Gift

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:23 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Hello Petals, and greetings from the other side of yesterday’s long, dark teatime of the soul. I don’t know if it’s the rest, ice, baths, massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, drugs, whiskey, homeopathy or donations that helped, but today I feel hopeful and optimistic, and my arse and I have resumed speaking terms. It still doesn’t feel great, but it feels better, that much is sure, and last night I slept the whole night through. It took a lot of pillows, but when I woke up I felt like maybe things are improving for sure. (I will not be getting on my bike until Sunday to be sure, and I’m going to keep doing all the things I’m doing. One of them is working.) I also had a rather fantastic snuggle with Elliot this morning, and the healing impact of his glorious cheeks cannot possibly be understated.  He is the most delicious chunk. Fat and happy, and slept the whole hour his mother was in the dentist, while I walked him up to the drugstore and back, and then, wonder of wonders,  resisted the urge to scream in the car. (This is his favourite trick. He resents the carseat and all that it is, and generally acts like he’s experiencing death by a thousand cuts all the way wherever he’s going, then brightens right up the minute he’s free of it – though a minute before you would have sworn he was starving or had mere minutes to live. It’s really not hard to tell he comes from a cycling family.)

elliotsling 2017-07-26

Also, a minor fibre miracle.  The other day, tidying a basket I keep spinning things in, one tucked way back in the cupboard, I found two bobbins of camel/silk singles.

twospindles 2017-07-26

I pulled them out and for a minute, couldn’t even remember spinning them, but then it came back to me. They’re spindle spun, wound onto the bobbins to empty the spindle each time it filled, and I spun them at least ten years ago. Ten years! (Let us gloss over entirely what it means to my housekeeping skills that I can lose things for ten years in a tiny house.) My wheel was still right there, oiled and clean, and so I popped them onto my Kate (I refuse to call it a lazy kate. I has a sexist ring to it. Why is it always a lazy woman? Lazy Susan, Lazy Kate… how come nothing is called a Lazy Gary?) A little while later I had the most delicious tiny skein of laceweight camel/silk. Just a weensie 210m, but still, it’s delicious, and when I told Joe what I’d found and done, I realized that his conversion to Fiber-support-spouse is complete. “Wow honey” he said, “That’s like finding $50 in your winter coat pocket when you put it on in the Fall.”

cameldone 2017-07-26

That’s it exactly.

Karmic Balancing gifts? Let’s do them until I run out of time. Tonight is our last Steering Committee meeting for the Rally, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to say that. It turns out that my dedication does know bounds, and it’s meetings. Only because I can knit at them is this all  possible.

First up, Gauge Dye Works has two beautiful skeins for Virgina Y. One skein of classic sock, one shawl. (Man, Catherine who runs that place is so clever. That’s the yarn my most recent pair of socks were knit from.)

Gaugedyeworksyarn 2017-07-26

Tia has three skeins of Shibui Knits sock weight yarn in 50’s Kitchen (I love that, it’s the colours of my kitchen!) that she’ll be sending to Susan G.

shibuitina 2017-07-26

The lovely Suzanne Visch is donating the pattern of their choice to five lucky knitters. (Lucky is right, what gorgeous things!)  Congratulations to Nichole B, Heather K, Mary Jo M, Anisa S, Jennifer W, and Susan D.

Suzannepatterns 2017-07-26

By the way, yesterday’s yarn went happily to the highest bidder, who asked only two things. That I not mention their name, and that the yarn not go to her, but to someone new to knitting who would adore it, and be inspired by it. I love that idea, and I know just the knitter. Thanks to everyone who bid, it was charming, flattering and made the world a better place for people who need help. You guys are amazing.

More tomorrow – It’s a desk day.  Thank you all for everything, you’re my favourite.

 

Pollyanna

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:59 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I have been accused, more than a few times in my life, of being overly optimistic. You wouldn’t think that such a thing could be a negative, but it works against me from time to time, as I persist (usually in the face of terrible odds) in thinking that most things will work out just fine if I apply myself to the problem.  If something is properly doomed, this can occasionally spell heartbreak, and that’s what I’m thinking about as I sit here writing to you with an icepack on my left arse, chock full of pain meds, and pondering my week.  The Rally begins on Sunday morning,  and while I’m sure I’ll be able to ride, I’m not sure I won’t be able to do it without some suffering, and I’m reaching for my optimism a bit.

I’ve done everything I can think of for the last few weeks to try and clear this up. Apparently it’s my SI joint (didn’t even know I had one, but there you go) and I’ve had a bike fit, seen a sports medicine doctor (I know! I laughed all the way there. Me! At a sports clinic. I kept thinking they’d look at me like a sloth that had wandered into the gazelle pen at the zoo, but it turns out that when I told them how much I was riding, they wrote down that I was a “serious cyclist.” I almost had to bite myself to keep from laughing out loud.)  The doctor prescribed physiotherapy, and I’ve been doing that, and all my exercises, and I felt like maybe things were getting better, but Sundays’ ride has left me whinging and limping around – and it’s hard for even me to be optimistic under these circumstances. Today after the gym I thought about having a bit of a weep.

I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to prepare for this for months and months, and then get a small but miserable injury right at the end. The whole reason I train is to prevent suffering. This week I’ve been prescribed rest, ice, baths, sleep, massage, anti-inflammatory stuff and… no bike. We’re going for maximum healing before Sunday, when everyone agrees that the worst thing that can happen is pain. I won’t do any permanent harm, and the great thing about going to a sports medicine clinic is that nobody has suggested I don’t do my sport, which is pretty reassuring.  (I believe them too, the dude who has the appointment before mine is an Olympian. They must know what they’re doing if he’s there.) I’m going to pack, eat well, do as I’m told, reach for that optimism, and hope for the very best. I’m also going to keep my eyes on the prize, and that’s fundraising. Me on my bike doesn’t help PWA- it’s the donations that give it power, and they’re behind in the money department this year. I’ll heal, but a lot of the people that look to the agency for important help won’t have a the same chance, so – I’m going to focus on why I do this, and not let the circumstances get me down.  I want to thank you all for your support and donations over the last while. It makes a huge difference, and I’m so grateful.

Enough of that, want to see some spinning? Sure you do. It’s way more interesting than my arse.  Remember this?

braid 2017-07-25

It’s that gorgeous braid of Fiber Optic Yarns merino/silk.  I sat down at the wheel with it when I had that devastatingly tiny cut on my finger, and worked at it a few hours a day.  I wanted to preserve the gradient, and I tossed around the idea of spinning it all into one long single, and then chain plying it, but I was really hoping to get decent yardage, and a laceweight.  I decided I’d split the whole braid down the middle, lengthwise, and then spin each half as it was, and ply them together afterwards.  This sometimes works, and sometimes not so much, but I was (see above) optimistic. I launched.

onespun 2017-07-25

When I was done, I had two bobbins full that I hoped were more of less equal, and then started to ply.

singlesspun 2017-07-25

This is where the whole thing can go sideways.  If I hadn’t split the roving equally, I’d have more of one of the other, and it wouldn’t match up as I went along. That happened a little bit, but as I plied, if it started to not match up, I’d break the single from the offending bobbin, pull out a metre or two until they matched again, and then rejoin and keep plying.  (I had to do that three times, which is pretty good, considering that I’m human. One bobbin was about 10 metres longer than the other.) When I was done, voila.

skeindone 2017-07-25

It’s about 450 metres (492 yards) of a really lovely laceweight. Well, it’s a little heavy for laceweight, but it’s quite light for fingering, so I’m going with the former.  It’s the tiniest bit wonky, like all handspun, but I’m totally in love with it. It is soft, and strong and pretty, and it’s going to make a beautiful… something.

skeindonebushes 2017-07-25

I don’t know what it will be though – because I’m not going to knit it.  You can, if you want. If it calls to your heart, let me know, and let me know what it would be worth to you. The knitter who makes the best offer of a donation gets it. Email me at stephanie@yarnharlot.ca (subject line “that yarn” please) and tell me what you’d be willing to donate to my fundraising, and the highest bid gets it mailed to their house.  (I’ll choose tomorrow afternoon. I’ve got to babysit in the morning.)

ballonfence 2017-07-25

Happy Tuesday everyone. See you tomorrow, and I’m sure everything is going to be just fine.

Painting in tiny increments

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:53 pm
kareina: (Default)
[personal profile] kareina
Before Hägnan I managed to paint part of the south wall of the house (the bit to the left of the leftmost office window, and the bit under both windows). Sunday after Hägnan I was busy putting stuff away and out to dry (while it only really rained on set up day (Tuesday) and a hint of rain early on Wednesday, the event stayed pleasantly cool enough to need to wear wool all the time, so things that got wey early didn't really dry, and linen things that were never unpacked still felt a little damp after the event.)

Monday I ran a four-hour map at work, and am pleased to report that the new ICP-MS computer didn't do the werid crash thing (which was the goal of replacing the old one, but this was my first chance to trst it), but that got me home late enough (it takes a couple of hours to set up the experiment) that I had no energy left for home improvement.

Today I also worked later than I should have, in part because I was enjoying looking at the results of yesterday's experiment (this garnet has the same cool Y and REE zoning patterns as in the other Nautanen sample I have analyzed, I really do need to do a fine scale close up map across a rim segment of one of these garnets to see how many pulses of fresh Y and REE were introduced to the rock as the grains were growing, and see if is possible to date any of those pulses). But the other distraction was the fact that one of my Master's students (L.) was in the office working on her own data reduction, and, while we both made progress on our work, she and I also kept getting diatracted talking, sometimes about my results, sometimes hers, sometimes about the SCA (she was, of course, at Hägnan last week), some about the week long Nyckelharpa course she attended, and about the nine-month course she hopes to do someday, and even about cookies.

Nonetheless, I managed to get home early enough to get in a nap before dinner and then do some house painting, so now the bit between the office windows has had its first coat. With luck I will get time to do the second coat tomorrow afternoon.

Home from Hägnan

Jul. 23rd, 2017 08:46 pm
kareina: (Default)
[personal profile] kareina
Now I am home from the event, everything is put away or hanging up to air, showered, and in bed before 21:00. The short version of the event is, as my friend Linda said as she was leaving site "...the best Hägnan yet". With luck I will have the energy to post why I agree beforeI forget the details.

NEW STORY!

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:24 am
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
[personal profile] zzambrosius_02
 

Strange Times at the Oregon Country Fair

 

A short story by A.M.Brosius

 

They dropped in to the Fair site in the wild area near Daredevil Palace. With his Shifter still active, Ambros Rothakis could see hundreds of overlapped Traces, the spoor of Commonwealthers visiting the Fair over the years. He sent a mental command to the Shifter, shutting it down. It bore a distinct resemblance to a hockey puck, though it was fractionally lighter. He stowed it in a patch pocket on the front of his kilt.

He looked his companion over and thought: ‘It’s a Giant Ant, for all practical purposes. Oh, there are a lot of small differences...and big ones, too; like the Squid sticking out of the top of its head.’

He knew as well that the creature had an internal skeleton as well as its chitinous carapace. ‘...and the cyborg aspect, don’t forget that part. Most of its memory is in the mechanical-biological computer set in its thorax.’

Two metallic tentacles dangled from the silvery rectangular panel set into its carapace. Occasionally these waved around, often in sync with the antennae on the “Ant” part’s head.

‘The machine stores memory and works logically. The Squid feels emotion—exactly what sort is hard to say— and provides motivation. The actual Ant part is more or less a biological bicycle. And these three organisms have been a commensal and collective intelligence for at least several million years.’

He spoke aloud: “This is gonna be a riot. I hope not actually...”

“Rrrr-iot.” The Ant part rotated its head back and forth in that odd way they had: “Thisss isss ‘a metaphor’?

“Yes.” It was hard not to think of the thing as the Ant, even though the ant part was by far the least sentient of the three bits.

The Ant hissed again: “Ssss. For research purposes this-unit has submitted to this...” It rattled the chain attached to a collar around its “neck”.

“Yes,” said Ambros: “You want to know more about humans? This is one aspect of human society. A festival, where some societal norms are absent or reversed, as a contrast to ordinary life. The collar and chain will make you look like an ‘ambiance performer’ rather than a dangerous and unpredictable alien life-form.”

“This-unit is intensely curious. Let us proceed.”

Ambros led the way out of the drop-in site, careful to disturb the vegetation as little as possible. The Ant seemed to understand that: it stepped as carefully as he did. As they approached the edge of the path, the Squid part of the organism shrank to an alarmingly small size, all of its tentacles tucked within itself and its cowl drawn down almost within the Ant’s carapace.

They appeared out of the shrubbery without any warning to the crowd. As people became aware of them a hush fell over the area.

‘That’s an almost eerie thing,’ thought Ambros: ‘It’s never really quiet anywhere on the Fair site during the day.’

His companion’s head swiveled back and forth and its antennae waved and twitched as it sampled the air and listened to the sounds of far-off voices and music. It took up almost the whole of the Upper River Loop as it moved across a narrow bridge and up a slope towards the Eight. Ambros stopped their progress as soon as he got to a wide enough spot on the path.

The crowd nearby was focused to a person on the spectacle of a bearded, longhaired, top-knotted man in a psychedelic kilt, white cloth belt, and long open vest crocheted out of fine white yarn, leading an eight-foot-tall Giant Ant on a chain.

The Ant rose onto its rear legs and waved the front ones about: “Hello humans. Z-z-t.”

The crowd exploded in cheers and applause. The Ant slowly settled back onto all sixes and squatted to the ground.

Ambros grinned and led the Ant onward through the tree-shaded paths and into a larger open space along the edge of the Eight.

The crowd followed; they gathered round, inching closer bit by bit.

A woman in a fairy dress with a feathery wand asked: “Is that a puppet? I mean, an...an automaton? Or is there a person inside it?”

“That’s a good question,” Ambros replied, truthfully. He continued in the same vein: “It’s a person, of sorts.”

“What’s its name?” asked a little boy of six or so.

Ambros pursed his lips: ‘It calls itself ‘This-Unit’ most of the time. I usually call it ‘You-Unit’, but I sometimes call it Bruce just for fun.”

“May we call it Bruce?” asked a girl, about the same age as the boy.

“Ask it.”

The girl reached out tentatively and touched the Ant’s palps: “May we call you Bruce?”

The Ant rose up a little, so that its front legs were free of the ground, and said: “This is satisfactory.” It leaned forward and let its palps range over the girl’s face, which caused her to laugh. After a moment, its mandibles spread wide and clicked, locked in the open position. Ambros sighed, relieved.

The other kids giggled. More children gathered around, since there seemed to be no danger. Parents hung back, allowing the kids room for exploration.

The Ant turned its head towards Ambros: “This is immature human? Of which sort?”

“Ask.”

“I’m a girl, obviously!” the child preempted.

“That is not obvious to...sssBruce-unit.”

Ambros stared at the Ant, astonished: “You never called yourself  Bruce.”

“Immature human asked ‘May we’. Immature humans may.”

“Children,” said Ambros: “Or kids, more informally.”

“Data filed. Children. Kids. Girls...”

“And boys. Sometimes, though rarely, both or neither. When in doubt wait for the child to say.”

“Understood. Humans are fascinating.”

“I know,” said Ambros: “After all, that’s why you are here. Look about you...”

The creature swiveled its head: “Thezzse humans in zzshelters...” It waved its front legs

“Booths,” said Ambros, understanding what the Ant found puzzling.

“Booths...these they have in the Commonwealth, yesss? For distribution of goods and foodstuffs, this-unit recalls.”

“Indeed. Like a Thenoma Plataeo in the Commmonwealth, this festival functions as a craft fair, in part. This is a money economy, though. Things work differently as a result. Do you see how?”

“Mmzzss. We do. Our-unit...our collective judgement finds each of thezsse systems unnecessarily complex.”

“Yes, I suppose you would.”

Some people had wandered off by then; apparently comparative economics was not as amusing as their earlier interaction.

“Show this-unit more things...other aspects of this festival.”

Ambros nodded: “Can you hear the music? Let’s go dancing.”

“What is ‘dancing’?”

The remaining kids laughed uproariously at that question, and their parents laughed a bit, too. Then all the children began to dance, hopping and wriggling and saying: “Like this! Listen to the music!”

The pulsing bass of a reggae band carried from Mainstage to where they were hanging out.

The Ant twitched and its limbs moved rhythmically. Then it said: “Is it wise for this unit to...jump...like that?”

Ambros said: “Maybe not. I’ve seen you jump. Can you hop just a little bit? As in a few centimeters off the ground?”

“SssBruce-unit will try...” The creature flexed its legs and seemed to ponder. It jumped about six feet in the air; the kids leapt away, in some dismay. The Ant pulled its legs in tight so as not to land on any children. Then it stood to all sixes and said: “This-unit will practice in less crowded conditions. Immature humans are each separate intelligences...sssyes?”

“Indeed, they are. Best to do them no harm, under any circumstances.” Ambros gazed sternly at the Ant, which got its attention.

“This-unit comprehends.”

Ambros led the Ant along. A man slapped Ambros on the back, saying: “That’s an amazing performance, dude. You gotta leave out the middle part, though...”

The Ant rose partway and Ambros said: “Chill.” They’d arranged code words for certain aspects of human behavior. Ambros had explained: “Humans often engage in ritualized violence. ‘Chill’ means I am not in danger, however it may appear to you-unit.”

Eventually they reached Sally’s Alley and approached the stage.

The stage was built in the same rustic style as the booths, though of much sturdier materials. The foundation of the construction looked to be enormous logs, cut into pillars and set so as to uphold the stage. The band played a slow reggae beat; the musicians and singers all wore dreadlocks, and performed in various states of undress. 

“Is this too loud for your sensory apparatus?” Ambros inquired.

“This-unit hasss already adjusted.” It waved its antennae at the stage, and its metal tentacles echoed the movement: “D-dreadlocksss?”

Ambros shook his head vehemently: “Not the same meaning here in this Line. Those people have no connection to Eleni Leontari. Or Arrenji-unit.”

“None?”

“None whatsoever.”

The Ant seemed disappointed, though Ambros wasn’t sure how he could tell.

“Okay,” said Ambros: “So, ‘dancing’ consists of rhythmic movements of nearly any sort, sometimes prearranged between two or more partners, sometimes improvised on the spot.”

“This-unit has accessed ‘Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary’ via your ‘Webz’. This-unit does not know how to begin...dancing.”

Ambros grinned: “I recommend that you begin by bending your limbs and straightening them, in time to the music.” Ambros demonstrated; The Ant made shift to imitate him, though six segmented legs made the movement quite odd by human standards. People nearby stared, and tried not to stare, and by various means displayed their curiosity. The Ant seemed not to notice.

“Now try lifting one or two feet from the ground...remain in time with the music...”

“How isss thisss?”

“You are definitely dancing. Never seen anything like it, but it is dancing.

A cloud passed across the sky, blocking the sun briefly. Ambros looked around the horizon, frowning; a chilly breeze passed through Mainstage Meadow, and then dispersed, leaving the temperature somewhat lower in its wake.

A group of children, of both genders and several ages, came twirling along, dressed in full-circle tie-dye skirts that floated out around them as they spun. They laughed and squealed as they changed course; they circled the Ant and Ambros twice before twirling away again.

Ant asked: “Should This-unit spin also?”

“If you do, make sure your limbs do not contact any humans...”

“Understood. This-unit’s visual field is...you would say 345 degrees. This-unit could spin safely...zzzz-but perhaps We will not.”

Ambros nodded: “The better part of valor, and all.”

“This-unit does not understand...”

“Hmm. Maybe some other time would be better to explain the concept of ‘Valor’.”

“This-unit concedes. The definition in ‘Webster’s’ is...ssszz-ridiculous?”

“I can’t argue with that statement.”

 Ambros danced for a while. The Ant did its best, but soon squatted down in the position that meant: “No aggressive intent”.

“Would you like to do something else?” Ambros asked.

“Yess.”

“We could go down East Thirteenth, look at the various crafts on display...we will have to approach the stage closer, then go into the shade on the left.”

“This-unit agrees.” The Ant stood, but stayed on six legs.

The two of them passed along a row of food vendors on their left, weaving between groups of people: some separated by age or gender, some wildly mixed. At least five percent of those they passed wore some sort of outlandish outfit. The Ant stood out even among them.

One man stopped them: dressed as a policeman and walking on short stilts that lifted him head and shoulders above most of the crowd, he spoke mock-officiously: “Do you have a license for that Ant?”

“Chill,” Ambros whispered. Then he replied to the ‘officer’: “For Bruce? He doesn’t need a license, he’s a Free Ant.”

“I see. Well, go about your business then,” the fellow said. As Ambros and Bruce went past, the not-cop said: “That’s the most convincing insect costume I’ve ever seen. Unless it’s a robot...”

Ambros laughed: “Technically a cyborg, actually.” He noticed the guy staring at them as they proceeded. Not-cop frowned, seemingly nonplussed.

They passed a pushcart selling ice cream bars. A girl of about ten years approached, holding a half-eaten chocolate covered treat. She said: “Would you like some ice cream, Bruce?”

Ambros shook his head: ‘Of course, every kid on site knows the Ant’s name by now.’

Bruce hesitated: “Bruce-unit is not scheduled to take nourishment this...zzcycle. But...we will tassste it.”

The girl held the stick high, and the Ant carefully abstracted a dollop of sweet from the end. It touched the stuff with its palps, quivering in reaction.

‘Not sure how I know a shudder of pleasure from any other sort...’ thought Ambros.

The Ant slowly placed the ice cream in its mouth; its mandibles worked, though there was nothing to bite.

It legs straightened, and it shook all over. The girl giggled and other people laughed as well.

Some adults frowned and became more alert.

“You okay, Bruce?” asked Ambros.

“O-o-o-kayyy. That is very high-energy food. Must pauzsse...and control this-unit’s reaction.”

“Got it.” Ambros gently moved the crowd back a bit, saying: “I think Bruce could use a little space, folks.”

Ambros spotted Jake From Security, whom he had met the previous year; Jake watched them intently, occasionally speaking into his radio.

Thunder growled and rumbled. A moment later the sky lit up with lightning off to the west, and very shortly another peal of thunder rolled over them.

People looked to the west in alarm. One woman said: “This wasn’t in the forecast...”

“Precipitation will lassst approximately one of your hours, then dissipate,” Bruce-unit declared: “Many low-lying paths will flood. This Meadow is safe...”

Several people stared openly at the Ant, clearly wondering.

One woman said what many of them were thinking: “How could that thing possibly be a costume or a robot?”

Rain began to fall. Many people scattered in search of shelter; others danced and reveled in the shower, which slowly developed into a downpour.

Ambros said: “Y’know Bruce, I think we better get out of Dodge.”

“Ambros-unit’s reference is obscure. But This-unit comprehends the meaning.”

Ambros led the way back towards the traditional drop-in and jump-out point. He kept his head high, grinning at anyone who stared at them. The rain sluiced from the Ant’s carapace; Ambros soon found himself soaked to the skin.

The Ant suddenly halted, touching Ambros’ shoulder with a foreleg. The machine in the Ant’s chest beeped loudly, forcibly reminding Ambros that the ‘Ant’ was not the sentient part of the organism. The machine said: “Unit-Ambros: this path is flooded ahead.”

“You mean Upper River Loop?”

“Correct designation.”

“How bad?”

“This-unit would not risk stepping in the flow...”

“Right. Let’s head back via East Thirteenth, we’ll send you home from the woody end near our booth.”

They sped up their pace; as they passed Jake, Ambros said: “I guess there’s some bad flooding near Daredevil Palace, Jake. Maybe you should call that in, huh?”

Jake paused, indecisive, then began talking into his radio: “...flooding at URL reported to me by passerby...check on it...barricade...”

Jake’s voice faded as they proceeded to East Thirteenth.

They moved along as fast as Ambros could walk; he slowed the alien down with murmured code words whenever it went too fast for him: “I don’t want to be running. That would just draw attention. And I desperately want to avoid further attention.”

“This-unit agrees. Too many of the humans now doubt that We are a robot or a costume.”

It did not surprise him at all that Jessica, also from Security Crew, picked them up as they passed Community Village. She began to tail them.

Many places along the hard clay path had pools of water, sometimes reaching from one side of the way to the other. Where the pools did not reach the footing was treacherous, and people slipped and slid as they moved about.

The Ant ignored the pools and ponds that blocked the way, striding straight through them. Ambros followed, still holding the end of the chain: ‘Now my boots are soaked through as well.’ He thought.

Suddenly Jessica passed them, at a trot. Her radio squawked at her and she sped up, running and slipping as she went.

Ambros and the Ant soon caught her up: she stood by the side of the road, yelling into her radio as thunder drowned out all the voices nearby.

The wind kicked up again, and it began to rain harder yet.

Nearly everyone standing about was looking up, shading their eyes from the rain. After a moment, Ambros looked up too. Among the leafy branches tossing in the freshened gale, he could see what had to be a child, clinging to one of the larger boughs.

His immediate instinct was to climb after the kid. He looked at the tree and said: “How the bleep did the kid even get up there? There are no side branches for thirty feet!”

“I don’t know how he got up there!” cried a woman standing right next to Ambros: “He has really strong hands! He’s always climbing things!”

Lightning struck a tree less than a hundred yards deep in the woody area nearby. That tree splintered and briefly caught fire, until the downpour snuffed it out. Thunder rolled over them and they felt the shockwave hit them; the ground shook.

The woman screamed and buried her face in her hands.

“Bruce-unit could rescue this child,” said the Ant. “We can summon aid...”

Ambros put his own hand over his face, as the wind howled louder yet and the tree swayed and creaked in the blast. He nodded:

“Do it. Whatever you have in mind. Do it.”

The Ant didn’t trouble to unfasten the chain from around its neck: it just used its mandibles to snap it off short and tossed the broken end to Ambros: “M-m-move these humans back!”

Ambros complied: “Move back a bit please, come on, folks, give the Ant room for whatever it wants to do...”

Two other Ants appeared. Several people screamed.

“That blows our cover...” Ambros shook his head, but continued with crowd control: “... keep back, please...Bruce has a plan...”

Jessica joined him in calming and moving the growing crowd back.

The other two Ants were smaller than ‘Bruce’, one of them significantly so; that smallest one had a distinctly brownish tone to its carapace, and a smaller abdomen.

The Brown Ant scuttled over to the tree and went up like any ordinary sized ant would. The middle sized Ant followed. Bruce went towards the bole of the tree, picking Ambros up with the pincer on one middle leg: “Unit-Ambrose must stand here!”

“Whatever you say, Bruce.”

The Ant climbed until it was a good four feet above Ambros’ head. Then the child shrieked, and all the adults nearby ran towards the base of the tree, trying to see what was going on.

The kid cried out again, then came into the sight of those on the ground. The Brown Ant, now oriented head down, held the kid’s belt in one pincer and passed him to the middle Ant, which creature passed him from one pincer to another until it could pass the child to Bruce, and hence to Ambros where he stood on the ground nearby.

Ambros held the child firmly by the waist, looked into his eyes, and asked: “You okay, kid?”

The boy burst into fresh tears. Ambros yielded the child to his mother, who began alternately scolding and kissing and hugging and ranting.

Bruce turned itself round on the tree trunk, so that it, too, clung to the tree head down. The fashion in which Bruce did that made it clear to all that Bruce was neither a robot nor a costumed human.

“This-unit should ‘Get out of Dodge’. Yes?”

“You and the horse you rode in on.”

The Ants vanished one by one, with the whooshing sound that their exits from a Timeline always made. Most of the people roundabout were concentrated on the rescued child, and heard nothing over wind, rain, and thunder.    

But Jessica From Security happened to be looking right at Bruce as the creature faded from sight, until it was simply gone.

Ambros caught Jessica’s eye: “To report or not to report. That’s the question, right?”

She stared bleakly at him. She shook her head: “No way I can make anyone believe this...” she waved her hands: “...no matter how many witnesses I have.”

Thunder grumbled to the east of them.

“Well then,” he said: “I guess I’ll just go on about my own affairs.” After a moment he said: “Dry clothes. That’ll be first...”

He walked away as the wind died and the rain passed to drizzle.

[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Joe left this morning for a business trip, leaving me all to my own devices for the weekend (so far I have really cut loose and vacuumed the bedroom) and as soon as he was gone, I remembered that I’d forgotten to get him to help me with sock pictures.

Undaunted, I decided to engage in another episode of a game I call “weird textile things I’ve done on my front steps that make my neighbours nervous.”  (Previous entries have included direct warping a little loom because the neighbours fence was the right distance away, hanging skeins of yarn from the cherry tree for photographic purposes, and nestling various works in progress amongst the greenery to document their progress.)*

Today I decided that I’m a reasonably flexible person and there’s a timer on my camera, so I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to do it myself. I have tried this before and taking pictures of your own feet that don’t look weird and show off all the parts of a sock is really hard.  This time though I thought that I had it figured out. I set the timer, ran over and stood in front of the camera and…

socksnogood 2017-07-20

No good. (Don’t my coral bells look beautiful though? All that rain.) I looked at the picture, decided that I was standing in the wrong spot and just needed to move over, marked that spot with my mind, and then realized I’d screwed up by picking up the camera without noticing where it had been, and swore a little. I took a few other test shots, and finally worked out that what I had to do was stand in the right spot, then lean forward, sort of downward dog style, push the button for the timer, and then stand back up again without moving my feet.  This is quite difficult, and means you’ve got to stick your arse way up in the air, and from the time that I push the button, I’ve got ten seconds to execute the manoeuvre, quickly walking my hands back and standing upright.  My neighbour down the street walked by at this point, and said it looked like a good stretch. I think she thought it was the worlds most awkward attempt at yoga. On the stairs. In socks. Anyway, things improved then.

gaugesocks2 2017-07-20

(Yarn: Gauge Dye Works, a club yarn I got a few months ago.  Pattern: my own Sock Recipe. Needles: 2.25mm.)

After that I got bold and attempted a bending-over-arm-extended-like-I-am-another-person shot.  Less good.

socksnogood2 2017-07-20

But I improved.

gaugesocks1 2017-07-20

Sort of.

*I have been doing this kinda thing on the porch, warping looms, photographing yarn, projects, hanging hats on trees, arranging hats on posts, draping blankets over fences, taking pictures of various family members and myself wearing knitted stuff year round for about 15 years now. I live in the city, and those steps are about 1m from the sidewalk. Tons of people walk by every day, and never, not once, ever (and I mean it) has any human being ever asked me why the %$^&*$ I have mittens in a tree.

I think they’re afraid.

It started with a boo boo

Jul. 18th, 2017 04:23 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

A few days ago, before I rode my bike 120km in the pouring rain (I am not even kidding. I’ve never had to ride in conditions like that. At one point I was going up a hill with Jen and Ken, and it was raining so hard that the water was coursing down it, and we all looked down and burst out laughing – none of us had ever ridden “upriver” before. It was nothing short of epic. My riding shoes are still wet, a whole day later.) I hurt my finger. I was making dinner, and moving fast, and a tiny mistake with a knife put a tiny cut in my thumb. I cursed, cleaned it, whacked a little band-aid on it and thought no more about it until I sat down to knit about and hour later.

Every stitch I made hurt the cut and stuck to the band-aid, and I sat there, trying and trying, but the cut was in exactly the wrong place. The smallest little thing, bugging the snot out of me.  I decided I could live with the annoyance and tried for a  little longer, but then I had a pretty good idea.  I went upstairs to the stash room, and came back down with this pretty bit of business.

fiberopticsrovingstart 2017-07-17

It’s a 80/20 Merino/silk blend from Fiber Optic Yarns – an old colourway I think, called Cyprus. (That’s an old page I scrounged up on their site – might work!)  I split the roving in two lengthwise, and started to spin.  I’m aiming for a 2 ply lace/light fingering, and so far, so good.

fiberopticsrovingfirsthalf 2017-07-17

A few days later, I’ve got the first half spun, and my finger is healed just fine (it really was a tiny cut) but I can’t seem to stop. It’s been a while since I was at my wheel, and I’d almost forgotten the peace of it.

fiberopticsrovingfirsbobbin 2017-07-17

Karmic Balancing Gifts? There’s a ton, so let’s bomb through a bunch! (If you’ve forgotten how this works, or you’re just tuning in now, this is a fundraiser for Team Knit – that’s Me, Cameron, Ken, Jen and Pato, and we’ll be riding our bikes to Montreal (that’s 660km) in just under two weeks – and we’re all working on fundraising goals.  We’re raising funds for PWA, it’s the People With Aids Foundation, and it provides practical, essential support for people living with HIV/AIDs. What we’re doing here is simple. You help – either by donating to one of us, or by helping to spread the word, and then send an email to me at stephanie@yarnharlot.ca with the subject line “I helped”.  (That bit’s important. It sends it straight to the right folder.) Tell me if you’re a knitter or a spinner (or even if you’re a non-knitter) and add your address. Then I draw names and other people who are awesome just like you send you presents. We’re balancing out the karma and making the world the kinda place we want to knit in.)

First, five lucky knitters are getting a free pattern from Emily Wood Designs. Teresa Y, Nicola R, Dana G, Carol S and Maggie S, good luck choosing. There’s some beauties.

emilywood 2017-07-17

Next up, Ann has found it in her heart to part with 8 ounces alpaca silk roving from Gale’s Art in the Scarab and Peacock colorways – and they’ll be making their way to newbie spinner Doreen S’ house.

rovingfromana 2017-07-17

Ann’s also letting go of 8 ounces Wensleydale wool top by Hello Yarn in Smells of the Sea colorway… and she’ll be sending that to Scharleen O.

helloyarnfromann 2017-07-17

Carrie went into her stash and found three gifts she’d like to say thank you with.

Sundara Yarn – Sundara Lace in Chocolate over Salmon, 100% Silk, 1000 yards/100g for Catherine M.

Carriesundaralace 2017-07-17

Creatively Dyed Yarn -Voodoo2, DK, in Aim.   350yards/150g for Amy F.

carrievoodoo2 2017-07-17

Brooks Farm Yarn – Solo Silk, Sport weight, Colorway: Corals & Oranges, 50% Wool, 50% Silk, 400 yards/112 grams per skein – two skeins for Donna E.

brooksfarm 2017-07-17

Next, a big one! Handwork Hardware (I love these guys) are donating TEN gift packs, each pack has:
handworkhardware 2017-07-17

– one of thier needle sorters, designed to provide an integrated knitting needle gauge and sorter contained within a secure storage container for multiple sets of double pointed knitting needles. (And the device that once made it possible for me to mislay ALL of my DPNs at once.)
handworkhardwarechatelaine 2017-07-17
– one of their chatelaines, a pouch suspended from a belt loop or knitting bag handle that holds knitting accessories and other items for a knitting project.
They will be sending those out, with my thanks, to Jessie M, Nicole H, Karen K, Emily M, Lorraine M, Laura R, Mary Y, Lisa, Emily V and Mary G.
Julie’s stash is a place of wonders, let me tell you that, and Julie’s pretty alright herself. She’s got three beautiful gifts to mail out.
berroccoseduce 2017-07-17
Four skeins of Berroco Seduce (I love this yarn) for Lisa W.
hedgehogfibers 2017-07-17
Beautiful silk/merino top from Hedgehog fibers for Kimberly F.
violamcnsport 2017-07-17
Three skeins of gorgeous Viola MCN sport for Kathlynn K.
Here’s a fun one – I wish I had it for myself, so lovely. Ana (Air Illustration and Design)  is giving away two free six month memberships to her embroidery club. (No- you don’t need to know how to embroider, the instructions are really good.)
 embroideryclub2 2017-07-18 embroideryclub1 2017-07-18
She’ll be working with Liz B and Sage G to get that set up, I hope they’re as enchanted as I am. (PS, take a look at Ana’s instagram while you’re poking around. I follow her, and it’s really nice.)
Naomi’s got two pretty things,290g natural and 242g heather gray pencil roving that she’ll be sending off to Susan C.
naomipencilroving 2017-07-18
And 151g lace weight dark wool (black, grey, purple). Apparently her 2.5 year old saw the yarn cake and called it a tire (he’s obsessed with vehicles). I hope Carol T likes tires too.
naomilace 2017-07-18
Last, but certainly not least, Caitlin has a kit for her charming pattern Epaulet, that she’ll be sending off to Rita V.
epaulet 2017-07-18 epaulet2 2017-07-18
I’m pretty wild about that pattern, the little fabric touches are adorable! Rita, if you don’t know any littles who would look cute in that, let me know. I’ve got loads of them over here.
Whew! That’s 28 gifts, and I don’t think I really made a dent. More tomorrow, when I’m pretty sure I’ll have finished socks.

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[personal profile] kareina
We got home from our time working on Gustaf's landscaping project on Wednesday evening, which gave us Thursday to recover. David and I sat down with the internet and looked at some options for a replacement computer (which, if I get one, probably means I won't go to the states to visit my sisters in October due to the costs involved), but rather than ordering one straight away, I instead went to my office and brought home my work computer (which is what I am using at the moment). We have a thing in our Dropbox folder that I can use to log into our server and thus access the files from my computer which are backed up there, so it has been working well enough for now. After the Medieval days at Hägnan event I will figure out what I want to do--if we should just fix the old one (he thinks a new hard drive would solve the issues, but it would still be an old computer with a new hard drive, and I don't actually have disks for the operating system, only the programs), or if I will buy a new one, or what.

Friday we drove down to Skellefteå for their Medieval Days event. This is the first time they have done this--they have a lovely site on a small island in the river, accessible via a foot bridge, and I think it will make a great annual event. I would have loved to have participated the full week, but I was also glad to have the time to work on projects for the house (working at Gustaf's counts as working at our place, since he put in so many hours on our landscaping first, so it is a good trade). It was kinda rainy on Friday, and I spent most of the day working on a nålbindning project while sitting in the pavilion of a cute Norwegian merchant (from whom I purchased some fur that looks good with the grey/black diamond twill wool I bought last year at Visby). Caroline had to work on Saturday, and the others were ready to head home earlier than I had expected. I considered just staying--one of the autocrats tried to convince me that even though I hadn't registered for the event I was very welcome--they have room in the crash space tent, and plenty of vegetarian food available. I considered it, but decided it was wiser to head home and accomplish stuff.

Since heading home we have:

* started painting the south side of the house (it has needed it for quite some time)
* did the hand-smoothing of the dirt on the terrace (which we will probably cover over with some sort of concrete or stone tiles, depending on what we find at a reasonable price) to make a nice outdoor entertainment area that doesn't need to be mowed (it would be bothersome to carry a mower down the steps to the terrace anyway)
* built a base for the support frame for the earth cellar roof (out of some birch trees that he cut down over near the shed on the bottom half of the property as they were in the way of the road that his bother put in)
* cleaned out the container
* bought some shelf support brackets (which he has welded into place inside the container)
* started power-sanding the wooden floor of the container (in hopes of getting the smell of old spilled oil out of it)
* done some baking for Hägnan

Now it is Monday and David has returned to work. I have started packing for the event, and will return to that momentarily. Tomorrow we go set up, and then we spend the rest of the week alternating between educating the public about the middle ages during the day, and enjoying an SCA event in the evening.

I ATEN'T DEAD

Jul. 15th, 2017 09:31 am
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
[personal profile] freckles_and_doubt
oh, dear, apparently I haven't posted in a month? good heavens. I attribute that variously to (a) still being bloody exhausted from the bloody start to the year, (b) still being bloody exhausted by relentless student enquiries, particularly the noxious upsurge towards the end of term, (c) being overloaded with human interaction by (b), (d) being bloody exhausted by the rush to finish a bunch of stuff before going on leave, and (e) the natural and inevitable physical and mental shut-down which always happens when I go on leave, as my beleaguered bod realises that it's actually allowed to relax and promptly falls over.

Of course, all the frantic rush to finish a bunch of stuff before I went on leave was utterly futile, I didn't finish everything, which meant I spent a day or so of my leave writing budgets and hand-holding my staff writing their own budgets, and another day of my leave finishing the thrice-dratted report I should have written a month ago and forgot about, because exhaustion riddles my brain with holes like a Swiss cheese someone shot up with a shotgun. I was, shall we say, somewhat narked by this necessity. Those were my leave days, dammit.

But I'm on leave! and my mother is out from the UK, calloo callay! and is currently sitting in the living room cruising the internet and permitting Jyn to climb on her head. I am clearly my mother's daughter in more ways than one.

Also, I am catching up on sleep, and thus dreams. Last night I dreamed that I had authorised the wholesale and epic renovation of the house in which I was living (not my current one, something much larger and with a slightly worrying resemblance to the Red Rocket in Fallout 4). The renovation team were enthusiastic and a bit oblivious, and ended up mostly deconstructing the house, to the extent of knocking down most of the walls, squishing the entire contents of the house into one room inaccessible other than by climbing over rubble and squeezing through a narrow gap, and leaving me nowhere to sleep. I also spent a lot of the dream wandering around futilely protesting as they installed various dubious interior decorating features, mostly dreadful kitschy art-work, instead of reconstructing walls. About halfway through the process I suddenly remembered, with a horrible sinking shock, that I didn't actually own the house, and thus shouldn't actually be reconstructing it. I spent the rest of the dream increasingly frantic, trying to chivvy the renovators into fixing everything quickly before the landlady arrived and saw what I'd done.

It is slightly alarming to contemplate the extent to which the above dreamscape neatly replicates my current difficulties with mentally processing the massive life change of trying to find a new job.

My subject line is, of course, Granny Weatherwax. Possibly what I actually need is a new job as senior witch in a Pratchett coven.

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