Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kromski 1 : Jen 0

So I took the plunge like I said I would. I bought a spinning wheel. Meet Kromski.
And not just any Kromski. I bought their newest design. The travelling, fold up and put away from small hands Sonata. I quite love the fact that all of their wheels from Poland have musical names: Symphony, Polonaise, Mintrel, Prelude and Mazurka. Given my own background in music, I feel that there is a nice meshing of art and craft in that.

I purchased mine online from Cheryl at Gemini Fibres of Mount Forest. She was such a treat to deal with. I was very surprised to learn that the postman had been by the house on Monday morning to deliver it. Nice not to have to go to the package depot and lug the box home as it came up to my hip.
It arrived snug in its own carrier bag.

And was fairly easy to wrestle out.

And with a minimum of swearing while trying to read the instructions, it was easy to set up.
What you have to understand here is that I have never been acquainted with a modern wheel before. I own a Great Wheel, but I’ve never strung it up and tried to spin with it (and I’d been told that learning on it would be tough.)

But within minutes, I had it set up, oiled and what playing with the peddles. I wasn’t about to try to string any fibre to it. I started way too late at night for that nonsense.

I left that until last night. But Monday was all about making friends and listening to the nice zizz zizz zizz noise that it makes when you get the wheel going.

That said, last night after jamming for a few hours at the Ballygibblins Pub, Bruce came over to see Kromski. And he encouraged me to tie a leader (a long scrap of yarn) to the bobbing and give it a whirl. I had wrestled with my antique carders the night before (resulting in a lot of llama hair on my navy blue turtleneck) and had a few rolags (or roving rolls) ready to give a spin.

So I tied on the leader. And I made a loop in the end of it—just like Tulasi Zimmer showed me on The Joy of Handspinning website. I also referred to Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning.

Then I gave the peddles a go and whoosh, the leader shot out of my hand and back onto the bobbin. I adjusted the Scotch Tension brake, rethreaded and tried again. It seemed to work a bit better. So I grabbed a bit of fibre and put it through the loop and tried it again.

It spun around and around and around. It did not wind on to the bobbin. I adjusted the tension.

And the leader, which had become a curly cue or green yarn, snapped. The llama roving was a snarled mess. It was twisted though.

So I threaded a new leader and tried again…with the same results. So I tried again…with the same results. And then I thought, it’s way to late to be playing this game. And I packed Kromski back up and put him and myself to bed. Rematch tonight.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It’s No Wonder I Walk Funny

I was just looking in my purse (affectionately dubbed The Black Hole) for my Memory stick. I had a hard time finding it. (I don't know about the rest of you purse-wielding Mommas, but every time I put something in my purse, it immediately falls to the bottom most inaccessable part of the purse. It's like there a special gravity just for purses.)

I had to pull out several things before I could get down to the level at which it may have been lurking. I had to take out more to peek in the hidey holes that designers think will help us organize our shit. I would have to say their pretty much highly-ineffective. So I thought, good time to clean up some of the detritus*. And as I pulled out this miraculous amount of purse stuff, I thought, ‘I gotta make a list.’ Am I the only one with this amount of weird stuff in my purse? (Note: this is my purse, not my knitting bag. That houses all sorts of its own kind of mysterious fun.)

  • 1 Virgin cell phone (until 2 weeks ago, there were two phones)
  • 1 dental floss (lemon flavoured Johnson & Johnson)
  • 2 megabyte memory stick
  • 5 lip stick type things
  • --2 Revlon overtime colourstay
  • --1 Maybelline moisture whip
  • --1 Clinique lipgloss
  • --1 Colour Factory lip gloss
  • 1 Clinique eye shadow
  • 1 Covergirl Professional mascara (but still applied by an amateur)
  • Tweezers
  • 2 perfumes
  • --Clinique Happy
  • --Clinique Par Amour
  • 1 Tide Pen (those of you who have seen me eat understand why)
  • 1 SanDisk reader (and cord)
  • 3 pens
  • 1 tire pressure gauge
  • 1 lip balm (Blistex DCT)
  • 1 pouch for camera disks
  • 1 eye glasses case (with eye glasses and cloth)
  • 2 cheque books
  • 1 hotel sewing kit
  • 2 tourist pins from Gagetown
  • 1 hair clip
  • 1 pill box (with only 1 Advil in it)
  • 1 calendar (R&R Auto)
  • 1 wallet
  • 1 Avon Silicone Glove hand cream (no longer available)
  • 1 orange plastic “signet” ring
  • 1 1¢ stamp
  • 1 set of keys
  • 1 receipt for taxes
  • 1 bottle Bach Rescue Remedy (I used to give it to the dog during fireworks freak outs. Go look at the site, the Hollywood Stars testimonials are hilarious.)
  • 1 bottle Tea Tree oil
  • 1 paper clip
  • 1 broken key fob for M&M Meats
  • 1 shirt button
  • various mysterious "femme fatale" products

Weight: 4.5 lbs (without the dental floss which is sitting on my desk)

No whips
No chains
No knitting paraphernalia
No weapons (actually the keys could be used as a club)

Now, back before it had children, I had a tiny purse. Wallet, clip sun glasses. That's it. Not even a tissue. Now I've gone to Hell in a handbag. Although, if you look at that list, other than the ring, there isn't anything in there really for the kids. Perhaps I just quit lugging around my security blanket and replaced it with my purse. Therapy anyone?

* Just as a note, I’ve been saying detrius for at least 20 years. Who knew there was another T?!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Out with the Old and in with the New

Christmas was great. At the time, it seemed to stretch out before us just like when I was a kid. Seemingly endless days of doing stuff with friends and family. Now that it’s over, I don’t know where the time went. There were get-togethers, there was music, there was knitting (of course). There was time with my family and Bruce’s. There was playing and sleeping (but not enough of that) and getting into mischief and much, much merry-making.

And now that January has come, I feel this incredible nesting urge. The glut of the holidays has left me feeling a bit overwhelmed by my blessings. There are baby toys and clothes that don’t fit. There are new things that need new homes. There is a great need for shelving and organizational structures. There is a need for storing of things that are appropriate for a Yard Sale. There is the itch to redecorate and when money is tight, ideas abound.

Is it like this for everyone? Do you throw out the tree and put away the decorations and discover that the holiday fluff was hiding a multitude of clutter sins? I’m not sure I felt this way last year. I’m pretty certain that I haven’t had this urge quite this strong ever before. But I’m jumping on the band wagon and getting rid of some stuff. And so…

Out with the Old

I am sorting, boxing and bagging children’s clothes and toys. There are also some baby books that I will sell or give away. I also have a full set of Baby Einstein DVDs.

I also have boxes on my books to get rid of. I think I’ll even take a look through the book shelves again to see what else can go.

Duplicate kitchen gadgets, dishes, pots and pans will be tucked away for yard sale or given to friends in new places.

This is going to mean a lot of lugging and processing and letting go. It’s going to feel good.

And when I lift my head up from the massive cloud of dust that’s all going to cause, I may pick up one of my lingering before Christmas knitting projects.

Currently On the Needles

The WIPs (that I can remember off the top of my head) are:

The Patons cabled turquoise vest in Briggs and Little worsted (given to my by Bruce’s mom).
Print o’the Waves stole by Eunny Jang in Handmaiden Sea Silk.
Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket for Ethan.
Selbvubotter Mitten (which is made of Russian wool and has a severe case of 2nd mitt-itis).
Pink hat for little girl (my own pattern).
Maine Morning Mitts for Bruce.
Mitred blanket for girls (my own pattern).
Kaffe Fasset toe-up socks (my own pattern)
Alice Starmore sweater from Tudor Roses
Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls

Holy crap! I didn’t realize it was that bad! That’s a lot of knitting and it’s only one of my obsessions.

In with the New

Well, when I’m not ripping the house apart looking for things to get rid of sell or knitting on projects I’d like to finish this season (What? it could happen. I have until March 21 for it to be Spring.), I have taken on a couple of new challenges.

I am helping out with the Ottawa Knitting Guild’s 10th Anniversary edition of their newsletter, The Tangled Skein. Which means in the next short while, I am reading 10 years worth of newsletters and choosing some items I’d like to have reprinted.

As well, I have kind of decided that knitting just isn’t enough. Really, this is all my Dad’s fault as he is the one who brought a bag of llama “wool”/batt to my house. I haven’t weighed it, but when the digital scale arrives (also new) I will. I am suspecting there is more than a pound soft creamy yumminess. Those of you who know me well, or who have seen my yarn stash, may be getting a slight tingling feeling. Yes. A new obsession is dawning. Spinning.

To deal appropriately with this burgeoning obsession, I knew I would have to buy a wheel. I have actually owned a spinning wheel for almost 20 years, but I’ve never really thought of using it as it is one of those fantastic Great Walking Wheels. I was told at the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild that it would be very difficult to learn on so it has lain dormant for many years (and actually one of the things I need to do is find a spot for it in the house and get it set up again). So with that as a future option, I decided to buy myself a new, modern wheel. But I didn’t want one that looked freaky. I wanted a traditional style. And I wanted it to fold up to put it away. (I have 3 year olds who will want to learn to spin too.)

Let me introduce you to the Kromski. This baby is hand made in Poland by a family that has been making them for three generations. Although the travelling wheel has only been in production since 2006 it still has the spindle wheel that I find very appealing. It should be arriving next week.

In other news, Corkery Road is gearing up for a busy month. Saturday, January 12th (as in this Saturday) we are playing at JR’s Downstairs Pub in lovely Almonte. Saturday, January 26th we will be at the Naismith Pub (also in Almonte).

And the wrap up the Christmas/New Years revelries, The Barley Shakers and friends got together at the Carleton Heritage Inn for dinner and an evening of music and deserts. There are photos and even video. For pictures, look here. For videos, look here, here and here. NOTE: I’ll post those links when I get home.

Thanks to David and Joan for capturing the evening.
I know this is a huge post of randomness, but it does reflect the state of my brain at the turning of this year. I'll keep you posted on what arrives in the mail. Stay tuned for other New Things.