Tuesday, April 26, 2011

waxing & ants

Easter is over. We have a ton of leftovers in the fridge (I think we're eating spaghetti squash & ham until the next millenium), I'm catching up on chores (is there such a thing as a laundry fairy?), and I so badly want the weather to clear up so that I can finally get into the garden (it's been frosty every morning for at least a week so my garden is behind, too).

Since I'm stuck inside, I thought I'd do a little waxing - no, not my legs but my new spinning wheel bits.

Unfortunately, I waxed on the dining table so it smells like diesel in there. ICK! I hope it clears up before supper otherwise, we'll be eating elsewhere.

Yesterday, I was out looking for something that I can use to oil the hub on my spinning wheel because I can't reach with my current bottle of oil. One of my stops was Summit Tools and while I was looking around, I spied this really cool LED light.

It straps to my thumb so I can spin in the dark!!!! How cool is that? Sadly, the velcro keeps snagging on my roving so I'll have to replace it with some elastic.

You're probably wondering about the ants... I was sitting in front of my computer when I spied an ant on the edge of the desk. Then I saw a whole pile on the floor and a bunch crawling out of the corner by the door. Eep! I vacuumed them up and grabbed a spoon and the Costco-sized container of ground black pepper. I liberally filled all the cracks with it and waited. I found a few more errant ants within an hour of application but there haven't been any new ones since. Phew! I discovered the ground pepper trick many years ago when there was an ant invasion in the laundry room. I needed something non-toxic and cat resistant and it was either black pepper or cayenne and since I had the black pepper on hand, I used it. Works like a charm!!! And when the ant season is over, you vacuum up the pepper.

I leave you with a picture of tulips cut from my garden - hidden from the kitties so that they don't get nom'd:

Friday, April 22, 2011

all spinning, all the time

Well, that's not entirely true. The house is looking very sparkly and the lawn is getting a lot of attention. Spring cleaning is almost complete. The majority of the dust bunnies have been taken care of. There's still a few areas that I'd like to clean but I'm burnt out. The house is looking much better and just in time for Easter. The in-laws are in town and there's lots of stuff planned.

We hooked the de-thatching blade to the lawn mower last weekend and ripped up about a quarter of our lawn. We don't actually have a lot of thatch but we do have a ton of moss which the blade rakes out. So there's a huge pile of moss in the carport. With the old collection system, we would've filled all 12 garbage cans and put them at the curb for pick up. But the new system only picks up waste in city supplied containers. We are allowed one container for free and you have to pay $100 for every extra container. We bought an extra one so that we have two and they're huge but it's gonna take many weeks to get rid of the stuff and we still have to run the mower over the rest of the lawn. Then there's over-seeding, fertilizing, and lime-ing. Each step is a two pass process so I'm doing a lot of walking. I am very pooped.

The Lendrum has moved onto her permanent home. And she has a name - Lizzy. Her new owner has been spinning like crazy on it. I went over to her house and I showed her how to use her wheel to Andean ply the singles from her drop spindle. Then I got her set up to ply the singles that she'd spun on the wheel. I cut some felt pieces to slip into her lazy kate to add a little tension so that the bobbins don't spin too quickly. I'm going to make the same adjustment to my kate, too.

Before I handed Lizzy over, I spun a little fiber on her.

This is some really scratchy mystery wool from Shades of Narnia. I started spinning some of this on my drop spindle but the colours were a little blah so I put the fiber away. But I decided to finish spinning it on the wheel just to get it used up and out of my fiber trunk.

It didn't turn out too badly. It's 2 ply and approx 84g, 218 yds, and 16 wpi. As you can see, it's a little overplied. I still need to wash & whack it which will make it look better.

I went on a bit of a buying binge after finishing up my 3 ply sock yarn (first sock is almost finished - just need to graft the toe). The owner of a local LYS, Knitopia also dyes fiber. So I headed over there to buy some fluffy stuff and I came home with some superwash BFL.

The colours remind me of Hawaii - the ocean & the mountains. And it spins up into this:

I have 146g and I'm splitting it onto 2 bobbins and hoping that I end up with fingering weight after I ply it. The first bobbin is done and I'll be starting the second bobbin after Easter, taxes, and the lawn.

I've bought a new accessory for Matilda. I splurged and picked up a sliding hook jumbo flyer for my wheel on Wed. I also bought an extra jumbo bobbin. These things are supposed to hold 200g of yarn so 146g should fit nicely. I need to dig out the furniture wax and finish the flyer before I permanently install it.

And I'm sure some of you are wondering if I've been wheel shopping. The answer is yes. I'm trying to tempt Gladys into spinning so I've been keeping an eye out for another folding wheel. I haven't found one yet but I did find a NZ Sleeping Beauty Saxony in great condition (with jumbo flyer & jumbo bobbin) for only $160 last week.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Portland, here we come!

I've been sitting on this news for a month now, and I've been fit to burst, frankly. (I suck at keeping secrets.)

I'm working with Karla Stuebing, from Texas, on a few planned pooling projects, and the first one to go public is our lecture at Sock Summit!

I knew this collaboration was going to go well when she asked me if it was okay to make our audience laugh, as that's the way she prefers to lecture.

Dotty and I will be travelling to and/or from Portland together, so if you're at Sock Summit, make sure to say hi!

And if you're more local than Portland, I'll be teaching an intimate planned pooling class at 88 Stitches (scroll down for the info), the yarn store in Langley, in just a few weeks. This will be a much smaller setting, and we'll actually sit down with the yarn that the knitters bring to work out customized swatches and the knitter's gauge. (I'm told there's one spot left in the class.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

temporary resident

I went to a yard sale on Sat. There was a spinning wheel. A folding one. Can you see where this is going? I assembled it and gave it a spin. It came home with me. My living room is looking crowded.

That's a older model single treadle Lendrum - a Canadian made wheel. It came with a lovely carry bag, bobbins, and a lazy kate. I purchased this wheel on behalf of a friend who is looking for one. I couldn't get in touch with her to relay the details so I bit the bullet and bought it anyways. I hope she likes it. Fingers crossed.

I finally knuckled down and cast off my second Summer Flies shawl. I added an extra repeat of one of the charts which really made the the stitch count go way up. It took me 2.5 hours to bind off!

Pattern: Summer Flies by Donna Griffin
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Paints; 100g; 427 yds
Needles: 5mm Addi Turbos
Notes: Did an extra repeat of the ridged eyelet before starting the ruffle. Modified the increases to accommodate the different stitch count. Only have 11g of yarn left. Used fingering weight yarn instead of DK (like the first one I made) for a lightweight version.

I let myself cast on another project because I couldn't wait any longer.

I think all my future socks will be handspun and handknit.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

spinning out of control

My last post certainly garnered some interesting comments.

"Ha Ha another one who has joined the slippery slope of spinning. Watch out spinning wheels and fibre can breed. Jan 2010 no wheel. Feb 2010 one wheel and under 500 gms of fibre. Fast forward to April 2011 - 4 raw fleeces to process, large tub of fibre tops and silvers + another box. 2 wheels, 5 spindles and I am heading to wonderwool in wales next weekend... Once you get fibre in the blood watch out....." - Kataatok

Is he/she trying to tell me that in 13 months I'll either be divorced or hubby will be sleeping in the garage?

"You'll be buying fleeces next!! Remember, she who has the most fibre when she dies, wins! Hehehehehehe" - Sharon in Surrey

I already win in the yarn/fabric/shoe stash category. I don't need another win.

This one scares me the most:

"I am awaiting the arrival of wheel #4, which should hopefully be here today. Just letting you know what you're in for :)" - Loren T

So the gist is that I'm doomed? Well then, let's get started!

This is 3 ply, 283 yds (116g) of sportweight spun from some lovely organic Romney/silk that I picked up from Penelope's booth last month (before I bought the wheel ::cough::).

All washed & whacked and ready for the sock needles.

While I was out yesterday, I fell into a yarn store and came home with more roving to spin. Today, I'm falling into another yarn store because 4 bobbins just isn't enough.

When we were in Hawaii, I found a Williams Sonoma store. Never been in one before and it certainly was an eye opener (and a wallet drainer). I want one of everything! But luggage space was tight so I limited myself to a very special set of cookie cutters.

It's an invasion of Storm Troopers! Break out the light sabers!!!!

To be even geekier, I made hubby pose with the Vader cookies wearing a very special t-shirt.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

what have I done?

I'm in big, BIG trouble. As a knitter, it was bad enough that I was hoarding yarn but now I'm able to make it in a big way.

This is Matilda. A slightly used Ashford Traditional spinning wheel. I bought it yesterday with the help of my friend, Vicki. We took it back to her place where I spun a little Romney/silk.

Silk is tricksy to spin. I took the wheel over to Gladys' and both of us spun on it while a little drunk. I switched us to something less tricky - plain old wool. I finished spinning and plying it this morning (while sober).

It's only 50 yds (74g; the rest of it was spun on my drop spindle). It's horribly underspun, overspun, overplied, underplied, and in general, pretty gross. But perfect for my first wheelspun yarn!

Friday, April 1, 2011

hot flash

Started spring cleaning the whole house about a week ago. I'm embarrassed to say that I hadn't seen the top of my dresser in several years. But it's all good now. The entire upstairs has been vacuumed, dusted, and purged. We'll probably shampoo the carpets this year but that'll have to wait until the weather is warmer.

And you know with a big clean, it often looks bad before it gets better. I try to get things cleared up before hubby gets home from work but the yarn keeps piling up in the living room because I've pulled it out of every nook and cranny from upstairs. I think I have a yarn explosion on my hands.

I'll get downstairs done next week and then I don't have to think about it for another 10 years or so ;)

I managed to get a little spinning done. It's so bright that it hurts my eyes but I love it anyways.

It's 100g of NZ corriedale and approx. 143 yds. It's spun on an Ashford Turkish drop spindle. I think there's enough for a pair of fingerless mitts. While plying the singles, one single kept breaking on me. Everything was getting all twisty and when I tried to untwist the single, it broke. Wah! I have to develop a better system for plying large batches of singles that keeps everything under control.