Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Some excellent advice

This is an excerpt from a comment I got from Holly EQQ regarding spinning artyarn. I'm going to post this, because I thought it was helpful, constructive, and useful. Maybe you're thinking of trying to spin artyarn too...

"Now, I wanted to tell you that if you are making any kind of textured yarn, it requires work on the plying... don't blame the poor helpless wheel on that. The beauty of art yarns is well balanced with the pain in the hiney it is to make them. They stick, jam, hook, stop, blop and anything else you can imagine as they go through the orifice - both on the single and the ply.

I was teaching a friend who has been spinning lace weight for 30 years how to do a more textured yarn and besides me repeating 200 times that she needed to STOP DRAFTING, I kept having to explain that when I spin, I have to stop and wind on almost every two or three feet.

The conversation went like this:

her - Holly, I don't think I am doing it right
me - yes you are, stop drafting, you are doing perfect
her - but why isn't it wanting to wind on the wheel?
Me - stop drafting
me - Because the lumps keep getting - stop drafting - caught on the - stop drafting - hooks.
her - but it is so much work
me - stop drafting - yes, but the end - stop drafting - results are well worth it!

So my two suggestions are, stop drafting and get into a routine with the stops and starts. You get used to it after a while.

And that IS with the Babe Bulky with the huge orfice. So if it keeps getting hung up, you are doing it right!"

Thank you Holly! Between Mandie, you and Lexie's book I think I'm gonna do this!

I can't believe you're 13 today

Time has flown by. My eyes can see that you're growing up, but my heart doesn't exactly believe it yet.

You'll always be my baby.

Happy birthday Mug. You make me very proud.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

This person here is the boss of me

Nini & Nanny

Just incase you're wondering. I do her bidding, no questions asked.

Mini Sock Exchange at M1

This is my favorite picture of me EVER. Bar none. It was taken by The Kniterpreter a while back at Make One Yarn Studio's mini sock exchange.

Yes. That's me wayyyyyy back there. Talk about your good lighting huh? Makes me look 10 years younger.

Today those yahoos held me up for ransom

And I'm not that happy about it.

Here's how it worked. I wanted to order some business cards, and I really liked the little ones that you can get through Moo, which is a Flickr affiliate. So, because I wanted a random and varied choice of cards, I loaded quite a few pictures onto my free Flickr account; ordered the cards and thought that all was well with the universe. Instead it tipped me over the 'limited number of photos' boundary that one can upload onto Flickr. I didn't realize (and I'm sure that is my own fault for not reading small print, or.. I forgot) that there was a limit. So.. I checked out my blog and all but one picture won't load.


I went to my Flickr account and it tells me that everything will be returned, safe and sound after I pay them $24.95 US.

The wording alone made me feel a bit sick to my stomach, but I reasoned that I had been planning to upgrade anyway, and it is for the benefit of the blog and my fiber pursuits. Then, during the payment process, I am asked to give Yahoo authorization to withdraw from my Paypal account automatically; and.. in the small print (which I read) it gives my banking information to yet another third party. Great.

You see that I have done it... I hope that after this awful taste in my mouth goes away that I'll be happy. But right now???.. Not so much.

Ok.. nicer stuff:

Here, for your artyarn spinning pleasure is a link to the haul I procured at the Purses for Africa (hmmm.. cannot find a link!) fabric/fiber sale.

Grand total? $80.00 CDN. I feel like I won something; AND, some grannies in Africa benefited as well.

The picture? A little art project that Mug made that involved a bag of tiny fuzzy animals and a hot melt gun. Ya baby.

(edited to add: you have to wonder about the whole safe and sound business... cuz my pictures have been totally messed up on and off all day long. doesn't seem too safe or sound really)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flu 3, work 0

I keep trying to go to work, starting the day, and then doing a U-turn. Phew. Today I fell flat on my face on the street after getting out of the truck; went for a coffee and tore a $5.00 bill in half, and then Sandra sent me home. It wasn't a very auspicious start, that's for sure. I thought I'd knit, and worked on the fiddlehead mitten all day long, to decide that it's not good, and tore 1/2 of it out. Re-knit; still hate it.

On the positive side, Mug is 1 hour into her 4th and final performance of her school play. She's really enjoyed it so far. She started school at 7am today for early morning band practice, so I would imagine she's completely worn out. 5 more days until she's a teenager.

I hope your day was less bumpy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kiva.org; have you heard of it?

This organization was on Oprah many months ago, and Dida passed me the link. It was only today (I am home with the flu; blech) that I took a moment to really look into the site.

Briefly, here's how it works. You lend money to pre-screened entrepreneurs in third-world countries, to enable them to make changes to their environment or improve/grow their small businesses. Entrepreneurs are featured on Kiva's website, and you are able to browse through profiles to see if there is a person or a business that calls out to you (clearly, I'm using my own phrasing here). You may loan as little as $25.00 US. The individual has a set amount they are trying to raise. When the sum has been raised the loan goes into payment mode, and eventually your original amount is put back into your account for you to use again. There is a rating system to give you an idea on how likely you are to be repaid. It was startling to see that virtually all repayments were 100%.

My goal is to invest $500.00 over the next year. This morning I started out by loaning to 4 people. It was an amazing experience. I went through most of the pages and chose 4 women; I was really searching for a spinner, but I could not locate one. I did find one lady who was a weaver and another who does amazing crochet. When I made the investment, their profiles were raised into a featured area, and immediately other people donated as well. As I write, one of the four people I loaned to have reached their goal - two others are within one donation of doing the same. This completely blows my mind, because I saw with my own eyes how my little tiny investment changed their lives.

This is Amira:

She was trying to raise money to buy crochet thread and some chickens to fatten. Her family's monthly income is $410.00. Just look at her work! As of a few minutes ago her request was completely filled and she's going to be able to buy that thread and those chickens.

I think that if you have a moment, that you ought to have a look at Kiva.org and see if there's a way for you to change the world.

It blows me away. I'm wondering what Amira would say if she knew she was on a Canadian fiber blog. Too weird, huh?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spin, spun

I have been spinning these last few days; trying my hand at art yarn. It was going very well, but I'm not having the best of luck plying on the Lendrum; at least not at these weights. Until I get a plying flier, I think I'll switch back to the Louet. I do have some really interesting pink/purple, plied with black. I'm going to knit the Urchin beret with it, I think.

Following you will find some spinning projects by Bessthespinner, and birchblanket; all done with Spinknit colourways. Beautiful... I couldn't be happier. Both Bess and Kathleen have done some gorgeous spinning.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

This is my Nini trying to open a package of Dida's Knit Picks Options.

I'm just sayin.

(hey.. i dyed and spun the wool for her hat, and her mommy knit it)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ooops, we did it again

Another blizzard; endless it seems.

Following is a link to a photo gallery of pics that BF took yesterday, along with a few of Aidan at his birthday dinner, and Spike. You'll also see a really super fab skein of Optim that Mandie sent to me.. well, she sent fiber, and I spun it. Anyway, it's great, and I'm so happy.


These last few days I've been reading Intertwined and getting a feel for what I need to get and what I need to do in order to spin Art Yarn. Here is an album showing my first attempts at carding and spinning. I call the result: Fireworks and Clowns. Later I knit it into the grooviest little stuff bag for my Lendrum.


I knit a pair of socks this weekend... yes, you heard it right. A PAIR of socks, for Jim. I am crazy in love with Noro Silk Garden Lite, and these socks are a strange pair for sure, but definately of the same colourway. I think the fact that they only partially match adds to their charm.


There's just too much to talk about.. too much going on. Except for the taxes. They are going nowhere. Nowhere fast.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Payback is a .. well, you know.

We have had a very, very mild winter this year. Honestly, there's been hardly a day when we were lamenting about how many consecutive below zero days there have been. Why, just a few short weeks ago we saw a guy pooping in the alley. Would anybody drop their pants in Montreal around the same timeframe? Toronto even? I think not. Some would be looking for hints of green and leaf buds; but we're noticing bare behinds.

That was until today.

When I took Mug to school at 7:00 it looked as though it might have rained a little. Fifteen minutes later the snow was coming down thick and heavy. By 10:00 it was over a foot deep in our neighborhood, and when the dogs went outside they couldn't manage to deal with it.. the snow was over their shoulders! I heard that we broke a snowfall record that was set in April, 1920.

No kidding!

Above, a few shots of the mini-stairs of death (one of many in town that fitness buffs use for cardio). I decided to walk to work, and when I approached the stairs they looked more like one huge, long slide. There was no evidence of stairs at all!

It never got very cold (wet, yes) and eventually the blizzard petered out, only to start again in the late afternoon.

Tomorrow? Flooding. Count on it.

A few pictures of the Heartland.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Somehow I became a bag lady

I'm not sure how it happened; to be honest.

It starts out like this: I did hardwood. I still haven't unloaded my truck, it's full to the gunnels with tools of every sort. Each day I was covered in sawdust, wood stain, glue and oftentimes blood. My hands looked more like my father's than my mother's. I was good with it.

I don't have girl clothes. I have Carhartts.

And now I work at the LYS, and slowly I find myself doing things like curling my hair a bit, thinking of shoes, and... no part of me is bruised or cut. That's pretty weird, actually.

There's a strange something that happenes at the yarn store. People get new knitting bags. There's a whole culture associated, where people spend time on a bag related Ravelry group; everyone knows the latest bags, fabrics and styles. They speak of these things fluently, and by name. Me? I use zip locks. Somebody told me that they do too.. but that they store the zip lock project bags IN a knitting bag. Knitting bags often contain useful things like bottles of wine and cork screws.

Wine, you say?

Knitting bags can be used as overnight bags (necessary in a long stream of knitting related retreats). Apparently your wallet goes in one, and your iPod. Think purse here, a super fabulous purse with tons of pockets, and room for your projects as well.

OK.. so we had a large shipment of Lexie Barnes bags coming in and there was a lot of excitement around that event. Many discussions took place at the knitting circles.. Namaste? Lexie Barnes? Which is best? What are the dimensions? What new fabrics?

I stayed on the outskirts, wondering why the heck it mattered so much. Until they arrived.

Aunty Tink spent one entire day (on and off) agonizing over what colour her new Lady B should be. She tried them on, looked in mirrors; and it was VERY serious. We're not messing around here. Sandra discovered that the Jinx was too short for her. How she did it was actually try the bag on. That somehow became a turning point for me... Thinking about all of my stuff spread over the entire house, and how I could put things in pockets and how my entire needle collection would fit in the small, associated, matching, cases. How this is a girl thing, and I could *wear* the bag, and it would look nice. Last time I had a feeling like this was when I discovered the new Husky tool boxes. In red.

Through an amazing act of kindness I found myself the owner of a beautiful Lexie Barnes Lady B. In red. (OK, we call it 'Diablo')

And I totally love it. Who knew?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The next time I lose my camera's battery charger..

Remind me that it's here. In the second drawer from the top, on the right hand side. With the ring full of keys that I cannot identify, but I am afraid to throw out. You know. In *that* drawer.

Saturday, April 5, 2008






This is her first year as a mother, and her first year as a knitter. She is kicking some serious butt.

If you are a member of Ravelry, I think you should look her up (Niniknitty) and favorite those mittens because they are fantastic! Maybe you could leave a comment and encourage a knitter who is new enough that she doesn't even realize that she's fearless!

I am so proud.

Maybe you noticed?

Friday, April 4, 2008

I am really .. wierd

As far as days go, I haven't had one that is this blue in quite some time. It's a combination of things, really. One major aspect is that I'm peri-menopausal, and if you can possibly avoid that, well, I'd suggest you do. It's like puberty in reverse, and just as sad, though not as many skin breakouts. Secondly I did an inventory of circs at the store. There's just something about three types of needles per size, and then in each particular type there's 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 different lengths. At some point it just blew my mind and I lost the ability to recognize numbers of any kind. It was a blur. Meanwhile I burned a small skein of silk to an absolute crisp while testing it AND... counting needles. Just in case you haven't ever burned silk to a crisp, it stinks.

Enough with the whining. Tomorrow's another day.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Heartland, heartland, and more heartland

I don't have as much time to knit now that I spend all my time at the yarn shop! So.. when I do get home, and after I eat, I've been concentrating on the one project. It seemed like the first skein was never going to end. I've progressed to half way through the 4th repeat of chart 2, and finally it gave up the ghost. Normally I would spit-splice, but darned if bison (or at least this bison) wouldn't do it. That sort of makes me happy in the long run, because maybe the shawl won't ever be in danger of felting.

So.. I became acquainted with the Russian Join. I've read about it before, and Amy recently suggested it for the Year of Lace yarn.. but I hadn't tried it. Before my magical ball of never-ending wool actually did end, I came upon a knot. I viewed this link and gave it a shot. Easy-peasy. Shortly after that I joined ball two to ball one. Even better.

The knitting looks good, the join is stong and invisible. I'm really pleased.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ply, schbly

Everybody loves to ply. Just ask them, and they'll tell ya... it's the greatest part of spinning.

Me. I hate it. Hate seems a bit harsh, but it's verging on that.

Maybe it's my Louet S75; doing some kind of shimmy that would indicate that it either needs to be tightened up or it's going to fly into a million pieces before my very eyes. I use it because it has a massive bobbin (or 4) and i can ply a 1/2 lb. without having to put knots in my yarn. Did I mention its a single treadle?

Right now I'm in a lose/lose situation. I cannot spin any more Optim until I ply the green Merino (ran out of empty bobbins for the Lendrum). I have the Merino spun as close to lace-weight as I am able, so there appears to be 65 gazillion yards of it on the bobbins. I swear, I was plying last night for what seemed to be hours and only half of it is done.

I have enough flipping lace-weight right now to satisfy even my friend Aunty Tink. Now that is A LOT. (Actually, some of it IS hers, but that's another story all together)

I'd rather be doing taxes.

So tonight, rather than facing the inevitable, I knit on the Heartland Lace Shawl. Which, was what I really wanted to do anyway. I'd show you a picture, but I've lost the camera's battery charger AGAIN. I'm looking in the shoe box first this time.