Sunday, July 24, 2016

Flying, Plying, Cooking, and Puppies

I know that if odour were visible, as colour is, I'd see the summer garden in rainbow clouds. Robert Bridges
I'm going to say it out loud. Get ready. Brace yourselves.

Summer is not my favourite season.

I find summer kind of overwhelming: bright, long days, open windows letting all the noise in, and so many more things to do outside that you end each day washing the sweat off before trying to fall asleep in a bright, warm room.

But... it sure is a pretty time of year.

It's amazing how much colour comes into your life during the summer. I was looking through all my photos this week for this post, and I was struck by how much vibrant colour is in each. It makes me feel so fortunate to have the ability to see them all.

Yesterday, I decided to accompany the hubby down to Victoria for his pilot medical. I figured we'd go for a walk afterwards, have some lunch, and then pick up some groceries on the way home. I brought along one of my Golding spindles, and I divided my waiting time between spinning more of that merino silk blend and doing some of the exercises that my physio has prescribed for my foot. I can't tell which of those attracted more stares, but I'm guessing I'm not the usual type of person that hangs out at Victoria Flying Club:

We drove into Sidney afterwards to walk around a bit. I've never spent much time in Sidney, but it seems like a nice suburb with lots of boutiques and cafes, with lots of places to walk by the water. It was a sunny day, with a cool breeze to take the edge off the heat of the sun:

We stopped into a restaurant that served Swiss food... I had a salad... not very Swiss, but it was tasty. I loved this herd of cattle sitting next to us. It's not often that cattle make for good lunch neighbours:

On the way home, the hubby stopped at a shop to get something for his bike, and I wandered into a shop and found this air popcorn popper. It is in perfect condition, even though I kinda-sorta almost broke it when I kinda-sorta got water inside it when I was cleaning it. I opened it up and dried it thoroughly and it still works, thank goodness. That would have been a real waste of three dollars, and an awful blow to my popcorn plans:

Today, we decided to go down to the beach for a swim, but before we went out, I got a bunch of jobs done. I pulled this curly lettuce from my weekly veggie box. It was so pretty, and I was determined to do something with it, since lettuce tends to get forgotten inside the fridge here:

I made these two jar salads for lunch, layered with tofu marinated in sweet chili sauce, some cucumber, some of the curly lettuce, more salad greens from the veggie box, and a tablespoon each of sunflower seeds. I don't usually enjoy salads all that much, especially ones that I make myself, but I'm hoping these two will be alright. They look pretty good, anyway:

After that, I chopped up some yellow squash and zucchini and one yellow onion, added some grape tomatoes, and a humongous garlic clove, tossed them in olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I put them on the barbecue to roast at a low heat. When they were done, I squeezed out the roasted garlic clove over top, then mixed them with some quinoa, textured soy protein, tomato paste, fresh basil, some dried oregano, some Worcestershire sauce, and some more salt and pepper, and then divided them up into containers and put them in the freezer for lunch later in the week:

While I was out there, I checked on Mr. Wok and Madam Noodle:

And I also looked in at the hubby's tomato plants. I think he's eaten one so far this summer. Tomatoes are funny plants: you wait around eagerly all summer for them to produce something, and then end up with bucketfuls of them come September:

And, of course, today is the last day for the Tour de Fleece. For me, the Tour was a "finishing" challenge. I finished up a few things that have been sitting on my spindles for literally YEARS. Here are three skeins from a 400g bag of merino wool that I finally made it through. They are my experiment with spinning "on the fold" with a long draw draft. The skein on the left was spun a couple of years ago, and the two on the right are from this month. I ended up with that mini skein because I just couldn't get any more onto the spindle I was plying with:

If you look closely, you can see the one of the right is a little fuzzier. The skein became tangled as I was soaking it, so I took it out and re-skeined while it was still wet. All that handling caused it to felt a little, but I think I'm ok with it. I think I might make a nice squishy scarf out of them... or maybe some mittens... something distinctly un-summery, anyway:

I also finished spinning an art batt that, again, was sitting on one of my spindles for a couple of years. The batt was made up of all sorts of stuff: some wool roving, a few locks, some sari silk, and even some stellina (shiny, nylon and polyester fibre) to make it glittery. I decided to ply it with some of the leftover merino singles from the skeins above. When I ran out of merino, I decided to experiment with chain-plying the rest of it. The merino-plied one is on the left, chain-ply on the right:

Here's the merino-plied yarn close up. Too bad you can't see the glitter in in:

And here's the chain-ply close up. I only got a little bit out of it, but it was an interesting thing to try. I've never done it before. I just found a video online and gave it a go... which, come to think of it, is how I got started with this yarn business all those years ago...

Here they are side-by-side. I was never much for that barber-pole style yarn, but these are really fun. I have been daydreaming about knitting up a panel with it and making it the front of a purse or something... really make a feature of it somehow:

One thing I haven't finished yet is spinning this merino-silk pencil roving, but I'm making good progress on it. I couldn't remember how much of it I had to start with, so I had to look back to see what weight my spindle was, then subtract it from the total fibre I had. I figure I must have started with about 50 grams. I stopped spinning at about 25g left, slid the cop onto a spare double-pointed needle, and then started spinning the second half. I got those two red needle stoppers at a dollar store a few years ago, back when my knitting obsession was only starting, and I was buying ALL THE KNITTING STUFF. They will be handy once I start plying again. I only wish I knew where the other two disappeared to...

That's the problem with obsessions. They're exciting and fun, but they're also messy, and your stuff goes missing. It's stuff like that that causes you to lose a pair of pants during a parade....

... but that's another story for another time.

What has been most gratifying during this Tour de Fleece, is to see how many different spindles I used during it. I saw them all sitting on the table today, and it made me smile. I'm glad they're getting used again. And I still have three others not shown here, two of which I haven't even used yet.

Ahem... yes... obsessions...

I'm not sure what I'm going to work on now that the Tour de Fleece is over. I put an order in to get a couple of needle stoppers so that I can have a few more options for plying, and hopefully they will arrive by the time I finish spinning that merino-silk blend. I'm also missing my knitting needles... it would be nice to work on them again. We'll have to see what distractions this week brings.

Oh, and last week brought this little visitor to my office at work. Talk about distractions! It was so nice to have a warm, wriggly little puppy in my lap for a change. If every week brought a surprise like that, I would not complain.

So, it's been another busy week, full of lots of things to fill these long, bright days. I suppose it isn't so bad... and besides, there's be a dark winter coming to help me rest up from it all. Until then... I'm off to wash the sweat off and hope that the bedroom has cooled off enough to sleep. Happy weekend, all.

1 comment:

YarnKettle said...

Even though I have not been commenting, i've been reading and enjoying ever so much! That puppy picture got me though, I thought you had a new puppy for your house! Work puppies are great but home puppies are home puppies. So says the kittenless cat lady.