Monday, July 27, 2009

Find the part drama

After several emails to Ashford in New Zealand, it was determined that I need a new flexible conrod joint to make my wheel go. It's a 2" piece of what looks like plastic tubing. It retails for $1.60 or so.

The deal is, not all Ashford dealers carry all Ashford products. If they don't carry wheels or a specific wheel model, it is highly unlikely that they will have replacement parts in stock. Still, I downloaded the list of dealers in my area. Nobody within a hundred miles of here carries Kiwis. I think that's why I bought it from a place in Vermont. Hmm, why didn't I think of contacting that place for repair parts? D'oh! What worked was googling the part number and name. I've got the part on order from The Village Spinning and Weaving Shop. I couldn't just order one $1.60 part. Well, I could have but didn't want to pay several times the part cost for shipping. It was a reasonable shipping cost, just not for one little part. So I bought two parts. And some fiber.

My fingers are crossed that it all works out.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Last Day

Last day
Originally uploaded by Paula knits
Here's everything I did during the Tour. I spun every day and used three different fibers. I attempted to use my wheel and am getting repair advice from Ashford.

The yarn's not anything close to the beautiful stuff I saw other people do. Still, I did what I set out to do and can see quality improvement.

The care and feeding of trolls

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or collaborative content community with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional or disciplinary response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

--taken from Wikipedia

A troll has crawled out from under a bridge and has provoked a response from me. The response is to not care about what the troll is doing, except to send good thoughts to any individuals affected by said creature. Trolls do what they do so they can be fed. Do not feed the trolls. I'm not going to identify either side of this exchange so that the troll does not get one little crumb.

If you've been annoyed by a troll, take a deep breath and repeat after me:

Do Not Feed The Trolls

Thank you. Go back to your spinning now.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 20

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
It's another alpaca day.

I did a Ravelry search to find a pattern that might work with the Buttercup yarn I spun earlier. Lo and behold, a book I already have has a bunch of patterns in the appropriate gauge. I knit half a sock and decided I didn't like the pattern. The second sock is just barely begun. There's hope for future pictures of something other than gray alpaca on a spindle. The Tour's over in a day or two, so it might not be all that long before it occurs.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 19

Day 19
Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I had trouble finding the spindle to take a picture. It sank down in the pile of alpaca roving so far that it just blended in.

The fiber came from Windy Hill Alpaca Farm. It's really nice. When I'm working again, I will definitely want to hunt down some more of this.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 18

Day 18
Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I'm going to use the drop spindle for the rest of the Tour. I'll concern myself with wheel repair after it is over.

This is alpaca that came from a farm in north Georgia, which is near here. I couldn't believe how much the fiber expanded when I took it out of the bag! It says "at least 3 ounces" and it looks like a lot more. Besides the gray, I have a bag of natural, off-white color. I'm thinking of plying them together. Based on my work so far, I'm going to need more lessons on plying before that happens.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 17

Day 17
Originally uploaded by Paula knits
Today is the Challenge Day. The bicycle people are riding through the mountains. The spinning people pick something challenging to do. I picked spinning on my wheel. I carefully studied the wheel and hooked everything up correctly. I started to spin. After a few spins, the fracking left treadle board was not working.

My challenge turned out to be to learn the technical terms for the parts of the wheel that were not working. The end of the flexible con-rod joint (see blue arrow) keeps pulling free of the con-rod (the stick-like thingy above the arrow). The round silvery thing in it is a screw which is not holding the flexible con-rod joint in place.

I contacted Ashford after checking their FAQ. I suspect that I'm going to need a new flexible con-rod joint.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 16

Day 16
Originally uploaded by Paula knits
or Day 18, if you count the rest days which I don't. I was supposed to rest yesterday, but I couldn't keep my hands off the wool. As of this morning, it is all spun. If I'm lucky, there will be enough for some socks if I keep the cuffs short.

Tomorrow's the challenge day. I'm going to be very brave and use my wheel.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day15

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
The braid is from Enchanted Hues in the colorway Buttercup. It came in the mail yesterday. Yes, it was a little self-indulgent to buy fiber. when I already had a zillion yards of Polly Esther. I'm enjoying spinning BFL so much more than I was the other stuff. I was up all night, spinning and plying and watching some sort of SpongeBob SquarePants marathon.

I need a nap.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 14

Day 14
Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I spun a little more and then made some two ply. I spread it out on a chair. I walked by it later. From across the room, I thought one of the cats had gotten sick all over the chair seat. (Sorry, I know it's gross.)

The cats are both okay. I think I need to change my strategy with this "yarn".

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 13

The terrible truth can be told. I did a burn test on the mystery fiber. I'm reasonably sure that it is......


I want to save the nice natural fibers until my skills improve. One thing I won't do is admit the fiber content to the folks on Ravelry. They'd probably come after me and try to burn the last two spools. They'd be so disappointed because it really doesn't burn very well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 12

Day 12
Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I worked all the little odds and ends of fiber into a cake today. It didn't come out that well, so I won't do it again.

I got the llama in Colorado over 20 years ago. The little basket used to have a fluff of llama fiber in it. I think I have some around here so I should replace it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 11

Day 11
Originally uploaded by Paula knits
How to tell the difference from yesterday's picture: the pile of roving underneath the spindle is much smaller.

I was going through the voting thread* this morning. I happened upon some fiber that was called the same thing as my last name. I had to find out why it got that name. The person who was spinning the fiber wasn't positive, so she directed me to the source, Ewe Give Me The Knits. Mandie, the proprietor of the shop, was kind enough to explain. It is the name of a street in Victoria, Australia. She gets her names from a street guide. The funny thing is, I live in Georgia and her daughter's name is Georgia. Hee hee hee!

*The voting thread is where people post pictures of their spinning for the day. Everybody votes for the fiber they like the best and the two top people get a prize. Yay for all the people who donated the prizes!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 10

Yeah, I know, it looks just like all the other pictures. It really is new spinning.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 9

Day 9
Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I spun up all the leftover bits with what was on the spindle from yesterday. I then wound them into a little cake.

Tomorrow's a rest day. I think it would be a good idea to get out the spinning CD and spend some time learning something.

Tour de Fleece: Day 8

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
It really isn't a bunch of different pictures of the same yarn. There is a LOT of this fiber to be spun. I've been splitting the roving up so I end up with skinnier yarn. The pencil roving spins up nicely as it is, but I really don't need bulky weight yarn. Everything in the house has little bits of fiber on it: my clothes, the kitchen counter, the cats. I will definitely not finish this up before the TdF finishes. It's good to have a nicely prepared fiber to learn on, though.

RANT ON- I'm getting really annoyed with the voting thread on Ravelry. We vote on the yarns we like the best every day and the top two people get prizes. That's a good thing. The bad thing is that people have been asked, more than once, to post ONE picture. There are idiots posting a half dozen or more huge pictures. One person posted something that was almost totally black, like if you took a picture outside at night where there wasn't much light. I'm not voting for any of those yarns. I don't care about what a beautiful job they did. I don't care if they couldn't post pictures for the last three days. One picture, one vote from me. -RANT OFF

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 7

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I did spin today, but I'm getting a teeny bit tired of pictures of the same yarn. I finished these Cookie A socks yesterday.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 6

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
It's hard to see, but I think I'm improving. I got tired of the whole process and went back to working on my Cookie A sock, though.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Green Day 4

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I attempted to gather mostly green sections of roving to spin today. My current goal is to make yarn of a consistent thickness and with as few lumps and bumps as possible. I'm beginning to wonder if I could do a better job using my wheel. I was going to save starting on the wheel for the challenge day, but I may not wait.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 4

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
Today I attempted to convince the Killer Rabbit that the mystery roving is plant-based. I don't know for sure what it is, but It may be part tencel.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 2

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I want thinner yarn, so I split up the roving before I spun it today. I like it very much. It may have the same overspun problem I had with the thick stuff yesterday. Someone on Ravelry said that plying the yarn using two separate balls should eliminate those little overspun kinks. When I get enough spun, I'll give it a try.

I have a TON of the gold/green/red fiber to spin. I think it'll be what I use throughout the Tour.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 1

Judging by the pictures I've seen so far, Rookie is a far too advanced category for me. If Tour de France had a category for riders with training wheels on their bikes, I should be in the spinning equivalent. There are self-proclaimed beginning spinners out there making beautiful yarn. I feel like a complete idiot being in the same group with them. I will keep going, however. See those little lumpy things? That's because I turned my little spindle too much. That's my next goal, to turn it less. The fiber doesn't lend itself to being spun much thinner than bulky weight, so I'm not going to worry about that. I think I have an idea of what to do with the completed yarn. I'll post if the idea works out.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day -1 Tour de Fleece

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I'm ready for Tour de Fleece. The spools hold pencil roving. I'm not sure what the fiber content is, as it was a gift. The cakes are yarn that was spun previous to the TdF. It is bulky/super bulky weight. I hope to spin thinner yarn going forward. The pencil roving's a treat to work with. I end up with stuff that's smoother and nicer than what other of my rookie yarn looks like.

There are tons of fabulous prizes that have been donated to the TdF. It probably isn't realistic for me to hope for one, but it's still fun to look at all the pretty pictures and dream.

In the end, I'll have more handspun yarn than I have right now, I should be a better spinner, and I may have spinning worked into my daily routine. Those are pretty good prizes in themselves.