Thursday, October 30, 2008

my straight needles aren't being used

I don't use my straight needles any more because of fibromyalgia hand pain so they need a new home. If you'd like more information about them, email me at szivec AT accesscomm DOT ca (using the @ and . where appropriate).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

more yarn

I mucked around with the crockpot some more and came up with these skeins to donate to Darcie's Etsy shop. She'll list them once she gets them and has a chance to work out the logistics so keep an eye on her shop the next few days if you're interested. I know that she's planning on doing her own dyeing eventually as well.

I liked the first confetti one so much that I tried a couple more, one with more color and one with a bit less. These are soft superwash merino/nylon.

The next two have Cherry Tree Hill Supersock as the base yarn so they have a nice, tight twist for socks. The first one reminds me of rose bushes and would be nice for Christmas too. The other is autumn colors of pumpkin, gold, and brown.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

a stranger in our midst

Austin started 'alert' barking the other evening. It seems he noticed the woman's picture on this box that I set on the crate after getting groceries. Apparently she is a very scary woman and all who live here should be aware that she is a threat. It's nice to know that I have a watchdog to protect me from 2-dimensional demons.

The box housed a goLite and was an impulse purchase. Costco had a sale. The light is supposed to help stimulate your energy when the number of daylight hours dwindles. I've suspected for years that I have a mild version of Seasonal Affective Disorder so I thought it would be worth a try. I'll have to let you know how it's working after giving it a few days.

I have received several blog comments about dyeing yarn, some asking for more information and some offering advice. Thank you for the interest and I'll post a more detailed description of what techniques and supplies I use when I have more time. Until then you can see some pics of my set-up here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

crockpot dyeing

I've been watching the local "used" sites for crockpots for some time now. I found one a couple of weeks ago that I got for a great price. In fact, it's better than the one I've been using so it's now in my kitchen and the other has become the dyeing pot. Both are the big 6 quart variety which is a nice size for dyeing (and for making big batch soups and stews, but not in the same pot as the dyes).

These are the first two skeins that I made in the crockpot. At the risk of immodesty, I think the picture doesn't do them justice. I steamed them in plastic wrap bundles on top of a rack set over water. I like dyeing using the crockpot. I soak the yarn for a while, add the dye to the wet skeins, put them in the pot for 2 or 3 hours on low, unplug the pot, and let it cool off overnight. The next day, I just have to rinse the yarn, spin out the excess water, and hang it to dry. I can only do a couple of skeins at a time but it feels much less labor intensive this way for some reason. I'm currently waiting for a couple more skeins to dry; I immersion dyed them and I like them a lot too.

I need more sock yarn like I need a hole in the head so the plan was to donate them to my sister Darcie's Etsy site, Muddy Paws Knit Knacks, to add to her row counters. However, I have fallen in love with the confetti colored yarn. I am totally smitten. I need to have it. So the other skein (I think it looks like vibrant Bird of Paradise flowers) will be donated along with some more that I am in the process of dyeing. If you are interested, check her shop as I will be giving her more hand-dyed yarn as I produce it. It's a good plan. I like to play with the dyes when I have the energy and I can't possibly knit all the yarn that I dye. She can handle the advertising and selling parts which I found physically difficult due to the TMJ pain that is a problem when I'm on the computer too much.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I thought I would share my spindle collection with you today. I've been gradually adding to it and have a nice selection now. (Spindle identification pic at end of post.)

The paw and nose in the top picture belong to Robbie-the-nosy-sheltie. He wasn't eating the dark brown Maggie spindle, just sniffing it.

I remembered that I had a pottery jug with a broken lip downstairs. I crazy glued the jug and it now is a lovely prop to show off the the spindles.

Spindles identified with as much info as I can remember as I didn't save all the tags:
1. Kundert Taos, 1.4 oz.
2. Golding 3" ring spindle, Celtic ring, 1.9 oz.
3. Maggie top whorl with low profile hook, about 1.25 oz., walnut?
4. Spindlewood square mini, 7/8 oz., olive wood, with hook and point protectors (included)
5. Bosworth featherweight, .53 oz., Bird's Eye Maple
6. Tabachek mini, Russian Olive
7. Bosworth midi, .81 oz., Canarywood
8. Golding 2 3/4" ring spindle, Celtic knot, 1.3 oz.
9. Bosworth mini, .7 oz., Zebrawood
10. Bosworth midi, Paduak, .91 oz.

Turkish spindles in front:
Jenkins Osage Orange, 1.8 oz.
Turkish Delight bamboo

Middle picture (front right):
Royale Hare brass support spindle

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tulip cardi in progress

Here is the progress pic of the Tulip cardigan that I'm knitting for my god-daughter Kaitlin's baby daughter Jayda. I was struggling with hand pain at first which has been an issue for me whenever I knit anything heavier than socks. Since switching to the Bryspun circ, however, I haven't had a problem. I think it's because I held the right needle with my hand over the top of it when I worked on larger projects and that position caused carpal tunnel pain because of my wrist flexing down. My comfortable knitting position is with my hand holding the needle like a pencil which wasn't easy for me when I was holding the heavier needles. I'm finding the Bryspun needles are so light and have such a good point that I can knit in my usual style and my hand is fine. It will be interesting to see if I can avoid hand pain when working on an adult-sized sweater.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

chiengora pics

Someone posted this link on Ravelry. The pictures of people wearing garments made from their dogs' fur are wonderful!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

puppies galore!

Bentley's momma Ten (CH. Torihill's Savvidax Prrfect ML) had a litter of three male puppies 3 weeks ago. My sister Darcie and I took a little day trip out to the lake to visit Daphne (Bowering) and the new mini longhaired Dachshund babies. They are very sweet and cuddly!
Ten let us snuggle her babies but she kept a very watchful eye on us. She's a good mom.

A colleague of mine, Jean Juno, is a Golden Retriever breeder (YBF Goldens). She lives out the same way so we stopped for a visit there too. This is what greeted us when we stepped into the dog room...
a litter of eleven 8-week old puppies! They are lively and way too adorable!

Jean asked for my opinion about their structure so I went over each puppy on the table. They are an incredible litter! I think that most of them are capable of attaining conformation championships in the show ring which is pretty amazing consistency for that large a litter. They are also great prospects for performance events. I think that Jean still has a couple of show quality puppies waiting for homes. If you are interested click on the link above to see Jean's homepage and contact info.
Darcie got some better puppy shots than I did. You can go to her blog to see more pics.

Jean has a lively country home. In addition to the dogs and two young kids, we found bunnies

and a pet Canada Goose named Eggwin (crappy picture, sorry).
Jean's husband Steve found him near where he works. Eggwin has a bad wing and his momma had abandoned him so Steve took him home. Now he's one of their large, happy menagerie on the acreage in the valley.

All in all, it was a very nice way to spend the day! My dogs were most interested in me when I got home. I smelled good!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

summer is not quite over

I had forgotten all about this lovely hanging plant when the snow storm blew in. Yesterday I remembered it and poked under the tree to see how badly it had frozen. Surprise! It is as healthy and happy as can be! It must have been sheltered by the tree or maybe the snow insulated it from the cold temperatures.

In spite of the snow still sitting on it,

it's blooming as if it's still summer.

I finished up a pair of socks for my friend Daphne.
She had admired the Socks That Rock Monsoon yarn that I knit for Geoff's socks last summer. I had lots of the yarn left so I knit up a pair for her.

And I finished plying this superwash BFL. I dyed the top blue and green and randomly spun it. I used two strands of the dyed singles and one undyed white single to make this 3-ply fingering weight yarn.

Monday, October 13, 2008

after the snow

The snow stopped, the skies cleared, and the big melt is on. The snow is very wet and very heavy. Most of it has fallen off of the trees already.

The canvas canopy over the hot tub is a casualty of the snow. The weight proved too much for it and it ripped. I haven't heard the news today. I hope that the canopy is the only casualty of the snow storm. I'm sure the roads around here were a mess.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

and tonight....

The poor trees still have most of their leaves and their branches are hanging on the ground with the weight of the wet, heavy snow.

At least the shelties are loving it!

questions from comments on last post

Mickey left the following comment on the last post about the Joy:

Have almost the same wheel, noticed the WoolLee winder. Have heard pros and cons on it. How do you like it on the Joy. (As opposed to a wheel with multiple whorls and different bobbin sizes) I have other wheels but the Joy travels well. Outside or over to a friends for an afternoon, no fuss, just grab and go, simplicity.

I haven't noticed any difference in the responsiveness of the wheel using the Woolee Winder. I have one on the Elizabeth as well and they work great on both wheels! The Woolee Winder bobbins are significantly larger than the Ashford ones. The Woolee Winders really pack the yarn on smoothly so they hold a lot of yarn. I've been spoiled by being able to just get into a spinning groove without checking the bobbin frequently to change hooks. The Woolee Winder gears do make a bit of noise but it's not very noticeable and doesn't bother me a bit. I highly recommend them!

havefaith said:

It is amazing how there are people for all seasons. I'd love your weather year round. I love the rain and cloudy days. The sun ... you can have it. Maybe we need to switch locations. Although, after you have been in the south for a while, you may change your mind.

Honestly, I wouldn't like to live in a hot climate so I don't want to switch locations. LOL However, this is what is happening outside now. We're having a winter storm. Highway travel is not advised.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Joy Love

I feel a bit like a traitor even admitting it but I thought about selling my Ashford Joy travel wheel. I'm doing most of my spinning on the Elizabeth and, now that I'm not teaching, I don't really need a travel wheel. I thought about replacing the Joy with a larger wheel that could be packed up to put into the van if necessary but would be more versatile around the house as a second wheel.

Then I took the Joy out to the sunroom last week when the weather was gloriously sunny and warm. By nature, I'm a control-freak worsted super-fine yarn kind of spinner. As that's the Elizabeth's forte we get along very well. However, I decided to challenge myself to spin long-draw woolen yarn using the sheltie/merino fiber that I am preparing on the drum carder.
It's slow going as I find my touch with the long-draw method but the Joy is proving its worth by allowing me to have superb control of the twist while drafting. I have new respect and re-kindled love for this little wheel. And it's just so gosh-darn pretty as well as folding up in a snap! The Joy stays.

My fiber sources hanging out with the wheel. Austin seems to approve of my choice of fiber.

Last week's beautiful weather has turned into this:
It's cool, windy, and rainy. It feels like winter is not too far away. Yuck.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm going there

I try very hard to keep my blog pleasant. The internet is a very large place. I want everyone to be able to read my blog and enjoy it without worrying about issues that may be reactive or personal. I value my family's right to privacy so I respect that as I would hope they would do the same for me. I'm uncomfortable reading other blogs when they are presented as diaries or journals of deeply personal beliefs or problems. I don't think my blog should be controversial.

Today it is going to become controversial because I can't let politics lay quietly on this one.

We are in the midst of federal election campaigning here in Canada. Unlike the U.S. election, Canada's campaign is short, just a few weeks. We head to the polls on Oct. 14.

(aside: When the Conservative Party was elected, they announced that they would implement a fixed election date every four years. Within a year they changed their minds and called an election. Huh?)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently announced massive funding cuts to the arts. 45 million dollars massive that is. He has stated that "ordinary people" don't care about arts funding. He also implied that artists are wealthy people who attend galas and whine about grants.


Could the Prime Minister of this country show his ignorance about Canadians more clearly?

I've been mulling over just what to write about all of this for the last few days. Turns out, some true "artists" have responded more eloquently than I could so I will turn it over to them with thanks.

First, our beloved Yarn Harlot.

And Margaret Atwood, one of Canada's most famous writers.