Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Buffalo Salon

Purely out of curiosity, I added dyes to a skein of sportweight 90% bison/10% nylon blend to see how the dark natural brown color would take the dyes. I think it's a little like the highlights that I have added to my own hair at the salon.

Here's the result of the highlights treatment. I left the white tie to show where I didn't dye it so you can see its natural color.

These pictures were taken in natural daylight which really brings out the beautiful colors. It's not as pretty in artificial light.

The most amazing thing about this little trial is that I pulled the skein out of the crockpot in the morning, washed and rinsed it, then realized that there was no way it would air dry in time to take to the Buffalo Gold booth at Agribition the same day. So I put the skein into a lingerie bag and popped it into the dryer. I was very nervous about it. It's one thing to throw a knitted garment made from the yarn into a dryer but it's quite a different thing to take a chance on skeined yarn and I was afraid that I might wreck a very expensive luxury fiber so I checked on it a few minutes later. It was just fine so I tossed it back into the dryer until it was dry.

Wow. Not only did it not shrink but it was even more beautiful than before it was washed and dried. It was fluffy, lofty, and incredibly soft! We took turns cuddling it next to our necks at the booth that afternoon. This fiber is incredible!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Buffalo Gold

Every year, Agribition is held in Regina at the end of November. It's a large agricultural fair. This year, Buffalo Gold from Texas is one of the displays in the commercial exhibits. There is buffalo yarn, knit items, and fiber for sale. Buffalo Guy Ron (BuffaloGuy on Ravelry) is very nice and has a great sense of humor. I volunteered to take my Joy wheel and spin some of the buffalo fiber at the set up.

It's pretty amazing stuff. It's so soft and about six times warmer than wool. It wears very well and can go into the washer and dryer.

Here's the fiber:

I've been spinning very fine lace weight to make it last longer.
My sister Darcie is working there for the week and she has more pictures of the buffalo yarns on her blog.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Rose

Santa came early for me. This was delivered yesterday. It came from Shuttleworks* in Calgary.

It's a new Majacraft Rose spinning wheel!

I love both of my Ashford wheels, the Elizabeth 2 and the Joy. They do a very good job of spinning. However, I was finding that plying was a struggle for me, no doubt mostly due to my fibromyalgia. So I did some online research to find out which wheels are easiest to treadle. One name kept coming up; you guessed it, the Rose. I feel very fortunate to be at a place in my life where I can indulge in the luxury of owning three wheels!

Here she is all set up with the flyer on the right.

Rose is very versatile - her flyer can also go on the left.

She comes with two whorls and two flyers for an amazing range of spinning ratios and options. Here is the delta orifice, no hook required.
The bobbins are very large, light plastic. I like them.

The support arm swings to one side and a handle pops up to carry the wheel. I wouldn't consider this a travel wheel though. It's pretty heavy and I've read that the lovely wood is somewhat soft so I'd be worried about damaging it by carting it around.

All in all, she's absolutely lovely! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some spinning to do....

*I highly recommend Shuttleworks!! Cal is great to work with, the prices are amazing (the Rose was about the same price (Cdn) as the best online price in the US that I found on the net - with the current dreary exchange rate of the Canadian dollar, you can't beat par), and the shipping is inexpensive and very fast (2 days)!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

hail or snow, I don't know

When I took the dogs out this afternoon, tiny balls of ice started raining down on us. They were descending more quickly than snow does yet hail is not likely at this time of year. It was only heavy for a brief shower, then it stopped. I guess the temperature differences between the sky and the earth were conducive for rain to turn into ice but I really don't know what causes this.
Here's a close-up of the ice balls on the steps of the hot tub.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm number 2,838!

I got an email from today telling me that they have reviewed my blog and rated it 7.6 out of 10 in their Personal Blogs category. According to the email, this is quite an achievement. They use the following criteria: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style.

I didn't know much about the site so I went to have a look. I finally found my blog here. Number 2,838 out of 17, 655. I guess that's good. However, if I'd known I'd was being rated, I would have tried harder. After all, 76% is a B. Maybe I've been in school too many years or something but I really, really wanted an A. And I'm not even terribly competitive by nature. I guess I learned something about myself today.

Anyway, I added the badge in the sidebar. I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Even if it is only a B.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

catching up

Dan's grandmother passed away last week so it's been busy for a few days. I also did something to my back and neck so needed physio and was pretty sore. I could only sit at the computer for a few minutes at a time. Now that it's feeling a bit better I'm trying to catch up on emails and blogs.

The little Tulip cardigan has been washed, blocked, and dried and is ready to pack up to send to Jayda for her first birthday. Here it is in the natural daylight of the sunroom so that you can see it's true colors.
After physio on Tuesday afternoon I couldn't resist snapping this picture on my cellphone. It was about as pretty a November day as you'll ever find on the prairies. The sky was blue, the air was cool, there was no wind, and the sun was shining.
I love the way the slanting fall sun defines the earthy colors.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

yarns are listed

Just letting you know that the yarns are listed in Darcie's Etsy shop now if you are interested. This one is a merino/silk blend that I forgot to take a picture of before I sent it to her place. The others were pictured on the blog earlier.

Monday, November 03, 2008

almost ready to send

I finished knitting the Tulip Cardigan for baby Jayda last night. Jayda is our god-daughter Kaitlin's little one. Here it is washed and blocked for drying. I made the size 2 and it looks pretty big to me but I don't have any wee folks around to compare it to other size 2's. Jayda is just turning a year old so it will likely have to wait a bit before she can wear it but I'll send it to her when it's dry anyway.

I dyed Knit Picks Superwash Merino for it instead of buying the Dream In Color yarn that the pattern called for. I'm very happy with the result! Jayda has dark hair and big brown eyes and I think these bright colors will suit her. The yarn label says that it can be machine washed and dried on low but I think the yarn will hold up much better if it's machine washed in cool water and laid flat to dry. I washed it by hand with hot water a few times to make sure that the dyes were exhausted but that dark teal color might still bleed a bit if it gets washed in the machine with hot water. It will be fine in cool water.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

laughing out loud

I found this link on Ravelry. It has nothing to do with knitting or spinning but it had me laughing out loud.