A little bit of tidying up…

And here I thought once I was done with school I would have buckets fo free time to get on top of all those things that were set aside while I was at school. THat was just silly of me! So I’m creating this ginormous catch-up post.

My seach for a full-time job in my area of study is still on going. I’ve sent out countless resumes, with next to no response so I’m taken a new approach. I’m goign to be volunteering in the Conservation Office at wok two days a week helping to digitize then enter into a searchable database many decades worth of condition reports of the artifacts. I’m terribly excited by this as I will get to see all sorts of interesting things and last time I volunteered some place, it turned into a paying job after a fairly short period of time. I have mid-height hopes.

The house still looks like a bomb went off in it, but in a few weeks we should have some repreive as we are reclaiming a portion of the basement. Our tennants are moving out at the end of the month and we are converting the basement apartment from a one bedroom to a bachelor which will give us more floor space and allow us to move a bunch of the stuff from upstairs down into the soon to be built rec-room/studio space in the basement. This reorganization will also allow for a massive declutter of the house…I’m just a bit too excited by this prospect and am prepping myself by watching Hoarders.

As for my creative pursuits…well things have been moving along nicely if a bit manic. As my evenings are no longer taken up with homework, I am able to get moving on larger (and less portable) knitting projects (read: sweaters). During my time at school I was restricted to smaller/portable projects that could be shoved into my bookbag. There were lots of hats, scarves and shawls which allowed me to trot out some of the lovely yarns in my stash and get over my reluctance at knitting with finer weight yarns. I’ve managed to get a few long term projects off my needles (and started and abandoned more projects than I care to acknowledge).

Most impressive of all was, I finally cast off my Elsewhere!

Made with super squishy Malabrigo, I had bought this yarn a long time ago to knit an ill fated Wisteria. I ended up with a irreparable issue with the cables whic so frustrated me I frogged the offending knit. I have enough skeins left over for a February Lady sweater, which will be next on the needles once I’m done with Liam’s Fall sweater.

Children’s Neck Down Jacket # 249 from Knitting Pure and Simple, knit with Malabrigo Chunky.

This little number will be seeing some heavy use as the mercury starts to drop:

Last week, after a bit of knitting ennuie hit I treated myself to two skeins of Tannis Fiber Arts Green Lable in Plum which are being transformed into a pair of Dragonskin Legwarmers.

They make for solid transit meeting, and they are coming along quite quickly!

I have much more to say but there is laundry that needs a doin’ and groceries to be procured…will try to get the rest up by weeks end.

Feeding the weaving deamon

I love my looms. Yes, that would be looms in the plural.

I love that in as short a time as one evening have a completed project and make a serious dent in the groaning fiber stash!

Looms are a simple yet sophisticated piece of machinery, I can totally see why many a retired engineer becomes smitten with weaving. With the most basic of set-ups and a solid reference book you can create some truly amazing pieces, I have some deep love for the loom…

Although I’m itching to get weaving on the 4-shaft floor loom, I’m currently contenting myself with some simple tabby weaving on the 25″ rigid heddle loom. After my last exam on August 20, I came home and promptly warped Fillippe with some Wollesyarncreations. I wanted to see if I could get a colour shifting scarf out of this yarn.

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Used my 10 dent reed, put on a 14″ wide by about 150″ long warp starting with the dark green on the outside. The second ball used in the warp was the reverse colour order of the first ball. I used the same plan with the weft yarns, but miscalculated and ended up being about 10″ too short to get through the final few colour repeats of the last ball, as it is the scarf/shawl is almost 3 meters long including fringe, it could double as a table runner…which I just might use it as instead of a scarf…I’m undecided.

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The total set-up and weave time was all of maybe 10 hours of joyously relaxing work. My plan is to do a few more simple tabby weave scarves to get my selvedge under control then I’m going to get all wild and crazy with the techniques I learned in the workshop Jane Patrick taught at The Spinning Loft a year and a half ago with Denny.

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Bulky yarn takes FOREVER to dry!

It’s done and has been blocking for days!

Yarn: Briar Rose Dream Weaver

Pattern: Side-Way Ribs Cardigan by Norah Gaughan

Needles: Denise 11, used size 15 for the three needle bind off to avoid a tight seam.

Started it during my fall reading week & was 3/4 done when I went back to school 7 days later. Project was shelved while in school but was dusted off during the Christmas break where the knitting was completed and it was seamed twice both times to my complete dissatisfaction. I had plans to graft the two back pieces together but that became a HUGE FAIL!!! Determined to finish it before spring reading week was over I bit the bullet, tried a few bind off techniques and was finally mostly happy.

The yarn relaxed A LOT after blocking (or I could just be a way looser knitter than I thought!), we’re talking down to my knees, as it’s still damp I’m hoping it won’t be as long once completly dry…and if not whatever, I have a very lovely slouchy comfort cardi. Am tempted to put it in the dryer on low to speed up the drying process…but I think that would be tempting the Fiber Gods in ways that would end with me in tears!

Dear Blog:

Terribly sorry for not paying you any attention for what turns out to be the better part of a month. I’ve been a bit busy with “stuff”. What sort of “stuff” you ask?

Well let me give you the short list.

Aside from the whole school, home work stuff, I’ve been:

Knitting (rather unsuccessfully actually). In January I started a replacement Clapotis (my first one was felted, we no longer discuss it) using Dye-Version bamboo yarn in a wonderfull flame colours. We were knitting along happily till Winter decided to arrive in earnest so it was put aside for some utilitarian knitting. My head was cold, I needed a new hat. Pattern was chosen and yarn was found, knitting was commenced. I was destined to have the nerd-y-est head EVAH! But that arch enemy of all knitters; Gauge reared it’s ugly maw at me. My Scotty Hat was big enough for two if not three heads to fit in it. Frogging ensued while air went a few shaded of blue.  I have since restarted the hat but have switched to using Trekking for my pattern, things are working out much better and my head will be toasty warm just in time for Spring!

I have also bought a camera…and not just any camera. I bought a serious business TLR (Twin Lens Reflex)…specifically a Rolleicord VB. It will be here by months’ end. I’m terribly excited and am considering naming him Roland…because I’m allerative that way. Once school is done I plan to take the only non digital camera course avaliable in Toronto at Ryerson, so I can dust off my old and long forgotten camera skills as well as learn to use a dark room for something other than making out.

There has been no weaving or spinning, but I have been thinking about both a lot! I have me some bitchin’ plans, just as soon as I have a spare moment which may happen sooner than expected. The College Professors in Ontario are voting this coming Wednesday whether or not they will accept the latest contract offer from Management. If it’s rejected there will be a strike called 5 days later. So I may get some free time sooner than expected, but it will push back my graduation date which is somethign I’m not at all thrilled with.

Promise I will try to have some photos next post, it’s nice to have the visuals…

Still knitting that last gift…

It’s 5 days after Christmas and I have one gift still on  the needles, my plan is to have it cast off tonight. I would have been done it in time too except I took a little four day break  and knit a little sweater for myself…Wrenna from French Girl Knits (photos will follow eventually) used Limari in a festive deep red.

As for my other knitted gifts…they were all well received by the giftees, but we forgot to pack the camera so there are no photos. My sister was given a Just Enough Ruffles scarf knit from almost 3 skeins of Malabrigo Silky in bright pink, the MIL received Stella’s Hat, knit from Malabrigo Merino in a yellowy/gold. My Mum was gifted a woven scarfthat she really likes and apparently has been showing it off to all and sundry since opening it. I used a Fleece Artist yarn bundle I bought at LettuceKnit some time ago that contained a skein of mohair and a skein of Merino sock yarn in really nice earth tones. I liked it so much, she almost didn’t get it.

It appears that my fibery talents have come as a surprise to some people…but that is a post for another day, like tomorrow!

Further proof that I am a Spinner and not someone who spins.

I’m listening to the CBC radio noon hour phone in show today and one of the topics is about wether or not scientists should “raise” a wooly mammoth from some DNA the have found.

So as people are giving their opinions all I can think is:

Yeah that’s all well and good…but CAN YOU SPIN IT!!??!!

Don’t act like you aren’t thinking the same thing!

Begging of the Chores

I’m blatantly ignoring some chores (except the grocery shopping as we are low on nappies and bananas) and the Holiday Knitting for this:

Those bins of laundry to be folded in the background just lend some street cred to my refual to acknowledge the cleaning that I should be doing.

I rented the Victoria from Lettuce Knit last night and MAN! I do loves me this little wheel! It’s small, fits perfectly in my small house and best of all it’s about as close to kid proof as I can expect from a wheel. The fact that the carry bag converts to a backpack is just the type of gravy I love. I NEEDS me one, and as of the other day I’m one step close to sharing my home with one…the Sonata has gone to a new home where it will be loved by another and as soon as the Kiwi is gone one of these babies will be MINE!

But enough of my crazy decluttering attempts to live a simpler life, let’s have a closer look at that fiber:

GOR – GE – OUS! Fantom Fibers mohair (sadly or perhaps thankfully no website). I have three bags of their lovely stuff that I’m cherishing like Gollum and that Ring (possibly an unhealthy comparison but you get my point). Next Rhineback (oh yes I’m going to go even if I have to walk there!) I’m going to head straight to their booth (presuming they have one as I don’t think they were there this past year) and buy more! This stuff spins with no drafting and the colours are so pretty! I just love how the mohair pulls in the dye and makes it shine!

I learned this weekend…

that felting is super fun and Nuno Felting is even funner!

Saturday morning I woke up, stuffed myself with some decent cold and flu drugs and headed out to a Nuno Felting class with Shannon Okey.

One scarf down, one to go:

Just waiting for my turn to get some water

Post felting.

The scarf on the left was made with the fiber Shannon brought to the class and the scarf on the right was made with some of my beloved Gaslight Dyeworks.

I really enjoyed this class and plan to do some more nuno felting, especially in the summer outside where I can enlist the kids help with the rolling! There are even plans afoot to felt an area rug!

Fall Fiber to do list

After a few years of making lofty plans regarding what I will knit/spin/sew etc in a set amount of time I’ve finally accepted the reality of my circumstances and am now being more realistic when making out my seasonal lists.

So with all that Life stuff in mind I present the Fall Line Up which really is just a list of stuff I need to finish before I’m going to allow myself to cast on anything new! Or so I tell myself, perhaps I may just allow one new project be cast on for every finished project…

1) Transit Socks #1:

Yarn: Cider Moon Blizzard June Carter

Pattern: Back to Basics Sock

Status: One sock down, one to go! Don’t know why it has taken me so long to realize that socks are THE prefect transit knitting! Might have something to do with me having a bit of a Sock Block…odd really once you have seen the sock yarn stash I have.

2) Abi’s Redux:

Yarn: Cotswold that I hand spun and dyed.

Pattern: Top down raglan cardi

Status: Needs to add length to the arms then it’s time for the collar, button band and buttons. I figure all I need is a few episodes of something or other and I can strike this off the list.

3) Fleece Artist Shawl

Yarn: Fleece Artist Kiss Curls and Baby Kid

Pattern: Tabby weave, Sett: 5 wpi

Status: Stalled out due to table real estate being at a premium while Chris was painting his Warmachine guys but it looks like he is done for the moment…I’m asking for a Loom Stand for Christmas to solve this problem in the future.

4) Anne

Yarn: Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend

Pattern: Anne

Status: will become the next transit project.

This post would be way more interesting with photos but our camera is on it’s last legs and being all sorts of temperamental.  The goal is to have a new one in a month or two.

The things you find

when you clear off the top of the TV cabinet!

Like many parents of small children most high places in our house very quickly became the “oh crap, that’s not safe for the kid! Quick put it up here where they can’t get it” spot. We have a few of these in the house but the TV cabinet is the worst, it’s an active archaeological site. Once every week or two either Chris or I clear off the accumulated clutter and sort through the mail, DVDs, library books and assorted ephemera that has collected there. This week I found a most useful tool for my spindling!

It’s a Lizzy Kate from Greensleeves Spindles,  I had bought this back when I had first started spindling to make my plying easier and it was a neat way to store my growing spindle collection. When I started wheel spinning this along with the spindles got shoved to the background to become pretty decorations, now that the wheels are packed up waiting to go down to the Black Lamb and be sold and I am spindling more it was a nice surprise to rediscover it.

After I drop Abi off at school this afternoon and Liam is down for his nap my plan is to ply those cops into a 3 ply which will be used later as an accent yarn for a Christmas present.

The roving is Bog from Gaslight Dyeworks combed balls and the spindle is a Purple Heart Dervish from Hound Design.