I’m Still Around

It has been a very long time since I posted.  Life has a habit of getting in the way.  Nothing bad’s been going on, but I’ve been busy with work and being a little social.

I finished my Level 4 homework to the best of my ability considering how badly I procrastinated on it.  I was so relieved, and have been celebrating by spinning some really lovely Merino/Yak roving from Wooly Wonka Fibers.  I have only spun half of the four ounces I bought and I already have about 258 yards of delicious plied yarn.  I haven’t measured it for grist yet as it’s still drying but I keep waffling between knitting myself socks (which will die quickly if I wear them in my ceramic-tiled apartment), or knitting or weaving a scarf with it.  Here are some photos, for which I apologize; it’s been raining and the light has been less than stellar so I had to touch them up.

It’s been very important to me to keep using my wheel.  The first reason is so that it knows that I love it; when I was supposed to be using it for my Level 4 workbook, I was attempting to ignore it like an albatross.  The second reason is so that I remember that I love it.  I really enjoyed taking the Master Spinner program through Olds College, but I often allowed myself to feel that spinning for the workbook was a chore.  Now I can spin for shits’n’giggles again and it’s so nice.  Although, I kept looking at the fibres I was spinning last night and thinking, “When will I get through you?!?”

School took a bit of a backburner moment while my team and I got the costumes ready at the Park for another season, and it’s taken me some time to get back into it.  But, with an extension, I’m looking forward to giving it the attention it needs.

I gave up sugar recently; about three weeks ago I started getting the jitters when I had it.  It’s still in a lot of things I eat, such as yogurt or Raisin Bran, but I’ve switched from desserts and iced tea (the powdered kind – it was my drink of choice where most people have coffee) to fruit and water (and fruit juices for treats) and I feel so much better!  And I lost 5 lbs since doing it, which is quite remarkable.

And I’m playing with knitting without guilt.  Yup, getting my Level 4 homework done was a good thing.

Edit: I was looking through my Ravelry queue this evening and I decided I’m going to make Ysolda Teague’s “The Orchid Thief Shawlette” from Brave New Knits out of my handspun yarn – if I’ve already got 250+ yards and still have more to spin, I’ll be laughing.  The gauge is about 15 wpi and it’s a little hairy so it will compact nicely enough to work with this shawl.

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Decision Made

I won’t be returning to Level 5 until 2011.  Trusting, that is, that they will be offering Level 5 in 2011 (it depends on numbers, of course).  I will be a Master Spinner eventually, but I want to be able to give my full attention to my Level 4 homework, and I want to spin for spinning’s sake rather than just for marks so that I can get my mojo back and be able to fully put my attention to Level 5 rather than piggy-backing two levels on each other like I have been doing.

And my friends are supporting me so that I will get back.  And I just feel so much better about life in general now that I’m not worrying about going back this year.

And my Christmas money may go to a fancier wheel, but I’m going to think about that for awhile.  I may also keep it on hand and maybe add to it and go on a vacation…for some reason, I really want to go to Portugal…although, it might be nice to go to Peru and search out some fibre-bearing wildlife.

$114 Bike Ride

So, today as I biked to work for only the second time this year, I was pondering that this is probably only the fourth time that I’ve biked to work since getting Stella (I can’t remember if I took her three times last year or two…so I’m going with two).  So if you consider that I spent about $800 on her including accessories (helmet and side-saddle bag), this would be the 7th time I used her, so it’s about $114 for this ride.  But I console myself that tonight will take my rides down to$100.  However, if you speculate the value of riding past the multi-million dollar homes that skirt the river valley, and then that I bike through that valley which makes those homes worth so much, one may consider that worth it.  Although, I think to really make it a valuable trip, I should get a fishing pole and a fish basket so I can utilise the river too…

I’m hoping it doesn’t rain on Monday so my morning ride would be $88.88 and my evening ride $80.  I can’t bike to work tomorrow as I’ll be leaving mid-day to head over to the Muttart Conservatory to help celebrate its reopening after it had some pretty extensive remodeling done to it.  I’m taking my spinning wheel and various plant fibres to show that plants aren’t just for eating or smelling or looking at.  I’m probably also going to bring my Level 1 dye book to show that they can be used as dyeing materials as well, and a friend and fellow spinner may be joining me as well, which will be really nice.  Hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to wander around and take some photos while I’m there!

Dyeing to do This

Last week I attended Level 4 of the Olds College Master Spinner Program.  I heart yarn school!  It’s so awesome to meet other fibre addicts from all walks of life and to inspire and be inspired.  It was a busy but fulfilling time.

Here are my samples of the yarns we dyed with acid dyes as a group.  We all had to provide yarns (which we preferably spun) of a certain length and amount of skeins for each project.  We dyed our skeins in plastic baggies so that we could use one dye-pot and didn’t have to continue to reheat!  So efficient!  My skeins were 2-ply of one mohair singles with one Wensleydale wool singles, and the dyes we used were primary colours and it was the way we mixed them that created the varied colours.

Colour Wheel.  We were divided into 4 groups for this one, and we were each assigned 3 colours.  My group’s colours were blue, blue green and green:

Level 4 Colour WheelPercentage Dyes.  Two groups for this one.  My group was in charge of green.  Percentage pertained to amount of dye per weight of fibre.  From left to right for each dye we did 0.1%, 0.25%, 0.5% and 1%:

Percentage Dyed YarnsOmbre Dyeing.  This is where the skeins are all put in the same dye bath but were removed after certain lengths of time to create variations in saturation.  From bottom to top, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes and 30 minutes.  We may have to redo this one however as the gradiants were too slight:

Ombre DyeInjection Dyeing.  The top skein had been wound really tightly and folded on itself to create a snug spiral which I wound my syringes of dye around.  I wound the bottom skein around my thumb to create a tight little center pull ball, and then I gently injected dyes around the outside.  When I unwound the ball to return to skein form, I was delighted to find that the inside barely received any dye while the outside looked like confetti:

Injection Dyed Yarns

I didn’t get a lot of pictures while at Fibre Week because my camera spasmed and said I had an E18.  So yesterday, after looking around the internet and then calling the jerkface guy at my former favourite camera shop who told me I should just get a new one no matter how I felt about my lens, I tried taking it apart but couldn’t get one screw out, whacked it a couple times on my ironing table, returned the screws, batteries and memory card to their rightful positions, turned it on and it worked again!  E18 in Canon cameras means that the lens has either gotten something in its gears or it’s dislodged somehow.  I love how sometimes all you need to fix something is give it a good whack!

Yarn

I’ve been busy lately, and I don’t know what’s up but even when I have free time I haven’t been posting.  Nor really taking photos…I blame winter and the propensity towards SAD.

Anyway, here are some yarn photos.

These yarns are dyed by my friend at Ewe Asked For It.  I am always on the lookout for non Superwash yarns, and she started dyeing some.  Of course, I don’t have the specs with me so I’ll have to edit this post, but they’re yummy.

This one is a sock yarn.

dandelion-knits-yarn

This one is laceweight.

dandelion-knits-lace

And these yarns, 277 yards of the blue, less than 10 of the grey, are handspun by me and winging their way to a classmate in Montana.  The grey is to show the original colour, the blue is the colour it turned after being dyed in indigo.  I love dyeing with indigo!  I think it’s so cool that the yarn doesn’t change colour in the dyebath but when you pull it out and it meets air, the dyestuffs oxidize and that’s when the colour shows up.  Awesome.

indigo-shetland

I have Two Mailmen

And therefore, two posts in one day, because I got two packages of exciting mail!

The letter-carrier dropped off some lovely dyed cotton roving (which will help curb the Level 3 Ennui) this morning.

whimzypinzy-acala-cotton

The parcel guy dropped off my birthday present from my parents.  A large hackle and a Turkish drop spindle (I had a Turkish spindle previously that was really poorly balanced; this seems much better) from B.C. I will be trying this hackle out immediately!

hackle-and-spindle

Nothing helps blogging better than items for show and tell!

Been Busy

outside-of-canmore

Did some traveling for work last week; bought some lovely fabrics in Canmore (Lil Rose Thorn took the shot through the rear window) and some nursing uniforms to go with our Great War interpretation in Calgary.  Took a wee detour and checked out Make One Yarn Studio and met this lovely wheel; I decided it looked like a Sesame Street Honker.  It’s really cool because it works like a pendulum!  Sorry the photos are blurry, I didn’t want to use my flash.

mach-1-wheel

mach-1-wheel-2

I built some interpretive underwear out of linen.  I used a Buckaroo Bobbins pattern though I got the embroidery pattern elsewhere and likely won’t use the same pattern for the bloomers again because it’s a weird shape (although that’s not the reason one leg looks bigger than the other, that’s because the one leg has the mannequin’s stand through it).

buckaroo-bobbins-linen-set

And I got a little bit of mail.  I took part in the Favorite Things swap in Raverly and got half of an amazing package (part two is still coming) from CarpeDyem (most clever name ever!).  I’ll do a proper post of it later, but here’s a shot of some of what I got.

favourite-things-part-1