Wednesday, July 25, 2012

storm season in sask.

It has been a stormy month in southern Saskatchewan.  The weather has been hot and humid so the ingredients exist for severe storms and we've had some doozies.

For some reason, Tuesdays have been particularly stormy and yesterday was no exception.  We had plenty of storm warnings, black skies, lightning, and rain throughout the afternoon.  I had appointments so I missed good photo ops.

Not so for Greg Johnson, the Tornado Hunter.  Check out his pics on his website  Make sure you watch the little video on that page if you've never had the opportunity/misfortune to be close enough to hear what a tornado sounds like up close.  It's pretty amazing.  Fortunately, no one was hurt in these storms although there was some damage to buildings.

The following picture wasn't taken during a storm but as I was driving home during a lovely sunset last Friday so stopped to take this picture with my phone (not as good a photo as I would have taken with my camera, of course).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

plying woes

I chain-plied the first bobbin of superwash merino that I was spinning for the Tour de Fleece and it turned into an adventure.

I blame this:

It was for sale at my chiropractor's clinic and I decided that I could sit on it while spinning to strengthen my core.  I had tried using an exercise ball in the past and while it worked okay when I was treadling with one leg while the other was on the floor for balance, I couldn't use it when double treadling because it kept scooting away from me.  So when I saw this one on its base I figured it might be a solution.

Now a smarter person than myself would have probably known that it would be a good idea to slowly build up time using it; I got on it and proceeded to ply the whole bobbin (116 g to be exact).  It didn't feel too bad when I was doing it but I was sure sore the next day!  Apparently my core muscles have been on vacation in Tahiti for a few years and didn't appreciate being called back to actually do any real work.

Not only that but the yarn was poorly plied.  I guess I was working too hard to balance myself and not paying enough attention to the consistency of my plying which I had been chain-plying to boot.  For the most part, I decided that it looked over-plied so I ran it back through the wheel to remove twist before giving it a bath to set the twist.

Unfortunately the bath removed even more of the twist and it was terribly under-plied in spots by then.  The wise part of me knew it would.  Finishing yarn always removes a considerable amount of twist and I preach to anyone who will listen that your skein needs to look over-plied before finishing if you want it to be balanced afterward.  I don't know why I ignored the wise part of me that day.  Maybe my brain messages were drowned out by my screaming core muscles.

If you look carefully at the white yarn in the middle of the ball you can see that the plies are not even twisted together in places. 
So back to the wheel I went to add more twist.

Here it is again after finishing for the second time.
 It's slightly over-plied now but I can live with it.  There are 148 yds. of it, 10 yds. less than when I first finished it.

While I was taking the first photo of the exercise ball chair I realized that I haven't taken any pics of my lovely cherry Matchless yet.

It was a limited edition and I've had it since March.  We are getting along famously.  I have no idea why I struggled with the maple Matchless that I had three years ago.  I don't find the cherry wheel difficult to treadle at all.  The pretty little bag is from Blue Mountain Handcrafts.

I had trouble getting the picture of the wheel.  Here's why.
Cooper does match the cherry wood nicely at least.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

around here lately

It is definitely summer!  Today the temperature reached 33 C (91.4 F) with a humidex of 44 C (111 F).  We've had some storms the last couple of weeks too.  Tornado hunters hung around Saskatchewan for a few days last week because there was wild weather including rain, wind, hail, and yes, tornados.  We had a dandy Canada Day light show.  Mother Nature decided that fireworks were not a dramatic enough way to celebrate our nation's birthday.  I didn't get pictures but you can see some great ones here courtesy of Greg Johnson.  He has lots more pics on his blog and I am fascinated by the little video on this page.  I like a good storm but those guys get a little too close for comfort.

Although we see quite a few tornado warnings in the summer, we usually don't have to worry too much because most of the southern part of the province is farm land and not too densely populated.  The tornadoes usually touch down in fields where damage is marginal.

Every now and then damaging winds cause trouble when they get too close to structures.  Our neighbors have a cabin at a lake about an hour away from Regina.  Last week they watched a storm coming toward them over the lake.  When it hit, they couldn't see anything out of the windows because of torrents of rain and hail.  Once they could see their yard they noticed one of their sailboats in a tree and the other one blown out into the middle of the lake.  The one in the tree wasn't damaged until it fell out of the tree and broke hitting the ground.  They lost a few trees too.  Another cabin lost its roof in the storm.  I don't know if the winds were in the form of a tornado, plough wind or whatever.  After a wind event, scientists can see the damage and decide what winds technically caused it but I haven't heard if that happened.

Check out my amazing segue for my leap from storms to fiber news....
I was spinning merino on my support spindle while watching live streaming on tornadohunter.com last Tuesday.  My focus these last few months has been to get comfortable with all kinds of support spindles and I'm really loving them!  The pretty one in the picture is my favorite and was made by Lori at Deerfield Creations.

We spinners are in the midst of the Tour de Fleece.  I really haven't done a lot of spinning except to continue working on some superwash merino that I dyed in gender neutral colors.

  I'm chain plying to keep the color sequence in place.  The plan is to knit it into an Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket or Tomten for dearest grandbaby when he/she is a little older.  I've also spun some cotton to practice using my tahklis and a charkha.

Mostly I've been washing fleece.  Val (Wooly Wool of the West) kindly sent me some generous samples of soft fleeces so that I could decide which I wanted and I've washed them and started to comb and spin samples.  I decided on lovely soft Columbia and Corriedale fleeces.  We are so lucky to have Val's eco-friendly spinner's flock right here in Saskatchewan!  Her fleeces are beautiful and I do love the process of starting with a raw fleece to spin my yarn!