Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Targello gets noticed at soccer

Mug had a game last night (they are unbeaten so far); and I was wearing my new Meret (which I love, love, love) and knitting on the pink Targello. It was pretty funny really, because the wind was blowing and it had become quite chilly, so there were comments about me knitting fast enough to create a blanket. One by one people started to collect; and we ended up with quite an inquisitive group. I might even end up with a couple new students out of the deal. One lady walked up and told me that she really liked my entrelac.. amazing. I was starting to feel a bit like a side show until that point. A good sideshow, if that makes any sense.

Today was the 7 deadly sins day.

Marilynnie came a knit for a while, as did Trish. Sherri came in and gave me a Kiva water bottle, and we had a visit. I heard from Heather via a Ravelry PM. Correna came in to pick up a book and we had a little visit as well. Then a surprise to beat all, Kathi drove up to the front of my house, and we quickly touched base before she drove off into the sunset. She's moving tomorrow, so it was very, very lucky that we ran into each other.

So that's it for the day. I put away a massive amount of Lanett. I ate a chicken sandwich and some sushi and some Vietnamese, though not at the same time. I talked to Sandra, which was possibly the most fun of all.

And now I'm going to spin more Bison. Score!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Maddie's in the bucket

Very, very sad. She came home from the Dominican to catch the crud. (and in no time flat, I might add).

Thought I'd tell you some stuff, and then stop going on and on about bike riding. One thing is that it takes (me) 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes to get TO work. My biggest fear is to have heart failure on Home road, going uphill. It takes 50 minutes to get home. My biggest fear is to have heart failure on Home road, from brake failure going downhill. Also, it is next to terrifying riding home on the bike path. People are worse, more inconsiderate bike riders and roller bladers and joggers than they are drivers. I kid you not.

But it's better than driving, it really is. Today I saw ducklings, lots of the river, trains, trains and more trains, stores and shops I hadn't seen from the car, lots and lots of middle age bike riders and younger joggers. I know that the roots of trees totally mess up the bike path, and it's a wayyyy bumpy ride; I also know that if you tighten up your stomach muscles that your back doesn't hurt. I'm afraid of a storm on the way home, because I'm totally going to have to ride through it, like it or not. I know it won't kill me. I have ridden on the road for the first time in my life. (Home road again...) I've always been a sidewalk rider in the past.

I smelled lilacs today; several times. Also cut grass, broken tree limbs, a bbq, and possibly a far away skunk.

I made it .5 blocks further up Home road before I had to quit, but I passed a man who was just cresting the hill on his bike. I told him he was my hero (he laughed), but honestly he's my role model. I feel like I might make it one day. That's the goal.

This is really super good for me. My mom didn't drive a car, so I spent my entire childhood on the seat of a bike. It used to feel natural to me, and the bike was an extension of myself. I hope I feel like that again.

All I know is that right now it feels so flipping amazing to be at work on my own power that I could just jump for joy. I spent zero dollars on gas since last weekend, and I hope that I can keep it that way for the entire week.

Now, you thought that was boring.. Just wait. Me and IK are going to start training for climbing a rock wall. I AM SO GOING TO DO IT. Trust me.

In the meantime? I'm going to spin bison.

Sock Summit. (I just had to say that so I wouldn't be the only blogger in the world who didn't mention it)

Goodbye Lady B

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

It turns out that you weigh so much that you jammed my bike carrier into the front fender, and bent it. That was what all the squeeking was about. The bike was in pain, Lady B. I just can't have that.

So the most important stuff (for example, my mini electronic scale, my GPS, my camera, a smallish knitting project, a pen, my wallet, the alleve.. you know... the stuff I can't live without) is now in a smaller MEC bag that slings across my back. The carrier is for a water bottle, a shirt to change into, and a rain jacket.

I still love you like crazy Lady B. I adore everything about you, but you encourage me to carry too much stuff, and it just has to end for the warm weather. I'm going to keep you at home beside my chair, and the next time I'm going on a field trip.. well, I'm going to load you on up and take you on an excursion. When fall is over and I retire my bike, I'll exchange it for you.

Don't be too sad. It's only a matter of time.

(PS: I rode my bike today, and remembered to sit up straight and tighten my stomach muscles, and take drinks on the way.. so I made it an extra 1/2 block up Home Road before my heart rate quadrupled. Yayyyyy; victory!)

Monday, May 25, 2009

News Flash

I rode my bike to work. I nearly keeled over while pushing it up Home Road. Seriously.. I had to stop 3 times to catch my breath. My heart rate was about 3 million at the time.

I was thinking to myself; self, perhaps you aren't quite over the flu yet. Is it too late to turn back? (yes)

By the time we (the bike and me, that is) got here the bike was squeeking like a crazy thing, and I might have been worse off than the bike. But I feel good, and victorious, and successful.

Hear me roar.

Roaring like a woman who owns a Pat Green Picker. Yes that's me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I must share Nancy Today with you.

I've been keeping her to myself for a while, but it's time to come clean.

She has over 100 YouTube videos, each one better than the last. I can't really pick a favorite, so I'll post a couple that are relevant to my interests. I think you could safety use these videos as instructions on how *not* to spin, and how *not* to card. However, use them as guidelines on how to live your life with joy and abandon.

I'll tell you what, Nancy knows how to make things work. Not well; but they WILL work. She doesn't seem to stop for instructions, she just dives on in.

I think that I'm on my way to being Nancy Today. I'd like to apologize in advance for all the trouble I'm going to cause you.

There are several other parts to the spinning video, but you really get her whole spinning technique in the first few seconds. I love how confidently she makes the wrong adjustment to the wheel over and over again, while saying that she doesn't have a clue what's she's doing. Evenutally she gives up on that and turns the wheel by hand (though she keeps treadling).. I have changed my mind; do try to watch spinning 2 and spinning 3.

Please note. If your vintage drumcarder sounds like this it means that you need to immediately adjust the drums. Nancy's carding teeth are intermeshing, which is never good. Her drumcarder is old and not too fine, but it would do a perfectly good job of carding if used correctly. However, for her use, she's coming up with exactly the product she needs to felt onto soap.

Try not to miss the one where she goes to the dump to get fleece. Or even the one where she felts the soap so well that there is actually no soap left. If you need a little marriage councelling, Nancy covers that as well, but not at the dump.

Medievel Reproduction Spindle

Recently Bess (proprietress of Make One Yarn Studio, spinner, SCA participant, and owner of the worlds' most impressive yarn/fiber stash) gifted me with a bottom whorl spindle that she's carrying in her store. I have not been a great big fan of the bottom whorl, but I was happy to give this one a spin. Bess describes it as follows:

"Mark Shier of Gaukler Medievalwares makes the spindle whorl of lead-free pewter in a hand-carved stone mold. It is based on a spindle whorl in his collection. He is a registered antiquities dealer.

The whorl comes with a hand-finished wooden spindle shaft."

When I received the spindle, it had just arrived from Vancouver Island, so in a day or so the shaft had shrunk enough that I could move the whorl up by approximately 1/4". Since then it's been stable and I'm not worried about it coming off. It's a small enough spindle that I was able to successfully spin in the car as we ferried to and from soccer today. That's big talk for somebody who is spinning silk, has dry hands, the windows are open and it's a bottom whorl. As you can see, all went well, and the cop is on it's way to being full (OK.. that might be stretching it somewhat!).

Some of the reasons I love this spindle are that it's unique and not mass produced; it spins solid, straight, and it doesn't take much room.

I'm spinning silk hankies that Aunty Tink gave me, and that I dyed. I am not really a blue person, but I totally love these.

So there you have it! My first intentional product review.

Dear Darts

Who is that really SMAD girl on your ravatar, and why is she there? Do we know her at all?

And, congratulations on your bubbly toes sock pattern being available for purchase. Posting that pattern must have been very empowering.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Look who came home for dinner

Today Opera, Aunty Tink and I took a drive out to Olds College to have a look at the vendor area of the 'Handweavers, Spinners and Dyers of Alberta' annual conference. The vendor area in particular. (though we did take a tour of conference entries, and found some amazing - totally amazing - pieces of functional and non-functional fiber art)

We took a quick tour, and although there were some really awesome booths, noted that only 60% of who we might have expected to be there had actually made the trek. Jane Stafford? Treenway? Not present.

I didn't get too far before I found a purveyor of bison fiber. $12.00 an ounce, I kid you not. There was a great deal of Fleeceartist fiber and yarn there, and I am amazed to announce that only two hanks of merino/silk came home with me.

And then I saw it.

A secondhand Pat Green Triple Picker. Besides being dirty and having a couple of scratches on the upper deck, it's in perfect condition. It came with a grabbing tool of some sort, a leather bib, and the original padlock. However.. no instructions. I asked the lady for her best price, and after and hour of thought, she decided it was $450.00 cdn. I figured that was pretty good, overall, and so the triple picker became mine. I'm so excited.

I spent this afternoon cleaning it up and giving it a whirl and learned that the teeth were too close together. That turned out to be a really simple adjustment, and all is now well. The fiber I chose to test on it was wayyyyy too long, and although it was eventually picked, I would stick to teasing anything similar. I had an undyed lb. of kid mohair that I was absolutely tempted to pick, but decided that patience is a virtue after all. I'll wait.

So today turned out to be more exciting than I had ever anticipated, and I love my new tool.

A couple of poorly executed videos to give you a giggle:

Hey, know what else? I saw puppies. 3 days old. Too cute to register on the cute-o-meter.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If you looked at your queue

I mean really, really looked at it; and ignoring the patterns that you've already purchased, and the yarn that you already have on-hand.. what would you actually knit?

My hair stands on end when I see a few patterns, and so I'm going to call those 'the ones'.. and honestly, I ought to delete the rest of the queue. But I won't.

So here's my must-knit list, as of today.

Tulip Cardi (that just has to be Dream in Colour, don't you think?)

Glows (maybe Claire will take pity on me, and get that colour of WM)

Kingscot (I have the pattern, and the problem is that I can't decide on the perfect yarn. And what can I say? I love a bobble. Me and Denny. We're for the bobble)

Cosima (because I'm just.that.tall.and.thin. or not)

Dianna (Nice name, huh? I want to spin/dye for this shawl.. I think I'm going to make two; a DK and a laceweight)

So there you have it. The list.

Now can someone tell me why I have 4 complete pages of other stuff on my queue? Clearly they are never going to see the light of day.


Have you seen it yet?

Oh oh.. the bfml is in the bucket now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My famous meatball recipe

I should really think this post over.. to get it exactly right. I think that I only have one chance, and I'd hate to blow it.

So.. tonight was the guild meeting. Marilynn, Correna, Gordana, Rose and I had volunteered to do snacks. As you may know, I'm just wild about snacks at guild. I've been thinking this over for months, and I really wanted to do a great job. Correna and I talked on the phone; Marilynn and I passed notes back and forth on Ravelry, and it went a bit like this: Marilynn was going to bake all day long for her contribution. We're talking the most lovely lemon loaf, perfection in carrot cake. Correna had planned to prepare squares of dark bread with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Unfortunately Gordana had to reschedule because of a family get-together in BC.. but we felt as though we'd do a great job even tho one of our members had fallen by the wayside. Me? I decided I'd provide cream puffs and meatballs, which I'd prepare at work, sometime in the afternoon.

Then came THE CALL. Correna's Juno was giving birth to puppies as we spoke. She wouldn't be able to come after all. It was a blow.. but we had Rose in reserve as our secret weapon, and things still looked good. Marilynn said she'd see what else she could come up with as far as appetizers go. Little did we know that Laura would arrive at guild with 2 extra cakes. It's possible that we have pulled together the Snack Night of All Time. The table was resplendent.

After the meeting was over, people began to line up at the food table! I was thinking that things were going well..... suddenly the room was filled with the smell of meatballs in sauce. I heard that our group should be hired to do snacks every meeting, and then I found myself standing up and acknowledging that I was the meatball person. Someone asked me if I'd consider putting my recipe in the newsletter? Another came to ask if I could please let her know how to make the meatballs so that she could prepare them for her son's family.

I was riding the wave, baby. Snack perfection. Newsletter worthy.

Following you will find my secret meatball recipe:

Open a bag of frozen meatballs that you have purchased at Costco. Use scissors. Pour said meatballs into a crockpot.
After consulting with Kim, pour on most of a bottle of BBQ sauce and some water.
Press 'Start'.

It's good to be me.

PS: Marilynn says that next time she's racing me to Costco. And Juno? I don't know how she's doing, but when I talked to Correna, there were 2 puppies. I'll say a little prayer for her and hope that all is well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


That's Dida ahead of me, and Nini holding my hand. She has some crazy sunglasses on that are bending her ear over. Believe me; normally it is a perfect little ear. ;)

I used to laugh at my dad and my brother when they walked together. They looked exactly alike. I just noticed that the same is true of Dida and I.

I'm a snack person at guild tomorrow. I'm really excited. We're going to provide the best snacks ever.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The boy is in a bucket

Well.. only to his shoulders. Poor guy has the flu.

I haven't heard from Mug yet, she's too busy 'chillin' I understand, but Dida said that besides West Jet losing her luggage, all is well in the Dominican.

Me? I spent the long weekend knitting and carding, and knitting and knitting and spinning and knitting. You can't beat that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mary told me that she had Qivuit...

And that she would like to give it to me. I couldn't imagine anybody giving Qivuit away, so I assumed that she had some raw and although I would be so grateful to have it, that it would be a good deal of effort to clean it up.

Today she came into the shop and gave me a little bag with 3 - 10 gram packages of clean, wonderful, beautiful Qivuit fiber. I'm so thrilled. I now have enough to spin for a shawl. I doubt I'll finish it on a spindle, since I how have so much that it would take me at least another year to finish. Maybe I'll see if I can slow my wheel spinning down enough to do right by the fiber.

Thank you Mary, that was a thoughtful and kind gift. I really appreciate it.

More spinning tonight.. I haven't finished plying the last of the Cormo, but snuck 20 or 30 grams of Columbia into the lineup. I scoured and combed it, so I was really anxious to see how it spun. Much softer than I had anticipated, and also, as white as the driven snow. I think I'll Navajo ply it and make a nice pair of white socks.

I did one tier on the Targello deux. I am loving the Noro Silk Garden 205 colourway; it's really bright and beautiful. Very mojo restorative...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Targello the deux

targello 205a
Originally uploaded by spinknit

When you lose your mojo, and you've knitted one particular shawl 2 or 3 times and it's still not where it ought to be.. well, you have to revert to what you know.

I still plan to spin/dye one for myself, but in the meantime, here's a happy fuchsia version to get me over the hump.

I'm unexpectedly sad about Gokey leaving AI tonight. The man has soul, and he has class.. that's for sure.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Have you seen this yarn?

I mentioned that there was a missing yarn.. a silk Koigu. After feeling like there were more yarns that I hadn't seen during the spring cleanup, I started going through iPhoto, and sure enough I'm missing some handspun too. Where does yarn go when it escapes?

The search is on.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Spring has sprung

The grass has riz,
A big ugly spider climbed along the yarn I was plying
and it was so creepy that this doesn't even have to rhyme.

Bonus video of the Paiko glass spinning wheel in action. Non-creepy vs. creepy.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Well, actually it wasn't, but it seems like everyone should get to type that sentence once in their life.

This weekend turned out to be especially productive; I can barely remember all the things that I accomplished. Roxy (the pup) kept me up most of Friday night; I was totally and completely exhausted by her whining and crying. She would have liked to sleep on the bed, and I would have liked her to sleep in another city. Neither of us got our way. Eventually I got a few hours sleep, and was about to get up to take Mug to soccer, when BFML offered to do the deed for me AND take both dogs as well. I slept from 9 to 12.. it was like absolute heaven.

Once they returned home I packed up Mug and headed for Make One to talk to Bess about dyeing and to spin for a while. The store was pretty darned busy. AnneK brought in a warm coffee cake, studded with chunks of apple. Did I say heaven?

I don't know what possessed me, but afterwards I started bringing all of my yarn and allll of my fiber downstairs to organize and.. well, spring clean. I've been thinking it needed to be done, but dreading it. Man, what a job. I got to a point with the yarn that I'd think I was done, and sure as crap yet another bag of it would be hiding behind something. In the end my entire upstairs area was sorted out and organized, and all of my yarn/fiber is contained, labelled and, shockingly, findable. It was kind of fun being reminded of frogged projects, successes, failures, plans... I got rid of very little, and realized that I'm missing one skein of yarn.

Silk. Koigu. From our New York Trip. DAMN.

Anyway, we won't discuss mileage, or Rubbermaid totes, or green garbage bags. None of that.

I knitted, I spun... the Cormo basket is completely and absolutely empty. To be honest I never thought I'd see the day, but now that I have combs, the fiber is under my control. The Cormo is about 50% plied.... I wish now that I'd Navajo plied it, because it's thinner than I would have liked, but still soft, still gorgeous. (Yesterday the 2009 hoggetts were sheared. I so want one).

I dyed and dyed and dyed; the kitchen is absolutely resplendent in a rainbow of fiber. Tonight I'll bag that up and get it off to it's new home. I felt inspired, for the first time in an age.

Ahhhh and it was Mother's day. Dida and Ike (and Nini, in a stroller) ran the 5k, so BFML and I walked downtown to cheer them over the finish line. It was such a great thing for Dida.. her first race ever. Later we went to their car and Dida gave me a framed picture of Nini in a red raincoat. It's the best ever.. honestly.

BFML treated me like a queen all day on Sunday, and gave me a reconditioned mailbox that he and the kids had worked on. We so needed it! I can hardly wait for it to be installed.

Seems like this is about enough information.. but honestly there's more! Mug and I watched The Colour Purple together, we had poached eggs, drank Lambic Framboise - not Mug; BFML, I did washing/carding experiments, BFML freecycled and I landed up with a copy of Eat, Pray, Love... the only book I've wanted to review by the time I was reading page 9. It's that good.

etc. It was an etc. kind of weekend.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

All spinning, all the time

Since I got combs from Vikingmaid I haven't knit one single stitch. Not one. I keep spying perfect little Cormo locks in the big cloud of washed fleece that I have by my chair.. and I think how nicely a particular lock will slide onto the comb, and I wonder how much it'll fluff up. The first pass is easy, and it seems to get tougher each pass.. yet the more passes, the cleaner and more oriented the wool becomes.

As I work, residual lanolin softens my hands. Piles of fluffy clouds grow.

Initially it was all about spinning, because the combing was awkward (get enough done to spin for a little while and hope for the best). Now, I'm at another place, where the combing is as enticing as the spinning.. and gosh, the spinning is great.

I have a sense of urgency about it because I have 6 lbs. of Cotswold calling my name. 3 lbs. of Border Leicester, 3 lbs. of 17 micron (no, you did not misread that) Merino. I have Targee. I have.. well, more. It calls my name (you might know the voice of wool in the form of yarn, but in truth it begins speaking as soon as the fiber has been sheared); and frankly there are a lot of voices in this house at the moment.

And, best of all? 40 grams of Qivuit is coming my way. I can spin it as thin as a thread, so 40 grams represents a long, long, long spin.

Somehow I need to win a lottery, because the real world is cramping my style. There aren't enough hours in the day.

ps: If you have been interested in Kiva and found that of late it has been next to impossible to find lending opportunities, it seems to have resolved itself. Yesterday I was able to do 6 loans in areas that are meaningful to me (a seamstress, a craftswoman, a weaver, a woman selling timbers, a woman in construction and a blacksmith). Kiva is truly the most sustained fun you can have for $25.00.

Picture? Mug and Banana playing together at the park; the day's last sunlight streaming though golden hair.