I sometimes complain that my knitting projects all take ages and ages – though I know very well that this is not due to my knitting really slowly. My actual knitting speed is more of a medium speed, but I tend to not knit most of the time. And if you let that half-finished pair of socks languish on the needles for half a year… well, then it will take more than half a year to make a pair of socks.

Anyway, current knitting is more or less progressing, for a change – though in the case of this sweater, the wool has already sat around for a long time, so maybe the languishing is all dealt with and I can finish this (astounding thought!) without too much downtime:

moyenage_waist

It’s the Moyen Age sweater, and I really like the cable motif (though I have no clue why it has the name it has). It hits a nice balance for me between mind-numbingly plain stockinette (booooring!) and excitement and fingerwrestling with the cables (tight knitting has its downsides), so I’m happy to knit on it, and I’m already past the waist decreases and starting to increase again.

The other knitting-related thing is not progressed much – the first bobbin of grey Gotland yarn is finished, but the second still is in this sad state:

halfspun

I haven’t gotten around to sit and spin in the evenings these last days (or weeks? Time flies), but it’s on my list, and some day, it will be full, and then it will be plied, and then there’s a gauge swatch in the future, and figuring out how to combine that yarn with the half-Gotland-half-colourful yarn. And then, eventually, a garment.

Just in case the sweater is finished before the spinning is, though, there’s something else hanging out here in the stash. I was accosted by this yarn a few days ago – it sat in the “really really has to go so is really really reduced”-bin in a yarn store I happened to pass. Well, what can I say – it’s silk, it’s blue, and it was cheap. And obviously, it’s now mine.

truesilk

Also… it should be sufficient for a small jacket. For summer chill. (Next summer, obviously!)

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Here’s things in links that will hopefully amuse you:

Cat bones found by archaeologists – with traces that hint at their being used as fur suppliers (article in German).

InspiroBot is an artificial intelligence dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for endless enrichment of pointless human existence. Said quotes are not particularly good, but some of them are – yes, because of this – quite amusing.

The British Library is launching a project to preserve digital comics.

Costumes inspired by “The Handmaid’s Tale” are used for protests – and make a stunning visual.

Pineapple fibres are used to make sustainable fake leather, providing pineapple farmers with an extra source of income in the process.

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You have probably have it happen to you – somebody you know more or less well will suddenly turn out to be surprisingly good at something that you didn’t ever connect with them. A secret superpower, so to say.

Well. I have one, too – my secret superpower is… being able to tie off balloons really, really quickly. The reason for this is my home town’s annual fair, where my parents, among other volunteers, have been selling helium-inflated balloons for a good cause for 35 years now. When I was a child, I started helping out a bit, and when my schedule allows, I still go back there to help tying off balloons.

From being a small fundraising thing, this balloon sale has grown over the years, and letting hundreds and hundreds of them fly off at the official end of the fair has become a much beloved tradition. It is a stunning sight to see more than one thousand balloons go up and off with the wind at once, balloons in all kinds of colours (though there are quite a lot of red and blue ones, that being the town’s colours). There’s an added bit of satisfaction and happiness in it for me, knowing that I’ve had a hand, literally, in getting hundreds of these balloons ready. (I’ve calculated that I have knotted at least 700, probably more like around one thousand balloons on that one day. That, at the end of the day, meant very tired fingers, a bit of skin lost even though I’ve liberally, and very early, used tape to protect the skin, and a blister in one of the weirdest spots I’ve yet had one, right on the tip of one thumb. And the pleasant feeling of having done a good job.)

And for you, here’s a little video of ascending balloons – by far not all of them are visible, as I didn’t manage to get to the best spot for filming… but you’ll get the idea.

 

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The cat, kind soul that she is, wanted to let me know she thinks my keyboard could use a bit of a cleaning. As she is perfectly and clearly understandable when she meows and purrs, but her human personnel are a bit slow on the uptake, she had to use drastic measures to demonstrate the cleaning necessity.

Which was achieved by hooking a claw underneath the Alt-Gr key and pulling. This, of course, was at first misinterpreted by her desk-sitting, cat-petting human as a mere coincidence, as she likes to knead when she’s hanging out on the desk. The human was soon aware, though, that there was an astounding amount of dust and cat hair under that key… so obviously, there must have been a reason for the cat to do this. Right?

The culprit, erm, the graciously observant cat right after the deed, acting like nothing has happened.

The culprit, erm, the graciously observant cat right after the deed, acting like nothing has happened.

So I did take the hint, and subsequently the small vacuum cleaner with a little brush (after Madame had left the desk, of course, as she is not fond of vacuum cleaner noises), and removed more astounding amounts of cat hair and dust from underneath the other keys.

Then came the fun task of figuring out how the three bits of plastic are supposed to fit together… and after two or so false starts, I managed to get them into correct order and position again.

One of the plastic bits. And cat hair.

One of the plastic bits. And cat hair.

Placing the two white parts together again required bending the smaller one to get the little axles into their sockets again; for the rest, it was the combination of sliding something into one holder, then pressing the other end down until it clicked into place – once to fasten the white bits to the key plate, once to secure the whole setup to the keyboard again.

The two white bits, reunited, waiting to be set back into place underneath the key plate.

The two white bits, reunited, waiting to be set back into place underneath the key plate.

Actually, that was fun, if a bit scary when doing the bending-to-set-into-place-bit (especially as I had to do it twice, not getting the stacking order correctly at the first go. Not something I’d have chosen to do this morning without the cat prompt, but I do find it interesting to see how things like that work – and putting torn-apart bits together is an excellent way to figure that out.

Now, though, I hope the cat will abstain from pulling out more keys – I do have actual work to do…

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It’s time for a link roundup again – here you go:

Following in the Jane Austen track, here’s a post about shoes in her time.

SFF Audio has the complete unabridged audiobook “Herland” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman for you.

Here’s an interview about microscopy on Early Modern textiles with Cristina Balloffet Carr.

Finally, a comic about blogging from Unshelved (which is a strip about a library, and the accompanying librarians).

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We went off to harvest some cherries a while ago, and together with loads of them, we accidentally brought back this guy:

schlehenbuerstenspinner

Which, the Internet helpfully tells me, is the caterpillar of Orgyia antiqua, the rusty tussock moth, or, in German, Schlehenbürstenspinner (it seems to go for unwieldy names in both languages). I’ve never seen one of these caterpillars before, but they seem not to be so rare.

When searching for what this might online, I found a nice site with quite a lot of caterpillar pictures to help identify their species: Schmetterlinge Westerwald. There’s 152 different caterpillars there, and the photos alone are worth a look to wonder about the variety of shapes and colours that these tiny critters have!

The one in the picture, by the way, got set outside onto our own morello cherry tree – where it will hopefully be okay…

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Romans are quite fascinating, with their mass-produced goods and their incredible logistical shenanigans like aquaeducts and streets. They are also… weird. In a way, at least – they’d probably consider us modern people at least as weird as we see them, if not more so.

But on to the Roman links showing both their ingenuity and their weirdness: Roman concrete, especially that for under-water use, has long been a thing to wonder about, as it just stays strong and strong, not corroding or decaying in conditions where modern concrete would have long given up. Now, it seems, the question why this is possible has been solved. It actually is corroding – but in a way that makes it stronger. Here’s an article from the Guardian giving you details.

In the atlasobscura, you can read about clay instead of concrete. Specially shaped clay – the Romans had pottery jars just for the purpose of fattening dormice, which they would then eat as a delicacy.

Well. Probably not weirder than drinking coffee that has been shat out by civets. Or eating putterfish.

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