Friday, November 17, 2006

This was supposed to be the week I had off so I could get all sorts of things done: fibre work and garden work. Well, it's Friday and I have done precious little beyond the normal stuff of laundry and cleaning. I am sorta bummed out about that because I wonder if this is how retirement will go. I do have some mitigating circumstances. We have had the wildest weather in years. Sydney yesterday had it's lowest November temp in 101 years. We've had frosts twice this week. Before that we actually had a solid day of rain (accompanied by high winds). So a lot of the planting out of the tender crops like melons and limas did not happen and I may have to replace some tomatoes. We still had peas and I picked a small-ish bowl of strawberries. In general it's been incredibly windy due to a southerly change giving us a blast from Antarctica (while icebergs head towards New Zealand) which is not a common weather pattern for the second half of November.

Fibre work has seen the red socks finished (haven't sewn in ends yet) and a pair for The Bear started in Regia which is broadish stripes of shades of grey with a single row of fair isle white dots separating them. I have finished the back of J's cardigan. I spent Weds morning dyeing English Leicester because I have decided to weave a tote-type bag on the inkle loom. I was trying to think of something that wouldn't require 17 different dye batches and I could weave simply and remembered the idea of sewing bands together side by side to make a bag. I dyed 2 large skeins of EL (I always forget to measure or document anything) sorta randomly in Gaywool & Landscape dyes in Ice (which I thought was to be green going by the label but was actually blue), Tanbark, Fern, and Salmon Gum (diluted). I was hoping for a pinker tone from the Salmon gum by diluting it by about half but it's still pretty salmony. I dyed an smaller skein solid salmon for weft. I have 2 more large skeins of EL undyed. Of course I forgot to take photos of the yarn until I was winding it onto the ball winder so you'll have to wait till the loom is warped to see the colours. They are not stunning colours but I view this as an experiment in technique. I have more EL both unwashed and un-spun plus the kilo on bobbins from Long tops to I see more in the future. I carded a few batts of the grey formerly-filthy now-gossamer wool and need to try spinning some to see if these batts are spinnable or whether I need to do more fibre prep (flick-carding) before the drum carding. I tried keeping locks intact but they don't always stay that way through the carder. Still very soft. Looks like clouds thinking about raining.

Yesterday I went in for the NLA's social event of the rose & craft & food show as I was asked to demonstrate spinning again. Some people ignored me completely and some badgered me half to death about things I know nothing about (I do not know how to crochet and I can't teach you). But it was encouraging to see the division head and my group head both taking a close look at what I did perhaps understanding a little about my life outside work. Most people had never seen an electric spinning wheel or a handspindle so explaining the different kinds of fibre and what results you get (I spun the Dragon Hair on the Roberta and still adding to the copp of camel hair on the Bosworth). I hope to warp the inkle loom before I go back to work. Today my car is being serviced but I've given up on getting a newer one. I can put up with another year with this one, especially when the quote to fix a dent 2" long (if that) on the hatch lid was $1500.

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