Oct 30, 2015

Spindle Fall 2015

Kayak sold! Cool weather is here! Gave in and put the heat on, since it's October 30 and coooold. The beautiful leaves are almost all on the ground, there's a gold glow to the light; very uplifting.

Since mid-summer, Tour de Fleece to be exact, I've been learning how to spin on my drop spindle. I learned on the "boat anchor" Polish spindle from Peace Fleece, a bottom whorl type. Very good for learning, long spin. I promised I'd spin on it every day of TdF.

So I did, and found that a little perseverance pays off! This is sooooo much fun! In addition to the boat anchor, I started using a Bare Bonsie spindle made by Elizabeth Daly (Greensleeves Spindles http://www.greensleevesspindles.com/#  I got this at Port Fiber,   http://portfiber.com/ , my local fiber shop and best place in the world!   My yarns spun during TdF--

I'm so proud of myself for doing this, carrying a drop spindle (or two) around is so much easier than schlepping my Lendrum hither and thither. Plus, I really like the yarns I've been making. A lot. 

My spindle acquisitions have been fairly modest, three Bare Bonsies (really, at $15, who can resist?). A beautiful Bosworth midi  http://www.journeywheel.com/spindles.html that I bought at the Fiber Revival 2015 in Newbury, MA:
Bosworth top whorl, Greensleeves top whorl

The batt under the two spindles above was a dream to spin--it was from Josette at Enchanted Knoll   https://www.etsy.com/shop/enchantedknoll and the final 2 ply yarn is lovely. The Bosworth weighs 27g and the Bare Bonsie weighs 26g.

So... and few more spindles have been acquired... a few small turkish spindles made on a 3-D printer by Jen Kemery at TurtleMade , and 2 sets of spindles from Adan Aker at Akerworks. The 3-D printed process fascinates, it's so amazing to see actual solid useable objects created. Especially to use one for one of the oldest handwork methodologies out there. I have two large Trilliums and two medium Geraniums. All have carbon fiber shafts and spin forever. 
My first modular drop spindle

Why two of everything? Because it's easier to deal with the cops for plying. It's nice to fill up two spindles. I'm not made of $$ so can't have everything I want all at once, but I would like another Bosworth spindle and also a Golding. One of my friends let me spin on hers yesterday and I know that's my next spindle. Here's the thing, I had a Golding, for maybe three years. I didn't use it, I didn't know how, so it kept my straight knitting needles company for ages until one day I took it to spinning group and asked if someone would like to buy it. Bye bye Golding. 

So it goes, making things. Soon I'll pull the tapestry loom over and work on the piece I'm doing for one of Rebecca Mezoff's classes. I'll finish knitting the two pairs of mittens I'm making for a friend. But right now, I'm going outside to enjoy that golden light!

Aug 14, 2015

Kayak for Sale
I have a used Wilderness Systems Tchaika for sale—I am the original owner, I bought the boat new at Kittery Trading Post in 1996. Included in this posting are a few direct quotes from another Tchaika owner that exactly mirror my experience with this boat.

Tchaika is a composite lay-up, light and responsive, 13'11" long,  21 1/4" wide, and weighs just 39 lbs water-ready with the bow float bag.  It has adjustable foot pedals and contoured under hull knee pads, a float bag in the bow and a sealed bulkhead in the rear with a brand new 8” diameter rubber hatch cover. The seat is comfortable enough but nothing special. On my boat the back top seat cover is worn thin. I made a new seat back cover from ripstop nylon for cosmetics only. It’s quite easy for one person to load and unload. I am nearly 70 but can easily carry this boat from the car to the water’s edge over my shoulder.

It’s listed as a day-touring kayak for smaller adults (the original catalog listing said "for paddlers up to 165 lbs."). I'm a 5’7” woman with size 10 feet and it fits me perfectly, but would be a good fit for a man or woman taller or shorter than me.  It would likely be a snug fit for a woman heavier than the recommended 165-170 lbs.

On the water, it’s very fast and it rolls like a dream (if rolling is your thing).  It would be a great boat for teaching the classic “Eskimo” roll in winter pool classes. “This is a boat that sings for a paddler who knows what he or she is doing.”  To quote from another Tchaika seller (I found to be quite true to my experience as well) — “The Tchaika is so responsive to the paddle and so low-profile (nothing for the wind to grab) that a rudder is unnecessary. It weathercocks slightly in a stiff breeze or following sea (find me a boat that doesn't . . .please!) but that's easily compensated with good paddling technique. It's an easy boat to lean, and the secondary stability is outstanding. This is a great boat for someone experienced, or someone who wants to learn to paddle well”

It's not built for transporting a lot of gear; if you’re a very minimalist camper you can carry gear in the rear compartment and a tent bag in the bow section between your legs/feet. If you want to go on long adventures, this probably isn't the boat for it. It is, however, ideal for exploring ponds and lakes, protected ocean bays and tidal rivers.

My boat was made in the mid-1990s and I’ve used it a good deal. The hull is white and scratched with use but not overly so and is structurally sound. I’ve stored it inside for the past several years but I used to store it outside in the summers so the original light lavender top deck is faded. The tie downs and hardware fore and aft are original and just fine.

Asking price of $650 includes the original float bag, a used neoprene spray skirt, and a paddle float and hand pump, both brand new and worth $65 alone. 

Feb 19, 2014

Catching Up

Winter in the NE is getting really really really old. This is not news to anyone, and pretty boring to those people who have no weather at all, but thought I'd mention the frost feathers I noticed whilst walking on the frigid subzero beach a few days ago ~ very fragile, very subtle.

There has been some interest in natural dyeing with lichens, and I refer to Rachel Bingham Kessler's excellent blog, 44 Clovers http://44clovers.blogspot.com/ She has posted several tutorials on natural dyeing with all sorts of substances from bark, beetles and beets to lichen. Very useful!
I have three jars of dye almost ready to go:

It's going to dye a lovely plummy color, I think. These are from the lichen commonly referred to as "black potato chip" type, I think it's Umbilicaria  ~ I know where it grows in abundance but am keeping that under my hat and harvesting sustainably.

I've been knitting like mad this winter, have finished lots and lots of wooly things since the last post. I also discovered plus a post I created months ago that seemingly never published, so that one shows more of the things I've worked on in the past year. 

Pictures, I'll try my best to get a few of them to show up here. One of my pet peeves about this platform is how difficult it is for me to get pictures up here. I guess I need to work on better methods for keeping and linking picture files. 

At the Knitting Pipeline retreat last Fall, many of us knit "FELFS", Knitted elven footwear from Cat Bordhi's book, The Art of Felfs. http://catbordhi.com/ These are awesome, I've made 3 pairs.

Here is my Antrim sweater by Mercedes Tarosovich-Clark (sp?) -- it should have been knit in Harrisville Designs WaterShed yarn, and I had some, but used it for a different sweater. In retrospect, I should have used it on this one too, but that's a lesson learned. Here's the Antrim knit in Berocco Vintage~


It's big, and the wool acrylic blend sags... it's not a success, though it's growing on me...

The WaterShed sweater is an amalgamation of Vera Sanon's top-down raglan pullover for Cascade, with my additions of garter bands down the arms, under the arms and along the raglans. The woolen spun yarn is very heathery. Below is a picture of one of the cuff bindoffs, done in Jeny's very stretchy bindoff in rib pattern. I'm liking this sweater a whole lot! It's keeping me warm right now!

So... a bit after Valentine's Day 2014, hope I'll get to doing this more often!

Nov 25, 2013

Nearly a Year Later...

Time does fly.
The rising sun on the plane an hour from Reykjavik... What a lovely time I had! Susan Bolles' wedding, exploring the city and environs, taking a few tours, horseback riding... I so want to go back.
In preparation, I knitted several sweaters (3), took them all along, and wore all of them. Some shirtsleeve weather too, cafe-sitting, knitting in the parks, walking. 

The lovely Susan...

Hallgrimskirkja interior

IDA bookstore cafe

So many pictures, so little time and patience for linking each and every picture, much less writing about it... 

Other 2013 highlights... 
lots of knitting and spinning, 

buying a lovely old Norwood cherry 4 shaft floor loom, 
weaving retreat at Nezinscot Farm, 
Knitting Pipeline retreat in Alfred... 
Paula and Ann's wedding...

Ugh, if you don't keep up, all is lost to the mists of the past few months...

Mar 22, 2013

Spring Ahead, Sure!

March 22
OK, it's not exactly Spring though the calendar may indicate it, we got another SNOWSTORM. To say this is getting old is... well, I'm ready, more than ready, for Spring. Real Spring.
Since I'm such a sloth about keeping this current, I'll just surrender and post as much as I can remember about the last several months. 

Susie's getting married!! In Iceland! And I get to go. Hence a flurry of Iceland knitting. The first was Ragga Eiriksdottir's pattern, here's a link to my Ravelry project My Odinn

The second was inspired by Ragga's Craftsy  class, Top Down Icelandic Sweater. The original is called Maren, but this is much modified. I wanted a short sleeve vest-type sweater to wear over a t shirt. Maren T The real Maren is a lovely open long sleeved cardigan.

I can't wait to go to Iceland. Susan and Fridgeir are getting married on the summer  Solstice in Reykjavik and her mother Jackie and are going. Jackie and I are adding 3-4 days before and 3 days after the wedding to play. I'm taking an empty suitcase for wool! I want to hike, see the geology (I am a geologist!!), swim in hot springs, ride their wonderful horses. Meet knitters. Drink coffee. Visit with Susie, Fridgeir and Jackie, who is my oldest friend. Have adventures, shop, eat fresh fish and thick, creamy yogurt. I can't wait!

Not sure what precipitated the urge I now have to knit sweaters again, but it's there. Confidence, I guess, and time. I still have the urge to change everything, and I'm firmly in the Frankensweater stage, but someday my sweaters will be better. these two Icelandic sweaters fit well, are warm, and my first two-handed stranded sweater efforts.

To practice the two handed thing I made a cowl before starting Odinn. Inspira-inspired. Homespun Inspira from bits of homespun I had lying around. I love this huge cowl!!

Weaving... Paula's cowl came out well, and has now been to Paris, Venice and Florence!! I wish I had been able to accompany it on its travels, but alas, someone has to stay here to Maine to SHOVEL the SNOW. 

We have had the most awesome winter, really amazing. Lots of cold, wind, beach erosion...
Such fun, despite the cold, I've spent many happy hours outside with Jackson walking and taking photos with my phone. Skating in the woods, so peaceful!!

On my needles... a new shawl from Paula Fuessle-Emmons, Gill's Rock 

and a sweater, Move , from Ankestrick at Fallmasche.  It uses the Contiguous Sleeve method developed by Susie Myers (SusieM on Ravelry: here
This is a fascinating method for doing a top down sleeve where the sleeve cap actually fits and cups the sleeve the way a set in sleeve does. 

I love this, and learning something new!! This was going to be simple, a Breton style pullover, but I've already deviated a bit. Endlessly amusing though.

Dec 17, 2012

First Snowy Day

Do more of what makes you feel good and less of what doesn't. Keeping this as mind as I navigate my life and times.

Still, I cry for a world abounding in damaged souls from Syria to CT and for the lives lost, esp the little children and the brave ones who try to protect them. I wish with all my heart it weren't so.

Walked with Marj and Bailer in the Smith Preserve on Saturday afternoon, good to get in a long walk before the snow, give the dogs a chance to re-establish their bond and the adults a chance to catch up.

Went to the Southern Maine Spinners and Weavers Guild Christmas meeting Saturday morning. We tossed around ideas for expanding interest in the group, programs we might have, etc. Shared potluck and projects. It was a nice, warm time.

I warped the loom for Paula's long cowl... 
The weft will be soft beats, long (2 ft) color blocks using the white, peach, and brown-black. and perhaps a thread or two of the multicolored silk ribbon you can just see here and there in the warp. My peculiar brand of whimsy!! She can"t tolerate wool, so this is nubby cotton and a bit of silk and will be long enough to wrap twice and still be loose and drapey.

I finished knitting my Wingspan scarf--it's posted in Ravelry here
It's quite attractive worn offset over a t-neck with a stickpin... I'm liking the slit in the band.

My new favorite thing is my m-wave egg cooker from t. b Pots

The handle on the cover, and the steam hole in it, make it heavy enough that the cover doesn't blow off in the microwave. The stoneware satisfies my need for handmade stuff, and it's an awesome thing for a foolproof soft-cooked egg.  I bought it locally at the Christmas Prelude Craft Fair at Consolidated School in the port, but he has an Etsy shop (see link above).

A tip. if you like a fast way to make an egg salad sandwich, hard-cook the egg in this (1.5 minutes in my microwave, which is old and slow) and mix with mayo, etc., spread on a pita, english muffin or crispbread. 

Four Days til the Light begins to return!!!!!

Dec 14, 2012

The intent is always evident in the results...

Because nearly everything we do has an effect, it's important to do things mindfully.
Firsts this week - used dried fish to make chowder, made a hammered copper pin, spun a bit of 60 dollar an ounce fiber.

1st  try, some less than perfect spots, but fun!

The chowder; the brown tone is from roasted vegetables; this tastes awesome!

I don't have a picture of the quiviut as I sat at Jenny's wheel to spin it but soooo soft!

I finished my ornament for the swap at the Christmas guild meeting tomorrow; felted and Border Leicester locks from a lamb fleece. It's stuffed slightly... adorable, no?

Eggs from Jenny's special chickens... lovely shades of green!

Speaking of green... we walked in the Smith Preserve today and I took multiple pictures of things that are still green!

The range of greens is really amazing, esp in the ubiquitous moss. 

The brook was also beautiful as usual with just a skim of ice forming little geometric shapes.

I still didn't warp the loom for Paula's cowl, but I will do that soon, maybe tomorrow afternoon after the guild meeting.