Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again

I broke down & signed up for another course at Open University. I've been working on this damned Bachelor's Degree since 1973 when I applied to Douglas College to do Criminology. It was a new Program then & they were really pushing women into it. Since I couldn't be a Welder, I let them push me. I really wanted to be a Welder & work on the pipelines that were to carry oil out of the North. I even had a job to go to outside Fort St John but they wouldn't let me into school. I was told no one would hire me. I countered with a letter with a job offer. But it became a bathroom issue in the end if you can believe it .  .  .  so with no money to go to court, I went to college. It was a muddy hole with Atco trailers strung together with covered wooden paths. It was either too cold or too hot inside but we had a ball. The cafeteria was populated with vending machines that often gave you half chicken soup & half coffee. One coffee/hot cocoa machine regularly failed to shut off after one cup & everyone would rush to get a freebee. Most of us had to bring food because we had no extra money. I ate a lot of turkey or pork neck soup with cabbage, carrots & barley that first year. I had no tv, no phone, no car & shared a bathroom down the hall with two other roomers. But I had a full kitchen. I was blissfully happy.

Stupid me, instead of going FULL time after the third semester, I went part time & worked. You see, I didn't want all that student DEBT. If I worked part time & took two classes a semester, I could pay my own way. I got hooked. I took English, Biology, Geology, Physical Geography, History, Psychology, Sociology, Criminology & a few more ologies before I was done. I ended up with 128 credits in Douglas College which was then only a two year college. I needed 60 credits to get my Associate of Arts. It's so easy to stay when you can register first, have a rare parking pass & live 10 minutes away!!

Eventually I went to the Open University because I HAD to, I continued to study what appealed to me - in 3rd & 4th year classes though. I took Earth Sciences at UBC - the very thought of going there terrified me but they turned out to be easier than the Open U! I took Physical Geography, more Psychology &  Ecology with the Open U.

A couple of classes short of the Degree I just couldn't find the time to take them. And then I had no money to go although I worked all the time. Meanwhile the Open U moved to Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops & I lost some non-transferable courses in the move! Not a tragedy until I found out how much those courses now cost to replace!!!
I did a lot of thinking about it. I could wait until I'm 65 when all the courses are just about free & hope none of the other courses become redundant. I'd still have to pay student fees & buy the books. Or take one every year & be a graduate student in my Retirement. I fully intend to spend my days going to school, spinning, knitting & volunteering at the Food Bank.

Last week, I signed on for another course. People & Plants caught my eye. It's an Ecological course about the interaction of Plants & Populations & how the search for plants as spices, dyes & medicines have impacted people & the plants. I was quite intrigued until I saw the cost of the course & the text!!! Even downloading it to my KOBO as a rental for a year was $100! In the end I found a used one for $70 online. That makes me happy because I write notes in my books, I tab them & highlight them too. This course is 30 weeks long so I should be happy all winter! And one more little tax deduction to help as well.

So, here we go, off on another tangent but still slightly related to yarn, socks, spinning & dyeing. I'll have to see how my 62 year old brain functions in a cyber space course!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Whew - All Over

I've been spinning like mad for the Tour de Fleece. I wasn't sure at the last minute that I would. But, I did, and I had a blast! I haven't really spun anything much in the last year except a couple of 4oz hand painted goodies from Sunset Fibers - Gail talked me into joining the Group on Ravelry.  Linda, of Sunset Fibers, hand paints all her stuff and she does a pretty good job of it too!!! Every time I turn around, she has another color that I can't resist. I'm beginning to thing I may actually BE buried in a felted coffin because there's no way I'm sharing any of this gorgeous fibre.

So TdF just finished & it's been too hot in my computer room to do much but here's the skeins - they haven't been bathed or hung yet - they're fresh off the bobbins.

 This is 8oz of Red Hat. Linda dyed it up just for me from a picture of a cowl I fell in love with in last Fall's Knitter's magazine. It's not as bright as the yarn used in the cowl but I love it's soft blend of pinks/reds/blue. It's a little pinker than in real life too.
 Most of this skein is Linda's Granite colorway - I had a small blue/turquoise topknot that I added onto the end of the bobbin just to get it spun up & it was too much trouble to tear it apart so after the bath, it will become it's own little skein. The soft shades of Granite come from a new line of 4oz heathered braids that Linda came up with. Several colors flow together as you spin .  .  .
And this one - well, it looks overspun but it's not. I loved the acid greens in this batt that a friend was spinning up. She had a bunch left over & I was sick to death of my purple superwash so we swapped. Now I have this green superwash, some purple & a little left over orange .  .  .  sounds like socks to me!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I have been busy, Really!

Remember when we were kids & we could spend all day laying in the grass or the sand watching the clouds move around & make shapes. Time used to last forever & we had all the time we ever needed because it went so slowly. Now that I'm 62, it goes so fast that I never get everything done before I'm out of time! I just don't understand. Does time accelerate as we age or does our brain just work differently???

Lately, I've been working on projects that got forgotten in the eddies & backwaters as time marched on. Arvik Ribbons for example - yeah, it's hanging on the door to my office so I don't forget - this incarnation I will wear in the Fall. It's knit from the top down, with a round yoke & increases hidden in the rosy ribbons of color in the top. The really nice thing about it is, I can try it on as I go. I'm past the armholes & moving down the body. This past couple of weeks has been just too hot to work on it though - I mean who needs a lap full of wool when it's 28C in the room????

I'm also participating in the Tour de Fleece again this year. I saw a cowl in the Fall Knitter's magazine that I just loved but couldn't find the yarn for it. Linda, at Sunset Fibers, dyed me up 8oz of fibre which is close to the colors I wanted & called it RED HAT. I love it!! So I'm spinning it for the TdF.

 I also got some of Linda's new TRANSITIONS colorway in GRANITE which I also spun up for the TdF. Not sure what the Granite will become - it's greys & pink & blues - maybe some l-o-o-o-o-g fingerless gloves??? Wooohooo!
I'm hoping there's enough on the bobbin to make something nice - only 4 ounces - but I've spun it finely enough that it may make the gloves if I make a lacy pattern.

I also spun up some wild acid green superwash for TdF that I traded some purple for, not sure if there's enough for a pair of socks but I think there's some orange left from last TdF that may just work. And if I don't like them, there's someone at work that will drool all over them. I'm hoping that I can get a couple more braids spun up before TdF ends. Doesn't seem like a big job anymore since I set up the old Suzie Pro in front of the TV & my favorite chair. And the fan blows on both. All of this going on & I'm still working full time & trying to work in some year ends for three different clients .  .  .  .  Do I really want to take that 30 week course in Plant Ecology???