Thursday, 25 April 2013

Natural Remedies for Natural Problems

Nature is many things, but most people would not say that Nature is "predictable".  Nature is usually viewed as being wildly variable while operating within the loose confines of a schedule.  What I mean is we all know Spring follows Winter, but nobody knows when it will arrive. Case in point, last week it snowed.  This time last year, we had had a week with temperatures hovering around 25C.  Twelve years ago when my son was born, it was 30C.

But some things, like bird migrations, you can almost set your watch by.  Last year, on April 23, I wrote about dealing with a Northern Flicker hell-bent on living in my dining room walls.  We used a pellet gun to persuade her over a couple days that she really wanted to live somewhere else.  After the (considerable) damage, we filled the holes with spray foam but discovered that spray foam doesn't do much to stop rain.  We now have leaks around the frames of three windows.  The repair  will actually be quite a big job and is on a list of things to do.

Anyway.  It's April 25 and guess what.  The bird is back - probably the same one too.  I have three new holes in the back of my house.  We still have a pellet gun but I might have stumbled onto a much better deterrent   I have a cat; not a particularly good mouser and I've never seen her catch a bird, but a cat nonetheless.  She is sitting right at the edge of the window above where the bird is banging on the wall.  They can actually see each other.

You know what else I learned about nature?  Birds won't build a nest right under a predator's perch.  Kitty just earned room and board for another year.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Next Project

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There are a couple new projects happening here.  The first is I've decided to move away from Google Reader and join Bloglovin' to follow everyone else's blog since Google Reader will be discontinued in July.  Makes me wonder how long Blogger will be around after that if they're going to take away the reader.  But I'll worry about that later.  In the meantime, I have to paste the above bit of code into my blog in order to 'claim' it.  So there it is - consider it claimed.

In other news, there has been almost no spinning happening because I've ordered a new spinning wheel!  I went out to a local shop about two weeks ago and spent a good while test driving spinning wheels.  This particular shop deals in both Ashford and Louet.  I tried them both, and several different models of each one.  I ended up deciding on an Ashford Traveller.  It's double treadle, single drive and it was absolutely effortless to spin on.  I easily could have sat there all afternoon.  While I was there, there was a lady who came in looking for sock yarn.  She stood and watched me for a while then said "Don't you find that boring?"  Wow.  I don't know how anybody could find this act of transformation from raw material to finished product boring.  But maybe she's the kind of person who reads tax legislation to relax.  Who knows.

Knitting however, is a different story.  I finished the red socks and have been playing around with a few lace patterns I found in a stitch dictionary.  I think I might have come up with something.  I started with this, a merino/silk blend from Indigodragonfly.

And came up with this.  I don't have a name for it yet, not sure if the pattern is public domain or not, but I do like it.

It will block out to be about 11 inches wide so I'll keep knitting and see how it turns out.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Ice Storm

I wasn't going to post anything about this, but then I had a look outside and changed my mind.

April 12.  This is what is outside my front door.

Most of that isn't snow.  It's ice.  And the big problem with ice is the sheer weight of it.  It's enough to take down big trees and power lines and is magnified if there is any wind so I imagine I'll be cleaning up tree limbs next week.

But in the meantime, I'm going to simply enjoy looking at it from inside my house because until I have to actually go outside and go somewhere, I think it's rather pretty.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

First Handspun Project

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This was a long time in the making but I finally spun some yarn that was even enough that I could knit with.  I suppose realistically, I could knit with anything and everything I've spun but this was something I could knit with easily.

Remember this?

It's now this:

Pattern is Simply Slouchy Beanie by Kelly Kingston
Just in time too - there is yet another snowstorm forecast for tomorrow.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

One Red Sock

I didn't plan to be away for this long, but holiday weekends do tend to interfere with knitting time.  I had ten people over for Easter and while I love to entertain on this scale, and had a great time with family, there was very little knitting done.

I do however have a sock to show you.

This is made from Regia 4 ply yarn.  It feels quite coarse in the ball and is reputed to wear like iron but don't be fooled by it - it knits up into a nice sock and is much softer than I expected it to be.  As for the colour....that was an impulse purchase about a month ago.  While dressing that morning, I had a passing thought that red socks would go well with what I was wearing but I didn't own any.  Later that day, I happened on red sock yarn so without really thinking about it, I bought two balls.

A funny thing about colour is what we associate with it.  I said once that I had never in my life owned red socks but that isn't true.  I did once own red socks; even made them myself.  I don't know if I genuinely forgot about these, or suppressed the memory, but when we were moving from Beijing, China back to Canada I made a pair of red socks.  It was something for me to do with my hands while 10 men  (honestly - there were 10) roamed my house and packed all my things in preparation for the move.  It seems it was also a place for me to put all the stress of an international move.  I never actually wore the socks when we got to Canada - they were the normal number of stitches but were knit so tightly I couldn't get them on.  This sock fits much better.

I also finished a new skein of handspun.

This is made from Knit Picks Full Circle roving in colour "Wolf".  I was so pleased with the last three ply yarn I did that I tried it again and I even surprised myself with how well this turned out.

The result, after washing and a good "whack-and-thwack" in the tub is about 120 yards of remarkably even, worsted weight yarn.

Not bad for a spinning wheel with only one bobbin eh?