Thursday, November 27, 2008

La Petite Kromski Est Arrivee!

And no, I don't know how to find those cunning little accents to put over that penultimate 'e' here on Blogger. If an expert does know, you might tell me. But you can get the gist, can't you. Baby Kromski, little Mazurka, is here at last, at last, at LAST!

Thanks in no small part to Margie of Moondance Wools who went out of her way and well beyond the call of duty to track it down, contacting suppliers, couriers, everybody, and then ringing me long distance to give me reference numbers and phone details. Margie you're a cuddle bundle! Anybody living within shouting distance of the Scottish Borders, go along to the Christmas Fair at Coldingham this Saturday and give Margie a hug from me. If you're not within hallooing distance, then the next time you're browsing her site for all those delectable fibres, send her a nice message and tell her she's the kind of person who makes this world worthwhile.

The wheel was shipped last Tuesday week. By Friday I was worried, by Monday frantic. Then on Tuesday, through Margie's magic I got the name and address of a warehouse at the other side of Cork - about a 50 mile round trip. Late afternoon and gathering dusk, who cares. Into the little jeep, Sophy Wackles riding postilion (riding shotgun for Statesiders, OK?), and off to brave the hazards of the city traffic to get to Little Island. Which isn't. Little, I mean. We roved up and down commercial routes, searching side roads, looking frantically, stopping lorries to ask drivers who were as lost as we were. Eventually tracked down the business park, found the warehouse, rushed in and begged for baby Kromski.

He was a lovely young man and hunted high and low on the computer, looking more and more worried (the fact that I was hammering on the counter with my head at this stage probably didn't help him to relax). He went off and searched the warehouse, upstairs and down. 'I am very sorry, but I don't seem -' That was enough. I ducked under the counter flap and headed into the warehouse myself. 'But you are not allowed -'

Rightly ignoring the protestations I scanned the entire place with burning eyes, floor to roof. There, there, there - THERE! Standing forlornly on a shelf at chest-height, all by itself, a big box labelled 'Mazurka'. Alleluia!

'That's it, that's IT!'

He carried it out - I was trying to grab it, to cuddle it, and he was explaining that he really had to do the paperwork first, see some ID, that kind of thing. Finally he completed the details and asked a little shyly what it was that had got me into such a state. I explained.

And what do you know, he was Polish! I was so happy to be able to tell him of the beautiful craftsmanship that goes into these spinning wheels, and how right-minded spinners everywhere are yearning to get their hands on them. He was smiling as I left, reassuring Sophy that no the box wasn't a narsty monster and yes, it was quite OK to be out after dark (sometimes I worry about that dog, really I do.)

Here it is arriving home, with Muffy the Yarnslayer coming to check Sophy out (do your home dogs check out the one who's been for a trip when she arrives back? Mine always do, in case she'd been taken by the fairies and a changeling put in her place who would of course have quite a different scent so they'd know).

Here it is being unpacked.

- and here is the long and arduous task of staining being started. That's the ancient bottle of Brou de Noix there in the background.

And that's all you can see of petite Mazurka for the time being. Staining is now finished, and after a night's drying, the beeswaxing has begun. (Heaven bless my little country store in Macroom, Frank Twomey's, where, when I asked for real beeswax, not this silicon and lavender spray thing, hunted out a jar of the genuine stuff . Good man, Frankie!). It's going to be a few more days before she's assembled and ready for her christening (still can't decide, thanks for all the suggestions, especially yours, Angeluna, I knew you'd come up with a comprehensive checklist!)

The days of waiting for the baby to arrive were tense and nervous, and as a result a lot of projects got started.

I couldn't resist downloading the pattern for this from Simple Knits - it's the Firebird Shawl and I like the shaping which would make it hang well. The original used Noro sock yarn and I had a ball of that, which seemed provident, but I'm not sure I like it. Love the pattern, still can't quite like Noro sock yarn. This one just could be heading for the chilly frog pond.

And here is the Noro cardigan, about the third (or is it fourth) time I've frogged and reknitted this yarn. Hopefully this personal make-it-up-as-you-go design will work. I've put in little pockets on the front, and tried that technique of adding the button to the ribbing band as you go, which is fun - yes I will remember to strengthen it with added stitches at the end.

Had promised to join in an Elsebeth Lavold KAL but time was getting scarce so found a fairly short-term project.

Haven't got too far wth that yet but soon, soon. There has got to be some way of stretching the hours in the day.

And on top of all that, I really hadn't expected the shawl/scarf kits I put up on eBay to sell so quickly. I'd only made up one or two, so the quick sales meant nonstop skeining, gentle washing (takes time, and the drying takes far far longer at this time of year, but they look so much nicer when they've had that prewash) and stitching up the fabric project bags into which to tuck them. And making up the packages and taking them to the post office.

You'd think I'd learned my lesson, but then I remembered the nice organic fingering weight kits I'd made up earlier in the year and decided I'd list those again.

I'd have at least a week to get them made up, I reasoned. But again, maybe it's the season that's in it, they started selling instantly and the merry-go-round moved into a faster gear. Anybody who missed out on these, email me and I'll make up some more.

KiniaCat said charming things about me on her blog, and mentioned that I didn't post too often. Have a heart, KiniaCat! Do you want to drive me over the edge altogether? From dawn to dark and well beyond it's a frantic rush chez Celtic Memory just to survive! I've been rising at six every morning for the past week to meet writing deadlines, and well after bedtime I've been either bending over the Kromski, applying beeswax, or cranking the swift and trying to keep count of how many metres of organic fingering weight I've wound, or slapping customs labels on packages, or casting yearning glances at the exquisite Gotland combed top just begging for me to spin it. And not a dog in the house combed! I tell you it's a wonder anything gets posted at all, ANY time!

Here's a picture of the scene from the sitting room window at this time of year. No sunshine, no leprechauns (all, if they're sensible, sitting round a jorum of punch underneath the roots of an old oak tree). Driving clouds and rain.

And here's one of the Little House on the Prairie, through the mist. Do not adjust your monitor, that's what the weather looks like. Through the glass - I'm not about to open the window in this weather, even for you.

I have to dash. More another time. Deadlines beckon.

And they wonder why I don't post more often...


It's evening now in West Cork, with all the stars glittering in a clear dark blue sky. That means an unusually chilly night - the forecast even suggested that there might be snow on the hills! Triple exclamation marks should be used for such an unusual occurrence - DH is already hauling out the tripods and polarising filters for a possible trip to the Magillicuddy Reeks tomorrow morning if there is snow.

Nothing, I realise, compared to the weather up where Lene lives in Lapland, or indeed further north again, with Marianne in Vadso or Else in Batsfjord. And we still get daylight for half the day which is more than you do up there. But hey, it's almost Midwinter, and soon the days will be drawing out again.

I came back in here to wish all of you Stateside (Canadian friends, I know you had yours earlier, and I hope it was lovely for you too) a very very happy and cosy Thanksgiving, surrounded by family and/or dear friends. DH and I (and the dogs of course, and the Orkney wheel and the new baby Kromski, although she will have to go to bed early with only a little glass of oil) are going to celebrate specially in honour of you and the pleasure you have given me over the past couple of years, by having our own Thanksgiving dinner. I am being completely sincere when I say that I will give thanks over a glass of wine for bloggers everywhere and for Ravelry. It brought us all together, didn't it?

And I will try to post more often...


Lynn said...

I keep a generic draft with all these "symbols" I have pulled from Word and just paste them in as needed, because j'adore le français! Also the curvy apostrophe and quotation marks that I prefer, and the formatting for opening a link in a new window and for striking-through text. If that formatting doesn't transfer, it's [left carat]strike[right carat] your text [left carat forward slash]strike[right carat]. I think.

Always lovely to read a post from our Jo.


“enter quote here”
apostrophe’s here
formatting for new window here target="_blank"
strike-through here

Lynn said...

Some of it transferred nicely. Some of it did not. I'll email it to you as a Word attachment.

Shari said...

Ah, but it is so worthwhile when you do post!

Dont forget to breath!

Micki said...

Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Angeluna said...

Whew, glad to lay eyes on that little Kromski. Wouldn't you know the warehouse guy would be Polish? Love it.

Dear girl, you can set the accents into your keyboard. Then they work in whatever program you are in. Think the choice is "international keyboard". Just checked and in my case, I chose United States - International. That means I get all the accents with just a keystroke before the letter I want. Since I write in several languages, it comes in handy. You can also set it for French or Italian or whatever keyboard, but then the keys you strike wouldn't match up with the keyboard you see. I'm most comfortable on a French keyboard, but thought it would just be too confusing.

Anonymous said...

You and your fair Sophy were so brave to venture into the unknown on your quest. High marks for persistence, and three cheers for your success.

I, too, long to hear from you more often, but my, you have a plate full! Send up a flare now and then to let us know all is well.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Jo. You do not post enough for your fans, but you more than make up for it when you do.

Please can we vote on the name. I love Angeluna's list and my favourite is Aniela.

Charity said...

So, so exciting!! Glad to hear of the safe arrival! :0)

pacalaga said...

Beautiful little wheel, Jo! It's a she, yes? (I can't remember if you referred to the wheel with a gender, but it looks like a dainty little lady to me.)
Also, if you're using Windows, there's a feature on the Accessories menu called "Character Map". It allows you to search for those little accented letters and such, and either gives a set of shortcut keys or allows you to paste. é = Alt+0233.

KiniaCat Crafts said...

Ah, I do have a heart - but I'm new to your blog and am only beginning to suspect the depths of your talents and busy life! I agree - your posts are worth waiting for!
I came back this morning to explore a few more of your blog postings to find you'd already caught my Celtic Memory exploration commentary on my blog! I suspect you found it quite literally just after I'd posted! My late evening might be your 6 AM wake-up!
And to accent my ignorance of your abilities, I find you were personally completing the shipping path of the lovely Mazurka and you then proceeded to stain and wax it!! Then followed by the various yarn-ish projects you're pursuing!?!
I am in a state of blissful awe and looking forward to more Celtic Memory Yarn adventures! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Glad to see your new wheel has arrived! Angeluna's list of choices nearly overwhelms-- I rather like Sibila, but perhaps Brygida would better suit a Polish-Irish girl.
The Firebird shawl looks striking, indeed firey. Why do you dislike the Noro sock yarn? If it feels rougher than you like, you might try washing it with conditioning shampoo and see if that helps. If not, well hi-ho into the pond!
Happy spinning,
ps: my verification word is "polebo".

Anonymous said...

That's a great rescue story, and with a Polish warehouse worker punchline, too!
I had already planned, before reading this entry, to introduce your blog and two others to my blog klatsch today. I have made certain not to complain about your posting infrequency. :)

Luneray said...

HI Jo,

I found the Noro sock yarn kind of hard to work with because of its uneven texture. Plus, since the yarn is so tightly spun, it felt really rough in my hands.

But after long soak in warm water with a bit of wool wash (I used Kookaburra), the yarn softened up nicely. Not buttery merino soft (this is meant to be a durable sock yarn, after all) but a far cry from the "how much do you hate me to have made such uncomfortable stuff to put on my feet" texture they had pre-wash.

Love your posts!

Aline said...

I am so impressed of your french grammer, Bravo!
I am so happy for you and new 'babe'. I gasped that you now have to stain it yourself! My oh my, you are a dedicated lady.
Good luck with all your tasks.
Take your time with the posting. It is worth the wait indeed.