Monday, 29 April 2013


That is definitely the way to describe my weekend. Saturday's class went really well, and everyone had fun. I think it was just a great combination of people. It was supposed to be 1-4, but at 4:30 everyone was still there talking - always a nice sign.

Anyone who thinks the perfect Sunday morning means sleeping in and having a leisurely brunch would have been out of luck at the farm this week. By 9:30 or 10, everyone was up and fed, dishes done, Mom was taking the dog for his walk before work, Dad was taking the lawnmower for a walk before church, and I was hanging my second load of laundry on the clothesline - slightly delayed, since I hadn't wanted to interrupt a pair of flycatchers who seemed to be discussing the possibilities of the shed eaves near the clothesline as a nest-building site.

After the parents went off to their respective destinations and the day started getting warmer, I settled on the porch to do a little picking. Not banjo, like in some country song, but llama fibre. It's a mindless task, but rather nice to do it on a sunny spring day in the country. All the birds were chirping like mad, about mates and territory, and nest-building. Maybe some of them will have llama-lined nests from my discards!

The llama is my cousins' from last year's shearing. Lots of second cuts to pick out (it was Shawn's first time shearing, and he hadn't been thinking of it going to me at the time), but I got about a 50% yield, and what I was keeping was nice.

It was so nice to be able to sit out and enjoy the spring, and I spent the whole morning there. From the porch I could look out to the front border and the new bush, and to the left, past the apple trees, a gleam of yellow was visible from one of the gardens, where crocuses and daffodils, and forsythia were in bloom.

I wasn't alone in enjoying the weather, or the fibre, either. Abby was stretched out on one of the other chairs, and Rex was busy holding the door closed. Then Gail wandered over, and helped with the picking. She can't resist raw fleece - behaves like it's catnip.

It was, despite the help, a productive session, since about half the garbage-bag-full got picked. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the dye garden, hacking back the greenweed, and collecting the weathered stems from the madder. Last year's experiments showed that stems dried green give an olive colour, but stems that weather overwinter like these will give a peachy-pink similar to bedstraw. No point in wasting them!


Saturday, 27 April 2013

Free Time

Finished exams - yay! - as of about 10:30 yesterday morning. Nice to be done, but a little sad too. One of the teachers is retiring - he announced it right before our exam, and made a nice little speech. I get emotional easily, and I have to admit that I sniffled my way through the exam, and left a couple water-spots on it! A couple more of the profs won't be back until next winter, so we won't see them again, plus there are all the class-mates who I likely won't see for months. 

It feels a little disorienting to not have homework! And since I don't start my co-op job full-time until Tuesday, I am looking forward to having a couple days to immerse myself in the fiber-y things that have been neglected lately. This afternoon I'm at L'Ourse Qui Danse, to teach a spinning class, and deliver to Johanne the only piece I've managed to get done for her this month - the semi-circle shawl I was working on. I found a nice border in a book on Orenburg lace from the Guild library, and it worked out well, I think, with only a little bundle of yarn left over.

I have to admit I'm not comfortable with teaching yet, especially since I strongly suspect this batch is all francophone, but at the moment I'm the only spinner associated with L'Ourse Qui Danse, and it's all good practice for me, in teaching and the sort of customer service end of things.

Tonight, I may do some spinning of my own, and some work on a pair of gloves with twisted-stitch patterns I started this week. Tomorrow, since the weather's supposed to be decent, I'm going to sit outside and pick some llama. About time I got to it, since they're almost ready to shear again! 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Cleaning Up

Last week before exams this week, so there's been some academic cleaning up as well as physical. The business plan / Dragon's Den group project for English class was last week, and this week we got the results. Our group won for the afternoon section! The prof went and acquired some Dragon's Den stuff for prizes, even.

In our indoor and green roof class Wednesday, there were more prizes. The prof decided that rather than doing a plain old review before the exam, we would play a custom version of 'Jeopardy'. And because she's like that, she brought plants for prizes for everyone - the winning team just got first pick. So I have a new plant, a Dracaena marginata. Think spiky grassy clump like a yucca, but green with pink edges. I took a little time that afternoon and did a bit of garden clean-up here instead of working on my design project - hard to resist when the weather's nice. The scilla and crocuses are out here, and crocuses and tiny irises in the beds at school.

Construction class yesterday had no prizes, though - except that the rain stopped. That was good, because our job for the day was to clean out the leaves and debris in and around the pond and stream out back. Mucky and smelly work for the most part, but with a little added interest when we found what we think was a dragonfly larva in the mud.

Today ought to be interesting. The second-years have organized a Horticulture Olympics and BBQ, with us against them for the Olympics. Not sure how much use I'll be at something like wheelbarrow races unless we need someone lightweight riding in the wheelbarrow, but if there's ID or anything intellectual, I might stand a chance.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

On The Needles

There are a couple knitted things in progress. It hasn't all fallen by the wayside in the end-of-semester scramble, even if progress has been slow the last couple weeks.

I got started on the second shawl out of the cria I spun for Johanne. One skein chocolate and one in the light beige I used for the last shawl. After a couple days of swatching and looking through books and Rav for ideas, I finally went with semicircular and striped with a contrasting border. Semicircular because I hadn't tried planning one yet, and wanted to see if I could. Striped, because I figured the variegation in the chocolate would show up best in a stockinette ground rather than lace, and I added little purl stripes of the beige to tie in to a beige border.

The border got started a week or more ago, but I don't really think I like the way it's coming out. So now I have to decide how I want to change it.

So that's languishing in the to-do pile while I meditate. Meanwhile, I started something else. Remember back in the fall, I was working on some diagonally striped fingerless mitts? Anyway, I submitted the idea for a pattern collection, and they were accepted. Deadline to have final pattern in - April 26, which is my last day of exams, and the day before I head off to the country to teach my second-ever spinning class. So I've been trying to get that done a bit early. Writing up as I re-knit, and I sent the rough copy of the pattern to a very kind friend who volunteered to test. Anyway, they're coming along.

Tomorrow, if the weather isn't too horrible (that means you, mutter mutter Winter Storm Watch), I'll have time to finish the mitts up when I meander off after class for my usual Friday social/fiber session. If not, I'll be hibernating at home to finish them, and being very grateful I'm not outside like the poor goose we saw today at Canlock. We had a class trip there, as they sell stone and mulch and such. And in one of the piles of mulch is this Canada goose, sitting on her eggs already, and having a hissy fit if anyone comes near. (Guess they won't be selling much of that mulch for a while.) I wonder if she'd let them put a tarp up to protect her a bit?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Only A Little Grouch

It's hard to be really grouchy when the rhubarb is up and showing a patch of crumpled green leaves, and the scilla will be in bloom any day. But a string of little annoyances means I'm a little disgruntled, at least.

Had my first day at my co-op placement Saturday, starting to get the garden center ready for the season.  Nothing wrong with that. But I now know for sure, and not just intellectually, that you can get a sunburn in April. Next week I bring sunscreen, or a hat (there's a no-scent policy at work, and my sunscreen's scented). And I'm having a few days of stiff muscles, since this garden center prep involved a quantity of shoveling snow, chipping ice, carrying things, and tying awning down.

I had to get up at 5:30 to make it to work Saturday, but was hoping to sleep in yesterday. Except the cat started waking me up at 5, and continued causing trouble until I caved and got up at 6:30. Then up late last night finishing stuff for our "Dragon's Den" business plan presentation in class today. Besides putting together the good copy for the paper to hand in, I had a felt-pocketed piece to sew up for the living wall we're using for a prop (living walls are what our theoretical business produces). Only, the sewing machine jammed partway through. So I finished the necessary sewing by hand. I don't mind hand sewing, but it just meant there was no time to make the wall as elaborate as planned. And now I have to get the machine fixed at some point...

Oh well. Today that project will be done with. Tonight will be Guild meeting, although I may not stay, since I have an irrigation quiz tomorrow morning. And then it's just the scramble to the end of semester.
(And that's my other grouch. Our list of permitted plants for our big design assignment is WAY limited. Very boring.)

Yes, there has been some knitting, if less than I'd like. Tomorrow maybe I'll show some off. I need inspiration for a semicircular shawl border.