Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Then it dispersed, it warmed up, and we have enjoyed very mild temperatures, with lots of sunshine, and melting snow! That's right, the snow we had is almost all gone. There were a few puddles here and there, some water running in the gutters, but most of the snow has just "evaporated". It's gone. This doesn't seem like winter to me. When we used to get winter, it would snow, it would turn cold, and that's how it stayed until spring. Now, we got this... something's not right in this world.
I am taking a couple days off work next week, and with the Christmas holidays, it amounts to about a week. So I will be going home to see Mom and the rest of the family. Even though I was there in September, it seems like such a very long time ago. Being so far from everyone, I don't get to see them as much anymore, and I have to say that I do miss them. When I was younger, there was adventure in the world, so much to see and do, and I needed some independence. I think I've had enough of that now! hahaha -- I need family more. It will be good to be back there.
The Christmas season was always enjoyable when I was growing up. It started early in December with St.Nicholas day, and that is when we got a present. Then school ended and we had a very long winter break -- about a month, if I recall correctly. All during the worst of the winter months, there was a lot of socializing, lots of dinners everywhere, and mainly visiting and thoroughly enjoying the pleasures of snow and dark and people. That doesn't happen much anymore; not here in the city, that is for sure. It's very different. So now we have shopping, gifts, expenses, rushing, eating too much, frayed nerves, and "when will this end"!! Not the same.
My wish for you all is that you will be able to spend this holiday time with good friends and special people, whether family or not, and that you take some time to be quiet and reflect on all the good things you have, and how very lucky you are. May the new year bring more of that into your life, and may there be peace for us all. Most of all, there should be more than enough fibre in all of our lives, to warm, to caress, to make us content! And of course, the time in which to do it.
This was taken outside my office, which is just across from City Hall, and where the Olympians were presented their medals in '88. Those were different days then.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
For a very long time, I've been thinking about how spinning works, and why it happens. That's just the way I am. I've been spinning with a spindle, and a wheel for a long time. I'm now taking the Master Spinner course, and learning a lot more of the fundamentals that I didn't know, and learning how it should be done properly. I am a self-taught spinner, so have developed some inappropriate habits.
However, since doing the analysis of spinning while lying in bed, not able to sleep, I've some up with some absolutely astounding theories! Of course, by morning, I have forgotten them all, so have to start from scratch the next night! I do sometimes get up and write them down, or take up a bit of roving or yarn, and try it out myself. It's odd how it all works so perfectly in my head, but when my hands get involved, there are all kinds of complications! hahaha
So I have developed a theory of twist, and how it comes into play in much of our fibre work, without us knowing it. It causes us some grief too, and helped explain why some yarns seem to split, and why yarn for crochet is different than for knitting. Some people look at me as if I'm from another planet when I start to tell them about this; I now don't say anything, and let them struggle with the problem.
So this week, a co-worker wanted to knit a hat. She has several wheels of the unspun, which she likes, but she had trouble with them coming apart with the slightest tug. Since these are unspun, they have no integrity of their own without any twist. So I told her that I will take it from her and put in just a bit of twist, enough to hold together, but still keep it soft and lofty -- something like a lopi-style yarn. So I did take it home, and accomplished just that! I'm so excited to see what she thinks of it! And it was so cool doing it!
It may not be easy to see the size of the yarn from the photo (I need to include some reference in my pics), but it's a nice soft lofty 2-ply yarn, about 5-6 wraps per
inch. I have almost 8 oz in the skein, since it had been partially used. It's in natural white, but I don't know the breed -- probably the usual generic sheep that we have around here.
The cool thing about all of this is that I didn't use a wheel at all for this. I also didn't use a spindle to create any twist. What did I use? Well, actually, I didn't use any tool at all, except for my little ol' hands! I did use a ball-winder and an umbrella swift eventually to make the skein. But I have had this idea for a long time, and had to put it into practice. And it was such fun doing!
Of course, it's been used for a long time in industry, and is nothing really new. But we've forgotten that there are many other ways to accomplish the same thing, and the early settlers in this country didn't have the luxury of having a lot of equipment, but they did have the knowledge to make whatever they required. I've been able to use the basics of twist, and apply it to my advantage in making some serviceable yarn! And to me, that's quite wonderful!
I'm in the process now of writing it all out, with explanations of why it works. I am also thinking of building a tool to help in this process (it's a guy thing), but now need to find someone with a workshop to carry out my plans. I'll tell you all about it later on.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I'm working on some darker brown and some white that I got from my last trip to the thrift shop. I can't go back until I get all this done, because I know she will have more for me! She is a pusher, that one, but I love her all the same. I want to make something out it for her, and have a plan. I'll show pics when I'm all done with that project.
I've started using my wheel again. The Level II classes have started, so I had to use the wheel for that. And the following week, I took a day off work and went to spin with the ladies. I call this my Mental Health Day, and I so much needed it, and truly enjoyed visiting and working on the wheel again with some alpaca/merino roving. I have a few more days owing to me, and will see if I can escape once more. These little trips are very much needed.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I have been picking them as I pass, over the years, and have made quite a bit of juice from them, and sometimes I cook them up and squeeze them all out to get some apple sauce. It's a lot of work, but I do like the flavour of them.
Two years ago, I discovered that one lone tree at the end of this grove was not like the rest. It was quite tall, with different leaves, and as I looked at it closely, I realized it had some strange fruit on it. The closer I looked, I realized they were not round, but slightly mis-shapen, sort of pear-like. And the colour was... well, very much like a pear. Could they really be pears??
My sister told me about discovering a pear tree in Saskatoon, which goes through severe freezing winters, so knew they could survive here as well. I took a few home, and found that indeed they ARE pears! So I picked what I could, and ate them as is, and cooked a few of them. They do have a rather stronger flavour to them, but I like it that way. You may remember some pics of them last year.
This year was a very good year for the trees. They seemed to have gone over-board in producing fruit. Everything was just right for them, it appears. The pear had a lot more pears on it than I remember, and quite large. These are not the commercial variety, but the smaller Canadian pear, but quite a good size nonetheless. They seem to fall of the trees at the slightest shake, and not all at once. I was able to pick up a lot of them off the ground, and some that had just fallen as I was trying to pick them. I would have to very carefully pick them off the branch for fear of causing about 8 more to drop! But I did get quite a few this year -- and spent an entire evening doing something with them! I made some pear juice, and cooked up the rest and made some pear sauce. They will go into muffins later in winter.
Early this month, I noticed that the apple trees had been pruned. They were getting a bit over-grown, and they've always been well looked after. The apple trees were never very large, which made picking them very convenient. The pear grows quite tall without a lot of spread, and didn't seem to need pruning, although it is difficult to pick the top branches, where oddly enough all the best fruit was located!
On Tuesday night of this week, as I rode past the row of trees, I thought something didn't look quite right. I looked again, and realized that all my trees were not there. Was I on the right street? Yes, I was, but it sure didn't look right. And the trees were all gone! Everyone of them was cut down flush with the ground, not even leaving a stump. All of them. Even the pear. Not a tree was left standing along that whole street.
What was the sense in this? Why didn't someone have the good sense to move them, if they were in the way? There is a parking lot on the other side of the fence... are they planning on digging another big hole as they are doing in every other block in the city? But why cut down all the trees? I hope someone at least took some cuttings of the pear tree-- they are not that common in this part of the country.
I would have liked to even get some of the wood from the trees -- the apple and the pear. I would have loved to make some knitting needles, or even a nostepinde from the pear tree! However, that is not to be, since there wasn't even a twig left...they cleaned EVERYthing off that street, not leaving any trace that a tree had ever been there.
I don't understand the thinking in this city. I am not happy at all.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
First, I ran over to the office today at noon, while everyone was out, to see the Halloween decorations. There was a small intra-office competition for the best decorated unit. I don't like playing along, so the girls in my unit have threatened to do my desk when I was gone on Friday, and they've been planning something all week! And they were pretty funny! Maybe I'll show a pic later on.
I was looking for some financial software. Since I changed computers, I couldn't transfer the programs from one to the other (thankyou Uncle Bill!). So I have to go out and buy another one for THIS computer! It sucks! I couldn't find any in the first few stores I went to, but did find some at the last one. Of course, the one I wanted was labelled on the shelf, but no packages. "sold out"? I doubt it. They did have another one that I thought I might buy, if only I could find the price! A helpful salesboy came up, and I asked why they don't display prices for these items. "They just came in yesterday, and we haven't put them up yet." WTF?? He was glad to look it up for me, but by this time, I was worn out and told him not to bother himself. And walked out of the store.
I picked up a flyer, only to find that it was listed there, WITH THE PRICE. I almost went back in and purchased it, but because of principle, I had to leave. I might go back another time, when another saleschild will be around, and get it.
I then thought, since I was so far from home, to stop by a dollar store that used to have things I liked. They didn't have any; but there was another a few more blocks away, so ran over there. It's cold, did I mention that? This store didn't have what I wanted either, but I looked over some of their Halloween stuff, at 50% off. There was a package of spider webs, and I thought it might be nice to add some of it to the stuff I've been spinning. There is no indication on the bags what it's made of, but probably some nylon. So I picked up a bag clearly marked $1.00, and thought the price was better for $.50. The cashier rang up $.80. I paid, perplexed, and finally asked her how she came up with that price. "It's 50% off" she says... and I tell her that 50% of a dollar is 50 cents. "No, 50% of $1.50 is 75 cents" "But this is $1.00". She looked at me blankly.
And with that, I turned and left. I considered going back in and explaining to her, that it clearly is marked $1.00, and that I have changed my mind and will take the item for $1.50. And then decided I didn't want anything at all!! But I just got on my bike and headed for home. I was tired, and cold, and disgusted by the poor level of help we have in the stores right now. I am going to complain to the management (if there is any) and have this girl relieved of her position, and relagated to the stockroom, if at all. And of course, I won't be going back to that store again.
Oh, I think sometimes that a lot of people around this town are a waste of good oxygen!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Here are some pics of what is waiting for me. Mostly I am spinning right now, and will do some plying when I want a change. These are the cops that I've spun over several months, waiting to be plied. The black is so hard to photograph! They have all been spun on my CD spindle. I use a paper quill, and just slip it off the shaft when full, and then use a lazy kate for plying. It works for me! Each is about 38 gms or 1.3 oz. I have been doing these mostly as a 3-ply, so I end up with a 113 gm or 4 oz skein of about 133 m or 144 yd. I think I got all those conversions correct! Whatever I have, there will be enough for a sweater or a couple! :-)
Sunday, October 08, 2006
I want to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. I know that the 'Muricans delay their holiday until later in the year, but I will just be a little early, that is all! Despite all the mishaps and misfortunes of this year, there ARE a few things that have gone well, and for that we are all thankful. It's often the little things that really make a difference.
There will be pics coming soon of the progress on this green yarn, and maybe some more news of other things. Enjoy the season!
Friday, September 15, 2006
There have been a couple of questions asked about how I spin White Buffalo. If you will go back to February 2006, and continued in March 2006, you will see a step-by-step explanation of what I do. I like my CD spindle very much, and have used it exclusively for all of my spinning for a couple of months. I do have a wheel with some delicious Merino/alpaca on it, but because of the over-crowding right now, I just can't get to it! I HAVE to clear some space for at least a wheel! Yah, I've been saying that before, haven't I?!
Yes, I would very much recommend that you start with these carded strands to start spinning on a wheel or with a spindle. These are already pre-drafted, if you like, and all you have to do is add twist. As you progress, you will be able to 'draw out' some of the thicker areas, should there be any. When you start working with carded fleece, you will know what you need to have in your hands to spin, and will be able to draft rather easily to that same thickness. I often recommend that you make your own thin rovings (just like these) when starting to use a wheel or spindle. (there should be a description of this in my archives somewhere!) When learning to spin with a wheel, there are so many things to concentrate on: treadling, drafting, tension, coordination of hands --- it's easier to do one thing at a time. The same with spindles: learn one thing at a time.
I do like the CD spindle; it's cheap, very light-weight (one CD) and is perfectly balanced. Some people like a heavier spindle and use 2 CDs. Some will glue pennies to the outside rim, if you can get them on evenly! Remember that a heavy spindle is for thicker yarn. Use whatever you need for the yarn you want to spin. That is why we NEED a whole collection of different spindles!
Sunday, September 10, 2006
But I seem to be running all the time, and not getting anywhere. Does that happen to others? I am not sure if I am getting older, and slower, or that someone has wound up the clock too much and it's running fast. I don't seem to accomplish very much these days. It could also be that I am being lazy and not attempting to do much either! It's been a great summer; winter will be here in a few weeks, so maybe I will get more done if I stay indoors during the bitter cold!
In one post in the recent past, I made mention of the fact that I have quite a large stash. You may remember that one. One of my readers, obviously feeling some compassion, wrote to me telling me that she also has some White Buffalo wheels, and didn't really know what to do with it. I really don't know if she actually took note of the size of my stash, because I have no idea what was in her mind when she asked if I wanted her stash of White Buffalo!! Did she think they wanted company? Did she think I wouldn't really notice if there were a few more wheels? At any rate, she offered me her numerous wheels -- in a teal and light green -- colours I don't have. Well, what could I do??
They arrived about 2 days before I was going to visit Mom for her 77th birthday. They were a welcome surprise when it arrived, and I was very pleased with the colours. The light green is not something that I would have bought myself, but it is quite a nice shade, nonetheless. I quickly separated the strands, and wound them into balls. I took my favourite CD spindle and several of these balls with me on the long, long 15-hour bus trip through the flat prairie. I tend to travel at night (there are fewer stops then) and hopefully I would be asleep through much of it. In case I was awake, I would so some spinning!
As it was, I didn't do much on the way out, so it didn't get spun up. But during the couple days I was at Mom's, I did spin some of the light green, and did a 3-ply skein of 4 oz. There were times that we were just chatting, and I was spinning. It took about 2 hours for one bobbin; 6 hours for the skein plus some plying time. It's quite nice, actually! And I spun the teal too, and also did a 4 oz skein of 3-ply. I like the 3-ply because it is a rounder yarn, and these were quite fine, so it works quite well. I'm not sure yet where I will use these, but that doesn't stop me!! I may give it away to someone, or I may make something out if them. They go together well.
So thank you, Monika, for sending this out to me! I am truly amazed that you would do that for me, someone you don't know, from across the country! Fibre-people are truly wonderful! I will see if there is "something I don't need" in my stash (LOL), and offer it to you. Or I may just give something to someone else, and pass it along in the same spirit you gave it to me.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
But I have been working on these socks since forever! I started them way back in ancient times, trying to get in with a KAL from Nancy Bush's book Knitting on the Road. I had to borrow the book from our guild library because mine is in a box somewhere over there (vaguely pointing to the room in general). They are working on the Canal du Midi, which is an interesting design, and not hard to do. It took several tries to get the cast on right (I just don't know why I was having so much trouble with that) and to get the patterning set up. Of course, I do recommend that you read and follow the directions; I didn't, and made the ribbing a bit longer than Nancy does. Already I'm changing it! That is alright, since I like a longer leg anyway. Then this pattern drops the ribbing on the back of the leg after 4 inches, and does plain stocking stitch with some decreases towards the ankle. Now, I'm thinking that I don't really like that very much, so maybe will continue the ribbing down to the ankle. But do I still do the decreases? I dunno yet.
So these are progress pics. Of course, the others in the group have long finished the socks and are now working on another pair. Don't those ladies have a life at all?? (I seem to have a shawl somewhere in the same state of unfinish as well.) These will get finished when they are finished, and not sooner. It will be before winter, yes, which is not that far away.
It has turned quite cold lately. We've had some severe lightening and thunder storms last week -- even lost power while I was surfing! That is so very odd for us here. But it was rather exciting to watch Nature's light show. The overnight temps are hovering just above freezing, and we have just had the full moon of August. The trees are now starting to download, and in another month, they will be dropping their leaves. How quickly the summer has gone! But it was a really nice summer, I hear tell. I seem to have missed much of it for some reason.
Life just gets in the way.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Sometime in the next day, a baby will be born in our city. Nothing unusual about that – there are babies born every day here. But this one will be special: it will officially be the millionth resident of our city. That’s ONE MILLION people in our little friendly city on the prairie!
While some will think this is a good thing, there are many others that think otherwise. This growth has come very fast. In fact, there were 35,000 new people in the city just this past year, steadily increasing over the past few years. That’s about 100 new people coming into our city every day!
We don’t have room for them. Sorry, we are full up! No vacancy! There were only about 15,000 new housing starts this year. But they still come. Why? Because of the draw of easy money. Yes, there are jobs plenty here; just no where to live. Families come from the Maritimes, from Ontario and Quebec, from Saskatchewan and Manitoba thinking they will finally find a decent job, a place to live, and be contented. Only they find, when they get here, that there is no place for them to stay! Yes, you can find a job, even if you are unskilled, but you will have to live in a shelter somewhere, or on the streets, until a vacancy comes up.
The housing shortage has caused rents to go up dramatically. In fact, some rents are going up by 37%. One man found his one bedroom apartment is going up from $690 to $950 a month starting Oct. 1. A retired man has learned his rent will go up 112%. There is no help for him -- that is what the market will bear, the landlord says. So they are grabbing what they can while the times are good. The average price of a one-bedroom apartment in
This is not a big, large cosmopolitan city. This is/was a small western easy-going little city out on the wide open prairie. But we have been pushed yelling and screaming into the fast lane, and we don’t like it. Us long-time residents don’t like the changes happening in our city. We don’t like all these “foreigners” coming and disturbing our quiet, like they did in ’77 – then leaving all of a sudden in ’81 and expecting us to clean up after them! Right now, life is easy – for some. But not everyone is so lucky.
There are over 3,500 homeless people on our streets. Many of them have jobs, but they just can’t afford the rents, or the deposit for a room in some dingy basement. They are caught between a rock and a hard place. By day they work hard, and at night, they fight for the few cots in a shelter, or a park bench, or a spot under the bridge. Quite the good life!
Is it going to get any better? At the present time, it looks like it will just keep on going up and up. The price for an average house here is $360,500 – (or was) it goes up by about $500 a day now. If you have a house here, hang on to it for a few more days, and you will make enough to live in luxury. Well, just not here -- you will have to move to
That’s what a lot of the retirees are doing; they are packing up, selling all they have, and moving “back home”, wherever that is. It may have been 30 years ago when they came out here, but they are now going back to either coast, and retire on their share of the “winnings”! And good for them! They worked hard for it, and went through some rough years when things were not going well. But now with the high price of oil, our King Ralph has been able to give every man, woman, and child $400 last year – just as a bonus for being here. But he is leaving politics too, so it is his way of saying “so long”. Well, really, it was our money in the first place!
In the meantime, most of us have to fight crowded trains, or heavy traffic, trying to get to work, put up with rude people, pay exorbitant prices for everything, and then fight our way back to the suburbs to our own little house, that we don’t have time to enjoy. Yes, this is making a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
For many years, much of my yarn stash has been safely stashed away in a storage space. It was convenient, in that when I moved, I didn't have to pack all of it with me. And when I did move, I would just take more stuff to the storage, until I was settled and then haul it all back. Except as time went on, most of that just stayed there, and I would set up house with new stuff!
But the time has come that it must end. I don't like having to pay all this extra money for keeping things I rarely ever get to see. I 'know' I have a ball-winder in there somewhere, and a swift, and some lovely Condon's yarns, and... lots of other things. Where exactly... well, I used to know where it was all carefully put away, but now I lost track. And to dig through to the back to find it... no, not gonna happen.
And then, the owner has sold the property to a developer, and they are going to build condos on the site. Every piece of land in this town is being turned into condos!! So I HAD to get all my stuff out of there before they bulldozed it all. After lots of haggling, and painful sleepless nights, I was able to make arrangements to start hauling out the boxes of mysterious things into my small tiny apartment. I know how to make use of every square inch of space, and have been able to pack an unbelieveably large amount of stuff into a tiny closet. This should be easy enough.
I think I have met my match.
My spare room, which was where the loom was to go, was overtaken long ago by the books and boxes of yarn that I had with me. So I just added more to it. I mean, I added a LOT more! A HUGE enormous more! Don't look if you are squeamish. But this is the room with only yarn in it. And a few books, and some parts of a loom. I have since added to this with a bit more yarn I located, and more pieces of TWO looms. There in now no more space to add anything more! It's full!
Now, this was taken from the hall -- this is as close as I can get inside the room -- and it's a full sized bedroom. It's packed from floor to ceiling with tight-fitting boxes -- all filled with yarn! Yarn of every type and colour and size! What was I thinking?? I have more than many shops I've seen... will I ever be able to use it all? Do I need it all? But what has need got to do with it anyway!?
Be aware that more has been added to what you see there. I won't take another pic. I'm too embarassed even to show you this! But I wanted some of you to know that this is the way to really have a stash! One or two balls of some yarn is NOT how to do it; go all the way if you are going to do it at all!
I also have many boxes of clothes that are no longer in style, and don't fit me anymore. You know, it's our very dry climate --- it causes clothes to shrink; really, it does! So those will have to be disposed of somehow. I may give them to the thrift shop; after all, I got a lot of yarn from them! Some will just be thrown out. No one wants them. I had a weird idea at one time that I could always use the fabric for quilts... yah, sure!! Like I need another hobby?
Please have some sympathy and compassion for me. I told you I'm an addict... I can't help myself! Really, I can't. It's a disease, I tell you. But maybe with some care and attention, I can get well. Can't I?
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Ted was remarking at how light it still is at 9:30 in the evening. Well, yes, silly boy -- it's summer! When we were young at home, Mom had a real hard time trying to convince us that it was time to get to bed on a school night when it was still perfectly daylight and we weren't finished playing yet! But that is how summer is "way up north". Hahaha... and I'm in the south of the province!
I took these pics at 10 pm out my window facing east and a bit north. You can still see the reflection of the sunset in some of the windows. It's hard to get a good pic with a digital of the gorgeous soft pastels of the skies at this time of day/night. It gets dark pretty fast after that, and by 10:30, it wasn't possible to get any pics of anything useful. It is still quite light out, enough that streets lights are only starting to come on. People from the East or South are always so amazed at how late the light stays with us in summer. We just accept that as normal around here. Of course, in winter, it's a whole different story! (won't go there)
Of course, we can't go thru a summer without extremes! So, just to show us that it's not all peaches and cream, we had a bit of hail only a couple of hours earlier. It came on quickly, altho I noticed the strange dark clouds forming at 6 pm, and only lasted a short time. It was about pea-sized hail, but I think it was heavier in the north end of the city; they seem to get the brunt of most storms. You will note that all the white on the rooftops is hail! It's quite fun to watch it come down-- when you are safely inside looking out! It can be quite painful to be caught in it outdoors! The plants will recover since there is quite a lot of growing season to come.
I know I shouldn't have continued working with that acrylic when I discovered why it felt so strange in my hands. I need to learn to trust my fingers more often! But I am stubborn that way: once I start, I will continue on to the very bitter end! So I did -- trying to tell myself that this is a practice piece to learn the correct way to increase and how to drop those stitches. And I did learn a few things! I just saw one live and in person at a LYS today... and it was very nice! It was knit with larger needles too, so it would go faster than this one did. With delicious yarn, it would be fun to do as well! Oh, well -- *sigh*
The LYS held a Summer Solstice Sale today and were open for a whole 12 hours. I hope they did well, and according to the number that were there within an hour of opening (me included), I think they did. They don't have run-of-the-mill yarns in their store, and I didn't buy much. The things I wanted were NOT on sale oddly! But some things were 20, 30 or 50% off, which is good. When I picked up a nice skein of Lorna's Laces in an interesting colourway and looked at the price ($69.95), I decided that I really didn't need it that badly. I did get some Noro Kureyon, but only because of the discount; I don't think it's really that great a yarn-- for my purposes, at least. A lot of the "fancy and expensive" yarns that are available today are not really my tastes, and I personally don't feel they are going to be around for long. They are fun and interesting (but way too expensive) and pretty garish -- a fad -- and will disappear in short order. I've been around a long time, so have seen many things come and go just as fast! All things come around again if you live long enough. However, the younguns need to have their opportunity to play with fun things while they can... and they ARE knitting!
So it's all a good thing.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
This is the clapotis scarf from Knitty. I always thought it looked so interesting, and yet so simple to do. So why not? Got to find the right yarn for it first of all…. And found this odd ball of some unnamed yarn. It was in a bright solid colour, so perfect for this. I don’t like the variegated for this.
After knitting for some time, I found I didn’t like the feel of this. I finally opened up the ball band, only to find that is was 100% acrylic!! Yuck! I should know better…. But had to continue and finish this thing. I used two balls for this, and then as I got near the end of the second ball, started the decreasing for the last part. This is knit on a diagonal, so you start with 3 sts and continue increasing on one side, decreasing on the other. And then decrease on both sides near the end – simple idea. And then the fun of dropping the stitches at one side!! Hahaha…. It doesn’t take much to amuse me!
Even after washing and blocking, it still didn’t improve. I’m used to wool, which adjusts to the knitting after wet-processing, and relaxes. This did not! Why do I even bother with it?? I know that acrylic has some uses, such as the scrubbies I made earlier, but not for scarves. I never learn!
I may just rip this out. My very first project that I will rip out!! Oooh! And this yarn would be better suited to the scrubbies, I think. I think I will do this with some wool, or alpaca I have, and make it wider. And maybe find some interesting patterns in the body of it... Lots of possibilities!
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
This is one time I purposely used acrylic! I have a bag of stuff, odds and ends, with out labels. I could tell this one was acrylic of some kind, and that is what I wanted. I wanted something that was soft, but yet strong and won't give out quickly. You see, this is going to be used a lot!
It's a scrubbie. It's something you take with you into the bath (or shower, I suppose) and use it to give yourself a real good scrubbing. It is all in garter stitch to give a lot of edges to do it's job, and to hold soap and water well. It's easy to rinse out, and will dry in no time at all. It won't wear out! All I had was this pink, so it really doesn't go with my bathroom; I don't have many things that are pink in my place! haha
I did the smaller one according to the pattern, but I felt it was too small. I suppose if I had thicker yarn, with larger needles, it may have been fine. I made the mid-sized one with more stitches, and that worked quite well. But I felt I really wanted something larger to fit my hands, and cast on a whole bunch more stitches. But I also felt I needed to make some adjustments to the pattern, because of the large diameter, and that was rather fun to do, and I think it worked quite well. I'm not sure how much larger you can do these without re-writing the pattern to take into account the large diamter. It's all a matter of mathematics here, I fear! However, I think the larger one is not that user-friendly, and the mid-sized scrubbie is about right in a practical sense. I now have to find some light blue in my stash and make a few for myself!
Sunday, May 28, 2006
These are the socks I finished few weeks ago, which I stuffed because I didn't have the right size of blockers for them. These are knit from Regia 4-ply in Jacquard colour. I've knit a smaller pair before, and was trying another method to do the caston for the toes, and then wanted to try a couple of increases --- and somehow they just became socks! I did both at the same time on the same circular needle, and was going to try something different for these after-thought heels, but decided to just do them later, since I hadn't worked out all the details and didn't want to delay them any longer. Next time.
In the meantime, I'm still spinning, and working on some scrubbies. More to come!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Firstly, I had a good sleep. This is very hard for me to do, because of so many factors. One being that I stay up too late at night (so much to do) and then have to get up way too early to get to work (why do we HAVE to do that??). I have back problems a lot and find I can't lay down for long. I am a light sleeper, and any little noise wakes me up -- in a large city, with high-density houseing, there is never any silence. I slept very well when I was visiting Mom these last few times. But she lives in a small village, where nothing hardly ever happens, so it's quiet all the time. Love it! I got home on Thursday, very tired, and before 9 pm, I just went to bed since there is no sense in trying to stay awake when the eyes just won't have it! I slept until just before 11 Friday morning -- fourteen hours! I felt great! I don't understand it, but my poor old worn out body just needed it, I guess. No complaints!! I probably could have slept a bit longer, but felt there were things I needed to do, and felt compelled to get up.
I really didn't need to. There is nothing --- NOTHING -- in this world that is so very important that it needs to be done right now! Everything will wait. I know that. Still, I try to convince myself there are things I really should do; and I will --- later.
Secondly, I spent quite a bit of time preparing some wool for spinning soon. Remember those cheeses of 6-strand wool I had? Well, I have LOTS of those! So I spent most of the days separating them into individual strands, and winding them into balls. I have about 5 different shades of brown, and I am thinking that I need a nice sweater, in those colours. I only have 227 gm (8 oz) of each shade, but that should be enough. Now, I just need to come up with a colour sequence and it will all be done! There is the knitting too, but that is merely just the follow-up, right?
I also have some white and grey that was knit up, and then ripped out, and wound into balls (from the thrift shop) which I am taking apart and winding into little balls. I have some grey, white, and brown already spun. Those are 3-ply, all spun on the CD spindle; I quite enjoy working with it. The rest will be spun on the spindle too -- it holds more than my wheels do.
I grafted the final toe on the socks. I wanted to block them after washing, but don't have blockers that size. I need to make some, I know -- I was going to cut them from cardboard, but don't have a sharp craft knife handy. So I took a tea-towel, rolled it up into about the right size, and put it into a plastic bag.. and then slipped it into the sock. Well, slipped is not quite the right word; I giggled thinking it was more like putting on a condom on someone not-quite hard enough!! LOL-- not that I would know about that!! But it did seem to work quite well, and they look just fine now.
Now, there is that one shawl that is still mocking me.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
There is a scarf in one of the issues of MenKnit Magazine
Of course, I did it in red (not my colour, you understand) but because I had this HUGE ball of a mohair-type of yarn, and I needed some sort of project for it, didn't I?
Sunday, April 16, 2006
I have been studying again, and found another way for a provisional cast-on. It could be used for socks and mittens, I suppose, and anything else that requires casting on in the middle of your work. So I had to try it out, of course --- and then had to do a couple of different increases as one would do for socks. Then I had to do another one, to see if I really got it right, and then these things grew larger and larger, and before I knew it, they had become socks! I couldn't rip them out, now could I? So I am still working on them. There was so size planned for these (they are going to be small) and I don't know who is going to get them.
I am doing them both together on two circular needles -- only because I didn't have one that was long enough! One is quite short, the other a bit longer. It doesn't matter, really; it all works just the same.
I was planning on doing the after-thought heel as I got to it, designing the whole thing in my head as I worked on the boring foot. But when I got there, I just decided to go on ahead and do the heel later. I put in a contrast yarn to mark the position, and continued up the leg. As I got near the end of one ball of yarn, I started the ribbing for the cuff, and it seems to be about the right length. I'm showing you a pic of them on the needles, trying to show you both needles, just as I started the ribbing. They are not identical, but nearly so. I should have started one from the outside of the ball, to get a different order of colours, but that is alright too. I just may do another one (or two) this way, and have a variety of options for wearing quite different colour patterns to make up a pair at any time.
I am presently coming to the end of the ribbing, and will start on the heels any time soon. I sure want to get these done!! They are not difficult at all to do, just are boring. They are something to do when I am waiting for pages to load while surfing.
I have been doing more spinning on the spindle. I have a couple more skeins completed -- no pics, very ordinary stuff. I also picked up a couple more cheeses at the thrift shop (they know me too well there!) and will attempt that lot. There was some knitting that someone started, but never got very far. I ripped that out, and will separate all the strands and spin it up. I got two shades of gray, some white, some brown and some black. It seems quite nice, so will make a nice yarn. It seems a lot finer than other wheels I've had, so I may do it into a 3-ply this time.
The lace moebius experiment is not going anywhere. I haven't worked on it at all. I need to come up with a simple pattern for the edging, and just haven't had the energy to even think about it. The long-suffering lace shawl is also waiting for attention. I did get some fuzzy mohair to do the last section along the outside edge a few weeks ago. I'm not sure yet if I will use it -- it is the right shade (couldn't find any co-ordinating colour in the sock yarn) , and I think a different texture might add something to this shawl. I just need to sit down and start and see what happens. Just.
I'm still surfing the net, looking for more patterns. Whatever is wrong with me? I will never ever get a chance to do them; I have great ideas, but lack the time to work on them. I had better get started on one of them!!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
This is a rather big pic, so you can see each and every fibre! LOL --- I love close-ups of yarns!
There are no plans for this yarn yet. I am thinking it needs to go to someone that needs good yarn to work with instead of the acrylic she now has. There are only 3 skeins, 8 oz total, and I don't know what she will be able to make with it. Perhaps a scarf, or mittens, or it can be added to some other yarns, and make something larger. I think I will go search through my stash; I think I might -- just might -- have something that co-ordinates with this quite well!
Saturday, March 11, 2006
I spun these “S” and then plied “Z” since I want to use this for knitting. I only did a 2-ply, but did consider a 3-ply; I like it better for a knitting yarn. To spin “S”, I roll the shaft with a very fast swipe along the side of my thigh upwards. I am doing this on the right side, but if you want to do it on the left side, you will have to roll it downward. I can get quite a good speed on it that way, and then I just let it twirl! When it slows down, I might add another spin, or stop it and wind on.
There are actually 2 CDs on the whorl – and the top is decorated with some bright stickers! And why shouldn’t it look pretty while you use a simple tool?! This spindle has a simple cup hook at the top. I like to come up from behind the hook and just through it. This is enough to hold it in place; it won’t slide anywhere!
This shows a finished cop which I just slipped off the spindle, and another one on the way to becoming spun! I usually use a slip of paper rolled around the spindle shaft as a quill, which holds the cop solidly, and I can put it on a lazy kate when plying. These worked well when plying without it, except when I reached the last few yards, but I managed without getting it all tangled!
There is a simple movement to allow the twist into the unspun roving. I will try to describe this, but it is easier to show than to say! I need to explain something at this point: you need to know that twist will move all along any length it can between two unobstructed points. In the case of this spindle, most of it will be from the hook of the spindle to your first hand. If you open your hand, the twist will run along the opened up free areas, until it meets another obstacle. You control this length. You need to know the length of the fibre you are working with; this determines how far apart you will hold your hands. Too far apart and it will come apart for you and you will know the meaning of "drop spindle".
I will describe the hands as top or bottom hand. You may use right or left as your dominant hand; the movements are the same. First, you need to have a good amount of twist in the lower part, from the spindle top to the lower hand. You will have a few inches from your last spin to act as leader. The top hand will pinch off a section about 4-6 inches above your bottom hand. The bottom hand releases the twist into the top section. This is enough to hold the fibres together. You continue to let enough twist build up in this area, and then pinch off with the lower hand.
The top hand will move up a couple inches and pinch off a new section. The lower hand releases the twist and allows it to run into the top. Again, the bottom is pinched and the top moves up. And you continue this dance until you have an arm’s length, or when the spindle reaches the floor. The spindle has been twirling away while you are doing this, and eventually slows down, usually about the time you have reached your arm’s limit. Stop the spindle, and still holding the yarn under tension (arms far apart), wind on the newly formed yarn to the spindle shaft. Wind around the hook, and start over by rolling it along the thigh once again!
It's just that easy!
Sunday, February 26, 2006
I hadn't realized how long it's been since I've written anything here! I get too busy reading about what OTHER's are doing, and not getting any of MY work done!
I've just got back from a trip to see my mother and relatives around "home". I left there long ago, but we still think of it as home, even though they have moved from the place I grew up! Strange. However, it was good to see Mom again; she is doing really well after her surgery. It was a year ago exactly when she had it, and she can't even imagine what a difference it makes to the quality of her life. She is back to her old busy self. Good to see that. And I visited with some of my aunts and brothers and nieces -- had a good time. But it's good to be "home" here too!
I traveled by Greyhound, and probably won't be doing that again anytime soon. They've increased their prices substantially since my last trip. They've eliminated the run I liked to take, so had a 3 and half hour wait to change buses! It was cold, and crowded, and not fun at all! I wasted too much time on that crate (with a driver that didn't know how to change gears)!
The worst thing is that Greyhound Canada has just eliminated 80 people from our call centre, and now all calls will be routed through
On the knitting front, I finished a pair of socks for my grand-niece. I meant to start them long ago, but --- Anyway, I did them on the bus a little, finished them at Mom's and gave them to her. She is only 3, the cutest thing, but they are a little big (her mother didn't measure well). That is alright; better than too small! I got some pics here. I don't have a full length photo, but wanted you to see that I didn't want them to be identical. So I made the toes and heels with different colours. I should have started the socks further along so they won't be that close, or one from the other end of the ball, and they would have been reversed. Next time!
I took along some spinning with me, and my spindle. I have to have things to do!! So while watching the Olympics, I would spin. I got two nice large skeins done; I have one more to do. I still don't know what I will do with them. They are a nice colour, and I have some others that may go well together. I keep thinking I need a sweater, but shall see.
I came back home at about 7 am (after a 13 hour bus ride!) thinking I would have a nap, because I had my spinning class to attend. But I had to check emails --- and well.... so I got to lay down later than I should have, and was awakened by my ride! So that was a quick dash out the door (luckily I had everything gathered together) and had a good class. We studied worsted spinning this time; I have always preferred to do worsted over the years, so this was easy. I am liking carding a bit more now that I know what I am doing! I still prefer combing, but that will be in another level. We were given some samples of fleece of an unknown breed, with a lot of yolk on it, but lovely stuff nonetheless. Also, some
All in all, a good day.
Oh, when I got home, I find that we received a lot of snow while I was gone! I kept telling everyone that we had NO snow at all --- I lied! We have several inches, and it is quite cold. There should be a Chinook Monday, but that will be short-lived. The good thing is that Spring is only about 3 weeks away, and that usually means the snow starts leaving; the farmer's almanac says our seasons are going to be delayed by about 30 days at least this year --- something to do with the tsunami of last year. The whole world is all unbalanced!!
I've noticed that, haven't you?
Saturday, February 11, 2006
I have mentioned several times to a number of people that I like using these cheeses or wheels of unspun rovings and spin them into my own yarn. In Canada, during the war when sheep wool was scarce, they used the undercoat from buffalo to make yarn. The name stayed, but now they are back to using wool from sheep. Many mills make these wheels; check around. They use these to spin the yarns. I find them in thrift shops quite often. The idea is to knit directly from these wheels-- because of the twisting that happens when you pull up a strand from the side of a wheel, it is enough to hold together. There are normally 6 strands wound around the wheel, and are quite bulky for those great fall sweaters we love!
The first thing to do is to separate those 6 strands. You can't just wind them off the end of the wheel, because they will twist. I rigged up a knitting needle through the sides of a cardboard box, so I can pull the strands off as the wheel rotates. It takes time, but eventually you get six neatly wound balls of singes!
Thursday, February 02, 2006
This is called a Moebius -- it has no outside or inside surface. If you follow it around, you will see that the outside becomes the inside, and then the outside again! It is never ending. While it is not that difficult to knit, it was miserable to get started! Remember when you did your first circular knitting, and you made that little slip of not insuring that your cast-on wasn't twisted? And what happens if it IS twisted?
Well, this has an intentional twist in your circular knitting, but only one twist (half a turn) which results in that twist at the front. If it is wide enough to just fit your shoulders, it can serve as a perfect shoulder wrap. A long one can be worn as a scarf, and hangs rather neatly. And if you make one half turn along the length, you can double that ring into a cowl, or even pull it over your head as a hood! Very versatile!
However, I did say it was maddening that I couldn't get that first row knit up. I have been thinking of doing one of these for a long time (after seeing several things made by
And then I cast-on with the red, to make a proper sized moebius. I determined the number of stitches to cast-0n... and it was all wrong. Rip out. Try once more. Rip out. This one is really HUGE! Okay, re-calculate, this time only half the number of stitches... rip out! This is so frustrating! I didn't have a bit of trouble with that stupid little sample I made! I'm not giving up!
So it finally decides to allow me to knit those first and second rounds; these are the critical ones. After that, I'm well on my way! It was a snap -- and boring; I was doing knit and purl ridges. So I introduced some YOs just for some interest, and finally tried a sideways lace edging. I found I made one little mistake, and will do it differently for the next one.
Next one? Oh, yes! I will do this again, this time knowing a bit more, will be able to create more of a pattern right where I want it, and the way I want it. I also will make it a little wider, to wear as a full hood, or even a shoulder wrap.
Of course, you know that this is not for me!! That is NOT my colour at all!
Friday, January 27, 2006
But I will show you something that I have started working. I'm not saying yet what it is -- just in case, you understand -- but it should be quite something when done! This has been started several times already; in fact, that is all I worked on all this week! I'm persistent (some say stubborn), so I will do it, you'll see! This pic is slightly out-of-focus because I needed to get close so you could see it, but I couldn't focus on it that close. Anyway, it's more mysterious this way! And it's the perfect colour for February (don't you think?)!
Remember that shawl I've been working on? It's still sitting here -- I'm stalled on it again. I am clearly running short of yarn, and I still have a 5-8 inch border to do. I know I will never make it, so am trying to figure a way out of this. I think I will get another ball of yarn, most likely not in the same colour, but something that will co-ordinate and will look good as a border. Just to get to the LYS.
This winter has been the strangest ever -- and I've seen a goodly number! We've had very little snow, nothing to speak of really. The temps have been way over the average, and most days have been above freezing. I'm afraid the trees are going to bud soon, and they may, if we ever get any rain/snow. I've been taking my bike to work every day, which I didn't expect to do much over winter. Not complaining, you understand --- just not quite sure what to make of it, and wondering what Mom Nature has in store for us yet.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Usually, there are not many fibre-related items there, but one can never know for sure. So I looked in, and found a whole pile of stuff! I have a weakness for double-pointed needles, and circulars (it's an addiction), and they had a fistfull of them! This shop doesn't often get items like this, so I was truly lucky.
I had to take them all! I know -- I have no restaint; but these were a bargain. I had gotten some just in the past month, at $1 for a set of four. These were priced lower, and they also gave me 50% off for all Christmas items. These WERE indeed Christmas items! LOL There were a few crochet hooks, in various sizes, and since I really didn't have all these --- well, you never know when I might need some! I also found this knitting bag, with the fold-out legs. I have a few of them, but this one was well made, and quite a steal. How can I resist?!! I did leave the circs behind, but now wish I took them; I want to make up a set for a really wonderful girl at work who needs some.
Here is a pic of what I got... all for less than $10!!
Now one thing that I found really intriguing is a needle holder from a company in Montreal. See the silver tube there on the left? And it has a 6 inch ruler as well as a series of 10 holes along the side as a needle gauge -- really neat! I've never seen one like this. Can always use another fun needle holder! hahaha
There is nothing really on the needles right now. I have one sock finished and the heel left to do on the other one. For some reason, that is stalled. Maybe today.