The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home

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In a few words

Gotta move quickly but have been itching to post all week… And so, the pictures!

My very first cat ever (evidence of mad husband-wheedling skills right there).  We’ve kept his Humane Society name – Melvin.  It suits him to a T.  Speaking of Ts… 2 months in, Toby is still very, very upset with us.  On the bright side, his activity level has increased ten-fold.  Mel is 15 months old, and very affectionate.

And in the bottom left of that picture is something I’m terribly proud of – the second skein of Rambouillet spindling.

This has to be my best spindle-plying job yet, and the yardage is a cool 350 yards.  The roving is from Dyed in the Wool Handmade & I still have some left for spinning.  Idea is to make a circular shawl (will need to use other handspun for size).  The finished skein is something I pet daily.

Trying not to think about the improvement (i.e. difference) over skein No. 1…

I’m out of time, so let’s skip the new spindles.  Here’s my labour of knitting pride.  An Oslo Walk Shawl with Fiddlesticks lace Zephyr in Indigo.  First beading effort ever – Toho no. 6.  Knitting pride because I am hoping to wear it to a cousin’s wedding next Saturday.

It is very long at about 5′.  Here’s the full length of it on the needles:

I’ll let you know how that works out with my not-so-wide self…  And the parting shot:

In honour of a friend who is no longer with us, I have to say February 12th is a very auspicious day.

Walk good!


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Life gets out of control!

I have been away from my WP dashboard for entirely too long!  Each year June is pretty auspicious – my anniversary & birthday are within a week of each other – but this year was off the hook.  It all began with a nasty cold.  Thank you Air Jamaica seat-mate.  My immune system enjoyed your coughing & sneezing into your rag-cum-hankie.

As soon as I got over said nasty cold, it was full-steam ahead for MIL’s visit.  In my world this typically inspires a greater degree of order, and cleanliness in my house.  It is a lesson I have learned well over the 6 years we have lived here in Canada.  There are certain steps one can take to reduce the chances of hearing the words, “Well, my mother always said that a little dirt never killed anyone.”  I now know that stash, etc. is best stuffed in far-off closets.  And that’s easier said than done in our small house…  Ace DIL that I am, I now have a mental list (no paper trail, see?) of food she will willingly eat, and food that gets the up-turned nose.   There’s much more to this than well-spread beds & clean towels, and you won’t find it in a book.

Had a wrinkle though… I was also going away that weekend for my first-ever Ontario Handspinning Seminar.  That jaunt did wonders for all concerned.  MIL had quality time with her only child & I came back high on life & spinning.  The OHS had good programming, and I loved the fiber-fest atmosphere in the vendor’s hall.  I left inspired, and with a few friends.  It’s run entirely by volunteers, and I really appreciated its independence from the guild system.  A few vendors congratulated me on being a young person, so you can see where it could use some improvement!  Speaking of vendors…  Defeating the purpose of hiding stash, I went & bought some more!  I bought this year’s raw fleece from Julie at Sunday Creek Farm.  It’s primo white Romney from an ewe called Buttercup (Aww!).  It’s ½ a fleece at 3 lbs 5 oz.  Let me not rhapsodize…

Julie has registered Romneys and even a novice like me can tell this is a spinner’s flock!  She was also good enough to put me onto Triscour soap from Wellington Fibres.  She’s right – it’s a great scouring agent!  Triscour at work this afternoon:

And here is some drying out in the hotter-than-Hades sun today:

I am ¾-way through this job, and am impressed with how little chaff & other stuff is sitting in the wool.  Julie also plans to coat some of the flock.

Great to have 20 serious spinner’s vendors all under 1 roof!  The 1st night I found a sister for my Kundert spindle.  It has a walnut whorl with cherry accent wood:

A much better tool for splitting the Rambouillet hand-dyed roving.  I had been lagging with my friend’s Turkish spindle by Ray.  Even with a growing cop of yarn, I found the spindle to light to have a good spin.  Then I had a sleepless night in a cooooold Queen’s University dorm room.  Actually huddled with 1 finished sock:

Good thing I brought it along for some knitting 🙂

I almost missed this Tabacheck Compact Deluxe spindle.  It was at the back of the Yarn Source‘s booth.  I have coveted one of these ever since reading the Bellwether’s Productive Spindling.  It’s a key member of her spindle Dream Team!  Mine is cedar with a cherry shaft.  It weighs 0.79 oz & has an amazing spin:

I don’t think that I have very good pics from the weekend.  It was a rainy, dreary affair.  My Saturday workshop was ‘Around the Whorl.’  The instructor was Catherine & her blog is here.  The class was full, and Catherine taught us a bunch of tips & styles.  I was pretty tired but woke up when I saw the swag on our chairs!  Catherine obviously worked really hard on the bags/ contents, and her lace spinning was awesome!

On Sunday, I skipped the spin-ins, and went to the Shepherding panel.  Good choice!  The Shepherds were Frank Misek of Greystones Farm in Wilton, Tracy Asseltine, and Donna Hancock of Wellington Fibres.  They stressed farm management, what we should look for in choosing a fleece for spinning, mill processing, and adding value to their fibre.  Both Tracy and Donna raise Angora goats, and are involved in mill processing.  It was very informative, and straightforward enough for a mere pup like me to understand!

I do have a whole bunch of birthday spindles to show-off, and some knitting that I am wearing all over creation but haven’t had time to write about!  Life’s going back to normal now (for a few days at the outside), so I’ll have to get my act together & blog again soon!

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Bittersweet trip of the year!

May has been nothing if not eventful!  Just so I can post a bunch of pictures, I’ll fast-forward to my 9-day trip to Jamaica.  It was a much-needed break but was nearly derailed by the explosive situation in Kingston.

There I was having a grand ol’ time in Negril with Dad when we saw the news… to everyone’s horror the Hannah Town police station was engulfed in flame.  Arson by molotov.  It was the Labour Day weekend.  Clearly the stand-off in Tivoli was at a head, so we headed back to Kingston while the heading back was good… It’s entirely possible to be road-blocked out of Kingston.

Thankfully, the situation did not tip over.  Mostly I think because civil society recognized the danger, and came together in support of the security forces’ operation to restore order.  It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pleasant.  Life was slowly returning to normal when I left but the city is tense.  People were stocking-up like a hurricane was about to hit.  Businesses were open but closing early.  Soldiers and heavily armed police were on the roads.  All told it was a bittersweet trip.

Out of sheer luck I caught Rootz Underground playing at the Red Bones Blues Cafe in Kingston… these guys have a full touring schedule!

Sorry for the poor pic quality… my little Canon wasn’t up to it…

Here are Jeff & Colin rocking out!  The band gave an amazing set & encore for the crowd!

We stopped at Bamboo Walk on our way down to Negril… one of my favourite spots on the island!

Looking up:

My no. 1 restaurant recommendation in Negril is for:

Go in lobster season & you won’t be disappointed!  Plus, the sunsets are to die for:

The view from my room wasn’t too shoddy either:

That’s one magnificent cottonwood tree, and there are many more on property.  Here’s the same view, looking left:

Spindling this gorgeous roving by the sea was divine.  It’s a 100% Rambouillet braid from Dyed in the Wool Handmade that I got at the Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto:

I’m spinning singles in tandem on the Ray Turkish spindle shown there, and my Kundert.  Of course it wasn’t all spindling… had to swim too…

This cove was so much fun to explore – so much coral down there!

Now that the hotel is closed, we practically had the place to ourselves.  Just us & the dude who owned those white t-shirts!  This is the cave on the far side of the cove:

Two upsides of a quiet property – a) many shells for the taking; and b) “clothing optional” beach was mine for the enjoying:

I was trying not to look left over at the Hedonism II sunbathers…  The obligatory hibiscus pic (if you are me):

So happy to see all of the Poinciana trees in full bloom as we drove along the country roads:

It was lovely but I stayed close to the radio/ internet when we got back to town.  The gallivanting was officially over, and I didn’t get to see some key friends…  I’m very glad I was there (turmoil or no), and am now back feeling rested & somehow focused.