We have yarn; we’ll survive lockdown

Hello blog. We still have (hopefully only) two weeks of lockdown to go and our household is managing (just barely, on some days) to keep our sanity in tact. How are YOU doing? I have to say that the fact that I have a SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy) is definitely in my favour. What more could one ask for… we have yarn; we’ll survive lockdown.

Life in and after Lockdown & Covid-19?

I find that I have to remain focused on that (and every other) positive in my life despite, ironically, not having much time to knit or yarn craft in general. It was thrilling to join a yarn crafting virtual group via Zoom at the beginning of our lockdown. This was arranged by The Mighty and the other participants were all from the US (including Alaska). They have a weekly schedule of online events for everyone stuck inside during this pandemic – here’s the link. Our Yarmies meet-ups have also been virtual, and it’s been awesome having Yarmies friends who’ve moved overseas join us for those.

Apart from that, my job of managing three girls’ schoolwork (my matric and grade 6 girls and my housekeeper’s grade 7 daughter) and virtual music lessons has turned out to be a mighty task. I wonder how those of you who have kids are experiencing this change to online teaching?

Aside from the schoolwork, I think we (blog readers and people in general) are all worried about the economy over the next 18 months and what the world will look like, post lockdown and, eventually, post Covid-19. Other than the general “big” stuff (I won’t go into detail here, because we’re all stressing about our own big things and I don’t need to add to your list), one of the worries we have is our eldest’s matric year.

Not the Matric year we were expecting

This lockdown has been especially hard on her – as high functioning autistic she is extremely resistant to change. She just cannot get her head wrapped around her last year of school not going the way it should have. This being without all the events and highlights of previous matric years that she has so been looking forward to, and that she views as a right of passage to finishing school. I really get it.

Last night would have been her matric dance. Her dress, shoes and jewellery were already sorted by mid-February. We’re hoping it will still happen, even if all the other pomp and ceremony – of fashion shows at school and at the Mother’s and Daughter’s tea – doesn’t. She also has (had?) a part in the school’s major production – her last – which they would already have finished performing by now. And she was looking forward to being writer and director of house plays for her house. Not to mention a myriad of other yearly festivals, fairs and events that will no longer happen. And, personally, I’m so disappointed that our Joburg Yarn Festival has been postponed to next year. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I know that these minor worries of ours don’t compare with those, and the families of those, who’re infected, are critical or who’ve died. But just this, with her, has frequently made me wonder how the pandemic and lockdown (this whole huge thing) has impacted other families and their kids, if they have. There must be so many other families mourning “what should have been”. I feel with all of you. We’ve all lost control of so much, I think it’s time to focus on what we can control…

Be calm…and fibre craft

We have yarn; we’ll survive lockdown. Thank frickin’ goodness! Imagine not having that to keep us sane. Cait asked me to “just” make her a shawl for her matric dance and I happened to have exactly the right yarn in the perfect colour to knit it with. It’s Hartlam Sutherland Lace in Mystic colourway with the perfect amount of subtle sparkle. And the pattern is Whisper Wrap by Purl Soho. Nogal a free pattern on Ravelry (oh Ravelry, how I love you dear Ravelry). With the postponement of the Matric Dance, I now have ample time to finish. A big yay for this positive!

Hartlam Sutherland Lace Mystic

Thread Handed & Spinning

Thankfully, Thread Handed at The Green Lantern Inn in Van Reenen happened before we were aware of how this was going to impact us all. I bought some beautiful yarns from Linda’s Treehouse, Karoo Moon and Be Inspired, a few weaving shuttles from Glynis Brooke/Brooklands and lots of fibre from Tina Mossmer/Spinning with Tina (our spinning guru).

I enjoyed a bit of spinning there. A week before my Yarmies friend, Michelle, and I left for Thread Handed, I’d asked her and her husband to take a look at the spinning wheel I’d gotten. If anyone knew whether it was spin-able, they would. Michelle had a successful spin on it, Brendan gave it a quick tune-up and it was good to go. Thanks to you both!

I have spun up a storm since then – these are my merino singles. I got a sampler Niddy Noddy from Carle of Woolcraft/Nurturing Fibres, thinking I’d only be doing small quantities for a while, but it looks like I’ll be needing a larger one. Until then, the backs of two dining chairs will have to do.

handspun single ply merino wool

But just today, I finished my first 50g of 2 ply yarn. Darn, I’m bloody awesome, if I can be so immodest. I’m just so chuffed with my yarn. I got gifted the fibre by Jane at Thread Handed. At the time, all of us couldn’t figure out what fibre it is. I’m sure it’s an animal fibre, most likely some type of wool, but not merino. It spun like butter and I managed to spin a lace weight single to ply with.

lace weight handspun wool on ball winder

I plied with the inside and outside ends of the cake. I’m not yet clued up on the technical terminology of spinning, so I don’t know what type of plying that is, but it turned out to be extremely easy.

handspun 2 ply wool

Knitting with my Handspun

I’ve also knitted with one of my first handspun yarns – thanks to Kerry for the fibre. Incidentally, and on a tangent, it’s wonderful receiving fibre from such special people – you think about them every time you use and wear it. I wanted a small shawl, but it’s barely 50g, so I had to be careful what to knit.

handspun merino wool single ply gradient

I found a pattern I thought would be good, but the blue part of the gradient ended in the wrong place. So I frogged it and just made up a pattern of my own – a garter stitch shawl, starting off with 3 stitches and doing a double increase (a yarn over and a knit front and back) on each side, every second row, so that it was wide enough to wrap around my neck. In hindsight, I should maybe have increased every row. But there’s no way in hell I’m frogging it again and starting over to see if that would work. I’ll enjoy it as it is.

handspun shawl finished object

 

Yarn Bowl painting at Yarn at ZelLé

I did a yarn bowl painting workshop at Yarn at ZelLé JUST before lockdown.  Our yarn bowls had a basic template drawn on and there were 2 designs to choose from. We had complete freedom with how we chose to paint them and received an immense amount of assistance from Sheelagh Bates – ceramic artiste extraordinaire. It was a load of fun!

And it was fabulous to have Benice there, a friend I made at the last I Love Yarn Retreat. Workshops with friends are the best, aren’t they? I can’t wait for this lockdown to be over for so many reasons, but especially so that we can get our yarn bowls finished off in the kiln and all shiny and beautiful. Don’t judge – it’s the small things that I look forward to (dashing around between schools and to and from extramural isn’t one of them!). I’ll post pics of my yarn bowl on social media as soon as I get it. Consider signing up for the next ones, post lockdown. Here’s the link.

Until next time lovely Blog readers, I hope you all get through these uncertain times sane, safe and healthy.

Bx

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