Archive for July, 2009

A swift is a thing I’ve coveted for a while. They do, however, cost more than I am willing to pay, and as it known, I have a slight DIY-Heath Robinson streak (but only for the easy stuff, and nothing involving drills, of which I am pathologically scared). So, once I read about the Tinkertoy swift, I realized that was the one for me. I particularly like the following about it:

  • it is both beautifully modular and perfectly collapsible,
  • it comes in a handy storage tin,
  • should it outlive usefulness as a swift, it can be recycled for children to play with. Elegant, that.

The problem was that swifts are expensive, but easy enough to come by, while  Tinkertoys are cheap, but almost impossible to find in the UK. I tried eBay several times with no success. I gave up, tried again and gave up again. I tried going to the hardware store and buying dowels and sticking them into Fimo (fail, I know why and it’s not interesting). I tried another ingenious swift made out of coathangers (fail, dunno why). I tried begging for one on a Ravelry swap board. Then, as I was doing that, in the interests of due diligence, I tried eBay one more time. and got lucky. An extremely vintage, nearly complete set of pre-1932 Tinkertoys in pretty good nick and original packaging. Apparently they can be dated because colored dowels were introduced in 1932, and this set doesn’t have any.

So I immediately set to work, avoiding all use of the word ‘toy’, not wishing to give the children false hopes or the wrong impression. No they can’t spin it, I told them, it’s for my wool to spin on. I think they think it’s my wool’s toy, on which it goes for a ride. A swift ride. And so it does, and it works just fine. I ‘m completely thrilled. It has considerably more elegance than the plastic-comb-nostepinne, but partners it perfectly. There is a model for a k’nex ballwinder out there, but I’m not sure that’s for me.

Oh, and I quite like the yarn, too.

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It does feel a little like a dangerous game, sending yarn to oneself through the mail. A little too seductively like a gift, and correspondingly encouraging of irresponsible behavior patterns. It’s one of the things – along with the effect on small-scale local commerce – that does concern me about shopping online. Not that I don’t do it: I just do it and worry at the same time. The puritan hedonist at work and play.

grace of gifts

Well, today I laid guilt aside in the joy of receiving genuine, delightful gifts from far-away (fairytale?) friends. Firstly there was the truly unexpected joy of an antique locket from my increasingly dear friend the talented knitter/writer Mary in Toronto (an increasing fondness that is coincidental rather than correlated with her buying and blogging flatteringly about my yarn), which I immediately recognized as having come from the charming tiny happy, whom I have long admired, but from whom I have never actually bought anything.  It’s lovely, and somehow gentle in spirit.

Also in the same post I had a package from Vermont.  Sligo, another intelligent, talented knitter I have ‘met’ recently, and who will shortly be knitting me a shawl, in exchange for some yarn I sent her (a tangled web of transactions entirely the fault of the deeply enabling website, Ravelry) has in the meantime gratuitously and generously sent me a phenomenal care package containing fiber, fuses*, and a spindle, as well as some maple candy. I have wanted a spindle for a while, and have been eyeing up the possibilities for making one. I have to say I’m relieved and delighted to have been spared the trouble, and I’m sure I will have better results with this. In a (ahem) twist on the expected course of the afternoon that could surely have been predicted by no-one, I was unable to resist at least one minor attempt at spinning. Now I have a whole ‘nother thing to do while preparing dinner. (And I’ve signed up for a silversmithing class in September). Help!

Balancing out all this generosity, it turns out that the random gift I sent someone else two months ago still hasn’t shown up and must be presumed lost at sea. Pity. And of course the ‘proof of posting’ that I saw only last week has now gone missing.

*As for the ten-amp fuses: don’t ask. It’s part of the tantalizing ‘when I went to the Oscars’ sequence of stories…

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I hav to buy a new reskeiner. Again.

It’s that damned dinner-making that’s to blame. I’m trying to multitask: I’m in the kitchen making curry, and inocently reskeining some yarn I dyed the other day, when I realize I need to cook one half of the reskeiner… possibly both, depending on which recipe I choose.


Coconut milk and organic merino in the color ‘Stella Maris’ – a perfect laps lazuli blue, the color of the Virgin’s cloak in medieval art. Chicken curry recipe to follow.

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Even if I haven’t got any blogging done (ecept in my dreams, and in the bath), there has been something going on. Dyeing, knitting, including a bit more with wire, and – finally – ‘updating’ my Etsy shop. Now roll on the eyeballs, as it were.

I can’t believe I actually made some of these, i like them so much.

Here’s Scheherazade:


And Orfeo (Euridice is already gone):


And then there are Pompeii and Herculaneum, in a pleasing sport/heavy sock weight:


And… well, you get the picture. There are more.

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