s new High Merino Twist Aran in her Embers colourway, and Rusty Ferret’s blue-purple Space Muffin on her Doll base (she had me at “space”), would suit any number of patterns I own. I had a slightly panicked moment at the Martin’s Lab stand where my bank, confused by a sudden large payment in Polish Zloty, declined the transaction, and blocked my card. Luckily I had a back-up, but who knew I’d need to inform my bank I was going to my local Yarn Festival?!

Beyond the lovely yarns on offer, it was wonderful to spend time with my tribe: I had so many fun moments with fellow knitters, complimenting each other on knitwear, sharing advice on colour choices and potential patterns; and it was such a pleasure to meet so many of the dyers who I interact with on social media, and express my admiration (generally in an incoherent, slightly starstruck way, but I think they got it 😳).

The Darning Masterclass

In the afternoon I attended Tom van Deijnen’s Darning Masterclass. He covered both Swiss Darning, for reinforcement and embellishments, and Sock Darning, used when holes have already formed. My many years of embroidery experience meant that, once I understood how the stitching interacted with the knitted fabric, everything fell into place for me. I’m now eyeing up all fabrics I come into contact with as prospective mending projects. Tom also ran an Advanced Darning Masterclass this year, so I hope that he’ll be back next year as I’d like to learn more.

 

From the mailbag

My new knitting notebook arrived this week (and can be spotted above in my darning pics), and I dealt with my EYF fomo by setting up a section specially for my day at the festival.

Odds and Sods

  • I finished Anna Karenina. Finally!
  • The Darning Masterclass was held at the Water of Leith Conservation Centre. I had a few minutes to look around and will definitely be taking the Tiny Tyrant for a visit.
  • The Truly Myrtle Spring Shawl Autumn Wrap Up KAL cast-on was yesterday (the 17th). I cast my Windsinger on while travelling in to EYF. I’m using Old Maiden Aunt merino cashmere nylon 4ply in colours Cold Sheep and Pretty Floral Bonnet. img_8998The deadline is the 17th May, and you’ll find some beautiful WIPs under #springshawlautumnwrapupkal on social media.

Upcoming

We have a busy week ahead, including a day trip to Amble. I think there may be a Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society parcel to collect this week as well, because I spotted a new NSS pattern on Ravelry. And I want to make a push on my Lanes cardigan, as I’d quite like to wear it.

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & Week(ends) #20

Cooking on a Bootstrap During Snowmaggeddon

The sudden influx of rewards from projects I’ve backed continued this week with the long-anticipated arrival of Cooking on a Bootstrap from Jack Monroe. It proved to be good timing, as we were then struck by the ‘beast from the east’ snow storm.

While not technically snowed in, in practice, since the buses stopped running along our road, the Technician is working away, and the supermarket is too far for TT to walk there and back even in good weather, we were snowed in. Being unable to get out for supplies encouraged my creativity to make the most of what I found in my cupboard, ably assisted by my newly-arrived cookbook.

Exploration and Reflection

As mentioned a while back, I’m taking part in the KnitBritish Wool Exploration. I submitted my first review, on Gotland wool, in February, and I’m partway through my explorations of Ryeland and Jacob, guided by Louise’s excellent template for notes, which you can find on her blog. I am finding that the number of swatches and pieces of A4 are becoming unwieldy, so decided to use a sketchbook to collate the information.

I chose a sketchbook as the paper will be sturdy enough for me to attach the swatch to the relevant page, and the spiral binding should mean that it copes better with multiple inserts. While the first part will be dedicated to the KnitBritish breed swatches, I’m going to use the rest to start noting down my own impressions of particular breeds and brands.

Tangentially, I started reading Folk Fashion today (a book from my Christmas haul), which is making me realise that I rarely reflect on my making in any structured way – there’s a lot of “ooh, pretty I want to knit (with) that”, but less attention on whether it’s an item I need, or uses what I already have. It can sometimes feel like I’ve shifted focus from high-street consumerism to independent supplier consumerism, and I feel like I need to slow down and unpack that a bit. It seems that the Wool Exploration is part of that thought process too. A topic I may return to if I come to any conclusions worth sharing.

From the Mailbag

For obvious reasons it’s been a slow post week, but my Read The Year book for March made it to me, along with the aforementioned cookbook.

Odds and Sods

  • Libby Johnson of the Truly Myrtle blog and podcast is running an Autumn/Spring Shawl KAL between 17th March – 17th May. I shall be taking part as I’ve wanted to make her Windsinger shawl for a while.
  • Craftsy has been offering unlimited access this weekend, so I’m taking the opportunity to audit a few courses that I’d marked as favourites.
  • If you missed out on the Kickstarter of Cooking on a Bootstrap, Jack Monroe has announced that a revised version is being released via a traditional publisher too.

Upcoming

The worst of the snow is over, and thawing fast, but they’re predicting rain from tomorrow so I expect to get damp when heading out in search of supplies. Nursery is due to re-open tomorrow – a relief because the Tiny Tyrant and I are sick of the sight of each other. My main plans for the week are to knit, and start plotting what I want to do and see at EYF.

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & (Week)ends #19

The Fruits of Crowdfunding

I’ve generally had a good experience with supporting crowdfunded books and games, and this week 2 longstanding pledges arrived:

The Lady and the Tiger, from Jellybean Games, is loosely inspired by Frank R. Stockton’s short story, and includes 5 games, ranging from a solitaire game to 2-6 player options, all using the same components. I’ve only played Hoard, the solitaire game, so far – it’s been a solo parenting week – but I’m looking forward to working my way through the others. And I must just mention that Tania’s artwork is divine. The ladies and tigers are so unique and distinctive that I find myself imagining their backstories as I play – I probably shouldn’t do that when I come to play the pair, and group games though.

My other ‘reward’ was The Secret History of Mac Gaming, which I backed on Unbound. We had Macs at home when I was growing up so any gaming that couldn’t be done on various iterations of Gameboy was done on the Mac. In the ’90s that meant not getting to play the games my console-blessed friends were playing, but it has left me with a lifelong love of the Civilisation series (Civ II was the best; I will accept no debate on this). Timescales on Unbound are typically longer than other types of crowdfunding, but both books I’ve backed have been worth the wait.

From the Mailbag

As anticipated, my copy of Laine #4, and the Ysolda shawl club yarn arrived this week. The latter is the most smooshable blend of Corriedale and Zwartbles, spun specially for the club by John Arbon Textiles (which amused me as I’ve just started my Lanes cardigan in some of their Exmoor Zwartbles blend). My Valentines dice from Q-Workshop also arrived, so I’m well supplied with red D20s.

Odds and Sods

  • Easyknits’ new website is up and running, and as part of the relaunch they’ve announced a new Nerd Sock Club, which will include a skein of sock yarn and a pin, themed around a nerdy topic, sent out bi-monthly. Naturally, I signed up.
  • I’ve been enjoying Reedsy’s bite-sized writing emails over coffee this past week. I’ve finished Kristen Kiefer’s How to Plot a Novel Using the 3-Act Story Structure, which I thoroughly recommend, and have moved on to How to Start Writing a Book. Can you tell my writing motivation is low right now? 🙂
  • We’re trialling the monthly ToucanBox as the Tiny Tyrant is blazing through the fortnightly craft boxes when they arrive. The Grande box includes 2 crafts, a book, and a list of activity ideas around a theme (adventure, most recently). The books we’ve had have been excellent, and ToucanBox are generous with the craft supplies. If you’d like to try a free Petite box, click here.

Upcoming

It doesn’t seem possible that we’re at the end of February already. I expect to finish my first ‘Year of Socks’ socks in the next day or so, and cast on the next pair before March arrives – all of which I’ll devote a post to during the week. I suspect that I also have a school shoes trip to Clark’s in my immediate future. Oh, joy.

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.

Polymath Enthusiasms

Odds & (Week)ends #18

My week in pictures

It’s been a slow week 😐

Odds and Sods

  • I’ve been re-listening to some old Acquisitions Inq D&D podcasts this week. The stuff when Wil Wheaton guests is comedy gold.
  • In related news I may have purchased myself some dice from Q-workshop’s Valentine offer 😳
  • Progress on Anna Karenina is slow. It’s looking like I’ll need a really short read in March.

Upcoming

This next week appears hellish: back to the nursery routine, family visiting, a trip to the GP, and the prospect of several hours without power while our fuse board gets changed, all while parenting solo. On the bright side, my copy of Laine #4 will be arriving this week, and the first instalment from Ysolda’s Shawl Club is due to be sent out, so if I make it to the weekend I can reward myself by retreating to a duvet cocoon with my goodies. 😁

Take care, and don’t let Monday get you down.