Friday, November 30, 2007

Found on Flickr

Brand new bag

I've always loved those little red mushrooms with the white spots. I've also always associated them with Germany, since I pretty much only saw them in German class. I have a little glass Christmas ornament of a red mushroom with white spots. (I think... I forget now.)

Adorable bag! I love all the memories it brings back.

Contest Alert!

Go congratulate Sandy for surviving NaBloPoMo. ;)

Contest Alert!

Another contest here. I found this one on Flickr. :)

Have you ever noticed... plying a yarn fluffs it up, adds back a lot of air... and makes it take up a lot more space on the bobbin?
Completely Full Bobbin
Completely Full Bobbin
Plied Handspun


Eeep... a replacement drive band is $A80 plus post. "The drive band is a special non-stretching material with a non-slip layer on the inside surface." (I think the "non-slip" part of mine has also developed a slip.)

Wheels sure aren't cheap, even when they're free. :(

Contest Alert!

If you win this contest, will you send me a skein of yarn for letting you know about it? Pleeeeeeease! (Open to residents of the USA.)

Update: Good news!!! Canadians (except those in Quebec, which apparently has stupid rules) are in!

Contest Alert!

I won't be entering due to my allergies (to scents, oils, etc), but there's no reason why you can't enter. So go enter. :)


My friend Kelli e-mailed the Windwheel folks for me. :) Three new bobbins at $A45 each would be $A135 plus $A28 postage and insurance. (Ouch! That's about $144 CDN total.) I think I'll try out Jess's storage bobbin idea with those ones I have. I think I can rig up my cordless drill to act as a bobbin winder. And, for the definitive answer on the name:
The wheel was called the 'Windwheel' because spinning was a breeze.
Cool! Thanks Kelli!

Now I'll actually get around to asking the maker about the drive band, and whether a fan belt will work as a replacement. ;)

Remember to Drive Safely

The streets are slippery. Give yourself extra stopping time. Don't follow too closely. Reduce your speed. Don't do this:
Car Accident
Car Accident
(The view from my bus stop this morning.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Felt Wee Folk WIPs

Felt Wee Folk WIPs

And now there is two. Both unfinished. I don't want to do the hair and hat on the first until she has a face, and I've been a bit lazy about getting the paint out. Perhaps I'll do several at once. The second doll also needs a side seam. The second doll is a much better size for my flower petals.

I don't have good wing petals. I haven't decided if I should find some so I can give them wings, or if they're fine without wings.

Flyer Delivery


I quit. I delivered these, but then I quit. There was no way I would have been able to get all of these to the other side of the cemetery without Bob driving me over on his way shopping. Even once I was there, when I put half on my toboggan, it was really hard to pull and they kept falling off. So I finished today's job, then phoned in my resignation. It just isn't worth it. (Had it been my neighbourhood and not the other side of the cemetery, it might have been another story. I probably would have stuck it out until after Christmas had that been the case.)

PS: There was one more bundle than what is pictured here... I had taken the bundle with the house numbers on it into the house.


Full Bobbin

After I delivered flyers this morning (I'm home today) I finished off the bobbin. It was quite nice that I reached the end of the roving and basically filled the bobbin at the same time. :) (It would have been a bit annoying if the bobbin was full and there was just a bit of this roving left.)

Now I need to wind it onto my nostepinne and then ply it. (Extra bobbins would be *so* nice! Then I would have put half on two bobbins each, and then plied onto a third.)

Painting WIP

Painting WIP

I worked more on this Tuesday evening. It's probably not immediately apparent what changes I made, but there are changes. I'm liking it more and more. :)

Brrrr! Cold!

Monday: At one of the downtown stops, both the front and back doors of the bus were open at the same time, and a bitterly cold wind blew through. Brrrr!

Tuesday: The door mechanism on the bus froze, and so the bus ended up driving half the length of Pembina from the university to downtown with it's front doors open. Brrrrr!

Today: The ink in my pen must have frozen, because I couldn't cross off which houses I made flyer deliveries to. Brrrr! Even with the liner in my winter coat, long johns, Sorels, wool sweater, wool scarf, wool toque and thinsulate mittens (I wasn't going to get newsprint all over my handmade mittens), I was *cold* when I got home.

We're having some unseasonably cold weather right now. Yes, the end of November is usually cold, but we're well below normal. I'm not sure about today, but the other day we were over ten degrees Celsius below normal! (That's something like twenty degrees Fahrenheit below normal.) I don't think we've had as much "easing into winter" as normal.

I just checked the weather page... it's currently -19 C, with a windchill of -31 C! (As I said... BRRRRRRR!)

24 Hours Later

Disaster #1:
Okay, not really a disaster, but highly annoying:
These spindles? They don't fit on my wheel. :( Francine said they looked like Ashford spindles, possibly homemade. Would anyone like these? Most of them could use some glue, and the jumbo-looking one is missing a piece. Contact me if you're interested. (I'm not going to charge for them, although I may ask you to chip in for shipping if it costs too much... which it hopefully won't, since they're light.)

So, after discovering I only have the one spindle for my wheel, I wound a center-pull ball and plied what I had spun that way. Or tried to.

Disaster #2:
The drive band broke half way through plying. I have it holding together for now through the miracle of duct tape:
Drive Band Temporary Repair
...but I need to get a replacement. I may be able to get something that works reasonably well in the automotive section of Canadian Tire. At least, I sure hope so.

I plan to contact the manufacturer about the possibility of getting additional bobbins, and if I do order bobbins, I'll get him to throw in a drive band or two while I'm at it. (I suspect the shipping from Australia is going to be pricey, and *slow* I might as well get what I need.)

Here's my first skein off this wheel:
It's about 44 yards. I plan to give it to the lady who gave me the wheel as a thank-you. She weaves, so perhaps she can use it in her weaving.

I was stressing out tonight about the whole major-life-changes thing again tonight, so I spun up some mystery roving I got from a (non-knitting, non-spinning) friend as stress relief:
After spinning that amount I decided to stop since I was feeling sleepy. Did I go to bed then? No, I took photos and came down to post. I'll go to bed soon.

I wish I had three more spindles (I'd like to spin my big bag of roving as a true three-ply, rather than Navajo ply) and a lazy kate. And a non-duct-taped drive band.

In other news, my laptop has a shiny new hard drive, my Christmas present from mom and Bob. It wasn't a surprise so they could discuss exactly what I wanted, and it was installed early so that we can check to make sure there aren't any problems during the return period. I also got a drive enclosure for my old drive, but the enclosure seems to be finicky, so it may be going back. (Once everything is set up, I'll be using Time Machine and will have proper back-ups!)

Celtic Swan Forge Knitting Needles

Celtic Swan Forge Knitting Needles

My knitting needles arrived today! I swapped a pair of my crocheted socks for these. :) They're shorter than I normally use, but I look forward to trying them out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Guess What Followed Me Home?

Meet Snoopy:
Snoopy loves me, and I am her favouritest person in the whole wide world, because I pet her and scritched her ears, and because she is the most loving, generous dog in the world. Of course, she probably forgot all about me and went back to loving her real owner once I left Rovings. No, Snoopy did not follow me home. This did:
Me, Spinning Me, Spinning Me, Spinning Me, Spinning
(Action shots taken by my brother on my mom's camera.)
Australian Windwheel Australian Windwheel
I spun up all of the rescued mystery roving:

Yep, the free Australian Windwheel followed me home. :) I am one lucky duck!

I'm not so sure about the extra bobbins though... they all look different than the ones on the wheel currently. Two of the four need glue, and one is missing a whorl altogether. Francine commented that they look like Ashford bobbins. (The one missing a part appears to be a jumbo bobbin, and I think it'll be too big to fit on the wheel. Maybe the whorl was removed to make it fit?) At any rate, I know the bobbin *on* the wheel works. And the wheel works too, but it is indeed a bit odd... pretty much the only way I can get it to start is by tugging on the drive band. However, it is fairly small, and the price is certainly right! (I think I'll probably still save up for a lendrum too... but the wait will be much easier now!)

There is a debate going on in the house over the new wheel... is the "wind" in "windwheel" "wind" as in "wind in the willows" or "wind" as in "I need to wind the yarn off the bobbin"? Any guesses? We have 1000 free minutes per month on the phone plan for some countries, including Australia, so there may be a phone call to get the answer. ;)

Hearts Excitement!

Hearts Scarf

Ooooo! I put this pattern in Ravelry this afternoon, and it's in two queues already!!!

Hearts Scarf Pattern

Hearts Scarf

This scarf is based on Heart by Stephannie Roy, published in Knitty, Fall 2004. It's not different enough to publish in a magazine, but it's different enough (in my opinion) to post here. Here's my pattern/recipe for my Hearts Scarf:

Needles: 6.5 mm (US 10.5)
Hook: 5 mm (US H8)
Yarn: KnitPicks Decadence, one ball (official specs: 100% Superfine Alpaca, Bulky Weight, 3-3.5 sts=1" on #9-11 needles, 121 yards/100 gram hank); and Noro Cash Iroha, two balls (official specs: 40% Silk, 30% Lambswool, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, Worsted Weight, 99 yards / 40 gram hank). The edging actually uses only a bit more than one ball, but a single ball will not be sufficient.

Heart Pattern:
Row 1 (RS): k3, k2tog, yo, k5, yo, ssk, k3
Row 2 (WS): (and every wrong side row) purl
Row 3 (RS): k2, k2tog, yo, k7, yo, ssk, k2
Row 5 (RS): k1, k2tog, yo, k9, yo, ssk, k1
Row 7 (RS): k2, yo, ssk, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, k2tog, yo, k2 (17 stitches)
Row 9 (RS): k3, yo, [sl1kw, pnso, sl1pw, psso, sl1b, pnso, k1], yo, k3, yo, [sl2kw, sl1pw, psso, sl1b, pnso, sl1pw, psso, sl1b, k1], yo, k3 (15 stitches)

In that last row I used a bunch of non-standard abbreviations. Here are their expansions and explanations:

sl1kw: slip one stitch knitwise
pnso: pass next stitch over: like psso, but on the left needle... pass the second stitch in over the rightmost stitch on the needle.
sl1pw: slip one stitch purlwise
sl1b: slip one stitch back to left needle purlwise
sl2kw: slip two stitches knitwise

What I'm doing with this bizarre set of instructions in the square brackets is decreasing four stitches down to one in such a way that I have nice rounded tops to the lobes of the hearts.

First Half of Scarf:
Cast on 15 stitches and work four rows of stockinette.
Set Up Row #1 (RS): k5, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k5
Set Up Row #2 (WS): purl
Set Up Row #3 (RS): k4, k2tog, yo k3, yo, ssk, k4
Set Up Row #4 (WS): purl
Work heart pattern, starting with row #1, and continue until you have 10 hearts. Place stitches on holder and break yarn.

Second Half of Scarf:
Work as for first half, but after completing the 10 hearts, continue in stockinette stitch until you have approximately two feet of yarn left. Graft both halves together and work in ends.

Row #1 (RS): Beginning near a corner, single crochet (sc) around the entire scarf, making sure the stitches are spaced so that they don't distort the scarf. Use a slip stitch (sl st) to join in round. Slip stitch to third stitch from corner.
Row #2 (RS): *Skip two sc, 6 dc in next sc, skip two sc, sl st in next sc, repeat from *. Near each corner, fudge numbers of sc skipped so that an 8 dc shell is worked at the corner. Slip stitch to join round, break yarn, pull through and weave in end.

Finishing: Block to remove curl.

Pattern copyright © 2007. This pattern may be distributed for free if source is cited. For distribution as part of a for sale publication, or to make item for sale, please contact me for licencing terms.

Found on Flickr

Blue Eyed Bunny

Beautiful! (Now if only I could find my stretcher frame so that I can actually attempt the kit I bought...)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Workshop Painting WIP

Workshop Painting WIP

I'm going to finish the rest of this up at home. Although I had fun at class, the instructor keeps doing stuff on my painting that I don't like, and that I then need to "fix". Tonight I added the yellow stripes in the far field, painted the peachy undercoat to the near field, painted small trees in top of the green field, and "fixed" the sky. I need to "fix" what she did to the purple mountains. ;) I also need to decide if I want to "fix" the two big trees she painted. At any rate, it's coming along, and I think I'll be happy with the result. (Especially after I bring the not-there big tree that's currently coming out of the green field down into the peach field.)

I took this photo at night under the fluorescent lights, but the colour actually isn't that bad, since I attempted to use the manual white balance on my camera. (I only discovered I actually had that feature recently when a friend was playing with it to see what all it could do.)

Crochet Socks

Crochet Socks

I still need to weave in the ends... I want to check the fit first, though. (This yarn is a bit thinner than usual, and I'm wondering if I also crocheted them tighter than usual.)

I've started socks for Deneen now, from yarn she sent me. When I started, I noticed that it's thicker than standard sock yarn... and checking the label, it's 300 yards in 100g, not 400. Since Deneen has small feet, the small yardage shouldn't be a problem, but I'm not sure if the gauge will be bigger than normal. I doubt the difference will be enough to make them not fit, so I plan to go ahead as usual.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Crafty Stuff

The Christmas knit group dinner was terrific! Mmmm... baklava! If I were feeling wordy I'd tell you about the weirdo who pestered me while I waited for the bus. I'm not, though, so I'll just show some photos of recent craftiness.

Weasley and Felt Wee Folk (WIP) Ornaments Felt Wee Folk Ornament (WIP) Yarn Needle Case Yarn Needle Case Yarn Needle Case

As I'm sure you can tell, the Felt Wee Folk fairy still needs a bit of work. (Note to self: if you're looking for an easy one to try first, *don't* try the second-to-smallest Felt Wee Folk... try a larger one!)

Flyer Delivery

Well, my first day wasn't too bad. I borrowed mom's car because there was no way I'd be able to manage carrying all those flyers in one trip all the way around the cemetery. For future trips I plan to get the toboggan out of dad's shed. My knees complained about the stairs, but there wasn't too many. It's much nicer than enumerating because I don't have to knock on doors. It was a nice walk... we'll see if I actually make minimum wage. Not counting getting to and from my route, it took me 45 minutes today. I suspect I'll get faster once I get more familiar with where the house numbers and mailboxes are hiding. I also suspect I'll resign on principle if I don't get at least close to minimum wage.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"K" Weasley Ornament

"K" Weasley Ornament

It still needs it's hanger, but it's otherwise done. I used the colonial-angora blend handspun from yesterday (washed last night and dried overnight), plus a bit of silk for the "K" that I spun up today.

Oh... the pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. If I were to do it again (and I'm sure I will), I'd put the ssk and k2tog right next to each other, and decrease a bit more to make a smaller neck opening.

Found on Flickr

She loves the wool forest

I love this little scene! It sure makes me want to knit up some trees and start decorating. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Carded, Spun, Wound and Plied

Handspun and Tools

I carded the colonial wool and angora together, formed rolags, spun singles, wound the singles into a center-pull ball, and then plied the yarn as a two-ply. Kinda cool. ;)

Either my carding needs some work, or the angora rabbit fur is tricky due to being shorn (rather than plucked, and also has some second cuts) or the dandruff... I keep getting rather "rustic" looking yarn.

The yarn is soaking now. I'm going to make a little sweater ornament out of it. (Yeah, Kelli, I'm not keeping this one secret... but I've sent you other secret stuff in the recent past, so I feel it's okay that I'm being less secret on this one. ;) And this way you also get to watch the process.)

The Apartment

Okay, the last post I think I need to do to tell you way too much about my crazy weekend is about the apartment. ;)

Oooo... I just talked to my dad (10 pm Monday night), and a friend of his is selling his farm and so is getting rid of all his furniture and appliances. I think I've just furnished my apartment! For free! (Dad's going to try to get it for free because he's done a lot of work for his friend.) Am I one lucky duck or what!?! (Couch with hide-a-bed, kitchen table and chairs, TV... I hadn't planned on getting a TV right away, but I'm not going to refuse a free one! Looks like I'll need some rabbit ears again.)

Well, back to last Saturday.

(Note: It is now Friday. I started this post on Monday. Do you think perhaps I don't feel like writing this post?)

Okay, now really back to last Saturday. (Preferably before it's Saturday again.)

Saturday morning I was on my way out the door to go to the art show when the phone rang. It was M (my hothothot landlord-to-be) wanting to know if I wanted the apartment held, because he's getting phone calls.

My non-verbal response? "AAAAACK!"

Now, he was asking a simple question. My answer, however, meant making a potentially serious, life-altering decision. I can't go from "I will be handling the credit card purchases at the art show" to "what will my future be" that fast... especially when I'm already flustered by the fact that I'm talking on the phone. (I believe I have a mild phone phobia. I've always hated talking on phones, especially to strangers.)

My verbal response: "Can I have until tonight to decide?"
M: "Not a problem."

Frankly, I had given myself a reprieve on thinking about the apartment, since my weekend was so busy. I had decided that I would give myself until this week to internalize the shock of "OMG, my life is changing" and decide if this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to think about it rationally. I need *time* to do things like this! Well, my time was up. I had that day to decide.

Since this post is already several days overdue, I'll just summarize the rest: after I got home, I called everyone I could think of to get advice. What would they do. Was my logic reasonable. What were other people paying for rent? I needed emotional support.

I decided to take it. I went up to tell my folks. Even though I was okay with my decision, for some reason I was bawling my eyes out too. I had to stop crying before I could call M back... calling your hopefully future landloard while crying is probably not a good idea.

I eventually calmed down, and even managed to do so early enough that it wasn't too late to call. Since then, I've submitted my application and mailed my deposit to hold the place (half a month's rent).

Now all I need is a job. (Life altering step #2. This week is a doozy.)

PS: Looking outside, fluffy snowflakes are falling fast. Winter is definitely here.

Silly Quiz

Update: Mouse-over to see what each colour represents.

Wheel Trip Cancelled

Dang. I can't borrow the car today, so no looking at that wheel today. Perhaps next week...

My Body is a Barometer

The pressure fell some more, my head and knees *hurt* this morning. :P

Jazz Funeral for a Server Mainframe

Jazz Funeral for a Server

On Wednesday there was a jazz funeral for an old server mainframe. (I stand corrected... it was a mainframe, not a server.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007


According to my head and knees, the weather is doing something funky. According to my barometer, the pressure is dropping.

I now have a small flyer delivery route. The lady who called me doesn't mind if I drop it when I get a real job, which I warned her won't be long. (It was nearly a year ago that I called her in the first place, if I remember correctly.) I don't get much... she estimated around $20-$25 every two weeks (two deliveries per week), but I'll put the money towards a wheel, and call it being paid to exercise. I need more exercise anyway. And I can always quit if I don't like it.

Francine can't figure out the free wheel. I'm going to check it out tomorrow afternoon.

Happy thanksgiving to all my American friends! I hope you had a wonderful day. Please survive the insanity that is Black Friday.

Blankie says "hi, happy thanksgiving" too:
Scrap Sock Yarn Blanket WIP
Blankie is very thankful for all the donated sock yarn scraps.

I played with the handcards tonight (the fabric isn't leather), and carded some bunny angora with the blue colonial Jess gave me:
Spinning a Rolag

Found on Flickr

Woolitbe.Hoodscarf Green

Doesn't this look cozy! (For those cold, but not freeze-exposed-skin-in-30-seconds days)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Winter Update

Since I know you're all just *dying* to know, the Assiniboine River still has rafts of slush flowing down it, but the Red River is nearly completely frozen over near my place. There are patches of open water, and the ice isn't terribly thick, but it's definitely in the process. Given that the low tonight is something like -19C, I think I can firmly say that winter is here. The ground is even semi-snow covered.

This morning my thought was that it's time to get out the real winter scarf. (As opposed to the little sock yarn clapotis decorative thing.) My thought on the way home is that I should either dig out my winter coat (and boots too), or at least get the lining for my fall coat. (I love wool sweaters... they're probably what's kept me satisfied with my fall coat this long.)



I did not want to get up this morning. I slept better last night than the night before, but I didn't get to bed early enough. Then I discovered I was out of cereal, so had a granola bar and a glass of my milk. However, the big, fluffy snowflakes falling outside look like a winter wonderland. (Give me some hot chocolate and a blanket to curl up under, and I'd be happy!

Speaking of blankets to curl up under, I broke down and turned on the heat in my room last night. It was down to 16 point something Celsius, and I was cold. (The heat has been on in the rest of the house for a while, but I'm in the basement.) The wool socks and an extra blanket made for a wonderful, cozy sleep... just not nearly long enough. I turned on the bathroom heat while I showered too.

Found on Flickr

Sometimes hearts have a bumpy ride, I guess. ;) Cute!

Found on Flickr



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ms Fix-It

The front door knob wasn't working tonight. B played with it from the time I got home about an hour ago until about five minutes ago. Then I went upstairs and fixed it for him. (I asked if he wanted help at the beginning, honest!)


Melting Snowmen
...but not terribly fast...
Melting Snowmen
There was slush on the river this afternoon too. Winter won't be long...

Update: I meant to mention... the first photo was taken yesterday, the second, today. Although it looks like the head melted off the second one, I realized later that it just got... moved.

Contest Alert!

Go tell Jane something weird about yourself in return for a chance at a nifty prize!

Workshop Painting WIP

Workshop Painting WIP

Last night I started my latest workshop painting. The class was kind of funny... the teacher is, um, "hands on". As in, she used my canvas to demonstrate the roughing in and the sky, and for a few minutes it looked like I wouldn't get to do anything at all on my painting! However, someone reminded her that it was my canvas, and she gave it back. Then, just before the class was over, she had worked her way around the room to me... and painted in the two trees that are there! It didn't bother me too much, although my mom was rather ticked. I figured that at worst, I'd have my very own Bernadette Philips original. ;)

The other funny thing is that she said not to work on them at home, because she didn't want us painting when she wasn't watching.

Although I did enjoy myself, I'm not sure I'm learning anything in this class. (Except, perhaps, confidence.) I don't think I'll take another one of her classes. (Besides the one next Monday to finish the painting.)

The one thing that really bothers me about this painting is that the cypresses don't scale nearly as much as they should going into the distance, in my opinion.

Crochet Socks WIP

Crochet Socks WIP

The latest socks are coming along. This Jojoland yarn has gradual transitions like Trekking XXL. The luster on the yarn makes it hard to photograph.

Tapestry Crochet Hat WIP

Tapestry Crochet Hat WIP

I haven't mentioned it much, but I'm working on a second hat for C. (One to wear while the other is being washed.) I'm using Rowan Denim yarn, and working on it at lunch. Progress is pretty slow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Found on Flickr

Quilted Teapot

Yep, I still love the work that Patchwork Pottery does. Fascinating!

Spinning Class

There was nary a flake in the sky when I left the house Sunday morning. When I got to the location of the class, one of the other ladies commented that it felt like snow was coming. I agreed, although more out of habit than anything. However, while we were playing with white (and other colour) fluffies inside, there were white fluffies outside:
Snowy Day

Here are some random photos from the class:
IMG_2833 IMG_2834 Penny's Handspun IMG_2837 IMG_2838
The handspun shown above is by Penny. Swatchy is giving the tour because he'll be posting over at his blog too. ;)

Here's what I spun over the two classes:
Click through to the flickr page to see what each is made from, or for bigger views. The purpley stuff at the bottom I actually plied on my spindle after I got home, because I ran out of time. Want a closer look at the exotic stuff? Here:
Again, click for biggy view. ;)

Here's some fluff I brought home:
The bunny angora was given to me by another student for me to try. (So nice!) She has an angora rabbit at home. This is shorn, rather than plucked, because she initially didn't know how to pluck. She wants to use up the shorn stuff before getting to the much nicer plucked stuff. The other stuff was in the "discard pile" at the end of the class. I wasn't letting it go to waste!

Oh... and, um, some other roving may have followed me home, but we shall not speak of it.
Fiber and Handspun
At least, not until it is spun and/or a sweater. ;) I couldn't resist. It seemed like a good deal, and I think it is. If you saw that, how much would you expect to pay? I'll give you a hint or two to help you: It's Polwarth, a mix of silver and brown, and 825 grams. (Nearly two pounds.) After a bunch of guesses, I'll post the answer.