Saturday, June 18, 2016

More fine yarns

Most of you know that I like to spin on a spindle and that I like to spin very find yarns. Late last year, I got myself some Merino-Silk blend fibres, and started spinning them on the spindle. Because they were so well-prepared, it just naturally wanted to be spun very fine. I had nothing to do with it!

I really enjoyed the spinning. It is beautiful fibres, very well-prepared (there were no short hairs and it was combed top) and just a joy to spin. Every moment I had, I would pick up the spindle (which sits beside me when I am at the computer) and would spin while watching a movie or TV show. I find I fall asleep if I have to sit still for only a few moments! And little by little, I collected quite a number of cops of very finely spun singles.

I wanted more fibre, since I spun it all up. I was able to get a bag of Merino-Silk-Alpaca blend, as nice as the earlier batch, and it also wanted to be spun very fine. So I acquired a number of cops of that as well!

A couple of months ago, I was all done, and had to start plying. It would be quite impossible to use the singles in any way, and plying was the only thing to do. I decided on a 2-ply. However, I could quickly see that even a 2-ply was too fine to be used in any way! I did think of doing a 3-ply, but decided I wouldn't get much yarn that way, and left it as a 2-ply.

It took me several weeks of plying. It just seems to go on and on and on! As I watched the cops empty, they didn't seem to change at all! I would ply many, many metres, and when I looked back, they were still the same as before! But little by little, and a lot of spindle twirling!!, I finally finished all those cops and I had a lot of plied yarn made. When I wound them off into skeins, I had seven skeins of very fine Merino-silk-alpaca 2-ply yarn! I washed them and hung them to dry, and twisted them into skeins. Here is a pic of one: this one is about 585 metres. I don't have a weight for it, but will try to get that one day soon.
That is a dime under the strand of 2-ply to show you relative size. You should be able to click on it to em-biggen it.

I still have no idea what I will do with it!

I am Back!

Well, the truth is I haven't really been away. I just haven't posted anything here for a very long time. I have been busy -- there are many changes around here. And one day seems to go by and then another. Things just get left for "tomorrow".

I have written several posts, in my head, but not actually in print. I did write some posts here, but left them in draft form. And I am quite certain that I did post something before, which has just vanished! That is our new technological world -- nothing lasts as you expect! 

One of the things that have changed here is that I have a new computer since the last time I posted. Well, in fact, I have gone through TWO other computers since the last post!! They just don't make them like they used to. The new computers are designed to fail in a very short time. Then you have to buy a new one -- that is the point of the whole thing. If anything lasted too long, business would fail, so we have to make sure that you have to buy new things all the time. Nothing is made to last these days.

We live in a throw-away society. I see that all the time in this apartment building -- people throw out so many things that are still in fairly good shape, but may no longer work and no one wants to spend the time -- nor the money -- to repair anything now. After all, it will cost too much to repair, so we will just buy a new one! Most of the time, these items are still in good working order, but people just can't be bothered to take them with them when they move. They simply buy another one!! Money isn't a problem for many here.

But about my computers. I had one which was getting old and it just couldn't continue to work any more. After all, it was about 5 years old, so you can't expect anything to still work as it did when it was new! I wanted a small little laptop-type of machine, mainly to be used for internet access, and not as a main computer. I found one at The Source (formerly known as Radio Shack) and the price was acceptable. It was a nice little size (about 10" screen, I think) and it had enough buttons on it to do what I needed. It had only 250 GB storage, which was enough for my purposes. I wasn't going to keep much on that machine anyway. I did have a desktop for the main work. This one was an Acer, which is a lower-end brand.

But shortly after a year was over, it just stopped working. No big bang, no explosion, no whimper -- just shut down, and wouldn't start up again! It was no more!

I looked around, and found that the prices were best at The Source again. I eventually found one that had the things I needed and told the sales guy I wanted this one. It was another Acer. He went to the back room, and brought a box saying it has a different model number, but is the same machine. When I got it home, I could see it wasn't the same! The one I looked at had more USB ports and on the side. This one had only a few and on the back, which is most inconvenient. But it had to do.

I enjoyed working with it, and it was small enough that it fit into my little briefcase, and did what I needed. I used it mostly for access to the internet, and it did that well enough.

One day, just short of 6 months after I purchased it, it suddenly got really sluggish, and then starting closing programs, and shut itself off! And I could never boot it up again. It simple stopped working! No more to be said. I tried so many times, and it just would not start up again. I took it back to the store where I bought it, but they didn't want to have anything to do with me. They only make sales; they don't do repairs. I had to take it to some repair shop, or contact Acer and let them handle it.

But I needed one urgently, so ran around looking for a replacement. I went over to Best Buy and they had a couple that looked like they would fit my purposes, but the prices were far too high. In talking to salesperson (they all tried to avoid me at all costs), I was told that I should wait for about 2 weeks  until Black Friday and I should be able to get one of them at a substantially reduced price.

So I waited. It was torture! I was able to go over to a friend's and use the computer to check on emails, and I used the computers at the library as well. When the Big Sale came around, I went back to Best Buy and looked for the big deals. No such thing!! In fact, the little machine that I quite liked 2 weeks earlier had INCREASED in price by $100! That is the way Best Buy works -- raise the prices, and then pretend to put them on sale. People are so easily duped!

So I turned around and went over to Staples, and found a nice laptop that I liked. At the cashier, when he started adding in all sorts of "extras", the price was going up and up! I said I am not paying for anything extra; I want the computer only, and nothing more. You have to watch everything they do! Suddenly, all the things that come with the machine were "extra charges". However, when I brought it home, I discovered it was so HUGE! It was much larger than I had wanted -- somehow I was anxious to make sure it had enough USB ports and other features, that I overlooked the size of the machine. And it is heavier than I like. But it was too late to take it back now, so I had to keep it. It will have to do for now.

I had been in touch with Acer tech support to see if they had a suggestion on how I could get this machine to boot up. No ideas. A few weeks later, I contacted them again, and we went through a bunch of check-points and still couldn't get it working. I was really frustrated -- obviously, he didn't speak English, and seemed to be using Google translate for our communications. I gave up!

Eventually, I had to contact them once more. I HAD to know what to do with this thing -- it still had a warranty in effect -- and he (or she; you don't know who you are speaking to from India) said I will have to send it back to the head office and they will try to repair it. I know all it needs is a new HD and O/S -- but all my files were lost forever.

So in late March, I packed it up and sent it back to Ontario to the head office. I still haven't heard anything from them since -- I guess it takes time for them to get to all those machine being returned. I was told by a tech guy here that Acer is junk. He has seen so many of them needing fixing, and there is nothing you can do with them. They are very poorly made, and aren't worth buying. That is why they are so low priced. Now I know!! We will see what Acer will do with this one; it is still covered by the new warranty. The other one I had was just over a year and the warranty had expired, so there is nothing I can do about that one. But lessons learned!

Now I have a HP -- which my tech shop tells me is very poorly made as well. He says he has seen so many of them coming in for repair as well. He thinks they are junk -- not worth buying. Well, that may be. I am not expecting this one to last much longer. I don't put anything important on it, so that when it does fail, I won't have lost anything. Just can't take chances any more!