Weekend in Review

Here’s the short version of my weekend:

We met our brand-new honourary nephew.

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You’ll notice that Robin actually looks fairly comfortable holding the baby. This is because every time a baby is born, we shove the small squirming human into his arms, take a few pictures of both him & the baby looking uncomfortable, and wait for Robin to proclaim that the baby in question looks like Winston Churchill (doesn’t matter if it’s a girl, all babies apparently look like Winston Churchill). It should come as no surprise that after 4 or 5 babies being handed over to him for “the uncomfortable new uncle” shot, he’s gotten comfortable holding a baby.  We suspected as much with our niece, Darby. Keenan here just confirms it. Keenan was less interested in his new uncle, and more interested in the fact that his new uncle wasn’t carrying some sort of food-providing device.

We also managed to finally both be awake at such a time that we could get to Home Despot in time to buy deck staining supplies. Therefore, once the deck dries out (yes, if we haven’t been working or sleeping, it’s been raining this summer), we will commence the staining of the deck.

So cherish these pictures of my current fluffy spinning project on a “wood coloured” railing while you can, because soon enough that railing will be a nice shade of blue. We’ll be the only household on the block whose deck isn’t white, some sort of cedar wood stain, or “putty” to match siding. We deliberately chose a shade of blue a couple of shades lighter than the trim around our doors. We’re thinking it will look spiffy.

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That fluff, by the way, is a merino-silk blend that I think Louet puts out. I was gifted the blue by the wife of a co-worker who sent it along when she found out I had obtained a wheel.  The pink is from another co-worker that I car-pooled with last winter, and the black is something Robin picked up for me. The pink and black came in bags of about a pound. The blue is approximately 2 ounces. I weighed off 2 ounces of the pink and black, and am spinning all three as singles that will be 3-plied. So far, so good! I’ve spun all the blue, and am now about a third to a half of the way through the pink. It’s soft and spins quite nicely, though I think I’m getting a little friction sensitivity on my right pointer finger.

Finally, I watched the London Olympic Closing Ceremonies last night. I enjoyed it for the most part…but CTV, for the love of all that’s good in this world, I could have done without the constant commercial breaks around the time that the athletes were taking their places in the “mosh pit”.  I know it takes time to get 10,000-odd people corralled into the right place, but I really got tired of “here’s a shot of the Canadian team again and….here’s a commercial!  Welcome back!  Here’s some really neat piece of trivia, and….another commercial!”  It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if it hadn’t been for the amount of commercials shown. It really did seem that they had the slots for commercials and content actively backwards, the content segments were THAT brief!

Oh, and P&G?  I’m STILL really annoyed by your advertisements gushing over Moms. When it comes to sports, I suspect Dads are just as involved, if not more so. While I’m sure showing a Dad taking his kid to the pool at oh-dark-thirty in the morning would make a better coffee commercial, I wouldn’t feel like the men of this world were being marginalized because they’re not being shown tossing laundry into a washing machine.  Honestly, advertising agencies, STOP with the whole “battle of the sexes” in advertising. That goes for the “Kitchen Consultant” in the dishwasher commercials, too. Hell, do me a favour and show a gay or lesbian couple. Maybe a same-sex couple that’s parenting. Maybe a little jolt of reality will stop stereotyping women as domestics, men as idiotic assholes, and same-sex relationships as sinful. Use your advertising slot for something useful for once.

(For the record, I do use quite a few P&G products in my house, but it’s definitely not due to the advertising. It’s due to the fact that they work, don’t cause an allergy, and don’t give me migraines from overabundant scenting. That round goes to YOU product!  Not so much your advertising agency – who really need a good-old reality enema)

The one comment about the content of the music chosen for the Closing Ceremonies?  No Radiohead? No Rolling Stones? No Happy Mondays or Stone Roses, or Sinead O’Connor or U2 or the Proclaimers? No multi-Grammy Adele? No Peter Gabriel? While I was happy to see Madness and the Pet Shop Boys, I could have used a little more diversity. The fact that there was one woman singing something like 4 or 5 songs?  Well, she was on-key and can sing Queen half-decently, I guess.  No need for her to be half the show, though.

Oh. And still no Dr. Who?  The Olympic ceremonies could have used more of a nod to the BBC.

Rant over. Good thing too, as I’ve been up for 23.5 hours and need to sleep sometime before my next shift starts 😉

Little Raincloud

Remember that pretty little raincloud of fluff that I showed off last week?  If not, here’s the picture again for reference.

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That’s 100 grams of 100% Merino Top from www.peartreeyarn.com (I bought it through one of the local stores. Gina Brown’s, I think).

This is what it looks like now!

Little Raincloud

Dyelot: 237210
Colourway: Damson
423 yards or 387 meters
2-ply, scotch tension

The coin is an American dime for size reference. That’s a lovely little 2-ply , plied from a center-pull ball (yarn cake!), using a CD spindle to hold onto it, somewhat like this tutorial, but without the bucket bag. I tried using one of my circular drawsting bags, but actually needed to take the spindle out and hold it. The singles were coming from the outside of the ball fast enough that I needed to be able to keep them in check.  With the way that the singles cross over each other coming off the ball, there was a lot of cursing, swearing and a couple of lost yards due to tangled messes. Maybe I’m doing it wrong and need an actual video tutorial on how to handle the single coming off the ball, but I just found it more effective to prop the spindle against my tummy and use my left hand to control the speed of the singles while the right did the main work of moving things along.

This fluff may actually have a purpose. I promised a special someone her choice of socks or a scarf/shawlette for her birthday, and she chose the shawlette. Unless she’d like something more vibrant, I think that this might be perfect.

What do you think, Zwee?  I can find something more vibrant if you prefer something a little wilder 🙂

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Friday Five!

I’m going to tack this on at the end, since I don’t think I’ll post twice today 😉
I know, it’s two memes at once, but I rather like the Friday Five… this week’s “category” is Miscategorizations:

What public behavior is not a crime but should be?
Half the things that motorists do behind the wheel are a crime, whether it’s unsafe driving habits or just sheer pigheaded assholishness. We have bylaws against distracted driving, but I don’t think that anyone in our neighbourhood has slowed down or taken their damn phones away from their ears. And we live near a triservices building!*
Most of all, I’m hating hearing about folks who don’t check their mirrors or give a shoulder-check before opening their doors. Contrary to popular belief, bicycles don’t belong on the sidewalks, and there isn’t a multi-user-path everywhere you go. Even if there were, some bikes zip along faster than the allowed limit. YES, the MUP has a speed limit! 20 kph, if I recall. When you’re making good time in your bike, that speed limit is a pain in the arse. And because fast-moving bikes don’t belong on the MUP or the sidewalk, when you open your door without checking first, you put my husband, my friends, and yes…ME in danger. Please don’t make me another “interesting news story out of CityX”, folks. Take the extra two seconds and open your door.  Because so far, I haven’t heard of anyone successfully being put away on criminal charges for this basic bit of roadway negligence.
(Wow, the view is spanky from this here soapbox!)
Oh…and the other thing that should be a crime? The clothes people are letting their teenagers wear these days. Someone teach the “young adult” set how to wear a ball cap properly, people.
I think I just officially became one of “them”.  The “Old People”…(shudder)

What food item doesn’t have a recommended daily allowance but should?
I’m going to veer away from our regularly scheduled paleo/low-carb orthorexia and say…chocolate. Because damn.

What’s not a word but should be?
I’ve been using the word “Pagnostic” lately to describe my faith-based views. I like it. I think I’ll keep it.

What day of the year is not a holiday but should be? (Yes: I’ve used this question before, but I never get tired of it!)
Towel Day. Are you a hoopy frood who knows where his towel is?

What behavior is not generally a professional expectation but should be?
Understanding where “the line” is. In other words, being able to assess the audience that is your co-workers and be able to realize that maybe certain humour might be a little “too much” (conversely, it’s always good to know just what you can get away with!!!) 😉

 

The mailman only rings once…

Lookie lookie what came in the mail! Because I’ve started using my wheel again, I decided to invest in some good quality fibre. I’ve heard really great things about Crown Mountain Farm‘s wares, and had been thinking of ordering from them for a few months, so I figured I’d give them a try. I’m extremely impressed because it took less than 2 weeks for the order to get here, and I spent a little time this morning squishing my new acquisitions 🙂

First up…Gloria. CMF seems to name quite a few of their colourways after song titles, so I’m wondering just which “Gloria” this is….the 80’s tune by Laura Brannigan, or one of the many other fine songs with that particular name? Either way, this is 8oz of Superwash Merino.

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Then we’ve got “Stonehenge”, which, whether it’s named for the Spinal Tap song or not, is probably what I’m going to be humming while I spin this. It’s 8oz of Corriedale Pencil Roving.

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These won’t be spun up immediately. I have at least one other idea in the works before I get to either of these. You’ll find out when you find out 😉

Finally…I wandered down to the post box this afternoon (we’re on the Superbox system) and found that my order from JessaLu had come in! I have been coveting this Tardis bag for awhile, and when I finally saw it up on the site, I jumped.  I barely even thought about it (and then I apologized to the Husbeast for not clearing the purchase with him first, but if certain yarn store owners are wondering why I have not been into the shop to drool all over sock yarn, that would be a big clue).

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I’m hoping that having a couple of different project bags handy will help me keep my knitting together, instead of the usual habit of having my yarn all over the place. I now have about 3 or 4 different bags, most of which are for small projects.

Guess I’m going to be keeping busy for awhile longer 😀

To-may-to, To-mah-to.

Apparently this week’s Ten on Tuesday is “Favourite Ways to Eat Tomatoes“. Considering I’m not a vegetarian (and thus have a certain kind of “veggie-fu”), this may be limited.  Why?

1. Because I don’t drink Tomato juice. So you won’t catch me eating them that way.
2. And I tend to limit my bread, so I’m not going to be enjoying them on my bruschetta.
3. I do like pasta. So I’ll gladly open up a jar of Classico Florentine Spinach and Cheese on the very rare occasion where I allow myself a treat.
4. Tomatoes and beef are the base for my chili, so we generally have that at least once a month.
5. Not so much the Ketchup. I usually only have Ketchup on hot dogs and as a garnish for meat loaf.
6. However, I do like a slice of tomato on my bunless hamburgers. Nummy! Goes with the pickle slice and bit of lettuce.
7. I’ll also eat raw, sliced tomatoes on their own, with a little bit of salt. Because FRESH tomatoes really don’t need much to dress them up.
8. That said, I’ll still toss tomato wedges (or cherry or grape tomatoes) into a salad. Because they add a bit of zing.
9. Like the zing you get when you add a little bit of tomato paste into a base for a soup or stock.
10. Because yes, sometimes I like a tomato-based soup like minestrone.

Huh. And here I was wondering whether I could even think of 10 ways to prepare tomatoes, let alone eat them. Go me! 🙂

In an Orange Mood

So I took these

Topknots

And did this to them…

Planning to spin

And turned them into this

Topknots spun singles

And then finally into this.

Topknots

That’s approximately 200 grams of top that has been turned into chain-plied yarn. It’s somewhere between fingering and dk weight. I have no idea how many yards, but it’s a lot. The bright orange was a different fibre than the rest of it. You could tell by the texture. I’m using a US dime for reference, as it’s about the same size as a Canadian dime.

I’m thinking it might be socks. And possibly more than that if I have the yardage.

Personally, I’m just glad it’s all spun up. As fun as it was, some of the colours were starting to get to me by the end, as well as the variance in fibre. In comparison, I’m actually rather enjoying my current spinning project, though it’s not as consistently smooth as I’d like. It’s one of the reasons why I’m coming to doubt the words “Wool Top“. Okay, it’s wool.  Okay, it’s prepared as top. Fine, that’s descriptive…but for all I know, it’s scraps from multiple different leftover fibres. And for the amount of money you pay for it, I’d like a little better quality product.

My other criticism is with the Topknots product itself. I had a hard time trying to figure out how to spin the darned thing. Half of the product was one really long, fat strip of that bright orange. The other half was a long strip of the blue-and-red, and the gold, pink and blue-purple. I wound up turning it into a repeating stripe by separating out the most “logical” colour combinations and spinning them in order.  I suppose I could have spun it fractally, but I just didn’t have the fortitude to spin all that orange at once. It’s not that I don’t like orange…I’ve developed a healthy respect for it. It’s just that there was a lot of it – and I didn’t exactly want one whole ply to be orange all the way through. Though that might have been interesting, it just wasn’t what I wanted.

So yeah. Stripey yarn with lots of orange. It may be awhile before I decide to do anything with it, but I figure it will make nice socks someday. When I’m in the mood for orange, that is.

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Something Garish This Way Comes

I finished plying! The overly-saturated yarn of doomy-doom has had a timeout in its own personal bath & is currently air-drying in front of the back door. If all goes well and the weather clears up, maybe it will do some sun-bathing later on today.

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Next up? I’m thinking this lovely purple fluff (I’ve started using Cookie’s description….). There’s about 107 gr or 3.8 oz in there. I’d get a nicer shot, but again…the weather is gloomy today.  So instead of worrying about little rainclouds following me around, I’ll spin one instead.

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Metamorphoses

It’s another WIP Wednesday! I would have posted sooner, but with the weather being overcast and rainy, I barely had time to bring in the laundry yesterday. Which is OK, because that gave me time to turn the heel on the 2nd of Robin’s grey-and-red socks

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It also gave me time to turn some of this…

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Into some of this. It’s looking nicer than I thought it would. Maybe my chain plying isn’t as poor as I thought….

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I also took the mess on the left over there

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…managed to detangle it…

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…and rewound it into a recognizable skein. By my calculations, I have around 229 yards in there. Hopefully enough for a Baby Surprise Jacket.  Hopefully.

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That’s what I’ve been up to.  How have you been keeping yourself busy?

Reminder: Check yarn before washing it.

I spent most of Sunday night working on chores that needed to get done, punctuated by furious bouts of spinning. Which is why my knitting progress has eased off, but still….spinning! I’m now at the point where I’m plying from a hugely packed bobbin that contains almost 200 grams of fibre. I overflowed onto a second bobbin for about two repeats of my 4-colour spinning rotation (orange -> gold w/pink or blue -> red and blue -> pink, purple and gold). I decided to navajo/chain ply, so the colours will be kept somewhat intact.

Of course, doing muliple loads of laundry got me to thinking that I really ought to wash a few other things, so once the kitchen sink was cleared and rinsed out, I dug out that skein of darker grey yarn that was so hard on my hands and gave it a soak. Ditto for a couple of skeins of handspun – one of which I know I haven’t soaked & thwacked, another that I wasn’t too sure on. The following picture illustrates why you should double check your skeins to make sure they’re secure before you dunk them into water.

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Yep. That hot mess over there on the left is what happens when you don’t secure your skein. Yarn all over the freakin’ place. The blue is also handspun. I’m thinking I can probably get a pair of socks or a shawlette out of it. The multicoloured mess has since been untangled and wound into a ball. I will likely reskein it tomorrow. I think I can get something like a Baby Surprise Jacket out of it…that’s what the yarn is kinda telling me it wants to be. It’s a sorta DK/Sport weight.

This is also why I have to stop Navajo/Chain plying, and start actually doing two-ply yarns. I’m finding the triple strands are a little too thick, particularly with my still-inconsistent spinning skills. Hopefully that will change as I get better.  Heck, I changed a bobbin last night and came to the realization that I’m missing a part for my wheel!  There’s supposed to be a nut the keeps the Mother-of-All in place (that’s the part that holds the bobbin for you non-spinning folks), and it turns out that this piece is missing. As a result, the new bobbin wouldn’t line up with the wheel, dislodging my drive band. So hopefully Shuttleworks will have a replacement part (or I’ll get in contact with the fine folks at Schacht Spindle).  Until then, I’m keeping it shimmed into place with a small stack of post-its.

Before anyone asks, I don’t know where the part went to. I’m not even sure that I even had it to begin with. If I did, it’s either in my basement, under a piece of furniture that’s hard to look under. I really wish I knew what happened to it!

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In the meantime, get a load of my brand-new skein winder. If it looks familiar, it’s possibly because you’ve sat on it at some point during a visit. It does a remarkably good job, and tucks away until later for convenience 😉

In which I prove I have a *little* colour-sense…

There’s an old joke that men see the world in basic colours, and that women specialize.  That is to say, guys see pink, green and blue, and women see puce, chartreuse and teal. Full disclosure here…my whole freakin’ family went to art college, so if one of us doesn’t know what puce, chartreuse and teal are, we’re SO in trouble.

Today’s Friday Five is about Teal. I’m not a big fan of teal. It’s not high on my list of colour priorities. I’m much more partial to cherry red or shades of purple. I’ve even developed a passing fondness for various hues of yellow, a colour I would never have previously identified with. I don’t know why I have such an aversion to teal, but it’s there. Some folks dislike “sea foam”. I’m not particularly fond of teal.  So there.

How many teal-colored items of clothing do you have, and which is your favorite?
Ummm….none.  Teal is more my Mother’s colour. I had a t-shirt once that was slightly more of a “jade” colour than teal.

There aren’t many teal-colored foods, but what comes pretty close and how do you feel about it?
The only teal-coloured food I’ve seen has been food with mould on it (appetizing thought, that). Needless to say, I didn’t eat it. I have a hard enough time with the concept of bleu cheese, thankyouverymuch!
Apparently, though, there is a game bird called a Teal.  Which, is apparently very tasty roasted (but turns out the usual roasted-poultry-brown, and not greenish-blue).

If yellow is the color of cowardice, green the color of envy, and blue the color of sadness, what’s teal the color of?
“You need to clean your fridge. Like seriously.”

What’s the neatest teal-colored thing you’ve seen recently?
Sock yarn. Definitely. I think Chelsea has (had?) a skein that was shades of teal. I remember that, even though teal is not my thing (you understand), I drooled.  I’m a sucker for sock yarn. But if you’re reading this, you probably already guessed that.

If you had to paint one of the rooms in your house teal, which would it be?
That’s probably never going to happen.  Ever. And I mean it.  If I was forced at gunpoint to paint a room teal (and that would be the weirdest request requiring gunpoint reinforcement), I would probably choose a room that nobody ever uses. Like the interior of a closet, the inside of the (currently totally fictitious) garden shed, or the utility room in the basement.

Though I’m pretty sure the cat (whose sandbox resides in the utility room), would have issues with that.

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One down, one to go!

So I decided, after all my issues with gauge, to just rib the heck out of Robin’s new socks. I figure that if they’re a wee bit large, the ribbing will fix that little problem! 😉

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So I’ve started on sock #2, and am ticking along fairly quickly all things considered. Having to purl usually slows me down, but I appear to have gotten into the groove.

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Ideas are percolating on the first Whovian Companion sock. I even have yarn, which I picked up at The Loop in Kensington (wonderful, wonderful yarn!!). I’m trying to do my Companion socks in mostly-solid colourways to show off the designs. Which is a shame, because I picked up some gorgeous sock yarn awhile back that I would love to dive into 😀

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In non-sock related stuff & nonsense, I have been continuing with the spinning. I have 80-some-odd little hanks of fibre waiting to be spun. I managed to get a considerable amount done while keeping myself awake by watching the first season of the X-Files on Sunday night. The bobbin is considerably fuller. I’m hoping to keep it up with the spinning, because I’ve been horribly neglectful of that skill. I’d hate to feel like I was learning all over again every time I start.

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This means I may have to order myself some more fibre soon. I have a few things I’ve picked up over the past year or two, but definitely nowhere near the amount of my yarn stash. Right now, I’m just trying to spin at least one evening per week, and if I wind up spinning more than that, yay me!