The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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Socks on my mind

We’re having some spectacular weather & it sure helped to neutralize the springing forward into sleep deprivation that also happened this week!  Apart from DST, spring’s really my favourite season.

 Back in early February, I finished the second sock for DH.  It’s the Pinked Socks, Judy Alexander design:

He loves them dearly but kindly refuses to model (anytime soon at least).  I gave project details here in January, and have little else to ad except that the inside-out view is also nice.

 I really give props to this project.  It was pretty enough & simple enough for me to push through the all-thumbs feeling of knitting with both hands on the 2.25mm-size double pointed needles.

In a lovely circle for later sock knitting, DH aka Mystery Man heeded my Pretty Please email last year.  It was another brilliant Christmas gift, the Knitter’s Book of Socks.

It really is as Clara’s subtitle pronounces an ultimate guide to creating socks that suit.  Unlike this one…

The Sweetpea Sock that Was.  Started with great gusto back for the Yarn Harlot’s book launch.  I really liked the cast-on double then instantly decrease start.  The cuff was stretchy.

But not stretchy enough… Yes, past tense.  Life is too short for narrow socks, and I have come to terms with that.

The sock is frogged.  Long live the sock.

Nature hates a sock knitting vacuum, and so I cast-on for another Seduction Sock by Ann Budd this week.  I made a pair back in 2009, and am still wearing them all the time.

This is a first – alpaca blend sock yarn!  It’s Arequipa yarn by Estelle: 65% superwash wool/ 20%alpaca/ 15% nylon.  The needles are 2.25mm, Dyakcraft.  The yarn is lovely and soft but still elastic from the wool.  The needle-tips will split stitches if I am not careful but it’s not that big a deal.

As proof that socks beget sock yarn, I got this skein of Araucanía Ranco from Romni Wools, yesterday.  I resisted about 3 sale yarns, and left with all promises-to-self intact!

The wish for solid sock yarns can be blamed on the KBOS patterns, and the red was just too yummy to leave on the shelf.  It was a lovely (if not entirely warm) day in the city.

Man, have I have missed the energy and sheer artsiness of Queen Street West!  It was a fun afternoon, and then we also had a great dinner with Cuz & WW.

Toby hasn’t noticed yet… that’s his nemesis, Robin Redbreast on the fence this morning.  The cat misses nothing, and he’s been glued to the window all day.


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A gathering of knits

Wherein I try to bridge the yawning gap between the knitting and the blogging of the knitting.  You could call this a retrospective with some currents to start with.

If you move in my circles you may have seen this fall’s triumph – the lovely stranded Pinked Socks designed by Judy Alexander.  My feet have often looked like this:

They certainly did for the Yarn Harlot’s book launch.  I kind of skip when I wear these socks.  Apart from my pride in knitting sock-weight yarn in both hands all the way to the end, I adore the garter tab on the slip stitch heel.  Adore is not too strong a word.  Obviously because I am now knitting another pair.  That are by necessity larger.  For the current pair is being made to fit not just any man but my man.

To wit:  an 11 ½” circumference leg.

The yarns are both Cascade Heritage (solid & quatro).  The MC is the navy held in my right hand.  My gauge on 2.25 (Dyakcraft!) needles let me make the 80 stitch cast-on size.  The only modification is that I ditched the CC strip in the cuff again.  Honestly, cutting sock yarns just for show is not so cool in my books.

It’s a simple but captivating 5 stitch stranded pattern.  I’ve sped up in knitting it again.  The first was finished January 15th, and the second is here now:

DH also received a longer-than-me mosaic scarf this Christmas.  It was not supposed to curl by design (mine) but makes up for that in the aforementioned length.  If I get him to agree to pics you guys will be the first to know.  My argument is that it was that long.  

Speaking of winter wearables, I also have a new hat.  This friends is a hat by twined knitting, and I love it.

It’s warm but elastic and fits loosely enough for a person with my hair issues.

The design is the Traditional Textured Hat in Laura Farson’s New Twists on Twined Knitting.  After some wrong yarn turns, I ran out and bought 2 skeins of Ultra Alpaca Tonal.  The fuzziness at the top is a bit of Sublime Angora Merino that I dug out of the stash.  I used just 9 g from the ball.

The technique needs the right yarn.  For example, this Akapana by Mirasol Yarns was in the direction of madness.  All stabs at texture were lost.

Casting on in the twined way is not full-on fun, so I thought I would share the what not to do pic.  As much as it pains me.

The upside of relatively mild weather is that the fall knits have stayed in rotation.  In order of their knitting…  The FO pics of my Monday Morning Cardigan by Laura Chau:

I am royally ashamed to say that was completed in May 2011.  It was shy about the wonkiness in the collar area but has grown in confidence over time.

About that collar:  knitting in a car while chatting with Sandi Wiseheart is dangerous.  That is all.

Next up is my Tappan Zee by Amy King.  Yes, a blue phase was happening.

  The pictures do the project little justice.  I used my Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (4 skeins) for the 36″ chest size.  The mistakes are my own – it’s a great design!

 

My 5 ridges of garter at the lower edge were started 15″ below the armhole.  I also added 15 rows of stockinette after picking up at the arm and sewed all the bind-offs.  The yarn knitted very well, and is wearing beautifully.  It was so lackluster in the skein!

Another Knitty.com score was Leaflet Cardigan by Celcily Glowik MacDonald.  Knit in 4 days flat.

Business on the front.  Party on the back.

My yarn is Rowan’s Felted Tweed Aran, and I knit on 5 mm needles with 6mm for the binding off.  I had to make adjustments due to the gauge differences for a medium size.  My main modification was to use the rick rack rib from Barbara Walker’s Treasury.

This was my choice for the Woodstock fair in October, and many times since.

Garments – both knitting and designing – have been a goal for me of late.  I was able to stash sweater quantities from Main St. Yarns’ closing out sale, and am spinning away as well.  After speaking with Sandi, I’d also like to incorporate her Wise Sweater project into the learning curve.  I have also been adding to my library with books like Maggie Righetti’s Sweater Design in Plain English.

My big WIP that hasn’t been photographed is a Laar Cardigan by Gudrun Johnston.  It is giving me a run for my sanity with the miles of lace-weight knitting.  I love the result but am probably not wired for this sort of project…  Unlike some people that I know.

Lace is also a part of my knitting life.  For I keep stashing more!  I’d like to make the Prairie Rose Shawl by Evelyn Clarke with this new cone of Habu Tsumugi 100% silk:

We’re on the same page now!  How’s that for some progress?!?


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To Good Starts

The year is young but it’s been a good one so far (knock on wood).  Of course, I rate as good any winter that gives me this vista so deep into January:

But I digress.

The good start has a lot to do with an extremely fun knitting event in the province.  My friend, Sandi Wiseheart, invited me to travel with her to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters’ Guild meeting on January 10th.  She was their main speaker, and the Guild had graciously agreed to let her bring a friend.  I was psyched to hear Sandi’s talk on Finishing Techniques, and it was fabulous.  Complete with slides, which were in turn complete with pictures of her cat, Tim.  Sandi’s blogged this already.

There was yarn stashing before the event (and even before lunch).  It was a first visit to the lovely Shall We Knit for the both of us.  I could rave, and rave.  Karen gave us such a warm welcome.  Seeing Sandi in her element was worth every minute but I also managed to find time to browse.  String Theory!

A skein of Caper Sock in the Vert colourway with its new bestie, Shetland Lace Knitting from Charts by Hazel Carter.  Not to mention the purpleness of this Della Q bag.

Yes, that is a creative use of my Ott light, thank you.  Like I said, it’s rainy today!  I also bought a set of DPNs.  I suspect Sandi’s purchases are in the Cone of Silence.

We had a lovely dinner with Annie B., Johanna, Lianne and Angela, and headed over for the meeting.  Sandi showed her Lotus Leaf Mittens – those are sparkly nails in the grainy pic.

I had the presence of mind to take a pic while she was setting up.

And once more during the presentation.

After that point, I was all ears and knitting.  How good was this talk?  Sandi made zippered knits sound totally doable, that’s how good!  And what is this talk called? It’s  After the Bind-Off:  Finishing a Garment you can be Proud Of.  I am sure that she’ll be asked to give it again.  Soon!

Further evidence that 2012 is pretty chill…

Last year’s Masham wool singles grew up & became almost socks.

It’s a 4 oz braid dyed by Waterloo Wools spun by yours truly up to 135 yards of 3-ply goodness.  I gave it a ton of twist in the plying on my Watson Martha wheel.  It still has a halo, and feels strong but somehow supple.

My Abby Batt is all spun up.  I finished plying the skein on my Golding Tsunami drop spindle on January 6th.  This lace yarn is for keeps!

I don’t have any SIP pics but the batt was a 38g ‘Leaf Pile’ of 30% corriedale wool/ 30% huacaya alpaca/ 30% tussah silk/ 10% merino.  I spun it by alternating 2 spindles – a Spindlecraft bracken & a Spindlewood olive square whorl.  All over town.  That’s 274 yards.  I’ll spin another fibre for a lace project down the line.

There’s more in my spinning life but I’ll round this out by showing the 60% wool/ 40% flax blend that I raced away with last week.  100g spun on my Philias Cadorette CPW currently gracing toilet paper rolls.

An experiment in over-twist?  Perhaps!

I’ll save the knits for another post.  Which I want to write now lest that promise fall flat.


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All Wound Up, Toronto Launch

Last night, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee‘s All Wound Up book tour finally reached Toronto!  In a very uncharacteristic move I was Knitter No. 1 on the scene at the Chapters.  And I saw that their powers that be are still in the dark about how much of a crowd the one & only Yarn Harlot is going to draw in her hometown.  Yes, dudes – even on a cold Thursday night more than 40 chairs are required.

Teresa, Meg & the hugely popular Monkey (8 weeks old) soon arrived, and we nabbed front row seats.  No zoom required, see:


Meg took our picture – very much knitting & happy.

I do have another knitting friend also called Teresa.  This confused DH to no end, so I thought I should point out that the Teresa pictured here is not the same person who is getting my spindle-spun laceweight yarn.  This Teresa is knitting a gorgeous Helix Scarf.  I was knitting a new sock.

Monkey is a superbly happy baby!  Meg chalked up his good behaviour to the sheer cushyness of his blanket but I think he’s just a good little fella.

Mom and baby will be totally featured in the Harlot’s next blog post… she took a pic of them after signing!

I was thrilled that Stephanie read from her book!  It was hilarious to hear the stories in her own voice.  Thanks to her earlier tweet, I can also tell you that she was wearing sparkly handknit socks.

Proof of the lovely meeting that happened afterwards:

Now, I was way too shy to speak in entire sentences.  I tried gathering my thoughts but it was no use.  If I had my wits about me I would have told Stephanie a huge Thank You.  Her books and her blog got me out of my head knitting, and into the wild world of meeting other knitters.  I was brand-new to Canada back then.  Finding Knitting Rules changed everything, and then I had the good sense to get out to her Casts Off book launch to hear what she really thought.

Just for the record, Chapters:  this is what the turnout for a Yarn Harlot event in Toronto is going to look like.  Always.  Even if it rains.  Got it?

 


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Woodstock Love

The 3rd Annual Woodstock Fleece Festival was this past Saturday in Woodstock, Ontario.  It was bigger, and a lot of fun!  Last year there were no raw fleeces but Willow Farm brought last week’s clip!

Josslyn Richardson helped me to pick Phoebe’s fleece out from the rest.  This was after she explained about the mark-up in the Royal Winter Fair’s fleece auction.  To wit, $19.00+/lb more than her Woodstock prices.  Sold!

The fleece weighs 3lb, 5 oz unwashed.  I love the light greys and the crimp.

Josslyn & Norm also sell their Romney and Icelandic in lovely roving.  I give their Icelandic tog & thel roving 2 thumbs up.  I have a 2-ply fingering yarn in production from last year’s Woodstock haul and love it.

The crowd seemed bigger to me this year, with more knitters curious about this thing called spinning.

    

Reed’s restored wheels were seriously crowd-pleasing.  This fuzzy pic is the best I could get for all the jostling – Reed’s the man on the right.  You can’t really see but he was having a blast.

What’s a fibre festival without animal exhibits and equipment for sale?

    

Back in the main show room, I was also busy shopping for the fibre needs (and wants).

L → R:  Pachuko organic cotton in ‘vicuña’; carbonized bamboo fibre; alpaca roving & hand-dyed bombyx silk top.

My LYS haunts would never carry these 2 finds so I sprung for them – Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock & Fleece Artist Saldanha Two – from Feather Your Nest.  The pattern is Barb’s Koigu Ruffle Scarf from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas.  I wanted to ditch the pattern but am glad I didn’t – 320 yards is perfect for using my hand-spun yarns.

Last but not least were these 3 books on clearance from The Yarn Source, and a lignum vitae Tabachek diz (not shown).

Again L → R:  New Twists on Twined Knitting by Laura Farson; Spinning Designer Yarns by Diane Varney (!); and How to be Owned by an Antique Spinning Wheel – A Practical Guide by Peter H. Fowler.

This is why friends let friends shop on their own at a fibre festival… Shelley surprised us all with buttons!

Mine was already joyously pinned on my Leaflet Cardi:

Yah, I shall show you Leaflet properly in another post.  Shelley braved strange looks in getting the buttons since she also got a few for herself…

And lastly, the obligatory closing animal pic!


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Touring

Still touring through that week 1 of the Tour de France!  We DVR the race, and I watch after work.  Cooking dinner is taking a beating but I’ve been posting my pictures on Ravelry, daily!

Day 3’s collage was an entry for Team Spindlers’ prize – you show date/ time proof of a day’s progress.  I used the Globe & Mail’s Life section.  The Go Outside & Play headline was sage advice.

Day 4 was the 1st work-day of the tour.  Had an intermediate sprint to catch some daylight for this picture:

At the end of the Mûr-de-Bretagne climb, I was nicely into the yellows in the skein, and took a second picture.

It’s been fun finding new poses to strike with the same project, and the weather has been co-operating.  On Day 5 my copy of Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook made its appearance.  There was some reading followed by catch-up spinning.

Day 6 was brilliant.  I had just enough time to finish the run of yellow spinning, and to wind-off into the plying ball.  All part of the plan to spin the cleared spindles last night at the LYS.

See the little 3 on the do-not-unravel-tape?  To signify the 3rd set of finished singles for my friend, Teresa!

Which brings me to yesterday, Day 7.  Not much on the spindles but I went straight to Spun after work for knit night.  Not long after I got there, a family came in with 2 little girls.  They were non-knitters buying a gift for Grandma.  The younger daughter was adorable – she fought through hiccups, and asked a ton of questions.  So, I got to show spinning to the youngest person yet.  Her eyes just lit up when she touched the fibre!

Shown with beebalm in the last seconds of the day.

Also making their garden début are the daylilies that my knitting friend, Susie, gave us last summer.  They had been out of the ground for a good week before I could collect them, so I’m sure Susie will be glad to see that they did well after planting that day.

The lighter orange plants are smart survivors.  They missed having a Darwin award by spreading through the fence to our side.  All originals were up-rooted by the new neighbours.  Who have been heard to crow that putting in the god-awful house-t0-fence concrete was the “best thing” they’ve done.  My reply was to dryly say, “To each their own,” without adding a single adjective.  The wild survivors now have company – yellow hybrids & Susie’s deep orange gifts.


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Catching up

Life got out of hand.  Evidence of which is standing in our living room.  A tree.  Neckid as it grew in the ground.  The Christmas tree that wasn’t.  Honestly, I met every other holiday expectation – up to & including baking stints – and tried my very best.  Good thing Mom was too tired herself to really notice the lack of ornamentation.  Let’s just say we kept it simple & leave it at that…

Happy New Year!

Just because I fell off the face of the blog doesn’t mean that I was an idle working stiff.  Here’s a blast of what’s been keeping me sane this past little while.  In no particular order because it’s all in heavy rotation anyways…

Best surprise ever was finding this spinning angel on my doorstep on a cold Saturday morning.  A gift from my friend T, and she came in her own box:

T made the drop spindle with some sequins, and painted it with purple nail polish! She unwound the gold lace yarn, which apparently was a beast.  Love, love, love.  And yes, my new Ravatar.

T’s other gift has been to encourage me in the general direction of her special talent with lace knitting.  A large rectangle stole in spider net from Jane Sowerby’s Victorian Lace Today is quietly in progress.  Amazon linky.  If you don’t like empowering the likes of Amazon, here’s a pic of my copy:

This is not just a slightly ’80s looking pattern book.  No.  This book goes to great lengths to explain lace construction and knitting methods.  Helps if you weren’t born knowing 7 cast-ons suitable for lace.  Also helps if negotiating borders around corners isn’t yet another of your innate skills.

In other knitting we have a far less challenging Hap Shawl.  The pattern is Hansel by Gudrun Johnston a.k.a. the Shetland Trader.

The main yarn is my Philosopher’s Wool worsted 2-ply.  The body is acres upon acres of garter stitch.  I broke up the tedium by switching to Continental (left-handed) knitting.  Even so it was a pain & a ½ to get that diamond done.  Then it was the fun part – stash busting!

Again with the everlasting knitting.  And if I thought that taught me patience, well.  How about a garter edging?

That baby only kills 8 stitches every repeat.

More in keeping with instant gratification… a hat.  DH looks dashing in this quick knit, and loves it to boot.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed he’d pick Sublime Yarns Angora Merino for his hat!  Held double for Clara Parkes’ Hill Country Hat.  I have the book but here’s a free PDF version from Knitter’s Review.

One of my aims for 2010 was to knit hand-spun socks.  Cast on for these on December 30th!

The pattern is Lemon Leaves from Cat Bordhi’s (tortuously titled) Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters.  The yarn is a 3-ply super-wash BFL hand-dyed by Turtle Purl in Québec.  The colours are amazing, and although I don’t like spinning super-wash, it knits up beautifully.  However.  Am short on yardage!

My new spindles in order of acquisition:

She’s an antique French spindle that I got in a Ravelry de-stash.  See the tip?  It looks broken but still spins beautifully.

Easily the most portable spindle I own.  She likes my Blue Mountain coffee bag.  I spin suspended but have to pay attention to her spin-time lest there be droppage.  A surprising number of non-spinners love to watch me spin on her.  Happy to oblige!

The bottom of the French is too worn for good supported spindling, so what did I do?  Got a Russian!  My less-than-stellar attempts:

It’s a mahogany Tom Forrester.  Do you see how many fibres I broke out in trying to spin on this?!?  Here’s inspiration number one for sucking less:

Sweet, sweet vicuña.  Hand-processed by Tabi at Sericin Woolworks, and worth every cent!  Only the finest, rarest camelid fibre known to man…  Until then I am a mere grasshopper with the Russian spindle.

Latest addition is an Ethan Jacob lace spindle by Greensleeves.  Another de-stash win!  It’s 14g of sleek cochin & lacewood.

They weren’t kidding when they said this is a primo lace spindle.  Insanely good, man.  Helps me not to feel like a total ass on the Russian.

Yes, I make yarn with all the tools & enthusiasm.  Here’s a small sampling… On my Wee Peggy wheel is some Finnish Landrace (the sweater project):

Previously on my Canadian Production Wheel was this gift to its previous owner – Shetland top, 2-ply:

Now on the CPW is Corriedale hand-dyed by Ontario fibre artist KerrySpins:

There’s much more in production but this is a mighty long post already!

Walk good!

 


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Easter report

Whad’ya know – my handspun has use!  I finished the Sweet Fern fingerless gloves over the weekend.  Ferns in the mini-roses:

The Polwarth is soft but firm at this gauge, and I even have a left-over skein.

The pattern was great as-is – no modifications this time!

I cleaned & decorated the house a bit for Easter because we threw a rather spontaneous BBQ for our Jamaican friends as they get ready to move out east.  These are the friends who had baby Eden last summer (I made her a kimono).  Her older brother, Zac, found the chocolate straight off the bat!

Opening right on cue:

Even though we were both v. tired from the efforts, we did make it out to St. Jacob’s Market on Saturday for the 1st time.  A cool day-trip.  First purchase of the day?  Sock yarn from Shall We Knit, upstairs:

Always wanted me some Crazy Zauberball!  Also in the marketplace:

We headed back downstairs for a bag of bagels, and clover honey here:

Hot-cross buns in production:

Farmers feed cities!

I have no idea how/ why but DH left without buying a single sausage, cut of meat or slab of cheese – huh?!?

We lunched at the Stone Crock restaurant in town.  It was a 20 min wait for the table – good enough to pull out the Bossie spindle & create a scene 🙂

Seriously?  75% is something to brag about?!

DH was fading fast but I did get to dip into an antiques store.  They had 2 spinning wheels that not even I was moved to acquire…   A better find?   This little ‘handbook,’ on natural dying, 8th edition 1972:

Very instructive but also covers dye recipes & traditions from around the world, including Canada & the Caribbean!

On both Sunday & yesterday we had perfect hand-combing weather.  It was sunny, warm & breezy.  I got through about a  bag of  my Romney… & have the scrapes on my hands to prove it.  It’s scary how easily the long tines on these little combs will graze you.  My hands are a little worse for the wear, today.


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Unexpected spinning joys

A few years ago my poet cousin gave me a quotable card that lives on my bulletin board.  One simple line from H. Jackson Brown Jr.:

May your life be crowded with unexpected joys.

That’s exactly how my spinning feels now-a-days.  The plan this winter was simple – I wanted to meet other handspinners.  Based on a niggling feeling that I needed some good direction.  I was (and am) at this point of consistently making lace-weight on my spindles but that’s not all there is to spinning (to say the least).

Overcoming my shyness this early on has been a very, very good idea!  The people that I am meeting are spinning gurus in their own right, and to my surprise they are giving me all sorts of positive feedback.  Here I was all braced for hearing that I strayed down some strange paths.  Instead I am getting kudos for making yarn solo with just the internet & books.  What can I say?  I am nothing if not stubborn!

Several weeks ago I posted about ordering my very own copy of the Bellwether’s new book on spindling.  It came in the mailbox just on the edge of our house becoming flu central.  Autographed by the Bellwether herself with a message if you please!

To paraphrase her sub-title:  it an [affordable] 21st century look at spindle methods that has boosted my confidence!  Apparently I have been spindling rather productively thanks to the excellent folks answering stupid questions over in Ravelry fora!   The book is available on the Bellwether’s website here.  Which is to say that it’s not in mass-distribution.

Remember my the-dog-ate-my-skein merino?  It’s all spun to 3-ply yarn now.  Here’s the last of the lot:

I am still working out what I could make but here’s what I have to hand:

Three sister skeins of pink merino with artfully placed strands of dog fur… hmmm…

The biggest unexpected joy?  This week out of the clear blue this baby was offered on loan to me:

I shouldn’t say baby – it’s a 1980s era Wee Peggy wheel made by the late John Rappard in New Zealand.  She’s very light but sturdy, and is very much charming the socks off of me.  But:

  • She lacks a drive band (important) and a brake spring for scotch tension (also important to my way of thinking);
  • My wheel spinning experience is basically nil and;
  • I am not mechanically inclined.  Sewing machines kinda scare me.

Having a wheel in the house was just way too sweet to make such minor things bother me!  Armed with Maggie Casey’s Start Spinning, I improvised my way to using Miss Peggy.  It was like comparing apples with oranges – Maggie Casey’s pics are all of modern wheels & I’m working with vintage.   DH is highly amused at the efforts by the way.

Around dinnertime, I had tied a DK weight cotton yarn on for a drive band, and another bit was with a rubber band hoping to serve as scotch tension.  Yah, not!  It made yarn fine enough but I soon realized it wasn’t winding onto yonder bobbin for love or money.

A short foray on the internet got me going again though.  Praise be to Abby Franquemont’s article Choosing your first Spinning Wheel here. I read it some time ago but then only skimmed through the spin tech.  Well, last night those passages made all the difference in figuring out Miss Peggy.  Resulting in a new scotch tension rigging:

Sheer stubbornness paid off!  This configuration actually worked.   Accolades for Abby.  Seriously!

Connecting the knob for scotch tension - aha!

The wheel was sitting unused in the owner’s basement, so she needs a proper oiling.  I’ll be out getting a maintenance kit later today, and Miss Peggy will have her TLC.  The yarn on the bobbin is some of my BFL combed wool, and the gray Romney.

I thought that I wanted an all-purpose modern first wheel.  Was I wrong?  Maybe I want a light upright from the hey day of a production line that ended 10 years ago on the death of the maker…  Here I am naming the thing, fixing it up, and walking around giddy-headed…  Stranger things have happened & I certainly have lots to think about.  She would come with 4 bobbins (only 2 are shown in the pics).

Anyhow, for now I’m just enjoying all of these unexpected spinning joys – in February of all months!


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Haiti Earthquake

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Port au Prince, and Haitians everywhere.  I have been flipping between CNN & CBC since news of the earthquake broke Tuesday evening, and can not comprehend the devastation; the grief.

Jamaica is on the same fault line as the one that cuts through Hispañiola.  It is called the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault.  Earthquakes – even small tremors – are terrifying.  I experienced small earthquakes & after-shocks in Kingston during the ’90s.  I’ll never forget watching the road from our high school lab windows in one of those minor quakes.  It actually heaved up and rolled towards us.  Not breaking just moving like a terrible slinky.  Knowing just that little bit is what makes this tragedy in Haiti boggle my mind.  The people are in dire straits.  Stranded.  It’s impossible to just blog-as-usual.

In trying to make sense of this, I turned away from the tv and to my bookcase.  I found this account in Old Jamaica Memories edited by Al Campbell of Kingston’s great 1907 earthquake.  W. Ralph Hall Caine is speaking about what happened on today’s date in 1907:

At 3:32 Kingston was happy and well.  At 3:33 the city was seemingly a hopeless wreck, with the very sun itself obscured from our vision.  All man’s handiwork of a generation, nay, of a whole century or more, was instantly flouted.  A whole community lay in ruins and in tears, in suffering and in death…

I also found this in one of my favourite poems, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land by Aimé Césaire:

At the end of daybreak, this town sprawled-flat, toppled from its common sense, inert, winded under its geometric weight of an eternally renewed cross, indocile to its fate, mute, vexed no matter what, incapable of growing with the juice of the earth, self-conscious, clipped, reduced, in breach of fauna and flora.

At the end of daybreak, this town sprawled-flat…

Ay Ti.  I hope that the Caribbean plate will be quiet, and the fault line still.  I also pray that relief will reach the people as soon as possible.