Saturday, July 29, 2006

Triple Picker

It was a beautiful day to be driving out to Chilliwack to pick up my Triple Picker today. Not too hot. Traffic was light. We were greeted at the door by Paula and Pumpkin the cat. Their farm is absolutely amazing! Not only did we leave with a Triple Picker but Paula gave us a big bag of green beans, apricots, tomatoes & cucumbers!

They can't stress enough about the safety of using one of these. Warnings and caution stickers were all over the picker. It came with safety bars and a padlock. Rick took one look at it and insisted on a side trip to Lee Valley Tools for leather gloves. Good thing these gloves are long. I can see myself raking my arms over the nails.

I LOVE my Triple Picker. I tried it out on a fleece that I call my dirty little secret. It's a Romney cross - possibly merino cross, I think. I was not as careful with the washing as I could have been and the locks matted. Then I tried to salvage it by dyeing it in an Indigo bath last summer. By the end of it all, it was quite matted and really difficult to tease apart. I should have known better.

I pulled it out today and put some of it through the picker. What I thought was unusable came out so nice and fluffy! 1/2 hour of picking gave me 3/4 full garbage bag. Some bits were put through twice because it was so badly matted.

The Triple Picker opens up the fibre but it doesn't pick out second cuts. It does flick out quite a bit of VM, though. I think, with some of the finer fibres, I'll probably still hand tease first. This stuff is good enough to spin as is without carding it into batts.

I think I need to go spin a sample now. :)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Knitting Rambles

The weather is certainly different today. Much MUCH cooler! I'm actually glad that we're expecting rain this weekend. This picture came from the weathercam on Jericho Beach.

Last night I was tidying up my Stuff Room. I needed to find some space for my brand spanking new Triple Picker that's coming home on Saturday. I found way too many UFOs lying around. And these were not the ones that have been laying around for the last 20-plus years...current projects from the last six months. Three sets of unfinished socks...that's what happens when I knit one sock at a time. I always change the pattern as I knit and I always forget what changes I've made. AND I always tell myself that I'll remember because it's only one little change. Hahahaha!! They have now been reconstituted back into skeins and gone back into the stash.

I've tried keeping a knitting notebook with me. Over the years I think I've purchased as many little notebooks as I have UFOs. The problem is that I'm not consistant in using them. I have good intentions but bad follow-through. The notebook is always in another part of the house or in another bag when I need to jot something down. Pages get wrinkled or ripped out when the notebook is stuffed in the bottom of my bag. Maybe the problem is not the notebook but a better knitting bag. I'm still searching for the PERFECT knitting bag. I don't want a big one to carry ALL my knitting stuff...just one that's big enough for my current project that I can carry around the house, small enough to fit in my backpack to take to work. I have many bags that came close but just not quite right when I use them for a while.

So you see, it's not my fault that I'm not finishing things. I need to go shopping for a better bag...or a new notebook.

I think it's just easier to knit both socks together at the same time.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

We're Back!

I love Mayne Island! Time move slowly there. Island time. One week felt like three. People move slower there. Animals move slower there. Mayne Island is such a nice place. I suspect it's so clean and tidy because the deer population eat everything that's not surrounded by six feet of chicken wire. They are cute, though. We saw 2 goats, 2 horses, 1 cow, 1 squirrel, 4 eagles, 2 herrons, and a number of seal heads bobbing in the water. No sheep. Apparently, Saturna Island is the island to visit if you want sheep. The way the ferry schedule worked out, we didn't get a chance to visit any of the other islands.

The place was nice and quiet. It was the perfect place to get away and do nothing. We did a bit of kayaking, a lot of hiking, and walking on the beach. Most of the waterfront areas are rocky and perfect for beachcombing and tidal pool watching...which is what I like. The one area that was sandy was so crowded. If I wanted to sit in a crowd, I would have just stayed home and headed out to Kits Beach here. I find it boring to just sit on the beach all day.

We checked out a few local attractions like the Lighthouse. The beach around the Lighthouse is perfect for tidal pool watching. Lots of small crabs, minnows and starfish. The rocks along here were all worn out by the tide to create natural chairs forsitting and watching the ferries go by.

The view at the top of Mt. Parke was spectacular! Mount Parke Regional Park had lots of trails for hiking that were pretty easy and some not so easy. Apparently we took the harder trail up. Wondered why we were the only ones huffing and puffing at the top.

I found Indian Pipe flowers growing all through Mt. Parke. They're a strange looking plant, all white and waxy-looking. As they mature, the flowers blacken. The plant doesn't have chlorophyll and survive by sucking nutrients from nearby tree roots. Medicinally, they're used as a poultice for wounds that are hard to heal.

I was disappointed that I didn't acquire any new fibres. Hatake Farms was not open for visitors because Linda O'Brien was away. I was not able to arrange a visit to Meadowmist Farms either. That's ok. I had enough to keep me busy. I did re-read all six Harry Potter books, the Alden Amos spinning book. On the fibre side, I knitted half a sock, half a sweater, and 3 more rows on my lace shawl.

It's been fun.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's hot here!

It's hot and muggy inside the house. The windows are still taped up and covered with plastic. The weather has not been good for painting. The painters have only painted one day this week. They were supposed to be done by Friday and it's already Thursday. Still, I'm not going to worry about it. Only two more sleeps before we go away. I've finally decided on what to bring - sock in progress, lace shawl knitting, and a sweater project. Plus my wheel with three fibres - silk/cotton, silk/merino, & Polworth. That should keep me out of trouble for the week.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Soccer and Knitting just don't mix!

Italy won the World Cup and the month-long soccer fest is over for another 4 years. It's been fun. Soccer is really the only sport I watch...and even so, my understanding of it is limited. I enjoy the game for what it is.

I can't help but wonder if it would be better to come in third place than lose to second. Germany won and they were ecstatic! I'm sure there was a lot of celebrating that night. France came in second and they all looked like someone killed their cat. Second in the world is really not bad but I guess it's all psychological...losing to second place and winning third place.

One thing to remember for next World Cup - it's really not a good idea to knit lace and watch exciting games at the same time. Saturday's match between Germany & Portugal resulted in frogging back 7 rows - that's 1,400 stitches. I wasn't paying attention and a couple of misplaced yarnovers shifted the pattern over.

The house has been prepped and ready for painting today. Another week and I'm off on vacation! I've been thinking of what fibre projects to bring with me. A quick easy sock project for traveling. Spinning wheel is coming but haven't decided on the fibre yet. Probably my lace just in case. I'm deciding whether to bring the Sweater Surprise or start a new sweater. The Sweater Surprise is almost done...just need to finish the sleeves and sew everything together. I think I need a new sweater project.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Knitting News and Happy Canada Day!

I love knitting lace and especially lace shawls. I don't wear them so they are usually packed away and eventually given away as gifts. Sometimes it may take months and even years before a shawl is finally "gifted".

The Wedding Shawl/Afghan is NOT done. In my deepest heart, I think I knew it was not meant to be. Especially after restarting it for the 4523rd time. This is something I should take a bit more time with. It will be a shame to rush through this and come up with something less than what I wanted. Besides, my family kindly pointed out it may not be something my cousin and her new husband would want and it's not something that they can return to a store if it's not to their liking. I really don't know them well enough to make them something. Does it sound like I'm trying to justify this? Heh! I am.

With this realization, I decided to re-do the border. I changed the pattern and used a larger needle size. I think I'm liking this one.

The pattern repeats every 15 rows. I was thinking of 20 repeats before turning the corners. That would give me 300 inside stitches. I'll have to adjust the snowflake pattern a bit.

Madli Shawl

The Madli Shawl (Interweave Press Summer 2004) is completed! I'm quite pleased with it.

The wool is from a Polworth fleece that I wash, carded, and spun myself. There is something special in looking at the finished product and thinking - Wow! I made that! I REALLY made that from start to finish! Short of raising the sheep myself, I REALLY, REALLY made it all!!

It's a cool feeling. :D

Finished measurements: 64" x 21" blocked
Fibre: Raw Polworth from Penelope Fibres.
Weight: 107gms
WIP: 28-30 wpi - The spinning was not as consistent as it should be.
Needles: 4mm circular

The pictures should have been taken against a different background but the painters will be here shortly to powerwash the house. Didn't have time.

Happy Canada Day! I'm off to watch the World Cup Quarter Finals - England and Portugal. It should be a really good game.

*click on the pictures for larger pics.