Saturday, January 31, 2015

Aminata the amazing

I have a new computer.

I contacted Techie last week because I was having trouble keeping an internet connection on all but my desktop computer and my little Surface tablet had 63 updates which needed to be downloaded.  It took me three days of on-off connections to do it ... 

Anyway, Techie suggested that I go to JB-HiFi and have a look at the new Microsoft Surface 3 tablet, which I did and was so impressed that I have bought one with all its bells and whistles including a docking station, pen, fancy mouse and a keyboard which I am still waiting for as I want a black one and there were none in stock.  Hopefully it will arrive about mid-week and meanwhile I am using the original keyboard from my original Surface 8.  Techie has set it up to work like Win 7 but I still prefer working with the tiles.

Now that I have started working with the new tablet I have discovered that there is more to it than I had first realised  -  especially 'One note' which can convert lists to Excel and other scary stuff.  I am thanking providence that it is probably, as a tablet, far too expensive for our COTA clients to want to know about because I have a feeling that it will take me the rest of my lifetime to get a handle on all of its features  -  and it will keep on automatically upgrading itself (as far as I can gather).

I don't like the email but that is the way all email is going  -  concentrating all the different email providers into one site.  I like to keep my emails separate but realise that I am not going to be able to keep on doing that forever.  ... and I mistrust the Cloud but it is getting harder and harder to avoid.

Interestingly, when I was having problems downloading the updates on my original Surface tablet I decided to take it downstairs and connect it to the CQ system.  The tablet refused to even consider connecting  -  said that it was far, far too dangerous.  Interesting; is that going to eventually be the way with all public connections?

Anyway, Techie has taken away my two Win XP computers to euthanise  so I now have only five computers and an I-Pad  -  a desktop Win 7, a laptop Win 7, a laptop Win 8 and two Win 8 Surface tablets.  All a bit excessive but at least I have pruned it by one.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thicker than thick

I have finished my spin-thicker-thon and surpassed all my expectations by spinning a 240 gm skein of 'Bulky'; 7 wraps per inch  -  although it was a bit variable as tends to be the case with all handspun yarn.

Interestingly enough, I and two others all posted the same recipe for thicker spinning  -  reduce the twist and increase the tension.  I also found that doing a very short draw enabled me to control the thickness  -  a two inch draw gives Bulky and my usual six inch draw gives Double Knit so a four-inch draw should give me Aran which is what I want for my Winetasting fibre.

The problem with my Bulky is that the yardage drops dramatically and I am not sure what I can knit with it.  I thought that a cowl would be something I might wear but think that I may only have enough for a beanie which would probably make my hearing aid whistle.  Decisions . . . !

I have finally bitten the bullet now that the babies need their annual vaccinations and have phoned the Cottesloe Animal Hospital and asked them to send their clinical notes to the Claremont Veterinary Clinic, which has received them, and have made an appointment to take them along next Tuesday morning.  Before then I need to pump up the tyres on the Kitty Carriage and cut all claws.  It is a pity that I can't do a temporary tooth trim; Parsifal bites when he has his temperature taken and I wouldn't put it past Poppy to do the same  -  she just hasn't done it yet.

But I caught her out at what I had suspected for a while.  She bit Parsifal and then screamed blue murder that he was attacking her.  Little ratbag!!

I will take a photo of my thicker than thick skein and post it soon.

Here is my Bulky skein.  Click on the photo to enlarge it. 


Thursday, January 22, 2015

The 'spin it thicker' challenge

On one of the boards on the site  a vote was held about what should comprise a challenge for the next month and overwhelmingly people wanted to regain the lost skill of spinning thick.  My spinning teacher back in the dark days told us to celebrate the rough, uneven and knobbly spinning which were our first efforts at yarn because, she said, we would never be able to do it like that again; and she was so right.

Anyway, a lot of spinners, it seems, aspire to spin lace weight as though it is the Holy Grail of spinning and then find that they can't do it any other way  -  so we are all nominating the weight we want to spin and nothing will be counted under Double Knit (the equivalent of the old 8-ply).  As I normally spin to DK I have nominated 'Bulky' as my goal because I want to replicate the first sweater I spun and knitted.  I spun it from a grey fleece and left the grease in it.  It was my sailing jumper and I loved it although I have no idea what happened to it.

Anyway, I have a kilo of a solid colour called Wine-tasting which is a rich burgundy colour from  Blue Faced Leister fibre which would be perfect but needs to be spun thick, so I have started the challenge and so far I think that I am spinning the nominated chunky yarn.  It is not hard  -  just a short forward draw so that the fibres do not have time to draw out and thin before the twist catches them.  The challenge is going to be consistency over two bobbins so fingers crossed  -  but I should be able to spin thick enough for the sweater.

The colourway I am using is called Meteor Shower and I am almost weeping that I feel that it deserves better than to be spun thick and probably turned into a beanie, since there will not be enough to knit very much.  Nevertheless it is good to know that I can actually still spin thick.  My greatest challenge would be to have to spin lace.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Christmas comes but . . .

Christmas is over and even the Claremont Council has acknowledged it.  The Christmas decorations in the main street were finally taken down on 13th December.  Somebody there had the right idea but the wrong information.  Twelfth Night is not on 12th January but January 5th which is when Joseph and Mary are supposed to have left for Egypt, to avoid King Herod's order to kill all the male babies, twelve days after Christmas day.

I do have another idea as to why the decorations have been removed in such an untimely manner.  There are already hot crossed buns for sale in Coles and I can just see the management of Coles and IGA going cap in hand to the Council and saying that it doesn't look good to be selling Easter stuff before Christmas has finished and would the Council please remove all that glitter and coloured lights so that they can move on.

Good Friday is 3rd April this year so we are not even into Lent yet.  Hot Crossed buns in January?  That is on a par with Christmas decorations appearing in the shops in September, to remind us in case we have forgotten that Christmas will be upon us at the end of December.

Now that I have started taking the babies, in their harnesses, out into the passage they line up at the door every morning to go out.  It is really pretty boring for all concerned as they have found out that nothing really goes on in that 'great unknown'.  We occasionally meet someone on their way to the lift but mostly there is no-one about.  For the last couple of days I have opened the door into the fire escape and they both seem to want to explore it but I haven't let them go past the top landing; it would be hard to get them both back home if the need arose.

They are almost due to have their annual vaccinations and, with great reluctance, we are going to go to the Claremont Veterinary Clinic.  And I need to get Parsifal's hormone levels checked.  He is a bit of a worry to his mother although I wouldn't be without him.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A very froggy week

When knitting the second sleeve of my Rosewood Sloppy Joe I realised, when I got to the raglan shaping, that I reached exactly the designated 43cm whereas the first sleeve was 4cm longer so I have unravelled it and will knit it again.  Obviously I did my increases more spaced apart the first time around.  Since we are finally getting some hot weather I am in no hurry to finish it although I have quite a lot of spun yarn ready to knit up  - and (sigh) a huge amount of fibre waiting to be spun.  I keep trying to tell myself to keep away from any online site which sells fibre just in case I am tempted to buy more, but ...

... I am wondering if I should ask Carolyn to do me a special order of gradient-dyed plaits as they look as though they would be fun and praiseworthy.  In the meanwhile, once I have finished spinning the Jewel braids which D2 gave me I will start on the Rhinebeck plied with Metro brown.  And start knitting the Twilight skeins  -  there is enough there for another sweater or jacket.

Today I skeined off the second skein of the Jewel; three more to go and it is taking me ages as it spins fairly fine.  The skein is still drying but before washing I had about 606 yards.  I keep thinking that I have my arithmetic wrong but there are 303 rounds, each 72" long.  The first skein has yielded 123 yards which is a big difference although I lost a bit when it tangled during plying.  When Skein 2 is dry I will be better able to judge how much finer I have spun the second skein but it is fulling up nicely so maybe I counted wrong.  I shall repeat the count and see if I come up with a more compatible number.

D1 and I decided to try using our iPads for Facetime instead of me phoning her every Sunday morning so I started trying to work it all out because it connected itself with my yahoo contacts list and loaded them all in and while I was in Settings, trying to refine my contacts to just D1 I accidentally connected to her.  We rapidly decided to return to using the phone but she told me afterwards that my very short sojourn into Facetime used up 6 megabytes of bandwidth.  Ouch!!