Friday, November 29, 2013

Swiftly flows the done.

I must say that using a swift and ball winder beats the old method of putting the heavy on one's kids to hold the skein of wool while you wind the yarn into a ball.

Even though I was missing a couple of parts from my new swift (they turned up when I stopped searching for them) I was able to wind a jumbo ball in about two minutes; it is certainly an improvement on hanging the skein of yarn around the backs of a couple of chairs and trying to keep everything from descending into a tangle.

Yesterday the window cleaners turned up to clean the bits which I am not expected to be able to reach.  They have to abseil down from the roof and almost finished before double disaster struck.  Firstly it started to rain and then a swarm of bees descended.  I found a couple of dozen clinging to the anti-cat mesh and shouted a warning just before I heard a voice from the roof announcing that there were bees everywhere up there. 

The guys came inside and sat in the passage waiting for all the dangers to pass but the rain didn't stop for a couple of hours by which time they had given up and gone.  So my bedroom window is not squeaky clean and I don't think that Apartment 611 has been finished either.  Since the rain keeps the windows on this side of the building relatively clean anyway I am not particularly fussed.  They will be back again in about six months and can finish off then.

Parsifal, who has been jumping onto the top of his igloo so that he can sleep in the resulting hollow, but expected me to puff it up again for him, has discovered how to restore it to its igloo condition without any help from me.  He is really a very clever cat except when it comes to his diet.  I am collecting the catgora but I missed the heavy moulting season and will probably not have enough for anything meaningful until at least next year.  It looks grey even though both cats are black but perhaps when it is washed it will revert to black and I can blend it with dark grey.  Maybe a scarf? 

In the mean time I have plenty to be going on with.  The 'Storm' vest is almost finished and I still have 800gms of the black corriedale to spin as well as four braids of "Jewel" and I am waiting for another nine braids of "Rosewood" from Carolyn Greenwood to add to the five I already have.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Well ... Yeah!

My cats are registered!!  It was third time lucky but they are now registered as life-time members of the feline race.  To be truthful, I am not sure whose lifetime they are registered for; that has never been made clear but it saves me having to tackle the Claremont Council annually, and as a senior citizen it was very cheap because I qualified for a 50% discount.

I did another speed spin yesterday and almost filled a second bobbin with that 'Storm' blend so I will have enough to finish my vest and some left over to play around with.  Maybe I will get to blend it better on my blending board than the Kiwis managed.  I must say, though, that the two hundred grams extra which I bought was better blended than the first half kilo.

My swift has arrived so now I can wind my skeins without having to resort to chair backs or unwilling family members to keep the yarn from tangling as I wind; and my four braids of 'Jewel' from Kathy's Fibres in Hahndorf, South Australia, arrived yesterday.  That is destined to become a pull-through scarf but I need to finish spinning the black corriedale first.

My  doctor has asked me to record my blood pressure in the mornings and evenings and it is much lower than it was last time I recorded it.  In fact, it is so low in the mornings that I have taken to selecting the second to lowest rather than the lowest of three; and in the evenings it is way lower by about 40 mm.  The only thing I can think of is that the yoga has somehow regulated it because I am not meditating at the moment.  I must get back to it  -  I read this morning that meditation delays dementia.

This is a braid of the 'Jewel' roving.  Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Grrrrrrr! Mk2.

Having realised that I will not have quit enough of the yarn I spun from the 'Storm' silk/merino blend I bought another 200 gms which I have just started spinning; and now I have another grizzle.  The original 500gms was very badly blended and the silk came in lumps which were impossible to draw so I ended up with a very uneven yarn.  Surprisingly, with the pattern I chose to knit, the roughness actually enhances the vest and I am very happy with the results.

BUT ... the new lot is properly blended and no longer do I have lumps of silk mixed with the wool.  The silk is well blended and integrates well with the wool.  So  -  the last few centimetres is going to look different  -  which I am not very happy about.  To add insult to injury, the roving looks as though it has been randomly put together with strips falling off the sides and one chunk which was not attached in any way but looks as though it was put into the package to bring the weight up to the correct amount.  So I have stripped it down to its component loosely attached pieces.  This will not matter, of course but I am not sure what the New Zealand supplier thinks it is doing.  I have started buying my rovings from USA and South Australia.

However, I have not yet tried spinning any of that bit of my stash  so I might find that it is just as difficult to handle as the New Zealand lot.  Actually the black corriedale from NZ is fine and I am very happy with my first skein.  But I need to get the Storm out of the way before I get back to it or my knitting schedule will be disrupted.

I asked the Ds to give me some time with them instead of presents for birthdays and Christmases and D3 treated me to a matinee of South Pacific yesterday.  The story was changed around a bit to bring it up to modern thinking, it was rather raunchy and most of the cast were dancers so it was fairly spectacular but definitely not a kids' show.  The star, as always with that production, was Bloody Mary who was brilliant.

D3 has also, for an early Christmas present, given me a subscription to PLY magazine.  Any spinners out there who haven't come across it yet ... you need to check it out; it is full of useful stuff and a great read.  D3 and I did spinning classes together when she was still at school and not supposed to gatecrash adult education and we have both taken it up again just recently  -  she because she stopped mourning the broken and unreplaceable flyer on her Camelot wheel and me because I bought E.Roberta.  

However, as with her fabric collection, she seems to be buying more yarn than she has time to knit  -  but what the heck; she is happy.  :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

... and the bad news is ..

I am going to have to spin the last of the 'Storm' blend fibre in order to finish the vest I am knitting.  I pushed forward to the end of the penultimate ball to work out how many inches the last one would knit up to and found that I will be about three inches short.  This is, of course, assuming that there will be the same length of yarn in the last ball as in the one I have just finished knitting but it is pretty clear in my mind that I need to bite the bullet and get spinning again.

Speaking of biting the bullet, I have been experiencing pain in one tooth when I chew on it (and only when I chew on it) so yesterday I took myself off to the dentist.  He X-Rayed the teeth in the vicinity and there is no crack, no decay and no abscess but he was horrified at what my previous dentist (who thankfully resigned) had done to my occlusion with his idea that fillings did not have to be shaped to fit their opposite number with the result that only four teeth come anywhere near their partners and that is only because I insisted on a bit of remedial work when only one cusp actually touched its opposite number.

So my new dentist is talking of sending me off to a dental trouble-shooter.  I am seeing him again at the end of next week and we will decide then what should be done.  short of refilling all the teeth I can't see what can be done but Dentist Dr C. thinks that would be a major and hopefully avoidable way to solve the problem.  Luckily I have dental cover with HBF.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Coles Supermarket's logic is illogical

After two years of shopping at Coles I still haven't worked out their system for placement of items and spend hours sometimes wandering the shelves looking for things before I eventually ask for help.

1.  The filters for my water jug are, together with the cous cous, in the foreign foodstuffs  aisle  4.

2.  The toothpicks are not in the dental section but in the party goods aisle

3.  The drinking straws are not in the party section but in the glad wrap section  -  aisle 12

And I don't know why, considering that Coles is just downstairs, I ever go there on weekends when the place is packed and the trolley jams remind me of the traffic in Tehran.  And never shop on Mondays  -  the shelf packers don't work on weekends when everyone shops; wait until Tuesday when there is something on the shelves again.

I have got into the habit of writing the aisle number of 'found' items so that I can find them next time I need to buy them.  No doubt, after the way supermarkets try to lure us to buy more, everything will be in different aisles and different sections by the time I go looking again.

For a moment there ...

... I thought that I was going to have enough yarn to finish the vest I am knitting from the 'Storm' tops which I sweated blood over when I was spinning , but alas, I am going to be a bit short.  Luckily I anticipated this and bought an extra 200 gms which is enough to fill my jumbo bobbin and will give me plenty to finish knitting.

I am actually rather pleased with the vest so far; it is very soft and drapey and, except for getting the stitches in the wrong order a few days ago, a very easy knit as it is basically just a rectangle with a couple of slits for armholes.  I eventually decided that it would be quicker to undo the bit I got wrong instead of trying to drop the stitches down and try to work out which way around the yarn I should hook it.  I have now reached and passed the first armhole.  (Note to self  -  make sure that I don't twist the newly cast-on bit when I knit it back into the main body of the vest.)

The black corriedale skein weighs 200 gms and is 283 yards long so I am spinning finer.  I have settled on a 'top-down' cardigan which gives me the option of stopping when I run out of yarn.  Just perfect for handspun.

The babies have worn out their grooming glove so I have bought them a very fancy (and very expensive) comb with an eject button so that I can collect the Catgora much more efficiently.  When I have a meaningful amount I will decide what colour to blend it with  -  probably a deep burgundy.

I am getting an error message every time I log into BlogSpot which is a bit ominous:

Possible problem with your .gwt.xml module file.  The compile time user.agent value (geck01_8) does not match the runtime user.agent value (ie9).  Expect more errors.

They might as well have posted that it Greek for all I can understand it.  Hopefully this post will allow itself to be saved or I might have to download Firefox again.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Catgora ... sounds like something which escaped from the Addams Family

Catgora, in fact, is cat hair for spinning.  I have started collecting the brushings from Parsifal and Poppy, storing them in a paper bag as recommended by the Ravelry cat hair spinning group, and when I have enough, in about ten years time, I will try to spin it into knittable yarn.

Meanwhile, I have just plied the first two bobbins of the black corriedale tops and had to belly-up the jumbo bobbin.  I kept the tension looser that I have done before so it may be the reason that there seems so much more yarn than previously.  I will find out when I skein, count and weigh it.

And while I was doing the plying I was downloading Windows 8.1 which has taken me most of the afternoon.  Then I had to read the terms of acceptance, after which I took it off again.  We should be able to read the terms before, not after, the download as I had to agree that Microsoft could monitor my travels around the internet and although I am sure that they already do it I have not agreed to allow them to do so and will put off the evil moment for as long as I can.

To make it even more of a fun day, I realised that the vest which I am knitting in the 'Storm' mix and which I am knitting in moss stitch or seed stitch (depending which side of the Atlantic you live) had some almost invisible mistakes where I had purled when I should have plained and visa versa.  They started about three rows down and I have dropped and picked up three of the stitches but there are some more and I am wondering if it would be quicker to just undo those rows and hope that I can pick the stitches up again.  I have done it before but not for many years.  I'll see how I go; dropping the stitches down for starters and undoing if that doesn't work.  All in all a 'fun' day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Michigan Spinning: Knitting Unspun Fiber aka Puni Knitting

Michigan Spinning: Knitting Unspun Fiber aka Puni Knitting

This is a video demonstrating how to make punis.  It looks like fun but I will have to brush up on my carding before I can make them like that.