Thursday, September 9, 2010

Late night knitting and other stories

I seem to be making a habit of posting at ungodly hours - it's 3am here and I'm up, in pain again. My back decided a couple of days ago that it was just NOT going to play ball, and basically it has locked up and gone into spasm. So I have been swallowing painkillers for the last 3 days and struggling to move at all (bending, sitting, standing up from a chair and even walking are excruciatingly painful right now). 

It's frustrating not being able to move in spite of stretches and plenty of heat on my back, but at least I have my knitting. I hate having idle hands - I'm the guy who takes a spindle or a portable knitting project everywhere with him so that he has something to do when using public transport, waiting in line, sitting in the doctor's office waiting for an appointment, or any other place where most people normally do nothing. A few weeks ago I found a copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Knitting Without Tears" at my LYS, and even though it is supposed to be a "beginner" book (and I have been knitting for over 30 years) I grabbed it. And I'm damn glad I did, because I took it home, read it cover to cover and haven't stopped reading it since. The patterns and technical knitting stuff in that book are brilliant - but it's the stories EZ tells and the conversational tone that I absolutely LOVE. It's like I'm having a conversation with an old friend :)

So anyway, I picked up this book and some yarn (prior to buying the book, my 6yo son Ethan had been reading over my shoulder while I was looking at projects on Ravelry, and was quite taken with EZ's Tomten jacket, so requested that I make him one). I started Ethan's Tomten the day after I bought the book, and have been picking it up in between doing other things because it's easy to keep track of where I'm up to in the pattern and it's pretty mindless garter stitch so nothing tricky to remember. I am using the numbers in the pattern, but I did add a couple extra inches to the body because Ethan is a lanky li'l bean sprout, and I want the jacket to fit him for next winter. I'm using 10ply pure New Zealand wool by Creative Fibres in the "Ocean" colourway, with Naturally Yarns 10ply Harmony in a charcoal grey (the yarn is actually quite a bit darker than my webcam would have you believe) for the border and a few accents. And tonight I'm knitting this jacket exactly *because* I don't have to think too hard to do it, and after the last couple of days of crap that I have had, I need something to distract me.

Right after my introduction to EZ, I went online to Schoolhouse Press and ordered a copy of "A Knitter's Almanac", which arrived about a week later. This was another book that I just took straight out of the package, made a hot drink and sat down to read from cover to cover (and thoroughly enjoyed). And within a few days of receiving the Almanac, I ordered "The Opinionated Knitter", which, with impeccable timing, arrived today in the wake of some devastating financial news and while I am out of action with my back. It has been raining pretty heavily all day here, so I just opened the package, made myself a huge mug of tea and curled up on the couch under the blanket with EZ. I wasn't disappointed - I spent 3 hours reading it, laughing at some of the stories, marvelling at EZ's ingenuity and planning more knitting projects (like I need any more, my Ravelry queue is 67 pages and almost 2000 patterns long already :P)

While I have been incapacitated, I have also been working on some spinning and related stuff. I have been spinning some BFL/bunny fibre that I bought like AEONS ago from Ewe Give Me The Knits on my cheap ebay spindle that I also bought aeons ago (lol):

 And I have been running a competition on facebook to find a name for a little sideline I am starting, making and selling drop spindles, handspun yarns and other fibre related goodies. There have been a few good suggestions so far - the competition runs till September 30th, and on October 1st I will choose a winner and post here and on facebook. The winner will receive a spindle made by me with the whorl of their choice from any that I have in stock. Anyone can enter and there is no limit on the number of entries - I will accept entries posted either in the comments here, or on my facebook if you are friends with me there :)

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