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Archive for April, 2012

Yesterday's spinning

Today, Bryony is in ultra-cute mode. I mean ultra cute. There is no ignoring a two-year-old in that mode. Especially when that two-year-old has dimples, an adorable smile, and mischievous eyes. You are toast, and you know it. Bryony and I spent a lovely three hours together, first cuddled under the blankets on her bed, playing “tent”, then moved the love-fest out to the playroom on the beanbags in front of the tv, where first she just wanted to cuddle and hug, then wanted to tickle and be tickled, which resulted in lots of giggling on both our parts.

Bryony, unlike her sister, is not a kissy child. Aneira loves to give and get kisses and hugs, but ask Bryony for a kiss and she turns up her nose, turns her head away, and says “Ewww! Disgust!” But she loves to hug. On the other hand, if she sees Aneira giving me kisses, then she  decides she has to kiss me too. None of that today though. Today was just about cuddling and tickling. It was a good morning.

Yesterday I did so much spinning that by bedtime last night it hurt to move my index finger. I started a new bobbin of the roving that came with the wheel yesterday morning around ten, and spun until a bit after midnight, with breaks for lunch, dinner, and picking Aneira up from school. I’d have to say of those fifteen hours, I spent about thirteen of them actually spinning. No wonder my finger hurts! And yes, I’ve already put in an hour of spinning today too, only I’m holding the yarn with my middle finger and thumb now. My index finger has that ache that usually results in my cracking that knuckle for relief, but it doesn’t actually want to crack! I should probably take a break from spinning, but I love the motion of it, the repetition of it. It’s relaxing, like the rhythmic motion of a boat. Last night, hubby brought Anansi down to the man cave for me, so I could watch tv with him and still spin. I didn’t even have to ask; he knows me well enough! So I spun through The Green Lantern, which was not as horrible as I expected it to be (and Ryan Reynolds is

"Thick and thin" roving from Michael's

growing on me), and Eureka, which was more annoying than I expected it to be.

I also found some roving at Michael’s yesterday, which was completely unexpected. It’s called thick and thin bulky roving. I, in my excitement, did not actually cop to this until this morning when I picked it up and realized that the “thin” part is actually spun at intervals, and the rest is actually pencil roving. Michael’s swore it was suitable for spinning, though, so we’re going to give it a try!

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I’m not talking Christmas. No, this is plucking season. Plucking season is the time of year when all four of my dogs are in full coat-blowing mode, where I can sit beside on of them and just pluck tufts of fur out of the coat. I am vacuuming no less than five times per day, the dogs all look like they either have mange or moths have been at them, and the birds are ecstatic because there’s as much fur floating around outside as in, enabling them to create soft and comfy nests for themselves.

Two unfortunate facts accompany this year’s plucking season:

1). As soft as all the dogs’ undercoats are, three of the coats are too short for any but the most experienced spinners to use. I am not one of those “most experienced spinners”, therefore most of the fur is either going to the birds, quite literally, or into the trash.

2). I am presently afraid to brush Thor, the one dog with fur long enough to spin, the one dog whose coat is not being dropped all over my house in large quantities, and the one dog who really needs to be brushed right now.

You see, two weeks ago, while playing in the backyard, Thor managed to impale himself on one of the dozens of sticks they all insist upon chewing into points. We don’t know exactly how it happened, and can only guess that he was running down the steps and fell onto the stick.

Siberian Huskies, in the lingo of their owners, possess something we call the Siberian Death Scream. I had never heard it before, and I will be very happy if I never hear it again. It is an ear-shattering, high-pitched shriek of sound, guaranteed to stop your heart while at the same time your feet are moving at mach speed in the direction of the scream, before the brain’s gears have even engaged, which is what happened here. Prior to this incident, only a shriek from one of my children could get me moving that fast. I have learned now that the Siberian Death Scream, henceforth called the SDS, can accomplish the same thing for the same reason.

Thor is so fuzzy that we did not find an actual wound for hours, and when we did, well, it was a Sunday night, which meant a trip to the emergency vet. After the area was shaved and he was in fashionable possession of a satellite dish around his neck, also known as an Elizabethan collar, it was decided that stitches weren’t actually necessary. Go home, dose him with amoxycillin twice daily, keep the wound clean with a dilute betadine solution, and all would be well. And it was, for about a week, until hubby decided to give him (and us) a break from the collar, which was annoying Thor, and which he was using to ram us in the back of the legs every chance he got. Naturally, hubby walked away, and I was busy and forgot to watch the dog. Can you guess the results of that particular lapse? Yep, wound reopened, blood everywhere, wound made deeper than originally, and another trip to the vet. For the sake of those who might be squeamish, I won’t include any pictures.

This time, Thor received three staples to close the wound. Amazingly, this dog, who screamed like he was dying when initially hurt, was not sedated and did not make a sound when the staples were put in, and I wasn’t even in the room.

So he has a few more days before the staples can be removed and the satellite dish tossed aside. I’m afraid to brush him because the very act of combing is going to pull the skin, and I don’t want to chance hurting him. This was, no doubt, his plan all along, as he tolerates (but does not like) being groomed. Once the staples are out, though, he will be getting a bath, and I will be relieving him of his spare fur as soon as he is dry. I will have to find an airtight container for it, as we are apparently in the early stages of the miller moth migration.

Malayko, illustrating "plucking season".

The alliteration, I might add, is not intentional. It’s what it actually is, and moths, which fall into the “bug” category for me and I am therefore phobic about them, are everywhere both inside and outside the house. I cannot begin to describe how badly I have the heebie-jeebies right now.

Hopefully soon I will have some pictures of spun Sibe fur to upload. In the meantime, enjoy a picture of Malayko in coat-blowing mode.

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When can I say that officially?  There must be a time frame. Is it when you have so many years of experience? Maybe once you’ve sold your first piece, or been commissioned to do one by someone for the first time? Maybe when you have more looms than sense, which is definitely the case here?

One of my cousins in New York has requested an inkle band belt, and a pouch with a cross-body shoulder strap after seeing pictures I posted in Facebook. Wow. That’s enough to make me proud, but is it enough to be able to answer “I’m a weaver” when someone asks what I do? I don’t know. I certainly have enough looms (14 or 15 at last count), but I certainly don’t have years of experience yet! My experience can only be measured in months, and not many of those! But I will get those years of experience eventually.

I bought Aneira her first potholder loom the other day, and she’s itching to start on it. I don’t know how well this will go; she has barely touched the Kumihimo disk she begged for at Christmas. Fortunately both items were inexpensive, but even if they hadn’t been, I would find a use for them!

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Why is it that people think you have to be just like them in order to be of any value? I don’t get it. I read an article about Chik-Fil-A today that hit a nerve in precisely the right way to make me blow my lid and resulted in a Facebook status that reflected my lost temper. The gist of the article was the restaurant’s support of anti-gay organizations.

Now, I need to establish something here: I am not gay. I am a straight female who loves men. Although I am married, which means I no longer touch any man other than my husband, I am not dead, and the eyes in my head work perfectly well for my purposes. I look.

I am also a Black woman living in the United States, which means that I am more than aware of prejudice and what it can turn someone into. I have had that unreasoning hatred directed at me many times in my life. I don’t like how it feels, and I try very hard not to make others feel that way.

I’m sorry that there will be no fiber arts in this post, nor any musings about my family or bi-polar disorder. I feel that this post contains something that needs to be said. I don’t generally go out of my way to do or say anything controversial. I am a firm believer in “he who sticks his neck out is the one who gets his head chopped off.” But this subject seems to be appearing more and more lately, and it needs to be addressed.

I don’t care about your religion, your color, your sexual orientation, or your politics. I don’t care if you are a gay purple person who prays to mud. I don’t care. What I do care about is what kind of person you are. I’m not always going to agree with you, but that doesn’t make either of us evil. Contrary to popular opinion, good people are not limited to straight Christians who go to church every day and twice on Sunday. Reading the Koran instead of the Bible doesn’t make you evil. Being gay doesn’t make you evil. Being Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or Arabic doesn’t make you evil.  Being Republican instead of Democrat doesn’t make you evil. Even being a politician doesn’t make you evil (although they’re closer to crossing the line than the rest of us. That’s a joke.). I care only about whether you’re a good person. Prejudice and bigotry are a whole lot of energy wasted on hate that don’t get you anywhere you really want to be. Why do people feel it’s necessary to hate an entire group of people they’ve never met and know nothing about? We all want the same things: a good job, loving families and the ability to take care of them, a long and fruitful life, and to go someplace good when it’s over.  Why does anyone need to denigrate the neighbor who’s a pagan and not a Christian? Why do you need to beat on the guy who likes men? Why do you need to slam the woman who is Chinese? Why do you need to hurt someone because they’re different from you? Why is it so wrong for someone to be different from you?

One of the worst things about bigotry is the fact that people are prejudiced against something that many times the other person can’t help. I don’t know many gay people who were overjoyed when they realized they were gay. I don’t know many people of color who haven’t lamented, at least once, the fact that they weren’t born something else. No one ever wants to be different, but they can’t always help it. And it doesn’t help to be hated for what you can’t change.

We are all human beings. We all have, or should have, the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Why is that concept so difficult for people to wrap their brain around? Why is it so easy to look at someone’s differences and see the monster in the closet?

I’m not going to sit here and debate what the Bible says or does not say, either. I will say that most religions preach the same thing: to love your fellow man. Nowhere do any of them say, except for the gay man, except for the infidel, except for the African, the Asian, etc. Love your fellow man. Period. Nothing says you have to agree with the choices other people make or follow in their footsteps. If you’re not gay, don’t have a gay relationship. But who are any of us to judge anyone else based upon their differences?There are enough things in life that are worthy of your hatred,if you have to hate something. Hate murder. Hate rape. Hate child and animal abuse. But don’t hate someone you know nothing about just because they aren’t just like you.

I love the differences. Without them, there would be no differences in weaveable fabrics, no different types of food to savor, no flavor to life. Instead of slapping people down, why not try getting to know them? You might find you actually like them. You might find that your narrow little world has just expanded.

I’m not saying that every gay person, every Black person, every any type of person is a good one. There are bad eggs in every group of people. I am saying that everyone needs to open their minds to the possibilities in others who are not cookie cutter images of themselves. Broaden your horizons. Stop judging others. It’s all right to say, “That isn’t something I feel comfortable with doing, but I respect the fact that you are”.

Hopping off the soap box now. Next time, if you are still following me, we will resume our usual program. Thanks for reading. I hope you are also thinking.

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A pick-up weave fish

I finally had some success weaving a table runner!!! Taking extra care with the calculations seems to have worked this time. Of course, I haven’t yet washed it, and it’s woven cotton, so there will be some shrinkage once that’s done, and I can only hope it will still be long enough. But overall, I’m pretty proud of it.

For this project, I used my Cricket, River, and warped up four colors of some Tahki Cotton Classic yarn I’d bought from Cotton Clouds. I like jewel tones and bright colors. These may clash a bit from your point of view, and even from mine, but this combination of colors, for some reason, reminds me of childhood summers in the…you know what? I think I won’t date myself too much here!

Anyway, I remember my mom always having very brightly colored dishes and linens that only came out during the summertime, and I think that was what was in my mind when I started this. I remember summers as a kid always being fun, with day camp and lots of outdoor grilling and family functions. Mom had these melamine dishes that were pretty much only used for eating out in the backyard when Dad would grill hot dogs and burgers, and

The finished runner

these nets of all different colors that were used to cover plates and serving dishes to keep the bugs out of the food. Wow, hadn’t remembered those until just now. I wonder if they still make those…

So. I warped River with 90 8 yard ends, 12 purple, and 26 each of the other colors. Each of those colors, except for the orange, were divided in half, so all of them bordered the orange equally. The orange was where I did all of the pick-up patterns.

I had never tried anything other than diamonds or triangles in pick-up before, and had never tried pick-up on a rigid heddle or any other loom but an inkle, so the entire project was an exercise in exploration. It was fun, of course. I managed to weave two hearts that I’m not completely happy with, and a fish that I am. I finished the whole thing off today, and did the finish with a Philippine edge instead of knots. The Philippine edge is as flat as the rest of the runner.

I don’t have one of those self-healing mats, so in order to cut the fringe evenly, I put the edges together, combed out the fringe, and put it on a bamboo cutting board and used a ruler and a rotary tool. Voila! Perfect fringes.

Fringe, beautiful fringe!

I did pretty well on my selvedges this time too. I’ve learned that what works for me is holding the selvedge and the weft as I’m throwing the shuttle, and keeping hold of them as I snug the weft up from the other side, then beating. I don’t know if that’s the right way to do it, per se, but it seems to do well for me.

I really want to warp Inara next, but I’ll have to see if I have enough yarn in the proper size to do that!! Let me rephrase that: I have to see if there’s enough yarn in the proper size in colors I actually want to use! I still have tons of the duller colors, but I’d rather mix them with something bright. Maybe I’ll use Ampstrike’s card weaving cards next…

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Inara, 25" Schacht Flip

And she’s huge! My biggest table loom, Zoe, has a weaving width of 22″, Talyn’s is 18″, but this Schacht Flip has a weaving width of 25″! She came with two shuttles and a 10 dent reed, and I also bought the bag for her, which confused me for a minute, because there’s an extension zipped away at one side of the bag, and I couldn’t at first figure out why Inara didn’t fit. Then I unzipped what I thought was another pocket, and lo and behold, the bag got longer! Yeah, kinda felt like an idiot right about then. I’m very glad I opted to buy the trestle stand too, and realized that I also should have bought the attachable tray that holds the shuttles and things. I’ll have to see about the price for that, and I need another 10 dent reed for her. But she’s absolutely beautiful, and the only reason I’m not warping her tonight is the simple fact that I spent all of last night warping River, which took me until 5 am, and I had to be up at 7 in order to get the kids breakfast, get Aneira off to school, and then head for the Weaver’s Guild meeting. I should be exhausted, but I’m not.

As I said, warping River was a disaster. The bigger the warp, the more trouble I seem to have. I decided to try a table runner again, and was extra careful with the math this time. I made four separate warps on the board, one for each color I was going to use. Then I moved them onto River, and from there, everything went downhill. I didn’t tangle it much this time, but no matter what I did, the strings were uneven. Just two sections, both of them the border. Somehow they came up much shorter than the rest of the warp. I don’t know how. They were all done on the same warping

Pick-up weave on River, the Schacht Cricket

board. I took the whole warp off, tied onto the back rod again, making sure all ends were even, rolled the entire eight yard mess onto the warp beam again, tied onto the front rod, and came up short again. Repeat procedure, only to come up short yet again. I finally gave up (at 5), and cut off precious inches to make the front ends even with the border ends. Very, very annoying. But finally, she was ready for weaving.

Since I’m so addicted to pick-up weave on Moya, my inkle loom, I decided to try it on River, even though she was set up for a balanced weave, not the warp-faced weave I’m accustomed to with Moya when I do pick-up. Naturally, it looks completely different, but still very nice, and I’ve mixed it up with some leno weave. I’m actually liking the way it’s turning out!

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Thor's fur, fresh off the wool cards and ready to spin

No, I’m not spinning the dog in circles, I’m spinning his generous gift of fur!! It’s far from what anyone would call perfect yarn, but it is yarn! Now that I’ve got an idea of how to spin, my biggest problem is consistency. In places, the yarn is slubby, in others it’s as thick as chunky art yarn, and in still others it’s so fine it’s more of a thread than it is yarn, but it’s spinning!!

Thor being a black and white Sibe, the yarn made from his fur is the grey of an overcast day. With the roving, I can work with my hands about five inches apart, but Siberian fur is only about three to four inches long, so I have to work with my hands much closer together, and, I’m finding, I also have to work much faster to keep the yarn from twisting on itself before it winds onto the bobbin. I’m not always successful there.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that the idea of spinning or knitting with dog fur grosses them out. I don’t understand it, because many of the people who find it gross are people who have no problem handling raw sheep’s wool. Now, that is a nasty job if ever there was one! The average pet dog, adored by his family and kept in the house, sleeping with his humans every night, is a helluva lot more sanitary and clean than the average sheep!! Certainly Thor is! The fur that I’ve kept for spinning is fur that I’ve brushed out of his coat after he’s had a bath. Yes, I start processing the fur before it’s even come off the dog. Why wait? After he’s dry, I brush him out, and I put the fur into a bag until I’m

Sibe fur, spinning onto Anansi the Wheel

ready to deal with it. Now that I’ve had a lesson in carding, I’ve tried to put what I’ve learned to use. I card his fur into a rolag as I’m spinning it. This, of course, means that after every rolag is spun onto the wheel, I have to stop and card some more, but that’s okay. My hands and brain are busy, and I’m having fun. His lordship, naturally, could care less what I’m doing with his fur, as long as it isn’t attached to him while I’m doing it.

I definitely need a lot more practice with spinning before I’ll be ready to ply any singles, and that’s going to be a whole new learning curve in and of itself. All I know about plying so far is that the wheel will be spinning in the opposite direction from when you’re making singles.

am getting better at treadling though. I have a bit more control over my speed than I did before. Again, a lot more practice needed. I still have plenty of roving for that purpose, and Thor is being very generous with his fur right now, so I’ll have plenty of fiber to practice both carding and spinning.

My oldest is itching to try spinning now. I don’t know if she’s ready for that yet, but she tried the other night when my friend from the guild was here, so I’ll have to sit her down and see how it goes. I really don’t think she’ll like it much, not at this age. It’s too repetitive for her. I find it soothing, but I don’t think she will. Of course, she might surprise me and love it!

The grey is all Sibe fur!

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Well, it might be a bit premature to call myself a spinner just yet, but I’ve managed to almost fill a bobbin with a single that I’ve spun, and the yarn only came apart once because I had it too loosely secured when I added on. I took Anansi to the guild meeting Thursday night and got help from other spinners. Our guild president had spun on Kromskis before, so she was familiar with the Sonata and helped me with the tensioning, and two other guild mates helped me with drafting out the roving. I spent the next three hours firmly with my butt in the chair and my feet on the treadles. My yarn is far from perfect, but I’m spinning, and it’s so much fun!! And last night my guild mate came over to give me a knitting and spinning lesson. We had dinner, and were up gossiping, knitting, and spinning until after 2 a.m. Hubby was less than thrilled, but resigned. We had a ball. I learned the difference between knits and purls, and put them to use in the basket weave design, which was fun, and I didn’t expect that. Knitting was my mom’s bailiwick, never mine, yet I find myself picking up the needles more often than I expected. But I haven’t touched any of my looms this week, and I’m starting to go through weaving withdrawal. I’m going to have to warp somebody up soon.

It has been a very busy week! That seems to be the trend lately. My best friend back home has finally gotten sick and tired of New York and is coming here next month in preparation for moving here the following month. She’s going to come down and set up doctors and the like, and possibly look at apartments, but hubby said that if everyone gets along all right, he’s willing to entertain the idea of her moving in with us on a permanent basis. I’m so excited. She and I couldn’t be more different, but we’re like sisters, and we’ve missed each other. Her children are my godchildren, and I had a large hand in raising them, up until I moved to Arizona. Her children are grown and gone now, but I’m still “Auntie” to every one of them.

I also had the “time to make a lifestyle change” talk with my doctor this week. Yesterday, in fact. My resting or fasting blood sugar is fine, but otherwise it is elevated, and while I don’t yet have diabetes, I am headed that way. As my mother died of complications of Type II diabetes, I have a fear of it. Mom was on dialysis three times a week. I don’t want that. So my diet has to change. Unfortunately, everything I like is on the “avoid” list. When I muttered about it, the doctor said my best bet was to not cut everything out, but cut it back. Smaller portions, etc., and keep an eye on it.

And there was more. My vitamin D level is apparently a 7, when it should be about 45. She said in her entire career, she’s only seen one other person with a level that low, so I’ll have to take a prescription strength vitamin D once weekly for three months. And, I’m to start getting injections for my left hip, which is arthritic.

I was not a happy camper after this visit. It made me feel old, and I’m only 44. Hubby didn’t make me feel any better when I got back, because he’s still in his early thirties, and, well, let’s face it, he’s male. He doesn’t understand how traumatic it was. I was headed for a downward spiral at that point, but I think the knit and spinfest stopped that. I have to keep telling myself that things could be a lot worse, though. I don’t have diabetes yet, and if I can scale back on everything, not only might I dodge that particular bullet, I might finally manage to lose some weight, which could only be good for me. I keep saying that (it’s becoming a mantra), but I feel the need for some weave therapy now. I don’t want to hit that downward spiral. All that will do is result in a messy house and crying jags. So, to slow down my BPD, I’m going to go warp something, or pick up one of my new weaving books and go hang out in the mancave with hubby. G’night, everyone!

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Today is a red-letter day, and it has barely begun! Because it is the first Thursday of the month, I have one of my guild meetings tonight, which hopefully means spinning help, and Anansi is going with me, as is Zhan, for the purpose of show and tell, as I promised Lynette I would. That was enough to look forward to. But, two more books that I ordered came in the mail: The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers by Madelyn van der Hoogt, and Please Weave a Message by Linda Hendrickson, both of which I’d been looking forward to seeing. I can use all the help I can get with drafting, and Ms. Hendrickson’s book is about weaving letters into card weaving. But the pièce de résistance was the arrival of the things I had ordered from Ampstrike in Estonia!

This is going to sound like another shameless plug on my part, and it could definitely be taken that way, but, oh, you have no idea! I said before that I loved his Etsy store, and that was before ordering from him. Now that I have, you can rest assured that I will be an awesome customer of his.

When you order from Etsy, you’re doing it on the basis of the pictures of the items you want, obviously, since this is an online store. Ampstrike‘s items are always well-photographed, but the photos do not do justice to his woodwork. Everything was well-packed, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for safety. (And can someone explain to me why the plastic wrap for packing clings better than the Saran wrap I have in my kitchen? Compared to the stuff they use for shipping, the Saran wrap doesn’t cling at all!)

I bought two sets of 24 square wooden card weaving cards made of zebrano wood, which has a beautiful striped grain; it almost looks as though someone drew on it with a marker. They are wafer-thin, and so tiny!!! I’ve never used such small cards before. They’re 2″ x 2″, a little more than half the size of the paper cards I already had. I’m looking forward to using them. Then there is the set of 30 hexagonal cards with six holes. They’re made of oak, and are 2 3/4″ across at their widest points. These, I will have to learn to use, but I’m looking forward to that too.

Following these is a blue birdseye shuttle that is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know what kind of wood it is, unless the wood is actually called blue birdseye. And lastly, I have a shuttle and two pick-up sticks made of plum wood that are stunning. I don’t think I can take a picture to do them justice either. Plum wood has subtle, beautiful pink-lavender streaks running through the grain. I don’t have the right words to describe how beautiful they are, and I only hope my photos can convey the message better than I can.

All of the items from Ampstrike (his name is Gunnar, by the way) feel very solid and substantial in your hands, and feel so silky that you just want to stroke the wood. That really sounded naughty, but it’s the absolute truth. The wood has that same feel as a tumbled worry stone that you keep in your pocket and find yourself playing with without realizing it, because the texture begs to be handled. It is beautiful, beautiful work. I hope my work does his justice!

The lighter, a regular sized Bic, is for size reference

A closeup of the square cards, for detail

Closeup of the hexagonal cards

Everything!

I hope you can see the pink-lavender streaks in this picture!

Plum wood pick-up sticks

Blue birdseye shuttle

Wafer thin!

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Winter is still at it, or at least is giving some last-ditch effort to sticking around. Yesterday was ridiculously cold and windy, especially considering the fact that we’ve been able to put jackets away for the last week and leave the windows open. They came back out yesterday, the windows were tightly closed, and the heater went back on. It was heavily overcast too, so I had an idea we were in for some winter weather, and we were. Apparently we got sleet last night. When I took Aneira to school this morning, the front steps were covered in tiny little balls that look like rock salt, and the car had been dusted with snow. Mac, Smoky, and Bandit were perfectly happy to go outside, take care of business, and come right back in. Thor, on the other hand, is lying on the deck, steadfastly refusing to come indoors. You can watch the wind blowing through his fur in waves, and the last gust covered him in sleet, but he is not coming in. If there was any danger of his freezing, I would be considerably more insistent, but for right now, if he would rather be outside, so be it.

I’m still at it too. I did some more spinning last night. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I tried more spinning last night. I pulled the previous attempt off the bobbin and started all over again. It was a little better last night, a tiny bit more consistent, but still far from perfect. I have to pre-draft, because I’m not ready to do point-of-twist with the whole roving yet. I can imagine the entire thing getting caught up because I didn’t draft well enough, and winding up with a two-inch thick piece of really ugly yarn. So pre-drafting will do just fine for the next little while, thank you! I’ll probably do a little bit more today, and then I want to play with one of the looms for a little while. I also made an attempt at using my drop spindle, preceded by an attempt at carding a little bit of Thor’s fur, which is what I used on the spindle. Yeah, I know, I said I wasn’t even going to touch his fur until I perfected spinning on the wheel, but the temptation was too much. And let’s just say the results were less than spectacular. I can’t get the spindle to spin for more than half a second, so maybe it’s just too lightweight. Then again, maybe it’s me. Or maybe a little of both. Either way, I was underwhelmed by the attempt.

have been knitting a bit, because basic knitting is kind of a mindless activity for me, so it’s something I can do if I actually want to watch whatever is on the TV screen. If I don’t want to watch, or only watch certain parts, then one of the looms goes in front of the television, because I can listen and still concentrate on weaving. Most of the time, that’s what I do, because I am really not a TV person, never have been. There are a few shows I like, obviously, but anything I like generally gets cancelled, whereas crap like the Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy stay on the air forever. I apologize to the fans of those shows, but let’s face it: none of them requires any brain activity.

I’m a book person. With a librarian for a mom, this is no surprise. I own two Kindles, but this does not mean I don’t love the smell, the feel, the weight of a book. It just means that I’ll give that up for the ability to carry an entire library in my purse and have it magically weigh no more than half a pound. Plus, I can move that library around, from Kindle to iPhone to iPad to PC to Macbook, so I have some of my weaving and spinning books in it. Not many of them are available in a Kindle format yet, but there are a few, and I have to say it’s nice not to have to hold a book with one hand while trying to follow its instructions with the other. And while the Kindle itself isn’t in color, its applications on the phone, tablet, and computers are!

I’m rambling here. How did I get onto this? Oh, yeah, weaving and knitting in front of the TV. Well, last night crocheting joined the list of TV activities. I had an idea I wanted to try out. You see, I bought a bunch of size 10 crochet thread a couple of months ago thinking I could use it in weaving, then realized it was far too fine for my present reeds and skills, so it’s all been sitting. Then I had what I hope turns out to be a brilliant idea: make the whole spool into a crocheted chain, and use the chain as weft! It should certainly be interesting if it works. So I took the color I liked least and started a chain. I’ve got a long way to go, since it’s a large spool of thread, but I want to make sure that there’s enough yardage for a good-sized sample of chain-weft weaving. Imagine a sample of that done on a rigid heddle combined with some leno weave, or Brook’s Bouquet, or even some Danish Medallions. If it works the way it does in my imagination, it’ll add some awesome texturing. So I’ll keep you up-to-date on how that goes!

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