Bits and bytes

LambsThe past few days have been jam-packed. I hardly know where to start! So, in no particular order….

On Saturday we meandered out to Linda Lewis’ place in Chapel Cove to visit the sheep and pick up a spinning wheel part. I ordered a jumbo flyer for my wheel because having to stop part-way through plying  skeins, switch bobbins and later and knot the yarn at a join was driving me mad.

Of course, we really went for the sheep. Linda has North Country Cheviots and a few that are a mix of North Country Cheviot and Columbia. The daddy of this fine new crop of lambs was a Blue-Face Leicester, so the resulting fleeces should be quite interesting!!

I have to admit that I’m sorely tempted by the sheep. Not the lambs, which frankly just look like work, but a spinner’s flock of a very few sheep at some point in my distant future might be nice. Distant future.

We picked up the spinning wheel part, Linda and I had a great old yak about spinning, business, the craft industry, and all sorts of other relevant stuff. Katherine and John went off to commune with the chickens and sheep. I think everyone had fun!

Sunday was a tidy-up-the-garden and oh-my-what-the-dogs-produced-this-winter sort of day. Not much else happened, but we all seemed to enjoy the day.The yard looks better, too.

Last week on Thursday, our new Kindle arrived. I say “our” but it’s technically mine. I got it for the purpose of being able to keep whacks of pdf pattern files organized and handy. It took me a bit of fiddling, but I’ve got the hang of how to enlarge the screen so that charts are easier to see and to rotate it for better viewing. It does just what I wanted it to do and it also has a nice batch of my favourite books handy and ready for reading. Plus the storage capacity (4GB,with a use-able 3 GB) means that with over three hundred .pdfs, the entire assortment of books that I wanted on there, and an astounding number of weird and free books that John and Katherine wanted to keep on it to read, there is still gobs of space left over.

Using it is easy and my eyes are young and strong enough that I generally don’t need to zoom in on the .pdf files. The screen isn’t so much a screen as a slate, really, so there’s no glare or eye-strain (I was worried about that, but there’s no light in the screen at all, which is good). You can fudge around with the contrast and the font size (although pdf fonts can’t be changed) and find what works for how you want to read. It also plays audio books, but I’m not sure I’ll bother much with that feature. The speakers are quite weak (as you’d expect) and I don’t like wearing headphones during most of the activities for which I use audio books. That said, it can plug into a small set of speakers, should one so desire.

On Monday it snowed. John had the day off work anyway (St. Patrick’s Day) and Katherine was home from school because of a snowstorm that didn’t start until 3:30pm. Go figure. We did some felting and then I played with my drum carder and stared working on blending fibres.

These are two batts, each 42.7g (1.5oz) or so. They each contain:

  • 7.5g white mohair
  • 4.2 g dyed kid mohair (the gold colour)
  • 13.5g dyed alpaca (light red)
  • 17.5g cheviot wool (dark red with flecks of blue)
Blended batts
First try at making blended fibre batts

For each batt, I started with the wool and alpaca, running each through once individually. Then I divided each into two strips and ran them through alternately, one after the other, so that the drum had both. Then I added the white mohair in wisps.Then a little of the yellow kid mohair was added.

The next step was to peel the works off the drum, divide it into three and run the three parts through again, really blending them nicely. Finally I topped it off with the last of the mohair, which I left on top for a bit of shine.

The next step is to spin these up and see how my efforts worked out. I’m going for a fairly bulky and textured yarn with these batts, so it should be interesting to play with the effect of the fibre prep on the results.


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