Wednesday, March 25, 2009

hard to believe

I was reading blogs today and came across Franklin's The Panopticon. I couldn't believe it. I thought that we, as a society, had come further than that.

When I taught kids to knit at school, I had girls and boys knitting. Parents were thrilled. One even sent me a note at the end of the year telling me how awesome it was that I could interest 7 year old boys in knitting enough for them to voluntarily give up recesses.

I only had one tiny problem with the parents of a six year old boy who expressed concern that the other kids might tease their son if he learned to knit. I sent a reassuring note back home that there were plenty of male knitters at school but they still resisted until their own son pleaded with them that he really, really wanted to join knitting club.

Exactly how does knitting make a boy or man less masculine? They are learning a set of skills that produce something amazing and they are finding a way to relax as a bonus.

We think we've come a long way as women in our society. How did the men not get included in the new mindset? Oh, I know that men are better daddies now and are involved with things that are traditionally seen as feminine roles. And I know that there are many of us who believe that there are no standard male/female roles. But this one incident that Franklin describes shows us that there is still a long way to go.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

onboard lazy kate

I went ahead and installed the onboard lazy kate on the Ladybug. I don't mind how it looks and it is handy for bobbin storage at least. I haven't tried to ply from it yet so I have no idea if that will work well or be a waste of time.
The more I spin on this wheel, the more I like it. It's very smooth. I like how I have a wide area to place my feet while treadling. My hips and knees are much happier if I can avoid having my feet right together for any length of time. I think that was part of the problem when I was spinning on the Joy.

Bentley isn't much impressed with my spinning time. I won't let him sit on my lap while I'm spinning (what with his total delight in killing fiber) so he has to make do with an empty, lonely chair for his nap. Poor boy.
He's learned that he has to leave my knitting alone when he sits on my lap. He will even let me eat without bothering me just so that he can remain on my lap. But that fluffy fiber is too much for him and he can't resist killing it gleefully.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

my mid-life crisis (wheel) arrived yesterday

The nice postal woman showed up with my new Schacht Ladybug wheel yesterday morning. It was a gorgeous day so I took the box out to the sunroom to set it up.

Here it is right out of the box.

The first thing I did was look for my little ladybug. The Schacht people put them on the wheels before shipping and in any place that catches their fancy at the time. They say that no two wheels have the ladybugs in the same place. I found mine right below where the flyer fits the back maiden.

Here she is all set up and basking in the Spring sunshine before going for a test drive. She didn't need much assembly, just the treadles and the flyer.

And you can still see the little ladybug peeking out from behind the whorl with the wheel set up.
My wheel came with the on-board lazy kate which I haven't assembled yet. I'm not sure I'll like it anyway so I'm not in a hurry. There are a lot of people on the internet who don't care for it. There is also the option for double drive which I haven't set up yet either. I thought I'd play with the Scotch tension for a while first.

Dan came home just as I finished putting the wheel together and we went for our weekly grocery shopping trip so I didn't get a chance to spin on the Ladybug until later last evening. I'm impressed! She feels very solid and the treadles are nice and wide for easy treadling which is really important to me for health reasons. It's a very responsive wheel and rotates with surprising momentum for a lightweight drive wheel. I was able to comfortably sit in my Lazyboy chair and spin.

I can see why this wheel has received great reviews. It feels like a full size wheel but is easy to pick up and move around. It doesn't fold down so that limits its traveling portability but would be easy to just throw in a vehicle to take to a spinning meeting and its sturdiness would make it quite carefree to cart around. I wouldn't want to have to walk too far with it though. If I have to lug around a wheel for any distance, I'll take the Little Gem.

In my opinion, the Majacraft wheels still have some advantages over the Ladybug. I much prefer the sliding flyer clips rather than the Ladybug's hooks. Although the Ladybug comes with two whorls for four ratios, it is more of a production to change them and to remove bobbins than on the Rose with its wide range of ratios. I can see why both Schacht and Majacraft wheels have such devoted fans.

It's a little like comparing apples to oranges and, when all is said and done, they're different. I love them all. To me, the Rose and the Little Gem are beautiful while the Ladybug is cute. And then there's the Elizabeth that is so traditional and lovely. I feel fortunate to be able to own them all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

as the kids would say, "My bad"

Cue the band....

Call me irresponsible
Call me unreliable
Call me undependable too.

I have been pretty sensible and responsible all of my life. My sister says that I was 15 going on 50. Maybe it's because I was the oldest child in the family. Maybe it's because my father died when I was young. Probably it's because I was born that way.


I sold the knitting machine set and it is now heading to Oregon. The money from it felt a bit like mad money as it hadn't been earmarked for a particular purchase or payment.

Now I am really 50. So I decided to spend the money just for my own selfish pleasure. I don't need what I bought. I just want what I bought.

Some people buy red convertibles for their mid-life crises. I just ordered this:
It's a Schacht Ladybug. I ordered it from Shuttleworks.

Hey, it may not be a convertible..... but it's red!

Monday, March 16, 2009

need a good laugh to start your week?

Regina may be an urban center but, lest we forget that we are an agricultural community, something like this happens.

Dan's comment about it:

"It sounds like a Monty Python sketch."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

a bargain for machine knitters!

Due to my ongoing issues with TMJ and Fibromyalgia, I am selling all of my machine knitting items. I just can't use them very much or parts of my body complain loudly. I'm advertising them on Ravelry and some yahoo lists but thought I'd put them here too in case anyone is interested. If you are local, contact me and we'll make the deal even sweeter because it would save me the bother of shipping.

All items were purchased within the last year and are like new in original packaging with all original accessories included unless otherwise noted. Current approximate retail prices are in brackets. If bought new, these items would total over $1200, not including taxes and shipping.

To save myself from selling and packaging each item separately, I am offering a terrific bargain to anyone who would like to buy all of these items as a lot! For $800US plus shipping from Canada, they're yours! I accept Pay Pal.

If I don't have a buyer for this as a lot I will list the items separately later.

Silver Reed (Studio) LK 150, including instructional DVD by Susan Guagliumi ($400)
Knit Contour KR11 ($275)
Knitting Any Way Transfer Tool including book ($25.95), never used

Intarsia Carriage AG10 ($99), never used
Fair Isle Carriage FC6 ($219), never used - not being made any more

Hand Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitters by Susan Guagliumi - hard copy (various prices on eBay, etc. - I paid $75 for it)
Tricks of the Trade by Mary Ann Oger ($27.95)
50 Ways to Love Your Knitter by Mary Ann Oger ($27.95)
Mid-Gauge Classics by Mary Ann Oger ($16.95)
Mid-Gauge Magic by Mary Ann Oger ($27.95)

The following Patterns and Grids for the Knit Contour KR11 (worth more than $75):
Knit Patterns
1/4 Scale Grid Sheets
1/2 Scale Grid Sheets - some sheets have been used and carefully erased, still very usable
French Curves -new, never used
Half-Scale Ruler that I made using a transparent ruler and rub-on numbers - see this link - very handy for copying patterns onto grid sheets

Sunday, March 08, 2009

recent spinning

My knitting mojo has sort of evaporated the last few days and I've been spinning instead.

This is a really beautiful merino/silk top from Zebisis Designs. I love the colorway (Dark Monet) and the top is easy to draft and spin. Just gorgeous! I will be frequenting this Etsy shop to see what else Maiysha lists in the future. The service is also top-notch.

This lovely soft superwash merino is from Blue Ridge Silk Works, another superb online shop worth checking out. The colorway is Cool Breeze. I spun it a little thicker than my usual ultra-fine singles. I'm thinking about making Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise cardi with it (Ravelry link). I don't have a baby in mind as a recipient but it would be nice to have a little sweater tucked away for quick baby gift.

I was on a roll brushing out dogs finally after being sick. I got through everyone except Pocus who is long overdue for a haircut. The day that I was going to shave him down is the day that the spin dryer arrived in the mail. As I lifted the dryer up I felt a muscle in my back twinge and, sure enough, another sprained muscle. So Pocus still looks like a rolling dust bunny while I wait for my back to heal. The weather got really cold again so I figure fate was telling me to leave the old Bichon with fur for another week or so until it's warmer outside. I wish that fate had been a little more subtle about it though. I would have listened to a gentler message instead of being completely unable to lift anything because of this muscle injury. Just saying.

Happy Birthday Darcie and Christopher!

My sister Darcie and her son Christopher share a birthday today. Christopher is 10. Darcie is (ahem) older than that.

We had them over for supper yesterday and I took this picture. Happy birthday both of you!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


See this?
It's the OPEN door from my kitchen to the sunroom. Yes, that's right, it was warm in the sunroom this afternoon!

We had a sunny, mild, calm day here in southern Saskatchewan. The temperature climbed over the freezing mark and the air held a touch of spring. It was like manna to starving people.

It was so lovely and warm in the sunroom that I sat and spun. The dogs enjoyed getting into the sunroom too and had soon parked themselves in various sunbeams around the room.
The warm weather isn't supposed to last and we'll be back in another cold weather system in a couple of days. But, at least, it feels like spring is a possibility after all.

everything old is new again

I went to Golden Willow (my lys) one day last summer and noticed a curious machine in use. It was a spin dryer that had been hauled out of storage from years past and was being used to spin the freshly dyed fibers before hanging them to dry. I had never seen one before and I thought it looked much easier to use than the old wringer that I remember my mom using when I was little.

I have a front load Maytag washer that I love. It is so much more energy and soap efficient than my top loading machine had been and is gentler on the clothes. However, because it loads in front, spinning woolens in it is a bit of a gamble due to the risk of clothes tumbling as they spin. I've been using a salad spinner to spin the woolens but the spinner can only handle a wee bit at a time (a pair of socks is about as much as it will do without getting cranky and refusing to spin evenly).

So imagine my surprise when I read a discussion on the spin-list about this very subject and found a link to an electric spinner. The price was reasonable so I ordered one.

It came today.

It's the countertop model from Laundry-Alternative.

It's very simple and very basic but I'm looking forward to its help both when I'm washing woolens and when I play with the dyes.