Friday, January 26, 2007

Fat Cat Owns 23 Old Ladies

I have to admit that I've been having a bit of a rough week. It has been cold. Really cold. Not the coldest we've ever had up here. But cold enough that people are barely recognizable beneath all of the layers. The high today was -16 C (4 F) with a wind chill quite a few degrees below that. All of which means that I don't spend a lot of time out side. Which also means that I don't get a lot of sun. The south facing part of our house is the back shed. We get about an hour of sunlight in the front room first thing in the morning. And maybe as much in a small, high window in the back of the kitchen when it is setting. Even if I was able to catch these few, week rays, I have figured out that this is not anywhere near enough sun for me. So I have been feeling a bit SADD. Which brings be to the title of this post. I was in the grocery store getting some tonic water to go with the gin that I am sipping on right now and one of the tabloid's caught my eye. Fat Cat Owns 23 Old Ladies. Complete with a picture. Made me laugh out loud. Not the good old belly laugh. More like a "HA!" But in any case, it brightened my day just a bit. So I thought that I would share it with you all.

Last night was also the first meeting of the "neo-spinsters". There were 5 of us and it was really nice to get together, gab, drink tea, and spin. We will be meeting every two weeks. A couple of people there thought that they may know another person or two that may be interested in coming. Maybe some day I'll have some pictures of our meetings.

And speaking of pictures, here is what Nicole has been up to with paint and paper.

I think that we have another artist in the family.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Gallery

Mira tried her hand at the spinning wheel yesterday. If you look closely at her face (and at the yarn on the bobbin), you can pretty much tell how she felt about the whole experience. She spins fine on a drop spindle, so I think that it is just a matter of time before she gets the wheel. I hope that she doesn't let a not so successful first try discourage her from trying again. Her biggest complaint? The wheel kept spinning the wrong way.
Here is a little scene that she set up on a shelf in her room. The ground and background is painted, the trees are make from wine corks and green felt, and the critters (mostly dragons are fimo. Click on the picture of a close up.You can really see the size scale too. Everyone knows how big a wine cork is.
Here is a snake smelling a flower
A mother with her hatchling and eggs.

flying dragon
Fire breathing snake and rat with a pin for size scale.
And another hatchling. These things are all incredibly small and as you can see, quite well done. Sorry about the blurry photos. Some of us are good photographers... and then there is me.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pretty skeins all in a row

Here they are. My spinning production from the past few weeks. On the right is some merino that I dyed to felt, but the call of the wheel was stronger that the call of felt. Next to it is the roving from my Yarn aboard pal Margene . She also sent a lovely drop spindle, on which I spun about a quarter of this skein. Then life got in the way of spinning. Followed by Christmas and New Year. And then the miraculous delivery of a wheel and a bit more time. So I finished the skein on the wheel. Then is the two skeins of sultan. Lastly is a combination of some of the left over dye samples that I carded together when I was desperate to spin, but had no dyed fleece. It is mostly reds with some pinks, oranges, and purples mixed in.
Here she is... solo. Gotta love it.
And here is what I did yesterday. One bobbin was spun at the S&B the other night, and the second bobbin and the plying happened yesterday. Of course, the colours are not quite right. They are a little washed out.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Snow Day

Kids school canceled. My school canceled. Bill still had to go to work. But I get to spin some today!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cold enough for ya?

You know it's cold when.... I break out the hair dryer. I have one of these beasts for one purpose only. That is to shrink wrap the leaky windows in my old house every winter. The hair dryer in question was one that my sister had when we were teenagers. She just turned 40 this summer and so I am actually quite impresses that the thing still works. But then again, as I stated before, it doesn't get much use in the run of a year.
So in any case, this morning dawned -24C (-13 F) with a wind chill of -33 (-27F). This after weeks of temperatures hovering around freezing. I swear that when I said earlier that this winter was mild, it WASN'T A COMPLAINT! Today is a day off work for me (read: day to run errands) and so the babe and I are off to the grocery store, but one look in the mirror convinced me that I had to do a few repairs before venturing out in the cold. Hence the early morning shower instead of the late night bath. And after emerging with wet (but clean ) hair. I decided to break out the hair dryer. First time in about 15 years.
And why did I not take the late night tubby? I was called around 5:30 last evening to be informed that our S&B group was getting together. At one point we were very regular, but times change, and lives change, and we found ourselves getting together less and less often. But we still get together about once every two or three months. Last night was at Amy's house and I brought my spinning wheel. Or at least, Kora's spinning wheel. I talked to her and she said that I could keep it for the time being. She is too busy with school and music to be doing any spinning. All the better for me! In any case, I spun about 2.5 ounces of pink/purple/burgundy merino. I hope to spin the other bobbin on the weekend and get them plied. What an addiction! None of the gals had ever seen a spinning wheel in action and had quite a lot of questions. One of them asked what I was going to do with the yarn. I had to laugh and say that for now it was all about the process not the product. I guess that I can call it "zen spinning". I can't work on it tonight because I have some homework to finish up. Yup. Homework. I know that I said that I wasn't going to take any more courses, but I was lured into this one. But this is getting to be a bit of a rambling post and I will talk more about that tomorrow. Hopefully with pictures.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

E-mail mystery solved

I'm sure that you all remember my ranting about not being able to reply to comments because the comments came in with "no reply" . I think that I have found the culprit.
The problem? When I "upgraded" to beta, somewhere along the way, my e-mail address that had been shown on my profile disappeared. So I updated my profile and checked (again) the box that said "show my e-mail address".
Any of you that had your e-mail visible may want to do this and once again, replies will come from your comments. And I really do like to reply to your comments.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

6 weird thinks about me

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the "6 weird things about you.
People who get tagged must blog 6 weird about themselves as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.
  1. There are certain sounds that I hate. Not just dislike, but jaw clenching, blood pressure boiling HATE. Bill thinks that this is extremely weird. Among the sounds are hot liquids with milk in them being stirred, business shoes walking down a long corridor, chewing. Some of them are very specific, others are a little more general.
  2. When I was a child, one foot was a full size larger than the other. The smaller one has almost caught up now , but is still smaller by a mm or two.
  3. If my feet are too hot, I get cranky.
  4. My ears are also two different sizes and are too small to tuck my hair behind.
  5. I can't sleep with any part of my body hanging off the edge of the bed. No feet or arms can be past the boundaries of the bed. I also have a very small temperature window of comfort when I sleep. I often wake up in the night and am just a little bit too cold, but not cold enough so that I know that I am too cold to sleep. Sometimes is takes me an hour to come awake enough to realize that my problem is that I am a half degree too cold. I think that this weird thing sucks.
  6. I need to eat on a regular basis. If I don't, I get the shakes and have anxiety attacks. Bill also thinks that this is really weird. What I think is weird about it is that this only started after I had my first child
  7. Nice yarn make me drool. Really. When presented with really nice yarn, my mouth fills with saliva. I find myself swallowing a lot. In fact, Trish, the owner of the local yarn store has been know to say "don't get too close to that one"
  8. I smell yarn. I love the smell of silk and I always have.
OK, so maybe that last one isn't so weird to most of you, but to those non-fibre people, such a thing is weird indeed.
Apparently I also have a hard time stopping at just six weird things.
I also hate pointing fingers so I'm not going to tag anyone.

I also have finished spinning the roving that Margene sent me through Yarn Aboard .
I was spinning it on the drop spindle that she also sent and meant to continue, but I was caught up in the whorl and pull of the wheel. It is ever powerful and I can't seem to stop. I wondered how people could ever have too much hand spun, but I am beginning to see. I am going to have to come up with a few weaving projects to justify my new addiction.
And while we are on the subject of spinning, a friend of mine is looking to start up a spinning group, so if you live in the greater Fredericton area, have or can get a spinning wheel and are interested in spinning with others, comment, or drop me an e-mail and I will send you more information. My friend has been teaching spinning the past few years and is willing to give pointers and help to anyone who is just learning (like me) or is rusty.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Free Hugs

Free Hugs came to my attention thanks to Amy. It brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face. Check it out.

Monday, January 08, 2007

First wheeled skeins

This is the spinning wheel that helped turn

this into

THIS!!!!!! 8 oz of Blue Faced Leicester in what I want to call "Sultan's of Swing". It makes me think of those romance stories that I read in my teens that took place in the desert in some opulent sultan's tent. You know, (or maybe you don't) silk and velvet, luxurious hangings, dates and honeyed mead almost always entered into the mix and a servant or two. I almost forgot the jealous serving girl who wanted the head guy for herself. One that I remember (inherited from my grandmother of all people) some poor woman some how got lost in the desert and badly sunburned, and before she could freeze to death in the night, Prince Omar (or whoever) rode in on his horse and saved her. He graciously waited until her sunburn was better before shameless seducing her. Oh, the things that stick with us after 20+ years.

Let's get a close up of that beauty!

In fact I had so much fun the other day that I brought home some more fleece (merino this time) and spun up 4 oz of loveliness. This will be niddy-noddied in the morning and soaked and hung. I was actually quite impressed with my first wheel skein (skeins really). When I skeined them off to do the soak and set thing, they hung almost straight. This compared to my first spindled skein that twisted back on itself about 6 times. I love the wheel. The loaner wheel is a louet. It looks like it has been around for quite a while and had a bit of a problem. The piece of plastic that connected the drive shaft to the treddle was broken and I did a quick fix that is functional but by no means perfect.

So now I have a question for all of you spinners out there. When you ply, there is always a bit (or a lot) left over. What do you do with the little bit of single ply? I actually tried Navajo plying today because even though I weighed out the two bundles of fleece (one for each bobbin, of course), I ended up with about 8-10 yards extra on one bobbin. It was a good learning experience. I'm glad that I had a demonstration before boldly striking out on my own.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A new spin on things

I have recently and temporarily inherited a spinning wheel. To make a long story short, it was on long term loan to Liz who just sold her house. The wheel belongs to my upstairs neighbour Kora. Kora was not home when Liz came by to drop it off, and so she asked if she could park it here. Spinning wheel in my house? No problem. I will return it to Kora soon,( Kora had offered to loan it to me a while back anyway) but I thought that while it was here.....I'd give spinning with a wheel a whirl, so to speak.
The result?
Addiction! Pure and simple. What fun! I had some BFL that I had dyed a few months ago and this afternoon I managed to spin about half. I am amazed at how quick it is compared to a drop spindle! I have another 4+/- oz left to spin on bobbin #2 and then I'll give plying a try. Guess what I am doing tomorrow? Actually, I am going to try and get a warp made up and perhaps dyed tomorrow. I want to try some 8 harness crackle weaves on my hand dyed warps. Bill is taking the kids to visit their grandparents in Woodstock tomorrow so I am going to have the day off. Some cleaning is necessary, but so is some time for crafterly pursuits.
Liz has sold the house and had the movers come by today and pick up most of the stuff. My large loom was stored at her house, and so it had to find a new and hopefully temporary home. My brother came and picked it up and it's new home is a shed at the farm. I hope that it is not there for very long.
As for pictures, sorry, but no camera in the home now. I hope to get my hands on one soon and be able to show you my new yarns!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I shall press on

With the socks. Thanks ms. pea for the cheering and the smarten up and stop whining slap. I have cast on again and have about 1cm of the cuff done. I am also going to get a second pair of needles and knit both of them at the same time. I'm also thinking of changing the pattern a bit because there is a whole bunch of purling in the leg of the sock, and I have to admit that purling is not my favorite thing to do. I have been knitting with my left hand and it gives me a bit of a cramp when I do that push down the yarn with your finger to purl. I am going to switch to my right hand. In fact I have been knitting with it from time to time, but, after putting the knitting down, when I pick it up, I automatically start knitting with my left. Re-training is in progress.

We had a great time on New Years Eve, (Mr. Green did it) but a bit too much was consumed and New Years Day was not a great day for me. I'm hoping that it will be the last time for this year that I feel like THAT! Faint hope really.

And yesterday was my first day back at work. Things are not looking good for the Fiber Arts studio. This year we have no first year students. Nada. Zip. There are three in second year, and three in third year. Curriculum changes have made the students chose their studio by November in their first year. Before, it was chosen in April after 4 months of intense instruction. There was room made for two first year classes and each had a full day of instruction. In our studio, they wove blankets and it is amazing how many people were convinced that weaving was something that they wanted to do once they wrapped themselves in a blanket that they had made. Also, there was a rumor that at least one student changed their mind after choosing another studio and wanted to take Fiber Arts and they were told "no". A few other things that are suspect have happened and I have begun to wonder if we are being phased out. Budget cuts are necessary and I feel that we have been labeled "fat". I hope that I am wrong. But for the first time, I understand how worker morale can plummet.