Sunday, August 29, 2010

after the bath

These two singles

became this fractal spun, 2 ply yarn.

Bee Mice Elf “Snow-Capped”; 50% merino, 25% bamboo, 25% silk;
228 g, 1150 yds.

Friday, August 27, 2010

it's a learning tool

It's a learning tool. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

It's my sister Darcie's fault. She bought an iPod Touch and told me that I really, really wanted one too. At first I didn't think I would use it much. Then I started looking at the available apps for knitters and spinners and changed my mind.

So I'm now the proud owner of one of my own and have developed a kink in my right shoulder from using the computer mouse to explore all of the cool apps in the iTunes store that I need for it. I also have sore thumbs from playing an evil, addicting game called Angry Birds. I spent most of the day launching birds at pigs. Freaking pigs.

But the Touch is not just a toy (remember my story from above). There is an amazing app called Planets. It shows you the night sky exactly where you are in the world at the time. That's how I found out that the bright orb in the sky near the moon is actually Jupiter. Jupiter!! I didn't even know that we can see Jupiter with the naked eye but there it is! It's bright enough that my point-and-shoot camera can find it.
How cool is that?!

And don't even get me started on the joys of the Knit Gauge app....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

getting better finally

Bentley is finally starting to feel better. I took him to the vet clinic to see Jo-Ann yesterday and she gave him anti-parasite medication. He is feeling much better today. I'm not sure what caused the parasite problem. We went for a few walks in the park last week so maybe the dogs picked up something there.

See this rabbit with the Mohawk hairstyle?
B helped himself to it while we were in the waiting room at the vet clinic. He was carrying it around the clinic with the cardboard packaging still on it so of course I had to buy it for him. The Mohawk hairdo was styled with Dachshund Spit Hair Gel because the rabbit spends most of its time in B's mouth.

He even had it close by while he kept an eye on the outside world.
Bentley is the only one of the dogs who sleeps on my bed. Yes, he's spoiled rotten. Anyway, I woke up with the rabbit on my head this morning. Do you think he likes the rabbit maybe?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I ordered a custom made bag for my Lendrum wheel from Lauren on Ravelry. She has become quite busy these days with orders for her bags for good reason.
Her bags are stunningly beautiful and extremely well-made as well as being very reasonable priced! I was able to choose the fabric so of course chose these pretty watercolor blues and violets.
The bag is sturdy as well as beautiful. It's fully padded with reinforcement on the bottom, has padded backpack style straps, pockets, and this neat elastic strap to keep the wheel centered in the bag.
I also bought a padded bag for the flyer assembly. Lauren sent the small bag as a thank you gift. It's to hang on the wheel and keep small accessories available.

In other news, I am now officially Majacraft-less. I sold the Pioneer to a spinning friend (the Rose went to a different spinning friend; Majacrafts are easy to sell). I really didn't need the Pioneer now that I've got the Lendrum and the Hansen. Before the Pioneer moved away, I finished this bobbin of merino/silk/baby alpaca/sheltie/angelina.
I am spinning the other singles of Bombyx silk. It will be a two-ply yarn and I'm planning a shawl.

I also finished up both singles of this Bee Mice Elf “Snow-Capped”; 50% merino, 25% bamboo, 25% silk, fractal spun.
I did finish plying them but haven't skeined or finished them yet so pics to follow.

I have a sick dog today. A couple of days ago Cooper had some diarrhea. My first thought was that I hoped the maniac hadn't eaten another rock but he seems just fine in spite of some loose poops. Last night Bentley started vomiting and having bloody diarrhea. He's a sick cowboy today. I don't know how there can be anything left in him at this point. I'm not sure what is making them sick. We went for a few walks in the park last week so maybe they picked up something there. So far the other two have been just fine and I'm hoping it stays that way.

Monday, August 16, 2010



As most of you know, we adopted our son Geoff when he was a baby and he has great relationships with his birth parents. His birth mom Anita is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed ten years ago when her youngest child Chloe was a few months old.

Anita and Chloe, October 2000

Happily Anita's cancer has been in remission since her treatment and I have no doubt that she and many, many others have benefited greatly from the work done by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

This year Chloe has decided to form her own team for the CIBC Run for the Cure on October 3. She is also planning to shave her own hair and donate it to have a wig made for someone undergoing cancer treatment. I don't know about you but for a ten year old to make that commitment just leaves me gob-smacked (and a little teary-eyed).

I have already made my donation. If you would like to help Chloe's Cancer Crushers with a donation of your own, here are links to Chloes's Run for the Cure pages:

Chloe's personal page
Chloe's team page

Chloe and countless others thank you.

Friday, August 13, 2010

good grief!

At the beginning of July I decided that it was silly to keep a wheel that made my knees hurt. So my beloved Majacraft Rose was sold to fund the purchase of a Hansen miniSpinner. The spinner finally arrived yesterday!

It's amazing! Small, light, whisper quiet; it's an espinner that can easily spin the fine yarns that I like because of its Scotch tension. Here are a couple of sample yarns that I spun as soon as I took the spinner out of the box. On the top is cotton and below it is silk. The orifice hook is included with the spinner.

It has a tap on/off control and the WooLee Winder bobbins are huge. It can be plugged into the regular power outlet in the house, a 12 volt outlet like a cigarette lighter, or a power pack. I had already bought an Oh Canada Zuca bag and a little power pack from Canadian Tire for it so I was ready to go. It sits nicely on the Zuca bag for spinning and pops inside for transport.

The Zuca bag has lots of pockets and compartments for fiber and accessories. It's easy to pull along because the handle easily pops up and it has double skateboard wheels in the rear.
I didn't have much time to play with my new toy because I had an appointment and some errands to run so didn't get a chance to get back to it until after supper. I plugged it in beside my chair in the living room and set the spinner on the Zuca bag so it would be ready to go. As I happened to glance down before sitting down and saw the power cord in a brown puppy's mouth. He had already severed it in half in the blink of an eye. If there had been an interested party available, I'd had given that trouble dog away on the spot! Dan managed to splice it to get it working again and found a new one today when he was out and about. So I guess I'll keep Cooper after all (although I fished a rock out of his mouth again today, aargh!).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a small sample

I made a wee sample of plying the light blue and light green singles together and I like it. I'm a little surprised that the green doesn't overwhelm the blue because of the difference in value. I'm also a little surprised at how the green makes the blue seem more lilac than it is in the singles yarn. It's about 21 wpi which places it in the fingering weight range although I don't think I would like socks made with 50% bamboo and 50% merino. The bamboo doesn't have enough memory for my liking. It would make a very pretty, soft scarf though.

Monday, August 09, 2010

a tale of two batts

You probably remember this blue/green batt that I made a few weeks ago.
I dyed 50 grams of merino/bamboo top then carded the colors together to make the batts. Normally when I dye, I play mad scientist and use the colors as they appeal to me without worrying about reproducing a colorway. For this batt I decided to record the colors in case I liked how the sample turned out.

So here it is a few weeks later and I decided to dye some more to make enough yarn for socks. I started with 50 g of the same top, and prepared the dye solutions in the same way (or so I thought). This is what I got.
Not even close. Pretty but not a duplicate of the first sample at all. Several things are likely to blame. If I remember correctly (I did not write these things down in my notes), I placed half of the fiber in each of two crockpots the first time and only used one crockpot this time. I also must have warmed the dyes the first time and not the second. And I must not have waited for the dye bath to reach the same temperature when I added the dye. Now I know that to reproduce a colorway I must record EVERYTHING, not just the dye colors and dilutions.

Here are the two batts together.
Besides the obvious color difference there is also a value difference as you can see when I make the photo black and white with my photo software.
I sampled a bit of spun singles from each and plied them together. The darker yarn took over and the pale blue pretty much disappeared visually. So I carded the darker batt with an equal amount of white fiber. Here you can see the lightened result beside the dark one, in color then in black and white.
And all three together.
Hmm, now I have three different values. Hard to believe that all three came from the same colors and fiber. I'm stymied about how to proceed and I guess I will have to do more sampling. I could blend all of the darker stuff with white and then ply it with the blue. Or do a 3 ply and spin a singles with each of the batts. Or try to reproduce the first batt again and see if I can come closer.

Now I really know why you should buy all of the same dye lot before starting a knitting project. I will use a larger pot and dye all my fiber at the same time in the future.