piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i'm watching a lot of spinning videos -- hey, it's hibernation season, and i've dusted off my spindles and wheel. my absolute favourite is spin art by jacey boggs. i bought the book when it came out, but it was above my skill level and i just admired the shiny. then i saw a short video by jacey boggs on youtube, and really liked her style, and so i bought the bonus video for the book. because spinning is much more easily learned from a good video than from reading.

it's dirt cheap for what you get; U$9.95 for 90 minutes of focussed instruction on spinning textured yarns. jacey boggs is an amazing instructor; she's clear, direct, thorough, funny, and she knows her technical stuff. after watching an hour of rambling repetitiveness by sara lamb spinning various kinds of silk during which i didn't learn anything much new (when i KNOW i know hardly anything about it), this was a breath of fresh air.

there are several things here i like: jacey shows the finished yarn, a knit swatch, and then she uses the exact same fibre with the same colours to demonstrate, so there is a clear progression from raw material to finished product. she shows the technique at speed, and then slowed down, several times. she shows common errors and what those mean, and how to correct them. the camera focusses tightly on her hands when it's important, from different directions, keeping the important bits in the field of view.

i wish they'd get her to teach most of the other instructors how to teach. i've also just watched a video with maggie casey, and while she is a very pleasant lady, her explanations often leave a lot to be desired; it feels like even though she is clearly an accomplished spinner, she doesn't actually fully understand the physics of a spinning wheel. or maybe she thinks it's too complicated to explain, and nobody would want to know? or she thinks the touchy-feely stuff is better? except that doesn't work for me; physics is not a dirty word; it helps me understand WHY something works, which means if it doesn't work i can figure out easily why not. touchy-feely isn't good for distance education. the person she's teaching in the video, eunny jang, seems a bit more technically oriented; she asks the questions i'd ask, but she is also very deferential, so she doesn't press when she gets a so-so answer that doesn't fully explain. the whole video feels very awkward to me, and i haven't started the second part yet because it's no fun. i've learned more about adjusting a wheel from jacey boggs -- incidentally. also, i now want a lendrum wheel, *snicker* -- so easy to adjust!

something else i've noticed about which i feel weird: jacey boggs wears no nail polish and her nails are very short and clean. now, how somebody keeps her nails is absolutely her own business, but in a video on spinning, or really anything where something done with one's hands is in close-up focus, my eyes get distracted by shiny polish or long, curvy nails interacting with the fibre/yarn. now i wonder whether nobody else cares, and i am just easily distracted.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
sample skein niddy-noddy:

niddy-noddy

cost: C$ 3.56

2x T-connector 1.72
14.6" 1/2" conduit 0.56
4x O-ring 0.73
HST 0.38

and i didn't even screw up the measurement calculations; the skein is a lovely 27" long.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
sheep with protective covering


if its worth doing, it's worth overdoing. actually made it out of the house today, and went to two (!) events.

first the local fibre festival at the conference centre, a new offering. 25 vendors, and i bankrupted us buying fibre and yarn. mostly fibre: tussah silk, flax, romney/opossum, dyed romney/mohair, chiengora (the name cracks me up; it's the undercoat of samoyed dogs), mohair locks, silk hankies, dyed silk noil, and an entire shetland fleece. yarn: lorna's laces shepherd sock, unwind yarns nebiolo (a sport weight merino/suri alpaca), diamond's alpaca baby lace, and a 100% silk lace distributed by fun knits on quadra island (dirt cheap; C$ 9.95 for 500m).

weirdly enough our local yarn store was not represented; when i was visiting them yesterday they complained that they found out about the event from a random customer. seems the publicizing was directed primarily at spinning/weaving suppliers more so than at knitting stores, and the LYS has just started to carry a wee bit of fibre. that was short-sighted, because the show had a lot of yarn as well, and the LYS would have beaten the drum for them. i'm hoping this will become an annual event.

when carting my treasure home i listened to the radio, which was broadcasting from the cowichan fair, and since the paramour was amenable, we headed down island to check out the brandnew exhibition grounds. very nice. we had some mennonite sausage, which was yummy, and some frozen lemonade, watched a driving class (mmh, draft horses), ambled through the poultry and sheep barns, and looked at the crafts. it's interesting how widely the craftsmanship varies in some of the categories -- the quilts were fabulous; first class, as was the weaving, but the crochet was terrible, and the knitting mediocre. i took lots of quilt pictures; i'll share some of them tomorrow. it also amuses me just how detailed some of the categories get. my favourite one: 1706 NEWCYCLE, a design using roadside plant materials in a recycled container.

chatted with a lady who was demonstrating bobbin lace (this is NOT something i will ever do), and one with a nice 8-harness foldable tabletop loom (i think it was louet's jane). *lust*.

we were both flagging by the time the rain moved in, and headed home early. now i am back to mainlining tv shows (damages and true blood) while fondling my new fibre.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
20100703-california poppy


i have some of that cool denim yarn, the one that softens and fades with washing. it shrinks 10-15% during the first wash. now, cotton garments usually stretch when wearing. what i am wondering is whether the latter might make up for the former. any experience with the amount of stretch?

i'm almost done with my ravelry stashing, even identified most of the mystery balls (i had saved the ball bands, yay, but they don't all have a fibre sample, boo). now i am entering old projects. then i'll shuffle some stuff around -- most of my yarn is now organized by colour, only the bags are not, and they need to be more easily found. i will be SO organized when all this is done.

also finished the 2nd layer of the new raised bed hexagon last night, and filled it. need to buy more coir, wet it, turn it in, and then i can replant. the japanese willow, the korean lilac, all my lavenders, and then we'll see.

now watching the 2nd season of leverage (like the show a lot; it appeals to my inner robin hood). but i want sophie back! nothing against jeri ryan, but, yeah, not the same as gina bellman.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i stashed the vast majority of my yarn; 212 entries on ravelry. i even managed a few swatch pictures -- i think i'll do that with all yarn i have from now on;

and to reward myself, i went go my LYS (mad about ewe), and bought some more yarn. OMG, handmaiden silk lace!

20100727-P1080345-600x450
other goodies behind the link )
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i am finding myself totally disinclined to buy their yarns. when i was last in my LYS, the new sales lady tried to sell me on some eco recycled rowan yarn, and i felt totally *meh* about it, even though i like tweedy yarns. when i came home i was wondering why that might have been so -- i've had no bad experience with rowan yarns; they're just usually a bit on the expensive side. they do feature some really excellent designers, and i was at a loss why i had such a distinctly negative reaction.

and then i looked at patterns and more patterns and more, and now i know why i felt *meh*: in general their models look emaciated, bored, and prissy. none of the patterns i saw went over 46|56, and of course no model is ever shown who'd actually BE a 46|56.

my subconscious must have been paying attention all along. rowan doesn't care about large people. so guess what? i ain't buying your overpriced yarn, of which i'd have to buy more skeins than any of your skinny models. so there.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i've mostly fallen off the wagon of productivity, *sigh*.

two small things; one went well, one not so much:

continuing experiments in bread baking have resulted in very yummy french bread -- i am mixing bread flour and pastry flour, letting the bread machine do the kneading, and baking it in the oven, spritzing it with saltwater. perfect crumb with just the right size of holes, great chewy crust, and all of that without the hard labour. it also seems to not take so long, which is entirely subjective -- it does take just as long, but having to do less work makes it seem like less time.

the sock experiment (with the tunisian crochet heel and toe) did not go so well. the heel and toe themselves worked out well, but i can't believe i was so stupid to use a variegated yarn for this -- that creates of course discontinuities where the crochet and knit part are sewn together. also, the yarn that i was using -- elann's esprit "sock it to me!" (98.3% cotton, 1.7% elastic) is way, way stretchier than i am used to, and consequently the sock i ended up with has a nice, thick, solid heel and toe (the heel fabric is pretty much perfect; just enough give), and a terribly slouchy everything else. i like the yarn, it feels great when working with it, and it's nice on the skin. but when using it i'll need to completely overhaul any pattern i have, to take into account that stretch that won't quit.

other than that, i am now watching BSG's first season. this does not suck as badly as it might have sucked; in fact i like it better than B5's first season, at least where the acting is concerned. if you're now sputtering, please take into account that i was not a fan of the original BSG, and have never in fact seen any of it. oh, you're sputtering because of what i said about B5? deal. the acting sucked so bad that for me it detracted from the show's otherwise more interesting scope. :)

piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
went to michaels today to get a new crochet hook, since my 4.0mm one disappeared on me during the montreal trip. also wanted to check out their new yarns, since i had already drooled all over my LYS. turned out they had some new patons, and i got a few sample balls.
patons pooch (63% acrylic, 27% wool, 10% nylon), colour "lamb"
patons SWS (70% wool, 30% soy), colour "natural pink"
patons be mine (100% nylon), colour "wuzzy white" (*urk*)
patons cici (68% acrylic, 32% nylon), colour "starry night"

whoa, the colour balance is off terribly, still. i really need to create a new usermode on my camera to deal with the changed lighting in my room. just imagine the background and the left bottom ball to be pure white, *sigh*. i really like the soy/wool blend, it comes in a number of nice colours -- i'm not usually into pink, but i actually like this soft off-white -> pink -> green colourway. i'm gonna knit up a swatch to see how it'll felt. it's a single ply, so that alone will make it considerably different from my standby patons "classic wool", and we'll see about the soy. the "be mine" is another 100% nylon one which means it'll dye superbly and be great for people with wool allergies, and for cancer caps.

also bought a spiffy new spoolknitting toy, a wonder knitter (though mine is not that obsessively pink). good for fast i-cords! i am mostly gonna use it for wire.

the *poing* left for the long autumn vacation today. *sniff*. and the paramour is gonna leave this weekend for 2 months with LMPS in burbank, so soon i'll be all alone. maybe i'll get my room cleaned up and remodelled this time.

oh, and i kicked mozilla to the curb. welcome back, opera, my dear. aaand, as some of you already noticed, i'm back in alt.poly, and no longer through google. :) i might check back in ssm as well.

piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)

the montreal project the montréal project

this is the yarn i am taking with me. it'll be a freeformy something of spirals and sprays; maybe a long vest. freeform is ideal for the bus; lots of small pieces as the mood strikes me. the colours are not quite right; the white balance was off under the light in my office and i didn't notice until i had taken the battery out of the camera for recharging. and now i am too lazy to fiddle with the gimp. i'll take another picture tomorrow in daylight. everything is slightly more cyan-shifted in reality, and the reds are not quite as intense.

piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
to get away from the decision about the wasps, i drove down to duncan today, to the tiny, packed to the rafters yarn store run by a dutch woman, because i wanted to get my hands on a proper drop spindle instead of fiddling with my homemade one -- just to see what it should feel like. she only had one, and it's a bit on the large side, but since it's by ashford, and a high whorl to boot, i am happy with that. it's 3.5" diameter and weighs 2.76 oz.

even more happiness resulted from the 8-pound bag of dark brown sheep fleece she had sitting outside for C$20. OMG. it's nice, soft fleece too, though she didn't know what breed. i'm thinking maybe shetland, though that would be an unbelievable bargain -- 4.5" staple and nicely crimped; about 7 crimps per inch, ends not a whole lot lighter -- unwashed, but very little cruft in the fleece. it might be some kind of crossbreed.

so here i am sitting, spinning in the grease, straight from the fleece; i've only picked out a few bits of straw. wow, this really is nice. the spindle is heavier than my homemade one, and the lanolin makes the yarn glide very nicely. i'm already spinning a more even size, after just 10 minutes, and without preparing the wool at all. mmmh, i love the smell of sheep.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
a new vegan alternative to animal-based fibres:  a couple of companies, kollage yarns and south west trading company now offer yarn from corn.  SWTC also has a 100% bamboo yarn.  don't know how either of those measure up in green terms, though.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
not too long ago coats & clark jumped on the novelty yarn bandwagon with their new moda dea line. but now, red heart, of walmart-type ugliyarn fame, also has four new yarns that're actually beautiful and feel good to boot! i almost had a heart attack. there are four new novelty yarns:

whirly, 51% Nylon, 27% wool, 22% acrylic, lovely colourways, and soft goodness that does not look like it'll pile immediately and turn to crap. but i didn't buy to test. tempted, though. might go back.

foxy, eyelash, shiny 100% polyester, but soft! softer than lionbrand's fun fur. i bought a skein of this in "lipstick" (which i'd call 'cerise' instead), and crocheted up a skinny scarf in a couple hours. 50g run for 82m (89yd) and it very fluffy even with just one strand. that link doesn't have this colourway, and they can't take photographs, but at least the colourways they do have look true to the skeins i saw.

kiss, 2-ply 4 cm long eyelash with a central papery yarn, 100% nylon with the associated super-softness. 50g run for 76m (83yd). bought a skein in "flame" but haven't swatched it yet. i just want to cuddle with this one. speaking of people who can't take pictures, i am one of those tonight; i tried 3 times to capture these red skeins, but no joy; i need to wait for decent daylight. there don't seem to be any decent pictures out there yet at all. oh yeah, people who're used to red heart prices will get sticker shock with this one; it's a whopping C$8.87.

tiki, ribbon with little "butterflies", 100% nylon. 50g run for 143m (157yd). nice watercolours. didn't buy this one either yet.

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renaissance poisson

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