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fun in private

what i like so much about meeting in public places is that everyone can come and go as they please, and there's no hostess stuck with costs and garbage. i can order what i like and may expect the restaurant to have everything available.

apart from these considerations the meeting with dana's group was a blast. some of the ladies looked like the kind of knitter i try to avoid, but the whole group consisted of open-minded, outspoken women, mostly over ten years older than me, who weren't meowing about lost chances but were living life to the fullest. we had a good time.

the workshop element was fun; everyone was doing the same technique as part of an apparent free knitting theme that had been started a couple of months earlier (they only meet once a month). but the best part may well have been that doing this was well showered with comments about each other, and that eventually everyone stopped trying because we were laughing so much.

another knit group

dana of oddballs invited me for another knit group. they meet once a month at a private home and often focus their meeting around new techniques. so to me it sounds more like an ongoing workshop, but i've been told that isn't quite it either. am curious!

it's on the other side of town this time, which is also informative. as joburg is some 100 kms across, there are many areas i've yet to discover.

first photo session

now jayne certainly got an early rise, whilst i kept a more down to earth approach. i think the pics turned out great. unfortunately i can't show any of them here as it would spoil her calendar contest victory. but they include nelson mandela, and i bet there's not many other contestants who can say that!

i do have to teach the beloved that potrait (upright) photography may be easy, but is very unwanted. blogs and calendars alike, they fancy the landscape (flat laying) pic a lot better.


composition with apple and banana fibre.


tomorrow morning we'll pack all our knitty-related stuff and do a photo session. jayne has cooked up some pretty silly ideas. unfortunately they include a very early rise :)

to reassure arja, now that the original session was postponed african bubby can attend after all. until this morning he was at his job as a guardian angel; now that nico is back he can be a photo model.

afterwards i'll shoot the new yarn too and post some pics here.

heidelberg to melville

when the number of participants shrinked to two i cancelled my role in the field trip - to be the car supplier. to be honest i didn't mind it too much. i looked forward to the trip itself, but i was also very tired. i think it's flu remains that kept me so low in energy.

it did give us the opportunity to hold a daytime snb meetup instead of the scheduled evening session. and you know what? the heidelberg division came up to melville! we gathered at the service station, a bright place with lots of natural light and brilliant carrot cake.

dana of oddball yarns brought a crate full of her work. people knowing my family will be unamazed* that i had to take the banana fibre home. and two skeins of silk scraps quickly attached themselves to it.

*we seem to be famous for liking any food as long as it contains banana. this fame most likely has to do with the beloved's family all disliking the yellow fruit.

field trip

the core of joburg snb is quickly becoming a pleasant sort of gang. tomorrow we're teaming up to visit a lady named dana in the village of heidelberg. that's about a 1,5 hour's drive from here. dana makes wool/yarn (these differences in american/english/african terms drive me nuts!) under the name of oddballs. my two partners in crime practically start sweating even speaking about it so i'm really looking forward to seeing her stuff. [read: to visit this new dealer. heheh]

all this because jayne has taken time off work and declared it high time for a field trip. one of the compulsory elements is posing with various knitted garments; we intend to make a couple of good entries for the knitty calendar contest.

cold and wet

nico's cold socks are finished. in the process i've stunned many people with their bright colours - burgundy, beige, purple, dark grey - because he really did choose the wool himself. he won't need them currently though as he is in london, partaking in the european heatwave. so i stepped down a bit from the frantic finishing attempts, trying to have them ready before he went off. no need to work myself into a stupor, hey.

the good news is that the next pair of socks will be for me. finally. the last pair that was meant for me (hedera) is now monique's and likewise most other pairs went in a similar direction, i.e. to beloved people. leaving me with cold feet obviously. so i'll do a quickie and make sure these are for *me*. i'm using regia's zanzibar. i really think i should keep it well protected though. that's because i consider the colours so tremendously beautiful that i run the risk of drooling.

world wide public

a ton of things to blog, but my internet access is erratic at best. our adsl and phone lines have been down for two weeks now. it will last a while too: monopolist telkom states having a 20+ day backlog and no, i'm not kidding.

it was the second annual world wide knit in public day yesterday and snb joburg's performance was great. public response here is quite different from europe, as was proven again. here people stare from a safe distance, whilst i'm used to people talking to you or about you in close enough proximity to respond. it makes it a bit more difficult to spread the word here. however, we had a great time.we sat in a large coffee shop at sandton square. after a while we even managed to conquer the sofas, thanks to agile customer watching by jayne :)
in between the knitting gail enticed her heidelberg contact into a local kip fest, seemingly even spreading to p.e.!

i remember doing this all alone last year, knitting wherever i could all day long and feeling quite silly. then again, the day's motto is that you're never alone because so many other people do it too.

sock giraffes

did i ever get around to telling about that adorable little project bag arja made me? pics first then: she said these fabrics just screamed to be a little sock bag for me. who am i to disagree?

i'm very proud to take it with me everywhere i go and i think arja will like hearing that i get a whole lot of enthusiastic responses to it. thanks luv!


so yesterday afternoon jayne took the time to teach me how to do it properly. because i am able to make a thread, but that is mostly it. jayne kindly remarked that people tend to return to what they first learned, so i'd better learn it well.

and then she went on to spin a thread of spiderweb size. soooo thin! so very different from what i'd been doing the night before. that had been medium-sized, in my eyes. now i think that bobbin of sock-sized wool is bulky.

my spider is still clumsy ofcourse. but practice will make the thread less wobbly and more regular. the main thing to keep in mind is to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. to do this at a speed my spunky grandma would fall asleep by. i think that's the hardest of all. (to have a cat against my back was very comforting though, i miss having a pet!)

build one, spin six

of course i had to try out all the wool types before i go see my teach this afternoon. so at 2 a.m. i collect the following conclusions: i could go and fondle merino an entire day and not feel ashamed. really. however, to spin it evenly is not so very easy. or maybe it's because it was the first fleece i tried, i dunno. that's one of those things experience will tell me eventually.

the brown corriedale (i think it was corriedale) was quite something different - lots of roughies and uneven thingies in it, so an entirely opposite feel from the merino. a bit of a shock ;) but much more like the wool i used to spin 20+ years ago.
just for fun i then did a tiny bit of the m+m taper, i love the colour!

on to the white corriedale. to my surprise this was a very easy yarn to work with. easy as pie. um, more or less like i'd expected the merino to be. odd, eh?

so what would be in the other bag of brown wool? i couldn't remember. until i openend it. right away it struck me - not the wool, but the recognition. it was real mohair. looooong fibers, a somewhat itchy feel, spins with your eyes closed and one hand on your back.

for dessert a little little bite of the twelve step rainbow. i'm guessing this is merino too. top points for the colours. not only because they are so skillfully made but sometimes just because all these naturals get on your nerves after a while. tiredness tends to make me jumpy and in that mood i experience external quieters as a straightjacket. elevator music. this prozac for the ears makes me hideously agressive.
[/steps down from soapbox - i think it's these snb meetings in the hyde park corner shopping center that do this to me]

putting the wheel together was very very easy. spinning the first bit was a lot harder than that. i do think that after some three hours of spinning some regularity has already reared it's tiny little head... but it's still really shy.

about to start

here's proof. or illustration. or just a crappy picture in the dark.the green bag contains a little over 1 kilo of merino, corriedale and next to it a jayne-dyed twelve step rainbow. which looks fabulous even though i don't quite fathom what that means, except from a particularly cheerful wool pack.

the green and blue string on top of the bag is the gift i brought from europe. it is 40 grams of undecided heritage (meaning that i couldn't find out what it was, not meaning it were inferior) and it costs about 2/3 of what the other five packs cost.

call me dutch and frugal - our reputation equals the scots' - but that's quite a different outlook for a beginner spinner.
now on to the important stuff: unpacking the wheel! wheee!

what a gift

as i came back from travels rather more snotty than usual it was quite a feat to be able to attend the joburg snb tonight. i didn't even sneeze nor cough the cakes and coffee off the table.

jayne had offered me some spinning wool from her apparently vast stash, so i wheedled some out of her already. due to that same heavy cold i haven't even set up the wheel yet - i feel it should be a festive occasion and not something to do whilst i'd rather be in bed. tomorrow though i think will be a perfect day for unwrapping and setting up the new toy. i'm much looking forward to it.

jayne absolutely bowled me over with the amount of wool she brought. and she didn't want anything for it! ah well, a donation to a charity of choice. there are these little tins in shops everywhere to put spare coins in. i chose cotlands from her little list.

more amazement was to be had - by both of us. on leaving the premises i brought up the subject of money again. because i had a very uneasy conscience about this gift. i'd been to europe last week, where the kind lady of a nice shop threw in some wool with my order. this double arm's length i brought to our meetup and my estimate of it's worth is around 4 to 5 euros. now it was jayne's turn to be flabbergasted. turns out that from her memory, a kilo of fine wool would be some 50 rands for an o.k. price. and that... comes to around €6,25.