Thursday, June 28, 2007


Blue wool scarf that was stuck on the loom for so long. It's nice but it didn't inspire me.
Mermaid dreams. Straight of the niddy noddy. 4 oz, 340 yards. The finest that I have spun so far.
Hand spun scarf. Once the uninspired scarf came off, this quickly went on and was off by the next day. I love weaving with the slubby hand spun. It works up so quickly.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The War Rages On

I have dealt a severe blow to the troops of the living poop. Still they manage to rally new members and attack the home front of the lily plants. I have stepped up my counter attacks by grabbing at the little shit disturbers bare handed. My battle cry of "Gross! Gross! Gross!" has been heard by neighbours and beetles alike. It is really a shame that the beetles are so destructive. They really are a very pretty beetle. Lovely red with very pleasing beetle proportions. I only feel a small twinge of guilt when I crush their bright wing cases beneath my shoe. No guilt is felt by crushing the disgusting larva which, if you had forgotten, cover themselves in their own feces. Gross! Gross! Gross!

Yesterday was the first market for me this summer. I did sell a few things. Mostly some hand spun yarn that I had marked way down. I actually didn't expect it to sell the yarn at all and had considered it an experiment. The result was that I felt rather ill at the price that I got for my work. After the second sale, I quickly put my prices back to where they had been before I discounted them. But by that time 5 of my skeins were gone. I won't tell you how much I sold them for, it is too embarrassing. Both people were from out of town and had stumbled upon the market (well, I led one there when asked on the street corner for a recommendation for a good place for breakfast.)

I have three skeins left and I think that they are going to be for me. I am also almost finished plying my fine yarn in the mermaids dream colourway. I think that it will be somewhere between a fingering weight and a sports weight. Once it is plied I will give knitting my first lace sample a go.

Sara, I'll be knocking at your door! I think that you can come over and dye the second half of your roving in exchange for lace knitting tutorials!

I had another dyeing workshop today. It was just my former students who wanted to have me available to answer questions while they did the dyeing. It was in a different location because school is over for the year and when we set up the date for the workshop, I was unsure if the new stove was going to be installed in the dyeing kitchen by then. It actually was installed and it is a beauty! It is a glass top industrial range that will fit 4 large pots. It also has what is called a bridge between two burners so that you can use a really large pot or a roaster. We needed to get a new stove because the last time that I used it, sparks flew out of one of the burners. I have gotten so many shocks that I finally stopped changing the fuses that blew with amazing regularity. I just went and found Joe, the maintenance guy. Wonderful Joe would come and change the fuses and eventually explained the situation to the powers that dole out the cash, who decided that a new stove was in order. In any case, we had the workshop in Karen's back yard, which was fine, except that it just wasn't like home. Or school, as the case may be.
I have dreams of my own studio. With lost and lots of shelves.....
I still have to clear some bobbins and get that cochineal silk plied. I really have no idea what it shall become. Could I be so decadent as to make some silk socks? Probably not. But what a lovely thought!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happiness is....


Irises in this case. The peonies still haven't quite bloomed, but are really really close.
F is actually for many things in my life. Like Family and Friends and my Father. And yesterday it was also for Finishing.
Yesterday I finished off this warp. Finally! One scarf was already woven, cut off and fringed. I wasn't all that thrilled with the finished product. I had experimented in over dyeing some grey and brown yarn and it turned out a little dark for my tasted. I can't tell you the number of times that I sat down to weave and only made it for about two minutes before I had to get up. It is a relief to finally get it off the loom. Unlike knitting, weaving requires a bit more equipment and it is kind of hard to have too many UFO's. Unless you are talking about the final finishing. Sewing in ends and what not. I'm not. If your sweater is not working for you, it is easy to pick up another set of needles and another ball of yarn. Add a new pattern and you are all set! Harder with a loom.

Do I have a picture of the finished scarf, even though it has been done for about a month? Nope. Even though we had a camera for about 3 weeks? Nope. The other thing that I don't have a picture of is this hand spun in its skein.

Too late now because all 8 ounces were made into a warp yesterday and wound on the loom. The scarf is about half way done. I may have a chance to finish it today and if I do it can go on my table at the market on Saturday. Because it is that time of year again and the Carleton Artist Market is happening again this summer.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Happiness is....


Kids are in bed. All is quiet. The demands of the day are all done. Evening is a time when I can relax a bit. Spin a bit if I feel like it. Weave if I feel like doing that. Tonight I think that I am going to go and read for a little while and then go to sleep early. Last night was another one of those not so good nights as far as sleep goes. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it sucked. I'm hoping that tonight is better.

School for the kids ends this week. As a rule, we are not all that strict about bedtimes in the summertime so soon I shall have my evenings invaded a bit. But the mornings will be quieter!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happiness is....

DONE! Finally I am done my six month socks. And when I say done, I mean DONE! Including sewing in the ends. All done, except the blocking, but I think that we discussed that issue a little while ago.
I know that some of you can finish a pair of socks in an afternoon. Not so for me! I'm sure that I could, if pressed, get a pair of socks done in a week. But nobody pressed me. These are the socks that I started just before Christmas and continued to knit all through the winter while scanning slides at work. You can get a lot of knitting done in the one to two minute intervals between slides. I usually worked at it about 6 hours a week. Knit a few needles, put them down, deal with the slide by turning and renaming it. Next slide, pick up the needles again, knit a few more needles, etc. Pretty slow going as far as knitting goes but it helped me to keep my sanity.

And here they are posing with my Birks. So happy!
And even more important, I also did my very first Kitchener Stitch toe! Well, this is actually my second one. The other one had a few slight errors. But we won't talk about them.

Now I have to go and pick out a new pattern for my next pair of socks. Something simple, no doubt. How long to you think that the next pair will take me?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Living Poop

Now before you think that I have gone completely off my rocker, let me say that living poop does not make me happy. This is a different kind of post all together.
It goes something like this...

After supper this evening, Bill was washing dishes and I was putting food away when Mira comes in and says, "Mom! You've got to came see this!"
Wary of the interests of my children, I ask "What?"
Her reply, " The chives have bloomed and they are HUGE!"
"I've seen chive blossoms before and I am in the middle something here" (I was picking the roast away from the fat and my hands were just a tad greasy)
"No! You really have to see these! They are so BIG!"
"I know how big chive blossoms get. They get really big, right?"
"But these are HUGE! They are all big and poofy! Like this big!" Accompanied by vague hand gestures.

Now, before we go any further in this tale, let me explain about chives in my yard. I cannot tell you how many chive plants have been killed in my yard. Everything else can grow and thrive, everything but chives. The reason? Mira. Liam and Simon to a lesser extent, but mostly it is Mira. The kid LOVES chives. Mom has a pretty healthy chive patch and so when Mira would kill of a plant, I would beg another bunch from Mom. And there is also usually someone who is dividing their garden who is looking for some poor innocent to foist some chive plant on. Most people have too much chives. Most people do not live with Mira. She normally will level a chive plant. Just snack it away until it looks like it just joined the army. Brush cut city. Until last year. Last year was different. Last year, she found a chive plant growing on the river bank by Mom's house. Mom had tossed it there a few years before when she could not find any other gardener to take it off her hands. Mira sought and received permission to get a pot and dig part of it up. This became HER chive plant. No mother was ever as protective of her offspring as Mira is of her chive plant. Knuckles were rapped and boys were sternly warned to stay away from HER chives. Mine, of course, were fine to plunder. The same thing happened this year with her shooing all away from HER plant. And so it bloomed. For those of you who know chives, this comes as no surprise. For MY children, it was a wonder!
It took about three minutes to convince her that I had actually seen chive blossoms before, and, yes, they were rather large. I explained that I had chives before she was born. That was enough to convince her.
A few minutes later, Liam comes bursting in and exclaims "You've got to come see this!" You may be beginning to get a feel for why the phrase "You've got to come see this!" is often followed by me saying "What, exactly, is this thing of wonder that I NEED to see?"
Liam's reply was much more ominous than Mira's earlier one.
"There are bugs on your plants that look like living poop!!!"
O.K. That got my attention. This was new. This, I will go check out. And sure enough, there are bugs on my lily plants that look like living poop. Having picked a fair number of lily beetles
off my lilies this year, one quick google search later and I was looking at the larva for lily beetles who, for some reason, cover their backs in their own excrement. I guess that it is probably to discourage hand picking them. It certainly worked for me. But these little guys can really cause some serious devastation! I may have to pull out all of my lilies and spray the whole area with some dreaded poison. I am going to assess the situation in the bright light of day tomorrow and armed with rubber gloves and a bucket of bleach water, pluck and drown as many of the disgusting little buggers as I can. And there are many! Thankfully my lily patch is limited and the lily beetles only eat "true" lilies and not day lilies.

But still. Covering themselves in their own poo? Ick.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Happiness is....

Colour! I think that I have enough fleece to last the summer! And speaking of colour, I have taken a wee break from the white roving to get a little colour fix.

This is mermaid dreams. I am spinning it fine and I am going to attempt (gasp) to knit a lace sample. And for those of you who think that white might be boring, go take a look at Valarie's Blog. All I have to say is WOW! I am inspired to keep spinning the white!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Happiness is....


Ants on my peonies. Along with big fat buds! They will be out and blooming in about a week.

Happiness is also

Birkenstocks with new soles and foot beds! I've had the upper's for about 15 years now and they still look as good as new! I am ready for summer.
Not much has been happening on the fiber front. A little spinning, a little weaving, and a little knitting. Check back later for some finished socks. Just in time for summer!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My First Annual 39th Birthday

Yup. Today has been my first annual 39th birthday. It has been a great day. I have had several phone calls from people wishing me a happy birthday. It was great to talk to each of them. A card arrived in the mail from my in laws with a little mad money. No matter what else is going on, I always use this money for something for me that I would not normally buy. I'm not quite sure where this years money is going to go to , but I know that I will enjoy it. The kids had minimal homework that they finished in record time. I think that that was the best present of all. I was serenaded by my neighbours Matt and Cora of Vetch fame. I had several e-mails from various people whom I hadn't heard from in a while, and none of them knew that it was my birthday! I love it when serendipitous things happen. We had pizza and garlic cheese fingers for supper, along with a rather nice bottle of wine. The kids have been lassoed into doing dishes. And soon it will be time for cheese cake. We may just have a #3 and a#9 candle in the candle stash.

And earlier today, I was sorting through some photos that were loosely sorted and I came upon these. They are from last year, but this years peonies are just a few short weeks away. They are my favorite flowers second only to irises.
All in all it has been a great day! I may even let 40 come next year just to see what will happen.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Spinning white is a little on the boring side. Especially after all of the playing with colour that I have been doing. But I am enjoying spinning it none the less. Leigh suggested that I keep working with colour else where. I am definitely taking that as sound advice. I also dug out my shawl pattern and reread it. And I am going to need a few more yards of white than I thought I would. About 300 more. I really don't know where I got the idea that I needed about 450 yards for the shawl, but I was off a bit. And it needs to be a bit finer than what I had assumed. No worries. The more that I have to spin, the longer I can put off that cast on. With provisional yarn. Oh, the learning that is going to take place then!
And here is the merino that was going to be part of the shawl and is now just a lovely bundle of yarn. I am quite pleased with it. I split the roving far finer that I ever had before in attempts to get shorter colour runs. And in the process, I found that it is easier to spin finer with a finer split roving. Who knew? Oh, most of you? Chalk it up to more learning on my part. I'm learning all sorts of things about spinning these days.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Just Wondering

I understand the need to block some knitted things. Lace shawls need to be set so the pattern is visible. Sweater pieces need to be flat so you can sew them together. But what I really want to know is....

Do socks really need to be blocked?

Lace socks maybe. But, you put them on your feet, so could that first wearing be considered blocking?

Friday, June 01, 2007

I have to try again

4 oz of silk dyed as I have never dyed before and will hopefully never dye again. Lets just say that it is a good thing that silk will not felt and will take colour, colour, and more colour.
And I discovered that I don't mind spinning it on the drop spindle. I seem to have much more control. The splitting of the roving and the pre-drafting helped too.
I started my shawl yarn. Again. This time it is going to be just plain old white. Shocking, I know, from the queen of colour. Maybe I'll dye it all one colour when it is finished. Or maybe I won't. I need to get the fool thing knit first. Not to mention, the yarn spun.
The silver silk is going to get plied with it's self. Later. I have it all on one bobbin and while I don't mind plying from a center pull ball if the ball is small, I think that this would be a bit too big. Not to mention slippery. I don't want all of that beauty to end up as a tangled mess.
And I have plied the merino from a few days ago with its self. It is currently "resting" on the bobbin but I may have something to show you tomorrow or the next day. It will also give the camera batteries a chance to charge. Silly me.
Today was Nicole's last day of school. The class had a picnic at O'dell park and we parents were invited to join them mid-way thorough he morning. Everyone had a great time and there were many wonderful photo opportunities. Except for the fact that out of the 10 batteries that I had with me, none had enough charge left for me to take even one picture. Bill even asked if I had the batteries charged and ready to go and I waved away his concerns. Live and learn. In any case, I have a few great pictures in my mind. Unfortunately, those ones fade rather quickly now.