Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I love spring

Everything is melting. We are down to about a 4 foot snowbank in front of the house. In a couple of weeks, we will be down to grass. Brown grass from last year, but soon the little green shoots will show their heads. I looked out the window the other day and saw the heart in the snowbank. I think that my neighbour thought that I was a little bit cracked when I ran outside and started to take pictures of the snowbank.
I have to say that there is one thing that I don't really like about spring. The sand that gets tracked in daily. Here in the land of ice and snow our sidewalks get plowed, sanded, and salted after every snow storm. Storm after storm. Sand layer after sand layer. When all of the ice and snow melt, you are left with a lot of sand. Which gets tracked in to my front hall. I suppose that I could save it to put in the sand box for the babe.

And do you remember the pyrex episode ?

Well, I did it again. This time it was rice in a pot on the back burner and I meant to turn on the front burner. One burnt pot of rice later, I decided to do something permanent about my "little problem" You can see my solution above. F stands for FRONT. B stands for BACK. It has been a few weeks and this new system is working for me.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

You know who you are....

And now, another poem by that most wonderful of poets, Shel Silverstein.

Hector the Collector

Hector the Collector
Collected bits of string
Collected dolls with broken heads
And rusty bells that would not ring.
Pieces out of picture puzzles,
Bent-up nails and ice-cream sticks,
Twists of wire, worn out tires,
Paper bags and broken bricks.
Old chipped vases, half shoelaces,
Gatlin' guns that wouldn't shoot,
Leaky boats that wouldn't float
And stopped up horns that wouldn't toot.
Butter knives that had no handles,
Copper keys that fit no locks,
Rings that were too small for fingers,
Dried up leaves and patched up socks.
Worn-out belts that had no buckles,
'lectric trains that had no tracks,
Airplane models, broken bottles,
Three legged chairs and cups with cracks.
Hector the collector
Loved these things with all his soul-
Loved them more than shining diamonds ,
Loved them more than glistening gold.
Hector called to all the people,
Come and share my treasure trunk!"
And all the silly sightless people
Came and looked....and called it junk.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Internet and Yarn

These are my "Skeins of Many Colours". You know the little bit that is left over when you ply? I just kept adding them all together on one bobbin and then spun a neutral grey to ply it with. I think that they are going to be a scarf. But from now on, I'm going to make a ball and ply from both ends of the ballto finish the skein. These are interesting, but there is a lot of yarn on there that could have been in with my skeins. And now I know how to accomplish that.
This is my drunken mermaids dream. It is the finest that I have ever spun. Except for that fat part in the middle that happened one night over a bottle of wine.

And we are having problems with our Internet connection. It keeps timing out and dropping off of the radar. I am having problems sending e-mails. Some go out, some don't. And to look at anything takes for ever. So I have been missing all of your blogs for the past few days. IF I was smart enough to have added you all to my links list, then it would not be an issue. But as it is, I seem to have little time on the computer at home. Too much to do and the kids are actually starting to use it to do research for school projects. Finally! I have never seen any one so reluctant to go near a computer as Mira. And all Liam ever wanted to do was play games. But both of them have been actively using it as a tool.

There is hope yet.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

And the Winner is....

Not my hands. My hand piece was rejected from the show because, according to the curator, he has seen too many hands. Hands are overdone. Unfortunately for me, I'm not done with hands, so hopefully, at some other time, I will be able to get a show of my hands. I have them in many different shapes, media, and sizes.

On a good note, my silk shawl was accepted. I have to admit that it is very pretty. When I was weaving it, I kept saying "prettyprettypretty" I was really happy with the way that it turned out. Can I show it to you? Nope. My bad. I didn't take a picture of it while I had it. Photos are being taken of it so that it can go in the catalogue of the show. I can hardly believe it. My shawl! In the Beaverbrook Art Gallery! This is a BIG DEAL for me! I didn't think that I would ever show anything there. Let's here it for the Canadian Year of Craft!

Unfortunately, I am almost out of the silk that I have been using. I have enough for maybe one more set of scarves. The supplier of that particular silk has retired and so I need to get a new one. And all the other silk suppliers are much more expensive than the Banisters were. They dealt mostly in mill ends so they were able to keep their prices down. As a result of my increased cost of supplies, my scarves are about to take a price hike.
I wonder how my sales will be effected.

Friday, March 16, 2007

St Patricks day storm

This is what I saw when I checked the weather this morning.

Cloudy. Snow at times heavy beginning early this evening. Snow mixed with ice pellets overnight. Snow and ice pellet amount 15 cm. Blowing snow. Wind northeast 30 km/h gusting to 50. Low minus 8.
Ice pellets changing to freezing rain late in the morning then to rain at times heavy in the afternoon. Ice pellet amount 2 cm. Rainfall amount 10 to 20 mm. Fog patches developing in the afternoon. Wind east 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming southeast 40 gusting to 60 late in the morning. High 9.

Sigh. Spring ain't sprung yet.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

for those of you....

that like to show your outdoor flowers at this time of year, (you know who you are), we here in the snowy (but melting) north have flowers too. They are just indoors. This is one of my Christmas cacti that decided to bloom this year.

I also have the well know fuchsia colour one as well a very pale pink one. I love it when they bloom. Also blooming in my house is a cyclamen that someone gave me sometime last year. Apparently they are suppose to bloom, then everything is suppose to die back, at which point you lift the bulb and put it somewhere cool and bring it out again later. Most people just chuck them. Well, my little cyclamen can't read because there has been one or two blooms on the thing since last fall at least. Right now there are four.

And for those of you who were wondering about my sear sucker scarf done with my hand spun, here it is. You can see the ripply edge on the right side of the picture. Not a bad scarf, but not gallery work.
And this is a bad photo of my wall. With all my family's hands.
I hope this piece is chosen.
And today, Mira is home sick, so most of the running around that Nicole and I do on Thursdays is not getting done, so I am trying a bit of an experiment. I have been putting all of my odd bits of singles hand spun ( you know, the bit on the second bobbin that is always left over) onto one bobbin and today I am plying it with a purpley/grey singles that I spun out of a batt that I carded when I was desperate to spin something, but only had my hand dyed samples for my class before Christmas. So far it looks.... interesting. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sock Progress

It is now after 4:00 and I have just finished my last bunch of slides for today. I can now understand how some of you can knit socks so quickly. All it takes is time and the willingness to use that time to knit socks. As you can see, I have made great progress on my second sock. And I have now scanned over 450 slides. But not all today. Well over 100 today though. I think that it has been a good days work.


I have been working overtime trying to get a few things ready for the faculty show. The deadline has been extended one day and everything was due first thing this morning. I'd show you some pictures, but they are at home. I am at work right now waiting for some slides to scan so that I can digitize and label them. There are a lot of slides to get through and each one takes about two minutes to scan. So I have a bit of down time occasionally when there is not too much information on the slide to record.

Enter....The Socks. I'm working on an i-mac with a built in camera.
I used to sit and twiddle my thumbs occasionally for about 30 seconds between slides and it became old pretty quickly. So I decided to bring my knitting in and this is the progress that I have made in 30 second intervals between more than 300 slides. For the first time, I am knitting both sock at the same time to avoid the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome. You can see the humble beginnings of sock #2 hanging off of the needles of it's larger sister. So far so good. I have about a gazillion more slides to get through so I may finish the pair before the end of the year, which here occurs sometime in May. I doubt that I will get all of the slides done though.

But getting back to the reason that I have been absent from here for so long.... I have a felted wall piece, a dyed silk shawl, and a hand spun scarf. I had originally wanted to make a series of scarves with the hand spun but the second one I had a few tension issues. I decided to pair my hand spun with some mohair/silk blend that I dyed to match, and the mohair has no stretch to it what so ever where as the hand spun could be stretched about twice it's length. Some yarns just stretch more than others (as all of you knitters and weavers know) But when they are on a loom together, all of the yarns have to be under tension. I tried to compensate when I wound on and tied on, but apparently not enough. The finished scarf looks sort of a little like seersucker. Not what I was going for. So, to make a long story short, I have to do a bit more experimentation. I didn't feel that that scarf was something that I could show as my "best work", beautiful though it was.
I have also have a cold that has been keeping me awake at nights even though I am dog tired when I go to bed. Maybe I should just get up and blog!

Thanks for stopping by and I promise that I won't wait so long to wright again.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tales of a drunken spinner

This is my mermaid dreams merino roving. I was going for fine and I think I have achieved maximum fineness. For me anyway. I didn't have much time to spin last week and so when the weekend presented itself, (wahoo!) I finished up the first bobbin and got started on the second.

This is where the 'drunken' part comes in. Bill decided to watch a couple of movies and open a bottle of wine. I decided to join him. Along with my spinning wheel. I propped my self up on the futon in our "home theatre" and there, with the wheel and the afore mentioned wine, we watched Indian Summer and The Notebook . We have seen these movies many times before and love them both. While watching a movie I've seen before, I can do things with my hands that don't require my full attention. I'm sure that you all know what I mean. I have progressed in my spinning to this point and so though that it would be fine to spin and watch. Multi-tasking is a thing that I do with moderate success. And to be honest with you, I think that I would have been OK if the wine hadn't have been involved. Or maybe the beer before supper. One of them anyway. Because when I woke up in the morning my first thought was "I wonder what my spinning looks like" After the movie, I was surprised to find out that it was almost midnight and well past my bedtime and quickly took myself off to bed, not giving a second thought to the fleece that I had massacred.

You can tell the end of the movie was holding my attention much more than the fleece (beautiful though she is) by the (ahem) slight unevenness of my bobbin. And those over spun parts. And the slightly thicker spots.

But on the bright side, I had been wondering how to spin unevenly like my first few skeins. And now I know. Just add wine.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Eye Candy

Hot off the loom. My first skeins of hand dyed, hand spun yarn. Now we can add handwoven to the mix. I'm loving the spinning. And weaving with this stuff is wonderful! I sett it at 8EPI sleyed in a 6 reed because of some slubs. The weft is a wool/silk blend that just disappears and lets the beauty of the yarn come through.
Next on the loom is a silk shawl. Warp dyed by me of course. As I was winding it on, I just kept saying "So Pretty! So Pretty!" I am pleased with it so far. It is all threaded and tied on. I just have to put in my warp spreader and header and I can start weaving. I hope to have it off the loom in a couple of days. It feels good to be weaving again. I had to take a bit of a break after the Christmas rush was over. And January and February are usually a bit hard for me. I just want to hibernate until spring is near. We had a couple of really nice days here and I am feeling more energetic than I have in a while. Come on spring and hurry up!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Saturday Chore

This is the view this morning outside my front door. Maybe later, when the coffee is finished and I'm feeling a little more energetic, I'll venture out and give you a view of what faces us in our drive way. My back aches just thinking about it. In case you haven't guessed, I have a camera for the weekend. I'll be running around snapping all sorts of things that I have been up to lately. Because I have been doing. Including weaving my first wheel spun skeins into a scarf! I am also working on a couple of things for a faculty show at the school. It is a curated exhibition, so I have no idea if what I submit will be chosen, but it won't be chosen if I don't submit anything. This year is "The Year Of Craft" and in honor of that, The Beaverbrook Art Gallery in town here is going to have an exhibition of the Craft College Faculty work. You may have heard of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery because it has been in the news lately.There is a court battle going on right now about the ownership of over 100 paintings worth millions of dollars. To make a long story short, the board of directors says that the paintings were donated to the province of New Brunswick by the late Lord Beaverbrook, and the current Lord Beaverbrook (the late LB's grandson) says that they have only been on loan and he wants them back so that he can sell them to raise some money to pay for repairs to his summer home. There is a lot more to it than that, but there is the story in a nut shell. You can guess who's side I'm on.

And do you remember The Pink Thing? We have found another way to wear it! It's like a fuzzy pink evening gown. If only they made one in my size!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What's for supper?


I have nothing to put in my stew, you see,
Not a bone or a bean or a black-eyed pea,
So I'll just climb in the pot to see
If I can make stew out of me.
I'll put in some pepper and salt and I'll sit
In the bubbling water-I won't scream a bit.
I'll sing while I simmer,I'll smile while I'm stewing,
I'll taste myself often to see how I'm doing.
I'll stir myself round with this big wooden spoon
And serve myself up at a quarter to noon.
So bring out your stew bowls,
You gobblers and snackers.
Farewell-and I hope you enjoy me with crackers!

Courtesy of Shel Silverstein in Where The Sidewalk Ends.

This poem has great significance to me because this is just about how I feel right now. Like I've been boiled and served up. I just spent 2 hours mulling over the cook book selection in Chapters. Who knew that there were so many choices? I had a gift certificate to spend and Bill and I (it was a gift to both of us) decided that a cook book would be a good thing. I could have bought a book about spinning. Applaud my restraint. No wonder I rarely venture to the mall