Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm still here

I have found myself doing fewer and fewer fiber things as of late. And the things that I have been doing, while somewhat fun, haven't been fully resolved in my mind. But some progress is better than none and so I give you what I have been working on.

Socks. Do not adjust your set. They are a pair, they just aren't quite the same. They are for Liam, and I am sure that he won't mind. I am almost finished and there may even be enough yarn left over for another non matching pair. The skeins of yarn looked close enough to me, but apparently one ended up a little lighter. Which means that one is doing that spirally thing, and the other is not. Hmmmm. Seeing as I dyed them myself (but not with a pair of socks in mind) I really can't yell at the dyer, can I? I never would have guessed that there would be so much of a difference when they knit up because in skein form, the yarn looks almost the same.

I have also been playing around with felting. A couple of weeks ago, the felting class learned felting on a flat pattern. One of the students missed the class and came in over the March Break to catch up. I was kind of tired of cleaning so when she asked me to tell her how to felt using a flat pattern, I said that I would show her and we could do it together. I made a small vessel and had so much fun that I decided to try another one. It wasn't quite felted enough for my liking so I chucked it into my front loading washing machine. I checked it from time to time and it came out smaller and firmer. No great surprise there.

It is not quite finished yet. I am not sure what it need, but I am bouncing around some ideas.

And so I decided to try a larger vessel. This one stared out on a pattern about 18 or 20 inched round. Once I got it to soft felt, I took the pattern out and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed.... And it really wasn't felting up to much more. So I did the washing machine thing again. Except that this time I became distracted by life, the universe, and everything, and didn't take it out until I walked by a couple of hours later and noticed that the washing machine had stopped. It came out a nice oval, and the bottom measures 9"x7.5". It is nice and thick and firm though. Again, I want to embellish it somehow, but I'm not quite sure what I am going to do.

I have also been doing some spinning again. This is once again a surperwash merino and silk blend (80% merino-20%silk). I love the way it spins.

I had about 6 ounces of batts and most has been converted into the singles you see below. There is another bobbin that is almost as full still on the wheel. I am going to try and have it spun and plied by this time next week.
Wish me luck!

And here is the frost that mamoo was talking about in my last post. I have never seen frost like this before!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

F is for .....


Feathery Frost Fronds.

Pretty, isn't it? Jack Frost doing his magic on my screen door. In the colder months, the screen door is a bit of an indicator of how cold it is out. When you can't see out, put on an extra layer of clothing.

These frost patterns are just gentle reminders that it is not spring yet. We have had some rather cold nights lately, but today it actually rained for a bit. The rain helps the snow to melt. And melting snow is a thing that I want to promote.

Here is a frost from last month. You can see the difference in the whiteness. It is cold and unrelenting. This frost was probably a couple of weeks old when I finally photographed it.

I am hoping that the frost in the morning will soon go the way of the dodo. Or at least until next winter.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Post Cards from the Selv-edge

Another month and another new postcard.

It was quite full despite the fact that it had only gone through two hands. I added the little school of fish.

And the previous person had added the quilled frog and fish. They are so cute!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

First day of spring?

Nothing like the sounds of ice pellets in the morning.

Yes. This is another whining post.

We heralded in spring with a snow day for the kids. I had worked an extra day a couple of weeks ago and just "held" it so that I could take a snow day when we had a storm. The sitter (Mamoo) had to come in from outside of town, and seeing as I am rather fond of her, I don't want her to have to take chances on bad roads.

We had some snow last night, ice pellets and freezing rain today, to be followed by rain this afternoon. I have to say that I am heartily sick of winter. Pretty soon I will be sick of early spring. The snow banks in the above photo are over my head.

I remember back to that day in early February, the one called "groundhog day" around here, others call it imbolc. The basic premise is that if some critter shows it's face and hangs around for a while, we will have an early spring. I think that this tradition is just one of hope. "I hope he doesn't see his shadow", "I hope spring comes early", "I hope winter will be over soon."

Living in this part of the world, I have come to a conclusion. There is no such thing as early spring.

My plans for the day include laundry, cooking, cleaning, some weaving and spinning (I hope).

Do I have travel plans?
Nope. I'm not stepping out in that!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And now we wait.

I started my planting today. 4 different types of peppers, 3 varieties of broccoli, 2 kinds of eggplant, and basil and cabbage. It is a humble start and I will be planting more in about two weeks. Or maybe I'll let Bill do that session. It will include tomatoes and tomatoes are his favorite.

Heaven knows when I'll be getting my peas in. The ground is still frozen and covered in several feet of snow. And then there is the flood to get through. From all accounts, this years is going to be a doozie! Once the garden is dry enough for dad to plow it, I will be planting those wee green beauties. For those of you who have been here for more than a year, you know that peas are my favorite. Yes, nothing quite like garden fresh peas. I can finally believe that spring is coming.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I am so in the wrong profession!

Today was my 6th trip to the dentist since the beginning of January. All the kids needed checkups (and a few fillings) and the older kids needed cleanings. I had a checkup and cleaning too. Today it was for Simon and he had both a checkup and a cleaning. I'm sure that my eyes bugged out of my head when the receptionist told me the amount.

The fee breakdown is such
  1. check up- $31
  2. two x-rays- $26
  3. Cleaning- one unit- $49
  4. Cleaning -one half unit- $24
  5. Polishing- one unit- $23
  6. fluoride treatment- $21

I asked about the whole half unit thing and it is measured in 15 minute increments. As in for 15 minutes of cleaning is $49!!! The polishing takes less than 2 minute. Talk about a good hourly wage. Can anyone tell me if this is typical? My old dentist was in an accident and couldn't work as many hours so sold his practice to a new younger dentist. And the priced have sky rocketed! A check up used to be $20 and I wasn't charged a "new patient fee" when I brought in the kids for the first time. Nicole's first check up was last year and I was dinged with a $50 new patient fee! I can understand if you were transferring from some other dentist and had a history of dental problems but to peek into the mouth of a 3 year old and charging $80? I am not impressed. The first time that I went in for a cleaning, it was $72 all included. I know that she probably has some bills to pay off, but really! I'm just glad that we have coverage.

So when I got home from my very expensive dental trip, I made some new stitch markers. I found some shell beads and love them. Nicole helped me by putting on the smaller beads.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Small Steps

We have a week full of sun and slightly above freezing temperatures coming. Or so the weather page says at this time. That will hopefully diminish the snow banks a bit and melt some of the hard packed ice on the side streets and sidewalks.

Yesterday I hauled all of my fleece away from in front of my loom so that I could put on a warp. I chose Midnight Garden for the simple reason that I already had the perfect colour weft in my stash. The other three scarves will have to have weft dyed or purchased before I can weave them.
When I had moved all of my various fleece, batts, roving and fluff in general I realized that a fair number of them were in plastic bags. Apparently, fleece will felt just by sitting in a plastic bag. And having spun roving that this has happened to, I decided to do something to prevent this from happening again.

So I dug in my fabric stash and found about 3 yards of a thin cotton in a pale pink that I would probably never use for anything else, and made a bunch of bags to contain my fleece. I have to admit that it took me a bit of thinking before I remembered where this fabric came from. I have never purchased anything that was that colour of pale pink before so was at a loss as to where it cam from. Then I remembered Carol had brought over some fabric for me to pick through when she was cleaning out her mothers house last summer. It is a beautiful fabric, just not in my usual colour palate.

Not everything needed to be bagged, and there are still a few things that are in plastic (like the baby llama butt). The fleece that I am spinning usually resides in a gift bag that I can easily move around and will sit upright beside my chair while I spin.

All small steps heading towards my New Years resolution of getting more organized. And while we are mentioning resolutions, I have to admit that I am having mixed results in the "drinking more water" one. There are days when I drink my two litres (or more), and other days when I don't get anywhere close.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's Official

The February Blahs have passed and I now have the March Doldrums. We still have 200 feet of snow and ice. Yes, the days are a little longer, and that is good, but I want to put away my down parka and get rid of my winter boots. And sun. Check out all of the snow and flurries in my future! And right now the radio is talking about all the snow up north of the province which, when it melts, comes down the river and rushes by Fredericton and leads to flooding. Oh joy. Which leads me to another concern. Our garden is under at least 3 feet of snow and it's on the flood plain. So I don't think that I will get my peas in early this year. In fact, I'll be lucky to get anything in the garden until mid May. Sigh.

I did make up 4 warps out of my hand spun yesterday so for those of you that have put up with my whining, here's a little reward.

Now I need to unearth my loom from all of the fleece that is in front of it and I can start weaving.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

E is for....


It is that time of year when gardeners are starting their seeds for the upcoming growing season. After a winter like we have had in Eastern Canada, we are all looking forward to spring.
Like me, the seeds start to emerge from their winters rest. The sun is stronger and new life is on the horizon. (And no, I do not mean that I am pregnant-I'm talking about plants people!) Warm days are ahead. I survive in winter. I live in summer.
These plants are actually Mira's latest experiment. These are her Dragon Fruit seeds that she saved. I will start my planting hopefully within the next week or two with peppers and a few members of thebrassica family.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Stitch Marker Exchange

Are you tired of using the same old stitch markers? Do you want to add some new ones to your stash? You should go over to the Stitch Marker Exchange and sign up for the Spring Swap. It's a nice little swap that doesn't take a lot of time, nor a lot of money. You can sign up for as many swap partners as you like and the only thing that you are required to send are 5 stitch markers to each of your swap partners. It's up to you if you want to add anything extra. I always do. I love to find chocolate in my mailbox and figure that others do as well!

Monday, March 03, 2008

D is for....


This is Winnie. We get to borrow her every now and then when her mom has a meeting in town. The kids get to play with a dog for a couple of hours and I don't have another creature to take care of.

Win-win. Or maybe that should be Win-win-Winnie.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Blue ......

I am having a hard time naming this one too. It reminds me of blue water surrounding some tropical island. There is heat, relaxation, some fancy drink with an umbrella nearby. It brings me to mind of diving off coral reefs and being visited by colourful fishes. You know the type of thing that I mean. Even if, like me, you have never been to a tropical country, we have all seen the travel brochures. I'm talking Blue Lagoon without Brooke Shields.

I guess that I just dated myself.

One of the reasons for all of this tropical longing is because there are at least 4 people at work that have taken themselves and in some instances, their families down to a warmer place while the rest of us have been left to deal with yet more snow.

Here is Simon laying on the small snowbank out our front door.

And Liam standing in front of the garage. And yes, that lump in front of the garage is indeed a car.
This year has definitely reminded me of the winters when I was a kid. Lots of snow. So much fun if you don't have to shovel.

Come on Spring. Anytime now would be good!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Midnight Garden

I'm feeling better. Still not 100% but much better than I was.

Before I became sick, I was doing some spinning for new scarves. So I present "Midnight Garden". Roving form.

It was a little bit felted so I drafted it. I usually don't bother with the pre-drafting, but I think that I will from now on. It made a huge difference and made the act of spinning more enjoyable.

And here is the final yarn. I have a number of hanks of slubby yarn hanging around waiting to be turned into scarves.

Now all I have to do weave them. Come to think of it, I probably have to dye some yarn for weft.