Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gone !

I made a big push today and finished spinning the "Storm" blend.  It took me all afternoon and I have just finished the last small amount this evening.  Once it is plied off the bobbins I can start on the black corridale and start knitting "Storm" as I have found a pattern and I am hoping that there will be sufficient yarn for it.  The problem with spinning to knit is that one is never sure that there will be enough to finish the project.

The cats have a birthday coming up soon and I have ordered a small cat tree for them,  to go against the kitchen counter so that they don't have to jump a metre down onto hard tiles.  Whether or not they will use it I am not sure but it will be something new for them to explore.

The new outside litter dome is very popular but I think that only Parsifal uses it.  It is certainly effective as far as keeping out the weather goes.  We have had it very wet and windy with rain coming right over the balcony and it only clumps where it should.

D2 lost one of her cats five weeks ago and someone found her yesterday, very thin and weak but recovering in hospital.  And two days ago the other cat disappeared.  Her apartment is eight floors up and although there was a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing the day the first cat disappeared, D2 can't work out how the second one disappeared as there was no body and if someone took her to the vet with injuries she is microchipped and therefore D2 would have been contacted, if only to pay the bills.

It is all very strange and I am glad that my cats' breeder insisted that I screened my balcony.  Not that they don't try to get out into the passage but there is nowhere for them to go from there unless someone is using the lift and I can't imagine any of the people on this level would let an unaccompanied cat ride down in the lift.  And anyway, everybody up here knows I have cats  -  there is a sign on the door "Cats Rule".

Just a note to say that Willow, D2's second cat, appears to have jumped off the 8th floor balcony, landed on a shade sail in the garden below and found herself trapped in an enclosed courtyard.  Someone heard her crying out and D2 and sundry others from her apartment block participated in a rescue.  She has a sore jaw and is limping a bit but is otherwise unhurt.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Going, going ... !

I have finished bobbins three and four of the "Storm" blend which I bought from Ashcroft.  Now that I have accepted that it will be a novelty-type yarn I just want to get it finished.  Tomorrow afternoon I can ply it off the bobbins and there is then only enough left for two half bobbins and I am done:  the equivalent of five 100gm skeins.

Several knitting pattern books arrived yesterday with some really nice patterns but I am not sure that I will have enough yarn for anything except, perhaps, a scarf and mittens.  I am going to have to knit a test piece and do some serious calculations, especially since it is unevenly spun with bumps of white silk.

D2 arrived with coffee and cakes this afternoon and she said that she may be able to collect D1 from the airport on 11th October.  D1 will be staying until the 16th when I am contracted to spend the day with SIL1 to whom I owe a huge favour so will be doing some to-ing and fro-ing for most of the day.  She wants to see where her husband and our mother-in-law are buried which is the least I can do for her.

Tomorrow I only have one client so it will be a restful day but I will need to take the Win 8 computer just in case.  Next week is Show Week; not a good time to live in Claremont ...

Monday, September 16, 2013

What is an apron string between friends?

Yesterday afternoon I left my spinning apron rolled into a ball with all its strings firmly hidden but shortly afterwards I realised that Parsifal (Parsifal, of course who else?) had found it, unrolled it and was busy swallowing one of the ties.  Luckily is was still attached to the apron and I pulled 41cm out, along with a lot of mucus and froth.  I am going to have to replace the ties on both spinning aprons so that I don't have to worry about where I put them and how I store them.

My blending board arrived yesterday, along with a kilo of black tops (dyed black, not black sheep black) and a small bag of colours for blending.  The diz I ordered arrived separately today (isn't diz a wonderful word  -  like zill ... good for scrabble).  This morning I found the small bag, full of toothmarks and with a small amount of the wool protruding and the same with the kilo of black.  I have now stored them in the last of my cotton bags and will have to resort to using pillow cases until I clear the backlog.  I guess that it keeps me on my toes but it would be nice if I didn't have to be conscious of anything linear and where it is.

To be honest, I am still glad that I chose Parsifal over his brother.  He is such a loveable, intelligent cat and another owner might have given up on him or left him to block up and die in pain.  There are things which he seems to have coped with, such as the drive band from my spinning wheel and the tie from my hoodie, neither of which ever appeared again in any form but they were cotton and probably digested, along with the tie from my other spinning apron which disappeared some time ago.  

I need to talk to D3 and see if she has some spare calico which I can use for thicker, stronger apron strings.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Storm in a teacup

I have spun, plied and skeined the first fruits of the 'Storm' merino/silk mix fibre from New Zealand and it has turned out better than I expected, considering the swearing and cursing I did while I was spinning it.  The lumps of silk are not as obvious as I thought that they would be and the pills of fibre, according to D3, are called noiles and are supposed to be there to give texture.  It is a bit overplied in a couple of places but has the required three twists in the skein before washing and hanging and is useable.  I should get three 200gm skeins as the whole bump weighed 600gms which should hopefully give me enough for a vest.

The black corridale should be arriving today as the tracking record shows that it is on its way from Osborne Park so I shall be busy for a while.

Tomorrow is GB2's 10th birthday and I have bought her "Ballet Shoes" by Noel Streatfield.  I hope that it is not too old for her  - it is about kids her age and it is time she moved out of the cat mode and into girly things like ballet and ponies.  I couldn't find any pony books except Black Beauty which I cried hot tears over when I was about her age, but ... 

This post is really to show the Storm skein as squares the pictures and the ends of the skeins don't show.  Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Spinning can be un-fun

I have just finished spinning the second bobbin of my merino/silk mix and I am not enjoying the experience; it is the hardest thing that I have ever spun and that includes the cotton ball.  Thank goodness I only bought 500 gms because even after only two bobbins I am tempted to give up.  The silk seems to have been thrown in without separating it at all so that it is in a lump and refuses to be drawn.  That means that the thread is bumpy and very uneven.  There are also little pills of wool going through, most very small but some as big as the head of a silk pin.  Maybe they will fall out when I ply the stuff but I am not holding my breath so it will probably pill when I wear it.  I had intended to knit it into a vest and if I don't give up on it that is what I will do (supposing that I have enough).  It actually looks quite pretty, even to a degree the white chunks of silk, because it catches the light and glistens; unusual but effective.

There is some corridale tops on its way and when my blending board arrives I will be blending it myself.  It is black and I have ordered a pack of autumn colours which I will blend sparingly through half of the black and ply it with the other half which will have no colour added.  That is the plan, anyway.  I have got to get through this lot first but it has been a lesson to me to be careful what I wish for ...

It is a horrible day  -  gale force southerly winds and heavy rain.  There are no yachts out on the river today.  Luckily GB1's regatta was last weekend or it would have had to be cancelled ... there is no way that they could have sent 12-year-olds out in single-handed yachts in this weather.

Both cats are currently out on the balcony; their choice but as soon as it starts raining again they will want to come back in again.  I refuse to leave a door open for them  -  it is far too cold and windy but maybe they are feeling the need for some fresh air.  It is going to start raining again an a few minutes so I will let them in when they ask.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Picture perfect

I have finally spun a skein which I am perfectly happy about.  It is almost back to my old standard of spinning but there are a couple of buts.  No.1 is that there is only 200 gms of it so goodness knows what I will knit .  There is another matching skein but it is thicker and softer, being more loosely plied so maybe I could knit the back of a vest in one and the front in another ... it would be warm if not very pretty.

The second but is that I am now spinning the "storm" blend which I purchased from Ashford and it is a b****r to spin, being slippery but hard to draw so it will end up as a novelty yarn and probably morph into a scarf.  I only have 500 gms so there isn't really enough for anything else and it will probably make a very pretty scarf.

Himself had to give a lecture this morning so I was on my own at COTA, with one client for the whole two hours which she cut short after about 95 minutes.  Two hours is too long so hopefully she will remember some of what I told her; it is rather an information overload and she didn't take any notes.

This entry is really all about posting a picture of my perfect skein.  Click on the picture to enlarge it in all its glory.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

All spun out.

After a marathon spinning effort during which I spun for at least an hour per day I have processed all but about 90gms of the tops which I bought to run in and get used to the feel of E.Roberta.  I am spinning fairly consistently and much finer now and am ready to have a try at the grown-up stuff.  I have 500gms of a mixture of silk and merino fibre in magenta, grey and white which should make a nice scarf and maybe a pair of mittens if I can spin fine enough.

I have also ordered 1 Kilo of black corridale tops and a small pack of seven autumn colours to make a sweater with autumn highlights  -  if I can master the blending board when it finally arrives.  It should be an interesting exercise.

It takes me about four hours to fill a bobbin so, with plying each skein will take me between nine and ten hours ... and then there is the knitting.  I think that I have found a knitting pattern for E.Roberta's first offering which has improved as I progressed and is therefore of very mixed quality.  It is a tabard  -  very chunky and if I don't have enough yarn I can leave it without sleeves.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thank goodness that's over!

Today is election day on Australia and I went out early to cast my vote because the weather forecast said that it was going to get stormy with thunder and heavy rain later in the day.  I got a bit wet but nothing to fuss about and now it is fine and sunny.  Never believe what you read online.  Anyway, after five weeks of nothing but nasty politics in the news we will hopefully get some respite after the tally count.

I am babysitting the grandbabies tonight and the poor little things will probably be bored out of their minds because nothing will prevent me from watching the vote count.

I have finished knitting the yuckie pink thing and have two small skeins of yarn left; mittens, maybe?  Anyway some gorgeous fibre has arrived from New Zealand and as I am almost finished spinning the kilo of tops  which I have used to sort out the settings and quirks of E.Roberta I feel ready to tackle something more fancy.  I don't know what I am going to do with my current spinning, though.  It is rather from the ridiculous to the sublime, very chunky and as it is not greasy and therefore "fluffed" it is very soft and light.  I must compare it with some washed yarn I spun 20 or so years ago on E.Emma 'in the grease' to see if I am anywhere near the quality which I used to spin.

I have a couple of blending boards and a diz somewhere in the ether and am thinking of getting a picker because my thumbs are not going to be able to cope with combing greasy locks; they are already complaining about my spinning.  I am trying to spend about one hour each day spinning and trying to do at least 30 minutes of yoga and meditate as well so I am keeping very busy which is good but it is mainly because I am not reading much; I don't like most of the books which are around at the moment and what reading I do is mostly re-reading my favourites.

The cats think that it is spring and are very excited because the ravens are back on the roof and the weather is not so cold so they are spending more time on the balcony where they can swear at the birds.  I have bought them a new 'dome' litter tray for the balcony.  The one I had there before was an open one and when the rain was blown over the litter it set solid.  Parsifal, of course, used the new one four times the day I installed it but hasn't used it since.  He really does like to 'own' everything new.