Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Plan To Do This Summer

It is summer, isn't it? We had the solstice.  We are also in the middle of a heatwave with threatening thunderstorms every day. I'm not complaining- people in Calgary are flooded.

We came back from Syracuse/Ilion/Herkimer where we shopped at Destiny USA, which was a little odd because many of the stores are not rented out, but the mall itself is huge. Went to a few outlet stores, and hit The Bon Ton (they pronounce it bawn-tawn)- my favorite department store there. The real purpose of the trip was to deliver the Great Wheel to my buddy. There was a tense moment wondering if it would fit in my Rabbit- but it was all good.

Had a great time seeing two of my friends, and the cats:

 This is Slushie and Tommie- Tommie does somersaults.
  Okay so, getting to the 10-

1. I want to make some gifts, and I started a Biscornu for my daughter.
2. Tour de Fleece. which begins June 29.
3. Finish painting the porch and window frames.
4. Get a fence put up.
5. Get to my goal weight- I'm taking a break for the summer.
6. Walk every night.
7. Stick to my budget.
8. Tame that wild jungle of a garden.
9. Get the garage sorted (sensing a theme here?)
10. Maybe do some day trips.
Tino time- he looks like a wild cat behind his cage.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rochester or Syracuse?

I'm posting on Tuesday, not for 10 on Tuesday- just because that's the way it happened.  I've been having weather headaches for around four days now, which isn't pleasant because I've been taking T1's, but at least it isn't super humid and it's cool at night. Can't have everything.

Today, let's see, I'll be washing about 50 black t-shirts for The Raging Success (because part of being a RS is having clean clothes) which is okay because he cleaned and detailed my car.  Laundry is no big thing- vacuuming, well that's another whole deal. 

I've completed a pair of socks (Carrie K), and it took so long to do. I can make a thick pair in a couple of days, but these took over a week - with spinning in between.  These are Anne Hanson's "Flaming Desire"-

And I finished that Cotswold/Wensleydale fleece, spun and plied- it makes me happy.

Kittens, otoh, had their procedure on Friday, and were buzzed on painkillers for a few days.  But they're back to racing around the house now, which is as it should be. Howard likes the Rams & Ewes blanket.

I'm off to NYS this weekend to see my buddy and deliver her Great Wheel. I'll probably get some shopping done in Syracuse or Rochester, and be home Saturday night.  I'll be bringing Coffee Crisp, Mint Aeros and Chunky Kit Kat- it seems the US doesn't have everything.

Fleece out.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Got Fleece?

The topic for 10 on Tuesday was 10 things you like on top of your ice cream- I don't really eat ice cream since discovering frozen yogurt, and the only thing I like on it is Gummi bears (because they get all hard and cold and chewy)- so I'm not doing a Tuesday post this week.

What I have been doing over the weekend is combing wool.  Why? Why would anyone want to do that?  I'll answer that more questions- why bake your own bread? why knit socks when you can buy them in bulk packages at Costco?  So, you get why.

At Fingerlakes last year, I purchased a 2lb lambs fleece, Cotswold/Wensleydale which is a lustre longwool with a staple length (being the length of the lock unstretched) of 5-6".  I wanted to try out my Valkyrie Viking combs- and I have been reading and watching videos about combing fibre.  I highly recommend Robin Russo's dvd, devoted to combing.  I had washed the fleece pretty much when I got it home, and it was nice to talk to the shepherd who wanted to know what my plans were for it.

So I add some oil in the form of a combing milk, but Norman Kennedy uses baby oil.  You want the wool to look and feel like conditioned hair.  It's olive oil, lecithin, water and essential oil- but you don't want to douse it.  Have a spray bottle of plain water because there is going to be static.

The next step is to charge the comb, or lash on. One of the combs is attached to a pad, which is clamped to the table.  You catch the butt ends of the locks to the teeth of the comb.

I didn't leave the comb on the pad, but took it in my left hand, and using the empty comb perpendicular to the charged comb, I began just catching the tips and transferring the longer fibers to the working comb.  This was so enjoyable I contemplated becoming a dog groomer (I used to brush our Chow dog every day).
 You end up with all the long fibers lined up and anything left on the first comb goes in the waste pile.  Bearing in mind that the fiber is fluffed up- it looks like alot goes to waste.  This preparation is for combed top- which is smooth and drafts effortlessly.  The picture shows pulling off the fiber from the comb with a diz- a concave wooden object with different size holes. This fleece is gorgeous and soft- with silver to black colours in it.

And you end up with these piles of birdnests- ready for spinning.  I will say it is pretty hard on the hands, but being the binge-personality that I am, I should take more breaks.  Who knew it could be this fun?
I spun some today-and surveyed the kittens:
Howard didn't think combing was fun.......
....and Tino couldn't care less. Too busy mousing.

Fleece out.