Friday, August 31, 2007

Next in the queue

Here are two of the scarves that I completed during that time. There is one more scarf (still unfringed) and my next warp that I also completed that week that are in a display case at the school. I put them in there along with some undyed fleece and some dyed, but unspun fleece. The idea was to show the creation of my scarves in their various stages.

After spinning slubby and fat for a week during my residency, I have the need to spin something finer.
And that is were "Sailors Delight" comes in. Once again, I will say that it is the finest that I have spun yet, and once again it is true. I have had my bundles of fleece in a fabric bag and the last couple of bundles that I have spun, I have found have become somewhat felted on the outside. I am wondering if it is from being jostled around in the bag or from being fondled by various people. Anyone have any ideas? Or how I can stop it from getting felted. I once read or heard that keeping fleece in plastic bags can contribute to felting. What is your personal experience? Thanks.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Three posts in three days. Amazing!

Now, hold your breath! I have pictures!

Up first is a new project bag. It is my lace knitting bag. And in the lower left hand corner, you can see my lace shawl. It is just about big enough to cover the shoulders of a hummingbird. I have ripped and started a number of times. I now know that even one glass of wine and lace knitting don't mix. I also know to only attempt knitting on this when no children are awake. And Bill should not be in a talkative mood. And I can't be too tired. I should finish the shawl around Christmas. Christmas 2012 that is. On the right is my "beetle bag" as Bill calls it, and my handspun yarn. I am enjoying knitting with it. Top left is one of the most wonderful investments that I have made for knitting. It is a metal board with strips of magnets for marking your place on your chart. Wonderful invention! And on the edge of the board is a bag of stitch markers.
Making these little beauties is rather addictive. I kept digging deeper and deeper until I used up all of the lovely large beads that I stashed about. Today I picked up a couple of more packages of beads to make some more stitch markers. The fun never ends!
Next is something that I have been wanting to make for quite a while. I wanted one that would hold all my needles in one place. My crochet hooks too. My finishing needs a bit of work, but I am rather pleased with my effort. It serves its function well.
Inside are no fancy bunch of needles, but rather modest steel and plastic ones that I have been collecting for years.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

That was interesting

And rather fun. This year, we had a new coordinator for the orientation and she did thing a little differently. All staff and first year students met and had a quick meeting and key people were pointed out to them. Then we took advantage of the beautiful morning and went outside to do a few "ice breaker" exercises. The first exercise was that everyone was given a list of ten people to fine, such as, Find someone who... likes beets, has more than 4 siblings, speaks another language besides English and French, has a pet other than a cat or dog, has a mother named Annabelle, plays the bagpipes, etc., and you had to find someone who could answer yes to each item.
Then we were formed into two circles, one inside the other and we faced each other. The inner circle went clockwise and the outer circle went counterclockwise. It turned out to be sort of like musical circles because they had music playing and when it stopped, you stopped and had a conversation with whoever was in front of you.

The last thing we did was a line dance like you see in movies like "Pride and Prejudice". It was interesting and very chaotic, and it was also accompanied by a lot of laughter.

Then it was time for the studio tours. The students were broken up into groups of about ten and each group started their tour in a different studio. This year's students are a good mix of fresh out of high school and mature students. I generally love the mature students because they know that they have to work to do well. They know that a passing grade will not be handed to them just because they paid tuition. They generally are better note takers and are better organized. Generally. There are exceptions to every rule.

This afternoon was taken up with a studio meeting and a bit more cleaning.

I certainly hope that we get a good bunch of them interested in the Fiber Arts studio. And I hope that some stay after Christmas.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back to Work

Yesterday was my first day back to work. Let me just say that I hope that things improve. The studio needed some cleaning. After a summer of students working there, that was to be expected. What I didn't expect was problems with students class schedules. I didn't expect so much tension all over the school. I didn't expect to miss a meeting that I was told I didn't need to attend, but really should have attended. I really didn't expect to find moths in some of the fibers in the dye kitchen. You know. The nasty fiber eating kind. I didn't expect to fall off my bike while on my way back from buying "Raid" to kill the aforementioned moths and scrape my knee and shin and hit my toe so hard that it still hurts today. Did I mention the truck that almost hit me in the aforementioned accident? I didn't expect to be asked to work an extra day because there is some "issue" concerning one of the other techs. Don't ask me what. Nobody tells me anything. I did expect to have to make pickles last night but I really hoped not to crack any jars during processing. Alas, I lost two jars, one of which was a coveted 1.5 litre jar. All together, I made about 17 quarts. I also had plenty of help from all the kids and Bill. Thanks to you all.

Update: Just back from day two and have cleaned a second studio. Oh my. What a mess. It took three of us most of the day to deal with it. Weavers look relatively clean compared to fabric surface people. Today was better. My toe stopped hurting so much. This means only a slight sprain instead of a crack. Tomorrow is orientation day for the first years. It should be fun. I'll update you tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happiness is....


. Which I received a lot of when I went to the lake on August 10th. Lots of hugs too. I finished my residency on Friday at about 5:00 and quickly packed up all of my stuff and headed home to do a few last minute things before my drive came to pick me up. One of those things was to be to leave a last blog post saying that I was going to be out of town for a few days, but alas, it didn't happen. Along with a few other things. One of which was to pack up my computer so that I could check my e-mail with the very slow dial-up service that we have at the lake. Oops. No surfing of any sort was going to happen (too painfully slow) but at least I would have been in contact with the outside world. As it turns out, I survived. And it really didn't take me all that long to deal with the back log of e-mails. Checking blogs is going to be something else. I hope to be somewhat caught up by the weekend, but I also have a bunch of stuff to do to get the kids ready for school. I start back to work on the 27th and they start back the Tuesday after Labour Day.

And I almost didn't recognise my blog when I landed here. Until I remembered the "summer" look I gave it just before I left for vacation. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it now. I may play with the colours a bit more to warm it up as the weather gets cooler.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Home Alone

No, you won't find any cute kids doing all sorts of crazy things here this week. Because I am, as the title suggests, home alone. All week long. The last time that I spent time alone at home for more than a 24 hour period was.... was..... Well, gee whizz! This is the first time since I had kids! Every summer we spend some time at the lake which is about an hour away. And every summer we have a garden. So every summer I trek back and forth several times a week to do garden things. Like picking and freezing and pickling, etc. While I am here, I also do laundry and groceries and any shopping that needs to be done. And if I happen to come on a Friday evening, I do Saturday morning market as well. Doesn't sound like a very relaxing day, does it. And it is usually not.
Why, you may ask, is Jackie having this respite? It is because Uncle Sandy arrived on Friday and everyone followed him to the lake on Saturday. It is also because I am the Artist in Residence this week for the Fredericton Arts Alliance. I had asked for an earlier week but this was the slot that they offered and I accepted. I did one last year and it can be seen here. No camera right now so no new picts, but I will update you with photos when available. In any case, this year I am spinning and weaving my slubby scarves. So far I have finished plying 271 yards of Fortune's Rock. Spun 8 ounces of Monet's Lilies and made it into a warp. Finished the scarf that was on the loom and dressed the loom with my next scarf. And talked to many many people about what I am doing. I've even made a few dollars selling some origami cranes and antelope. It has been a good week so far. At home I have been busy too. I made a project bag for my lace knitting, 14 napkins and cleaned the boys room. And ladies and gentlemen.... IT IS STILL CLEAN! Minor miracle indeed. I've also read a book, went to a wedding reception, and watched a movie that was unsuitable for children. And tonight, I am going out for a beer with a few friends!
It has been a great week so far, but I have to admit that I am sort of looking forward to Friday. Friday is my last day and hopefully someone will come back to town to fetch me. I will be good and ready for some chaos by then and I know just the people to supply it.
I also just got my contract in the mail for work, so it is official now. I start back on the 27th of August. Just a couple of weeks away. I can hardly believe that summer is almost over.

Friday, August 03, 2007

No! What? Really????

I don't know quite how to say this, but, I started knitting LACE last night! Me! And Lace. In the same room, at the same time! Working together. Knitting a few rows. Lace! Can you believe it!?! It still looks like something the cat chewed up and spit out, but apparently with lace, that is OK at this stage.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sarah gave me a quick lace tutorial. She looked at my possible patterns and declared them sound and easy. Then she showed me the proper way to yo and ssk. I took a few days to digest the info and last night started with some of my hand spun. Wow!
And, of course, being me and it being lace, I have decided to give a few different yarns a try. The one that I knit with last night is my finely spun Mermaids Dream. It may be a little thick. I plied and washed some of my white merino singles that has been sitting on the bobbin for weeks and I am going to give that a try. And I also have some fine white alpaca that I may try.
I am also using Addi Turbos for the first time. I find that they are not pointy enough for my tastes. Do you want sharp points when knitting lace, or is it just me in my naivety who wants my points to be lethal weapons?
And while I am on the subject, when you spinners measure WPI how closely is you yarn squashed? I know when I measure WPI for weaving, I leave a little space between each wrap, just enough so that they are barely touching. This is to leave room for the weft. Even still I sometimes have to adjust my sett. So do you jam as much yarn as you can into that inch? Or are things a little more relaxed? Thanks!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I got nothing....

It has been hot, and I really haven't felt like doing much in the way of fiber stuff. I did however, bike out to the garden last night and let me tell you.... those plants really like the heat! The tomatoes have grown to Jurassic proportions, I have a few tiny eggplants and tiny peppers on the appropriate plants, and we are seriously into broccoli season. The cucumbers have started to grow into a reasonable size and the dill seed heads are coming along nicely. Even the beans have made a nice recovery from the little trim that a wandering deer gave them. Thankfully, there must be enough other stuff for deers to eat because they have stayed out of my garden for the past few weeks. I hope that they stay away. Cute as they are, they are sort of hard on the vegetation.
I wish that I had the camera with me as I went out because I actually had quite a few wildlife spotting's. The first was a family of ducks on the river. Then a groundhog was snacking on something along the trail. He quickly ran away when he saw me coming. Then I passed by the osprey nest and someone was perched on the edge stretching his/her wings. Then while I was in the garden, three birds that were either herons or storks were flying and circling overhead for a couple of minutes. And lastly one of the eagles flew overhead on the way to pick something out of the river for the chick that they have. Mom says the chick is flying now, but it is obviously not hunting yet.
We won't mention the flies, mosquitoes , and other various bugs. They are too plentiful by half.

Bill had a bit of a mile stone on Tuesday. And I meant to honor him with a "Happy Birthday" blog entry, but, like so much else in my life these days, it just didn't happen. So Happy Birthday Bill. And as he likes to point out, it is also Harry Potter's birthday. So happy birthday to Harry too.

Tomorrow is a very special day in my house. Tomorrow, Uncle Sandy is coming. The kids have been driving me nuts by asking about 16 times a day, "How long until Uncle Sandy comes?" We have it marked on the calendar, the kids can read a calendar, they can count and add and all of that stuff that would make it possible for them to figure it out themselves. I think that they just like to see me frustrated. But soon...soon, I shall have peace and quiet. Soon Uncle Sandy will arrive and the migration to the lake will take place, and I WILL BE STAYING BEHIND!!!!!

You see, I am doing my artist in residency this week coming up. And I know that I am going to miss the kids at odd times, but for the most part, I think that I shall enjoy the quiet and lack of demands on my time and energy. I will hopefully get a lot of weaving and spinning and dyeing done this week. Someone will be coming to get me next Friday and then I shall have a bit of lake time myself. I just hope the weather holds!