Tuesday, April 28, 2009

more stinkin' snow

This is what we woke up to today. Snow at the end of April is just cruel.

A much brighter and cuter picture....
this is Jayda wearing her bright Tulips cardi that I knit for her last fall. Those happy colors really suit her with her dark hair and big brown eyes.

I've been spinning.
Here is a completed skein of Rambouillet. It's nice and squooshy and will make comfy socks (for me).

Both Austin and Bentley are spending the day at the vet. They were neutered this morning. It's official, I have no more show dogs. Just as well as I'm too tired to travel to shows. I got a call from JoAnn (friend and vet extraordinaire!) that they are just fine and I will pick them up this afternoon.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Is there a Wheel Junkies Anonymous group?

Yeah, I got another wheel. I know, I know, I didn't need another wheel. But I was so impressed with the Schacht Ladybug that I wanted to experience the Schacht Matchless too. I decided that the Ladybug could do double duty as my travel wheel instead of the Majacraft Little Gem because the Ladybug is easier for me to treadle than the Gem. So I found another home for the Gem and bought the Matchless (from Shuttleworks, of course). Schacht is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a limited edition cherry Matchless. I could have placed an order for one of those but decided that I didn't care enough about the cherry wood to spend the extra money.
Austin seemed to approve - the more spinning wheels, the more mom hangs around the house with the dogs.

And here it is all set up.
I will do a bit of a review when I've had a chance to spin more on it. It's funny that I'm referring to the Matchless as "it" rather than "she". This is my first wheel that doesn't seem feminine to me. Weird, I know. It's a very sturdy wheel with a heavy drive wheel that really gets going when treadled. Maybe that's why it seems masculine.

I was reading the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook the other day and decided to try dyeing some merino/nylon fiber using the spot method to spin up on the new wheel. Here it is drying on the sweater dryer.

And hand-crocheted after drying.

Here's a bit that I pulled off to show you how the colors look so much softer when it's predrafted a bit.

And the first bit spun on the Matchless. I love the effect of the random white spots mixed into the colors. It's going to be a fun project!

edited to add:

Speaking of masculine...
Right after I posted about the Matchless, I was getting my daily bowl of Bran Buds ready and discovered this strawberry. Too funny! Congratulations Mrs. Strawberry, it's a boy!

(Dan says that I need to get out of the house more often. Apparently I am easily entertained these days.)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

dearly beloved....

Align CenterDearly beloved,
We are gathered here to today to say farewell to Bentley's Skunk who finally succumbed to a slow death from being vigorously shaken while the dog dishes were filled twice daily, methodically eviscerated, and finally, decapitated.

In his youth, Skunk was a fine specimen of a stuffed animal. He was plump and fluffy, and made wonderful squeaks and screaming noises before his noisemakers were disemboweled. He was Bentley's favorite animal to kill. His long tail snapped about delightfully when he was shaken.

He leaves to mourn his passing his doggy and human family, and his friends, especially Chippy the Chipmunk, the Octopus, and the Spotted Puppy, all of whom are also suffering from various stages of evisceration and face mutilation but are also much loved by Bentley.
As a final act of selflessness, Skunk generously donated what's left of his body to be subjected to continued mealtime shaking. However, his head has now left this life to serve a higher purpose, perhaps as a favored toy for another dear pet in Heaven.

Rest in Peace.

Monday, April 06, 2009

spinning, spinning

I rigged up the double drive option on the Ladybug to try it out.
I decided I liked spinning on this wheel using the Scotch tension instead. I'm not sure why, really. It just seemed a little "slippy" with the plastic wheel so I put the stretchy single drive band back on. This wheel just seems to work better that way and I felt I had more control of my spinning.

I've got to say that I am in love with this wheel. It's sturdy and the rim-weighted wheel makes treadling effortless. I also really like the wide treadles; I can find a place for my feet while leaving my legs and knees in a comfortable, not cramped, position. Although I'm not a huge fan of hooks on the flyer, this flyer has the hooks offset on either side of the bobbin and allows you to fill the bobbin quite evenly.

I did some measuring of treadles last night to compare the Ladybug's with the Rose's. They are very similar; the only differences are that the Ladybug's are a bit higher off of the floor at the front and, at its lowest point, one is parallel to the floor. At the lowest treadle point on the Rose, my toes are about an inch higher than my heel so my foot is still slightly flexed. That gives the comfort edge to Rose by a hair. However, the Ladybug's drive wheel has more momentum once it gets going than the Rose's so there is likely a slightly edge in treadling to the Ladybug there. All said, both are very comfortable.

I also wound off of one bobbin on the attached kate to one on the wheel just to see how the kate worked. It was fine for this bit of winding but I think a full-size kate with adjustable tension would be much better for plying.

I finished up the merino/silk from Zebisis Designs. Here are the singles on the Nancy's Knit Knacks lazy kate.* (And Harrison thoroughly enjoying being able to sit in his favorite chair in the sunroom.)

While being plied...

And after a nice hot bath.
I didn't measure wraps per inch as it's somewhat thick and thin. It's between a heavy fingering and light sport weight. I'm not sure what I will use it for. It would be lovely for socks but I have about twice as much as I'd need for socks. We'll see.

*Plying causes me pain because I twist my body. The Nancy's Knit Knacks Katie a-Go Go is very handy and portable (and super for plying from spindle cops) but I have trouble keeping the singles from twisting together after they are fed through the single guide so I end up contorting my upper body even more to stretch my arms out to keep the twist controlled. I just got a Majacraft Lazy Kate from Cal at Shuttleworks. It is very sturdy and guides the singles through their own guides. Cal got the brass rods custom made for me so that the longer Schacht and WooLee Winder bobbins would also fit on it. I'm sure glad that I didn't just order the kate from another online seller as only the shorter Majacraft bobbins fit it properly. When I called Cal, he told me of the problem, tried out other bobbins on it to make sure, phoned Majacraft for advice, and contacted a supplier of brass rods in Calgary to cut some longer ones so the kate would work for me. How's that for customer service! Here's how it looks now - the rods are plenty long enough for all of the bobbins. I wish I had some plying to do so I could try it out properly. I'll be able to report back with a better review after giving it a workout.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I can't do it after all

I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic about selling the Elizabeth. I guess my subconscious knew what the rest of me didn't. I can't do it and I'm glad that no one has contacted me about buying her. I just know that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I did.

This really makes no logical sense. It seems silly to keep a wheel that's causing me pain. But I love her dearly and she will stay after all.

Come to think of it, there are other things that I love that cause or have caused me pain and I keep them....
offspring, some memories, my house, my garden, the exercise equipment (okay, so I don't love the exercise equipment but it causes me pain and I'm still keeping it)...
you get the drift.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

my body is saying no

Elizabeth basking in the warmth of the sunroom this afternoon.

My aching body is dictating the need to find a new home for my beloved Ashford Elizabeth 2 spinning wheel. Spinning on the saxony wheel is causing me pain. I have been dithering about selling her for a while now but I really didn't want to because she is my dream fairy-tale wheel. However, after spinning on her yesterday, I know I should stick to castle style wheels. There's just something about the different styles that change the ergonomics for me.

Elizabeth spins beautifully and I have taken very good care of her. She is like new and comes with 4 bobbins, regular flyer, lazy kate, WooLee Winder flyer, and 7 WW bobbins, as well as the instructions from Ashford and instructions and tools from WooLee winder.

I did a quick tally and came up with the following prices for all of these items new (not including tax and shipping, in Canadian funds as of today's market):

Elizabeth 2 ST, lacquered, lazy kate, 4 bobbins = $913.00
WooLee Winder with 1 bobbin = $229.46
6 WooLee Winder bobbins = $230.76

Total = $1373.22 CDN.

I'm asking $1000.00 CDN. I take Pay Pal.

At this point, I don't want to take her apart to ship her so I would prefer selling locally. I'm willing to drive a reasonable distance to deliver or meet up with someone outside of the city of Regina. I don't want to sell the WooLee Winder separately unless someone buys the wheel without it.

(edited to add that the Elizabeth is not for sale after all - see April 4th post)

(edited again on May 3 to post it for sale again - it's just not sensible to keep a wheel that is not a good fit for my aching body - and I am willing to take it apart to ship it - also, the cost is not carved in stone)