Monday, June 21, 2010

Naughty, Naughty Sheet Music

My parents gave me a keyboard for Christmas this past year. I took 12 years of piano lessons although I really didn't enjoy them until about six or seven years into it. Still, it would probably be best if I didn't waste twelve years of my time, half an hour a week of my piano teacher's time over those years or the money my parents spent on lessons.

Keyboard

The keyboard resides in the living room and a couple of times a week I sit down and play a bit. I decided to raid the collection at my parents' house rather than go out and buy a bunch of new books and piles of sheet music. I mostly took old favorites, pieces I had memorized once upon a time. For several months, this served me well. I got bored with many of the pieces and frustrated at my rusty skills, though, so I decided it was time to grab more music when I went home this past weekend.

Beyond just my old standby pieces, my mom has a large collection of other music. She likes going to auctions. A lot. Many of the things she picks up are old stone crocks, enamel ware, tea pots and kettles, and wash boards. She's also picked up a few boxes of old piano and organ music, though, and that's where the fun comes in.

I went through part of it. I could have gone through the whole thing since I had gone home for Father's Day only for my dad to have to work 12 hour shifts on both Saturday and Sunday. Only saw him for about four or five hours total the whole weekend. It's better to spread the exploration out, though.

First, I went with things I might use.  A book on blues breaks and fills and a book on how to play popular music. These were owned by a family friend of ours we called Grandma Bertie and her sister Eleanor. Bertie had an auction before moving into an adult living apartment many years ago. While they're old (I couldn't find copyright or publishing dates), I'd like to compare them to some more modern books I have that are in a similar vein.
 

Then I decided that a bunch of Sousa marches might be interesting to try.

Sousa

I don't know why I was drawn to this book. I'm not particularly patriotic. Playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" when I was a high school bassoonist kind of got on my nerves. Maybe it's the use of the word "pianoforte". Maybe it's because being able to stretch out my short stubby fingers for the massive chords would be a personal victory.

Stubby Fingers

After these selections, I decided to take a couple out of sheer novelty. First, for obvious Buffy-related reasons, Mister Five by Five. He doesn't really look like Faith's type though.

Five by Five

This last one I consider to be my best find, though.

Naughty!

Copyright in 1920, "That Naughty Waltz" blesses us with such lyrics as "Hold my tightly, swing me lightly, To that naughty waltz". It makes me want to construct a side dialogue:

MAN: Darling, let me hold you close.
WOMAN: Oh, I really shouldn't. This dancing though, this music, with it's enthralling 3/4 rhythm, it compels me to let you wrap one arm around me and hold my hand while I grasp your shoulder.
MAN: I just relish being able to move with you like this, swinging about, gazing in your eyes, all the while counting "1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3."
WOMAN: We really are being quite wicked. Next we'll be saying that that new prohibition amendment was a horrible idea and start making bathtub gin.

There's more where that came from. A couple of drawers full of the stuff.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cable-palooza

So, blogging. It's been over a month but I've been keeping myself busy. March was a particularly full month at work but now things have settled in a bit. Taxes are done. I've finally made significant project on the Burridge Lake Aran Afghan. I now have two of three panels done (excuse the poor lighting).

Panel 1 + 2

I cast on panel number three on Friday evening. Even with the gorgeous weather keeping me from getting much knitting done over the weekend, I'm now through nine of 24 repeats of this final panel.

Panel 3, 9 Repeats In

Still looks like I'll be finishing this project at the absolute worst time to properly enjoy a heavy wool afghan but I'll be glad to have it done.

Also keeping me busy has been The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I realize that I have jumped on the bandwagon late but I feel like the joke is on everyone else. I probably won't even be done with the second book (The Girl Who Played with Fire) when the final book comes out on May 25. It's enjoyable reading no matter when you read it and I haven't been spoiled so it's OK.

Spoilers = bad, even if there are somethings I can't wait for.  Like the new series of Doctor Who. Series 5 starts on BBC America April 17 for those of you disciplined enough to wait. Or for those of you that haven't watched it. I am completely sincere when I say that this new season is a perfect time to jump in. There's a new cast, new team of producers, pretty much new everything. I've seen the first two episodes and they're absolutely thrilling. Whether you watch episode 1 or episode 3 this weekend, a good time should be had by all.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Crossing the Finish Line

Before the Knitting Olympics began, I knew I wanted to knit the Hemlock Ring Blanket but I was pretty sure I could finish it in less than 16 days. I added on a small Ishbel out of Noro Silk Garden Sock.

Ishbel

Victory!

In other knitting related news, I submitted the Hemlock Ring to Knit'n From the Heart's Olympics contest and I got bronze in the intermediate/advanced category. The prize? A set of needles up to $20 value. New Addi Turbos for me!

Even more exciting was the visitor that arrived at my door today. He came with candy, a pretty blue, heathered skein of Cascade 220, a drop spindle and some really soft merino fiber. Looks like it's time for me to learn how to spin.

The Doctor Cometh

The Travelling!Doctor Swap has been going on since October 2008 and it's finally my turn to show him around the Twin Cities. Tonight we decided to lay back and watch last night's The Big Bang Theory, bringing together TBBT, Doctor Who and the precious (ring from The Lord of the Rings for the decidedly non-geeky out there).

The Precious!

Now I need to find other places to take him. I'm already planning to go to DreamHaven Books, Neil Gaiman's home base, on request of another Doctor Who fan and the sculpture garden. Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hemlock Ring Blocked

Yesterday was my birthday. I worked. I spoke on the phone with many family members and friends. I also blocked Hemlock Ring. Twenty six is looking a lot like 25.

Hemlock Ring Blocking

In addition to Hemlock Ring, I also put down to knit a small Ishbel for the Knitting Olympics. I've finished the stockinette portion of it and I'm on to the lace part. I didn't get a picture before it got pretty dark out tonight so that will have to wait for another day.

I also haven't mentioned my new favorite podcast on here, yet. It's A History of the World in 100 Objects, put out by BBC Radio 4. Every weekday, the director of The British Museum discusses one object from the museum's collection. He describes the object, significant features of the object and how it fits into the history of the world. It's pretty much my daily fifteen minutes of history geekery. Podcasts and audiobooks certainly contributed to the speed

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knitting Olympics

I've decided to do the Knitting Olympics. I'm for sure knitting Hemlock Ring. I cast on Friday night during the opening ceremony (which I liked better than the overly-showy Beijing one). I had already finished the central flower by Saturday morning.

Hemlock Ring Center

Tonight, I finished the first skein of Eco +.

One Skein Down

I also put myself down to knit a small Ishbel and since I think I'll finish the Hemlock Ring by the end of this week I might even be able to finish it.

Before setting the Burridge Lake Aran Afghan aside for 16 days of knitting frenzy, I did finish the first panel.

Burridge Lake Afghan Panel A

I also got a few repeats into the second panel.

Burridge Lake Afghan Panel B

I should be done with the knitting in time to absolutely in no way want to be seaming a wool afghan on my lap.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Finishitis?

I've been on a bit of a finishing kick the last week or so. I think it's because I've been avoiding the repetitive cables of the Burridge Lake Aran Afghan.

First, I finished the linen stitch sock yarn scarf. This is a little more of an honest finish as I did start it before the afghan.

New Hair
(Salon hair. If only I could make it look that way on my own.)

Then I made Zoe, a shawlette or kerchief by Emily Kausilik, for the second time. This time I did it in some Noro Silk Garden Sock which I fell down and got because it was soft and pretty and 20% off.

Zoe 2.0

Finally, I got around to knitting myself some Veyla by Ysolda Teague.

Veyla

Now to go back to the pair I had started for my sister in lavender. She decided she'd rather have the cuff from Veyla but then have the hand be a regular mitten to wear while walking around campus in the late fall and early spring. Good thing I love the girl.

Extra note - this is the first time I got to use the "finished project 2010" label. Awesome.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

More Actual Knitting Content

I've continued to work on the linen stitch scarf and have gotten pretty far. Between last weekend's Doctor Who (watched it twice) and discovering the awesome that is Modern Family, I've found that it makes excellent TV knitting.

DADA Progress - 09 Jan 2010
Hand included for scale.

I wanted something more complex, though, and something that didn't involve hauling around a few small balls of leftover sock yarn with me. I bought the yarn for the Burridge Lake Aran Afghan (Ravelry link) when Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool was on sale at Michael's a few months ago and was just waiting for the perfect time to cast on. The too-large Vine Yoke Cardigan is still on time out so away I went on an afghan for my futon.

OWL Progress - 09 Jan 2010

It's really making me want to knit an aran sweater, now. Maybe a baby one, though. I don't seem to do so well with the adult-sized ones.