Monday, December 1, 2014

Pretty things

In lieu of a proper post with words, I give you a post of pretty pictures of pretty stuff. ;)  Just click on the arrows on the sides, you'll see all the pretty scarves I recently made!

~Kara


Friday, November 28, 2014

Hey! Remember me?

It has been far to many days(weeks, months) since I last blogged. (is that even a real word? 'blogged'?) Life has felt swamped and over full and frustrating and anxiety inducing, and just plain overwhelming. Running the kids around to classes, running a Sparks (Girl Guides) meeting every Monday, Keeping up with normal life 'stuff' while trying to get homework done, have enough stock for the Christmas season craft shows.... Never mind sitting down to write for a while every week. It's all been just a bit crazy. Add to that craziness, teaching felting classes at Artistic Incidents in the near by city, and trying to figure out when would be a good time to do these classes in town, well. You can see why this has taken a back seat. I'm still out there, Working away, spreading the fibre love, if only locally instead of globally. I'm easily found on Facebook, it seems a quicker means of getting my thoughts out, and I can post multiple times a day if I want to, and I don't think I look as crazy. Or maybe Facebook is pure crazy. Who knows. Either way Facebook is the best place to keep up with my fibre follies.  That said, I'm about to write another post really quickly. Maybe it will just get to draft form before i have to run and pick the kiddos up again, but I'll try to have it actually posted soon!

Trying to keep her head above the water,
~Kara

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Everyone has a cause.

Everyone has a cause.  Something that is close to their heart, that maybe is their heart.  Causes are often not chosen thoughtfully,  but with emotion and backstory.  The backstory is often so amazingly shaking that it affects you in your core. Other times the backstory starts before you even know it has, and sometimes, even before you are cognizant of a life outside your own. That's where my backstory began. It was 31 years ago.

31 years ago, I wasn't even 18 months old.  31 years ago, at not even 18 months, all I knew (and I glean this from how I perceive my children, and their lives at 18 months) was my Mommy, my Daddy, and my big sister. My big sister who routinely sat on me, for who knows what reason.  My big sister, who was no doubt jealous of the "new baby" and didn't like that I was moving around and taking her toys.  But she was my big sister!  And undoubtedly I loved her and she loved me, and I wanted to be with her, and couldn't think of a better little human being to hang out with for the rest of my life.

31 years ago,  in September, the rug was pulled out from under our feet. My big sister was diagnosed with cancer. She had a tumour growing inside her kidney.  Of course at less then 18 months old, I had no clue.  But life flipped around and what I remember from those times is likely mostly just what I've been told.  I was often taken to my Grandparents home, and looked after by my Aunty frequently.  It only occurred to me recently that the Aunt that watched me was likely only 16 or 17 at the time. (Maybe mom will correct me, or maybe that Aunt will, but I know she was young)** I've been told that when I started to talk,  I often said "You're throwing me away!!!" likely with tears, and anger at having to be left there.  I couldn't have been easy on my parents, who no doubt were so distraught with having to face the fear of their child having cancer, and having to suffer through my sisters many rounds of chemo and radiation.  But I wasn't even fully aware of the world outside my life.

They say the first 5 years of a child's life has the greatest role in shaping them as a human being.  Having the wrench that is childhood cancer thrown into your formative years could really mess a person up.  In retrospect, I know why I am the way I am.  Simultaneously strong headed and independent, but with a longing to be loved, and taken care of.  Simultaneously wanting the spot light, while wanting to hide away from the world.  I'd say though, that despite all the awkward trials and tribulations that occurred because of the way my early childhood shaped me, at 32, I'm nearly a stable human being. I'm not totally stable, but who is really?

Stable or not, 31 years later, I have a Mom, a Dad, a brother.  And a big sister.  She's probably one of the people who keeps me stable the most.  Even though we are far apart by measurable distance, we are so very close.  30 years ago, because of experimental treatments, she kicked cancer's ass.  Today, she is alive, well, and has a family of her own.  Life would not be the same without her, and it would not be the same had she (we, even. the whole family) not had to suffer the atrocities that go along with childhood cancer.
but first, let us take a selfie. 

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.  As such I'm posting this tid-bit of my life story, in hopes to bring to light that when childhood cancer strikes, it doesn't just affect the child and parents, it affects the siblings too. Undoubtedly it affects the extended family in ways I can't even imagine as well.  When I was working at Booster Juice, we set a second cup beside the tip jar, and labeled it "Relay for Life donations" and I had a customer notice that the donations cup was significantly more full then the tip jar.  He said to me "Don't you sometimes want to just pour that cup," pointing at the Relay for Life cup, "into your cup?"  It was all I could do to not to reach across the counter and smack him upside the head.  I simply raised my eyebrows and cooly said "No." and turned to make him his smoothie.  So, to the random guy in the Booster Juice, this post is for you. And for people like you.  Cancer is evil. Even if the person suffering beats it, it shakes families to the core, and it's somebodies cause.  It's my cause.

Also, in honour of Childhood Cancer Awareness month, I'm holding an auction on Facebook.  It runs until the 19th, at 7pm CST (my time, here in Saskatchewan) There are 8 items up for auction on my SpinHeartSpin Facebook page, and 31% of the moneys raised will go to my favourite support organization for families, specifically children, who have been affected by childhood cancer:  Camp Circle o'Friends.  Not only did I attend that camp as a child, but I volunteered until life responsibilities made it impossible for me to attend camp.  Also,  I plan to match the 31% personally as well.  So, please, if you see this, share it! Break my bank!! Please help me donate to a wonderful cause. My cause. Bonus for you, you get something really unique and awesome out of it too. Something physical to hold onto, and to remind you to live each day like it's your last, because whatever happens today, may shake the foundation of who you are.  And it is your last day, your last day of being the person you are right now. Even the minute things change you, even if just slightly.

Thank you for getting through this post.  It became something of a Teal Deer.  But I suppose that's what happens when you talk about something so important to you.

Much love to everyone out there dealing with something life altering/shattering/redefining. It's not easy, but you will pull through.

~Kara

**Turns out Aunty was 21. Still so young, and not ready for that responsibility.  But I think she did a good job. Love you Aunty!!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Found it Friday - Why Wool is Special

Why is wool special? Because it's damn fun to spin. Need a better reason? This post friends shared on Facebook sums it up rather nicely.

http://www.woolrevolution.com/virtues.html

sooooo many awesome reasons!  The question that now begs to be answered, is why not wool??

~Kara

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rant.

I hesitated saying this for a long time. But really... It's about time it was said.

I'm getting deep enough into my spinning training to really develop a great dislike for the words "it looks handspun". It's mostly because it's generally said of yarn that is slubby and bumpy, and generally, beginner yarns that will not wear well. We've all been at that point, but some people stay there thinking that's how it's supposed to look. It doesn't have to. Think about it. How long have machines been spinning yarn? 250 years. Yup. That's all.  It all started to be mechanized in 1764 with the invention of the Spinning Jenny.  And that still required human power.  The next invention was the Spinning Mule, which attached a water wheel to the Jenny, and of course required modifications, but still. That's 1779.  This information was found on wikipedia.
Now, how long have humans been spinning by hand for? Oh, around 20000 years. Yeah. That's right. 20000 years.  Nearly every single garment was handspun, and hand woven or hand knit, or otherwise. The few exceptions being things made of hide or felt. And even those were done by hand with no machines involved. And think of the garments they wore in the early 1700s, and even before that. Here, let me provide you examples.

Clothing circa 1700's  (google image search)

Clothing circa 1600's  (google image search)

Clothing circa 1500's (google image search)

And just to be sure, one more link, showing actual fabric from the mid 1400's. Undies, no less.

Do you see what I'm getting at? There is no way that the yarns spun for these garments were slubby, bumpy, or uneven. Think about how fine they had to be spun to drape that way, to fold that way. Look at the ruff's on the women in the 1600's.  That is lace. Handspun, hand made lace. And a lot of it. Look at the voluminous skirts. I'm sure they draped and moved like our finest man made materials, made with chemicals on fully mechanized spinning set ups. Only they were made with hand spun yarn, made of natural materials that went through a more natural and time consuming process of preparation.

  It's high time that handspun yarns get rid of the beginner yarn stigma and people start to realize that it doesn't have to be like that, and that from very early on in civilization yarn was spun for perfection and evenness.  Goodness knows that the women who would have to slave away at the wheel and spindle wouldn't have gotten away with spinning slubby yarn.

I'm not claiming perfection myself.  I'm far from spinning yarns to the standards of the 1700's and earlier.  But I know I'm no longer spinning slubby, rough and pilling yarn.  And I'll take the "it looks machine spun" as a complement, as it's intended, because people are still of the mindset that machine can do a better job then humans.  One skein at a time, I'll knock down the stigma of handspun.


/steps off soapbox

~Kara

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Decisions, decisions

 Isn't that always the life of a knitter? This yarn or that yarn? This colour or that colour? What about fibre? which needle size is best for the project, do I want a tighter knit or a looser one? Which pattern should I choose?
 These questions are compounded by the way Leethal does her Adventure Knits. Not only do you not know what exactly it is you're making, but you also can't really be sure you're choosing *just* the right yarn for the mystery project.  Does this in anyway stop me from really really really wanting needing to knit these patterns? Not.one.bit.  If anything it makes me more excited. Truly, there have been 4 PDF's already in this summers KaL. We have shapes, you see, that we can choose from.  Some of them were obvious, and others were not so obvious at all.  The last one outlined what the choices could turn into, and the multitude of end possibilities is rather staggering.  How do I choose the right one?!  What about the crazy construction and patterns that will undoubtedly show up in these finished shapes?  It's rather exciting and daunting all at once.  But, to narrow it all down, I've gone and pulled 2 yarns from my stash.


Yarn stuffs August 9 2014

First (top) is from my trip to Vancouver Island last May.  It's 100% wool, aran weight. But I've only got 2 balls. And the second (bottom) is some Knitpicks Brava in Bulky.  So it's acrylic, and very yellow, but bulky.  I'm very tempted to start with the yellow, and see what comes of the pattern I choose.

No doubt, I'll love the process of this type of KaL as much as I'll love the finished project.  Leethals patterns are really unique, and so very fun to knit.

Don't forget to sign up before the 14th!  The price does go up then!

~Kara

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Adventure knits!

Last summer I did Leethals first adventure knit along, and she's running a new one this year!  I'm totally hoping on board, even though I really don't have time to do it! I had so much fun, and I always learn so much from knitting her patterns.  It's on sale right now, and the price goes up as the sections are release, so hope on the bandwagon while the going is good!!  Come play with us!


~Kara

Friday, August 1, 2014

What a spinner does while camping

After I got home from a visit with the family, my husband said "Let's go camping!"  and my first thought was, of course, "But my spinning... I need to get my spin on... No time for camping..." But we went anyway.  And of course I packed my Russian spindle, and spindle dish, and some fibre.  Cashmere, of course. Just because you're roughing it doesn't mean you can't take along some luxury.

What does a spinner do while camping?

We took the boat along, and went for swims in the middle of the lake, and did some fishing, and spent a little time just exploring our campsite.  We found something really interesting.  At first I thought the dragonflies were makin' babies, but it was a little different then normal, because they were on the ground. On closer inspection, and with the curiosity of my 6 year old, he flipped them over and the one was eating the other!!! Dragonflies are cannibals, say whaaaaat???  A rather weak internet search resulted in finding out that this does rarely happen and possibly only when two male dragonflies don't like each other.  It's  not a mating ritual.  It's a take out the competition move. Crazyness!!


What does a spinner do while camping?

With all that fascinating and entertaining stuff going on, did I get time to spin? Of course I did!! There, on the ground, in front of the camper, while The Zoo and Miss J were digging in the sand behind me, and The Duck rode his bike, and the Hubs made a fire for cooking supper.


What a spinner does while camping

Yup, that's me, in my camping glory, on a hot 30 above day, (Celsius, of course) spinning cashmere.

Good times were had.

~Kara

Friday, July 25, 2014

Found it Friday - Sheepish Building

Hey, happy Friday!  Isn't this just a fun building?

The sheep building, Tirau, Waikato, New Zealand, 3 April 2008
Image credit: Philip Capper, you can find him on flickr


Apparently it houses wool and craft shop, called The Big Sheep Wool Gallery. Go figure. It's in a small town in New Zealand, on the the North island, called Tirau. I just might have to stop in and buy some wool when we finally go on that trip we've got planned...

For more info about the building, check out wikipedia, and The Grumpy Old Limey.


~Kara

Friday, July 18, 2014

found it friday - Spider Moths

Spider Moth, Spider Moth, does whatever a Spider Moth does. Spin a cocoon, just his size.  Makes flame retardant underpants, for the good guys. Spider Moth, Spider Moth, look out! here come's the Spider Moth....

Anyway..... So. This one's interesting.  Apparently there is a laboratory in Michigan - the Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, to be exact- that is genetically modifying moth DNA at the egg and sperm stage so that the resultant moths will make spider silk, instead of moth silk. They've named them Monster Moths.

Now moth silk, as we know it is pretty awesome.  Light weight, cool, but warm, moisture wicking and it does have it's own level of flame retardance.  But spider silk is all that and more.  It's incredibly  more strong, for one, and really hard to harvest for another.  Stronger silk equals tougher clothing, clothing they think will have military purposes, as well as civilian purposes. Monster Moth silk ties, anyone?  To match your military issue Monster Moth silk under pants?  So, I suppose that's why these amazing scientists are making GMO moths. It's all for the money! But what isn't all for the money these day's?

Now, I'm not a really big fan of the whole GMO thing, but I found this pretty cool.

Please check out the site I originally found this on! There's more info there. And a picture. They have pinkish red little eyes and 4 wings...

~Kara

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Distracted by Dyes

As mentioned in my last post, I spent a day last week washing and dyeing wool.  These are simply the dyed fibres.

Distracted by dyes
Rainbow dyed using only red, yellow and blue.

Distracted by dyes
Deep and brilliant purple Cotswold locks

Distracted by dyes
Merino Top, using the left over dye bath front he purple, and adding the turquoise on top

Distracted by dyes
Merino top, using another portion of the left over dye bath, straight up, with no colour added.

Such pretty colours, and now I want more time to dye more!

~Kara











Friday, July 11, 2014

A week into Tour de Fleece

I can't believe we are on day 7 of Tour de Fleece already. I feel like I should be farther along then this:

Tour de fleece 2014 up to day 7.

Mind you I spent 10 hours doing this:

Tour de fleece 2014 up to day 7.

And maybe I should be farther along then I am because I took a day to wash fleeces. And I promptly got distracted with the idea of dyeing fibre while I was out there.* But I did take my support spindle out, and got some cotton spun for the Level 4 homework I've got to do as well. So I was still spinning, and it was homework.  Just not the homework I should be working on.

Tour de fleece 2014 up to day 7.

And yes.  I'm timing how long it takes me to do the sock yarn, because my goal for TdF is to get my socks for my Level 3 Master Spinner final project done. Completely done. Spun, dyed and knitted. And it needs to take at least 50 hours. Believe it or not, I've been doing the spinning for 5 hours already, and I'm not even 1/6th of the way through the fibre I need to spin.  It'll be a good solid 6 hours total once I'm done that 1/6th of the fibre.  And if that's the case, I'll need to spin for another 30 hours, and I'd like to be done all that and the dyeing by this coming up friday... 5 days to spin 30 hours. Plus 1 day for plying, which will hopefully only take 4 hours, and 1 day to dye. That's a LOT of spinning in 5 days... 6 hours a day, to be precise...  It kind of makes me nauseated thinking about it. And this is where I think maybe I should change the socks I'm spinning for. Maybe just go for a top down, straight forward plain jane sock, instead of the Little Cable knee highs I'd originally planned to make. 36 hours+10 Hours= 46 hours, and that's so close to 50, that I'm thinking, maybe, I'll be doing just that, minor change in plans. But that's alright. That's how these things go, and it's really good to know that that is how long it takes to make something. Or, I just go with it and get the socks I want, no matter the hours involved... So indecisive!  Oh well. I'm sure I'll make a decision soon, sometime while spinning for 6 hours a day...

~Kara

*I'll get you the drool worthy pictures of the dyed stuff soon. Just a matter of taking the time to take those pictures, which you know I'm in short supply of...





Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy Monday

Some fun musings from my children this morning, around homemade pancakes and delicious maple syrup:

 "Mom, you're a Yarn Monster!" - The Zoo, Age 6

 "When I'm an adult, I'm gonna take spinning classes like you Mom" - Miss J, Age 4


 It's the little things, you know, that make a happy Monday.


 ~Kara

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Knit notes - Handspun Sweater - Finally Finished!


Phew! Remember when I said I was finished all but the weaving in of the ends?  Well, I did manage to get them woven in, and I put my wonderfully itchy awful sweater in the fashion show at Fibre week.  And of course, someone is there willing to take a picture of you in your handknits without looking at you sideways and complaining when you say "Nope! that's no good, keep taking pictures!" for about 15 minutes....

So, here it is. Me in my super itchy handspun sweater.  It fits so nicely after all that ripping the bottom out and redoing it, and free-styling the arm holes.

Yarn things- July 3 2014
(p.s. ignore the little balled up paper at my feet! I didn't notice it until after it was to late to do it again)


~Kara

Thursday, July 3, 2014

3 pounds

A while back, I was commissioned to make 500 yards of bulky weigh 3 ply yarn.  Were it not for a little hiccup (where my 4 year old found a pair of scissors and went on a snipping spree, which happened to include the drive bands on my Majacraft...) I'd have been done these yarns quite a while ago.  But, given that that the time between snipping and shipping was over 2 weeks, I'm glad to be done this only slightly passed my set deadline (which happened to be rather flexible, but none the less.)

Yarn things- July 3 2014
Singles on the bobbins 1 whole pound on each!

Yarn things- July 3 2014
Plied, tied and ready for a bath!

They still need a bath in some Unicorn Fibre Wash, but that doesn't take much time.  At least not compared to the spinning!  I do love though, that throughout the 5 skeins there is an amazing amount of uniformity! Makes me super happy to be able to control my yarn that much if I want to.  Thank you Master Spinner classes!!

These skeins will be off to Sharon (of Sharon's Handknit Creations) by the early next week.  Then it's onto that pesky level 3 final project, socks!

~Kara




Monday, June 30, 2014

Fibre week - Wrap up

Wow!  Has it ever been a whirl wind since my last post! I had planned to post every day this year, but between evening functions and class work and that fancy kind of social networking where you talk to people  face to face....  Fibre Week has flown by, and was so incredibly interesting and mildly exhausting.  Tuesday was dye day, and we were using acid dyes. So many pretty colours, just from the three primaries!  Then we learned to spin flax. Yes! Flax!  My husband was shocked to learn that people spin flax... I'm kind of surprised he was surprised. And Bison, and Camel and Cashmere, ohmy!  We did a bit on designer yarns too. Overall class was fabulous. I did indeed miss the weekend classes, but that sure didn't stop me from spending a whole lot of money at the Merchant Mall!

Fibre Week 2014 became incredibly humbling for me, because there were copies of the Summer 2014 issue of PLY magazine, theme: Twist, circling about.  How does this relate?  Well, I have an article printed in there!!! (It's been so hard to keep that secret until the issue was printed!)  And I can't count the amount of congratulations I got.  It feels so crazy to have my name in a highly read and respected magazine.

Now that I'm home, it's time to get onto my homework. I've gotten the extension for Level 3, but all I've got to do is the final project.  I've changed my mind on this, and am going to spin and knit my own socks.  I'll be using this as my Tour de Fleece project. The Tour begins on the 5th of July and ends on the 27th.  It's absolutely do able. The time line is set to spin and dye by the 17th, and then knit up a pair of knee high socks by the 27th.  I can totally do it!

Happiest spinning to everyone!

~Kara

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fibre Week -Day 2

It's the first day for classes!  I'm really excited to get started.  I did hit the market yesterday, and got myself an epically amazing Russian spindle from Ancient Fibre Arts.  I was spindle whispered by Caroline herself. This is the beauty, and it spins so true.

Fibre week haul - Russian spindle

She's coco bolo and walnut. The bowl I bought to spin her in is african black wood, it's heavy and perfect for sitting cross legged on the floor, which is how I generally spin on a supported spindle.

I'm in the classroom right now, and there's more visiting then typing, so I'm going to leave it at this! Time for the fun to start!

~Kara

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fibre Week 2014 - Day 1

I arrived at Olds College last night.  It was a very long drive, with the first half of the time raining cats and dogs.   I had a stop in at The Fat Ewe Bed and Breakfast farm, and picked up a few raw fleeces.  Eileen and I had a coffee and a cookie (or two ;) ) and a good visit.  This is one of my favourite stops on my way to Olds every year. This year was a bit sad, because of the rain, as she generally gives me a tour of the farm, giving me a chance to see all the animals. I enjoyed it none the less.  Once I got closer to Edmonton the clouds broke up and I could see the sky.  It really is blue!! (side note, It's been raining back home for the better portion of the past two weeks, and it's been a while since I've seen the sun.)

Olds College

Once I got here, I found my way to my town house.  I really enjoy staying in these housing units.  They are a shared home so I'll have roomies, but they've not arrived yet. It was very quiet, but oh so nice to just unwind.
The Townhouses

This morning I got a sleep in, and it was a rather lazy morning as well.  I didn't leave the condo until 10!  There's not much going on today, other then the Merchant Mall, so I'm finding this extremely slow pace odd but wonderful.  I'm definitely not used to silence and down time.  Once I did get rolling however, I went for an invigorating walk.  The sky is still blue!  Because the college has a horticulture program the grounds are absolutely gorgeous. Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing and it couldn't be a more gorgeous day.

Land Sciences Building

The Merchant Mall opens up in about 10 minutes, so I'm going to wrap this up, and spend some money! This year is full of new fibres like bison, camel, cashmere, and linen, and I know I'll be needing those. I definitely don't have those to hand!

Hope your day is as wonderful as mine is shaping up!

~Kara

Saturday, June 14, 2014

And Breath.....

Yesterday, I had my "1 week until Fibre Week" freak out. Maybe, just maybe, the full moon and Friday the 13th had something to do with it.  Maybe I panicked for no reason.  I know in the logical part of my mind that everything will fall into place. And if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world. But now that it's over and I've slept off the cortisol my body produced in it's flight or fight mode (which was totally fight, okay, maybe I was ready to hide in a hole. That's likely more flight then fight...) I'm ready to tackle my tasks.  Some of them a bit begrudgingly, but I'll tackle them none the less.

Last week I was working on the 15 TPI skien.  I did one skein, and enough of it was 15 TPI and it was something I would have turned in, but it was only nearly 9 yards, and that's pushing it in terms of measurement.  So I re did it, and ended up with this one, which is 14 TPI... So I'll have to do it again.  But I'm pretty proud of this one.  It's incredibly fine, at 60WPI.  Proof that I can definitly make embroidery threads. And it's definitly not for not, because I can sample with it, and make the adjustments necessary (or not) to get the just right thread type for my final project.


Untitled

Of course, after spinning something like that (~25 yards in 2hours) one needs an "instant gratification spin" or "palate cleanser yarn".  Fancy Kitty Ravelry group is having a drawing for a blending board, and the entry is a 4 oz blended and spun yarn in a summer theme, with an inspiration picture.
 This is the finished yarn:


 Which was based on this image:

Image found on internet somewhere photo the-simpsons-summer-pool-party-simpsons-characters-11824646-1680-1050_zps20cb012f.jpg

Which was obviously chosen by my kiddos! It was fun having little helpers. I hope we win!

But, back at it with me. The kids are up and looking for food.  And I will continue to breath, and know that all will be okay, no matter what happens in the next week.

~Kara

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cleaning the kitty

For level 4 of the Master Spinners program, we need to come prepared with a presentation.  I LOVE my drum carder, and I've learned a lot about blending fibres since opening my Etsy shop.  Drum carders are briefly covered in level 2, so I can do my presentation on them! Hurray!  This should be a piece of cake.
I went to get everything ready for this presentation, you know, clean my space to take pictures, get out the fibre and scale, find the camera, all that good stuff.  And of course, clean the carder.... Wow. was it ever a mess! One of the kids (the Zoo, to be exact) grabbed a handful of pulled sari silk and put it onto the carder, straight up.  The kids each had a turn with the carder, and of course, they aren't careful about where the fibre goes, so it got wrapped around the posts. It took me 2 hours to take it apart and put it back together! those pins were in there so tight, it was really difficult to get them out! But I did, with a little muscle from the husband, and she's shiny and clean now! It's wonderful.
One of those many things I felt I needed to take on is now over until the fall, leaving me with free time tonight!! It's an amazing feeling to not have anywhere to be on a Monday night.  I'm going to head on into my fluff room, with my newly cleaned carder, and work on my presentation as soon as I hit post!  Definitly looking forward to being ready for Fibre Week 2014! Less then 2 weeks now!!

~Kara

Saturday, May 31, 2014

She who takes on to much.

Does anyone else do this?  Take on a responsibility, thinking it won't take up much of your time, but then, even that extra 2-3 hours a week seems to be a whole lot more then you expected? Even the things that should only take up an extra 30 minutes to an hour every week, it's like it takes up so much more of your time leaving you with no time for the things you really don't have a choice but to do.

These seemingly little -but obviously not- tasks/jobs have lead me where I am currently: feeling overstretched, over stressed and just a bit more then frazzled.  My children have even been showing signs of feeling that Momma's just.to.busy.  I was supposed to be at a knitting retreat this weekend.  I canceled last minute to spend some quality time with my middle boy, who get's the least of my time. I've gone and taken the dreaded extension to get my level 3 homework done. I don't have a choice. My blogging has been seriously lacking.  I like to do it, I enjoy sharing with everyone.  I feel it's one of the necessary things that is being neglected.  Same goes for my Etsy shop.  I've not had much time to keep it stocked up and advertised.  But, what's there is there. And hopefully someone stumbles on something and buys it.  And The Journey, let's not forget that.  Module 4 has come and gone, and is not complete.  I know it's not a hard and fast dead line, but again, I'm behind.  I know that while my summer schedule is pretty jam packed, I'll have more time once Fibre week is over.  The end of June brings to an end (albeit a temporary one) to two of the responsibilities that are eating up most of my time right now.

I try not to be bitter about these tasks, I did this to myself, and the people I'm doing these things for matter. They don't deserve a bitter me. So I drop my cranky overstretch self at the door, complete my weekly responsibilities with love and joy, and I notice that baggage is just a bit smaller for it when I leave. Maybe it's that I know that it won't continue on for much longer, or maybe it's the joy the little faces bring me when they get excited about something we are doing.

It's the last day of May. 21 days until I leave for Fibre Week and Level 4. The plan is to have the body of my workbook done and have only my final project to do in July.  It will all work out. And one day, I'll learn to be a bit better organized, and all the responsibilities won't seem so daunting.

~Kara

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers Day

Generally, I'm horribly terrible at thinking of, and remembering any and all holidays.  Other then Christmas, and Halloween.  But the little days, like Family day, Fathers day, Valentines or Easter and of course Mothers day. Even though I am a Mother, I still forget about it until the day before, and one of my kids brings it up. Honestly. They are better at remembering things like this then I ever will be. That being said, it's Mothers day, and I'm remembering right now!! So, since I remember in this moment, Happiest of mothers day to every mother out there!

In honour of mothers day, every purchase from my Etsy Shop - SpinHeartSpin - get's a a free gift with purchase today and tomorrow only! Each gift will have a 5$ value.



~Kara

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Midway through April...

...and responsibilities keep piling high.  Some things I  took on willingly.  Others, well, they just kind of happened, and are things I cannot avoid, no matter how much I'd rather just hide. And I do wish that I wanted to hide in my fluff room with my wheel, however I really just want to curl up with a good book or some terrible tv and pretend like I've got nothing at all to do in the next 2.5 months.

I will say, that I've become proficient at procrastination, while still accomplishing things.  It's quite the feat, you know, doing stuff while avoiding things.  I've managed to learn how to spin cotton on the tahkli.  All it took was moving my fibre to the other hand.  Who would have thought that it would even be possible to spin opposite handed?  It works for me though.  Plying cotton on the tahkli, on the other hand, is a nightmare. I'll get it done, sloppy and terrible, and I'll hand it in for that one little assignment.  I'll get marks for trying at least...

 I've not looked at my master list of Master Spinners Homework for about a week and a half.  But I think I've got about 6 skeins to do, and all of them the super technical ones.  Specific tip, and matching the commercial yarn...  They should go rather swimmingly, if a bit slow and time consuming.  I'm wondering if I should just get onto my final project, and when I get tired of spinning fine fine cotton for embroidery, I can spin the technical skeins I have left.

Then of course, there's the writing and measuring that's still got to be done....  And all this is just one of the many (if I counted them, there would be at least 6, some of which have multiple subsets of responsibility) hat's I've got on right now.   If anyone has a time turner, or that blue box thingy with the doctor guy in it, or maybe just a straight up plain 'ol time machine, can I borrow it? I promise not to change anything but getting my homework done more quickly.

One last thing, an obligatory yarn picture. Because what's a blog post with out a picture?  Or heck, here's a series of from fluff to yarn pics.  This was a divergence from responsibility I carded and spun about a month ago. Wool/mohair blend, with silk and sparkle.

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Stripes. 80 yards/2oz wool mohair silk sparkle

~Kara

Friday, March 28, 2014

Knit notes - Handspun Sweater.

So, last summer I spun up a sweaters worth of yarn.

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In February, I cast on for Rosa's Sleeveless Cardi.  I did some math to make it more of an xs/s, since I'm just a pettit little thing.

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I continue on knitting, trying it on, as I go.



I get to a point in the increases, where it seems my yarn choice and pattern choice do not mix, and begin to frog, noticing that I have a little problem, even further up then I'd intended on frogging... Which definitly sucks, to have to frog back further. Thankfully, it's on size 11's.

Not so sleeveless top- error.

Close to finishing, I decided to add sleeves.  Just short ones.

Handspun hand knit sweater.

All that's left is weaving in the ends!  How long do you suppose that'll take me?

~Kara




Monday, March 17, 2014

Cotton

Oh cotton.  I wear you every day. You are one of the most comfortable fibres to wear.   Even my sheets are made of you, and I love how comfy they are. But why, oh why, do you have to be so dang tricky to spin!?  you could be nice and easy, like wool. But you are tricky.  Snapping, and drifting at a moments notice. Being bumpy and lumpy and not wanting to draft like buttah, even when you are Pima.  Breaking when I ply the singles.  Breaking when you are plied, and should be stable.  You're a mean fibre, and maybe I'll leave you after this. Or maybe I won't.  Maybe I'll conquer you. Maybe I will stick to with you, beyond the course requirements.  Maybe, one day I'll enjoy making yarn from you, cotton.  Until then, I'll suffer through the requirements, and not be bowled over by you.

Sincerely,
One frustrated master spinner student.

~Kara


P.S. Dear readers,  I'm nearly done my homework! just another 8 skeins, 2 swatches, and the final project to go.  I think I'm going with silk! should be fun!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

The least cool 5 point exercise

I have no idea why this exercise is only worth 5 points. If it were up to me, I'd make it worth 10, if just for the fact that it's entirely to time consuming.  40 yards of cable plied yarn takes an entire day to spin. Yes. An entire day, as in i woke up, fed the kids, got them off to school and sat at my wheel.  Then I got hungry so I stopped for lunch. Then I went back to my wheel. Then I got the kids from school and, you guessed it, back to my wheel. Everyone needed to be fed, so I did that, and I went back to my wheel one more time. So, aside from the required eating breaks I was at the spinning wheel from 9am until 9:30 pm.  It was intense. But it's done.  And I learned that unless I have a very special project in mind, I'll never spin a cable plied yarn again.  That was ridiculous.


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One more exercise bites the dust. Only 20 more to go.  And the final project. May the spinning Gods smile upon me, and grant me balance, and speedy, successful spinning.

~Kara







Reasses

It's a few days into March and as I'd only set out a plan for February, I sat down to see where I'm at in terms if homework. I'm no where near done... February was full of hiccups and fails, an as such I was only able to cross off 7 items on my list. 7 out of 16. That's just not good. So now I've made myself an entirely new, more intense list. 20 items, that do not include the workbook portion. It's all spinning and swatching. 
I'm going to have to neglect things like laundry and cooking if I want this done. Time to buckle down and do it, I suppose. 

~Kara

Monday, February 24, 2014

Journey to the Golden Fleece- Module 2 - Road of Trials

Once upon a time there was a wonderful woman.  She was creative, open minded, free thinking, all loving, a little overly proud and selfish, and far to positive for most people to handle ("How do you see the bright side in EVERY single dark matter??" They'd say) She loved to spend as much free time as humanly possible creating and making anything.  Her favourite thing to make, was yarn.  However, she was also a mother.  And as the life of a Mother goes, most of the selfishness and pride, and creation went by the wayside. There was laundry to wash dry and fold AND put away.  There were dishes (Oh so many dishes!!) to do. There were meals to cook (more then 3 a day, which always lead to more dishes!) And then the love and tenderness and firmness and caring and book reading and playing with and all that stuff that goes along with raising children as well, got in the way.  It's funny, how she would simultaneously feel pride at her children's achievement as she watched them accomplish something from the stands, and feel a twinge of resentment, that she could possibly be creating something, possibly be grabbing her own bit of pride as well.  She could want to hug and love the child that was having a total melt down because they dropped their pizza on the floor which the dog promptly grabbed,  while at the same time want to whisk them off to their room so they could not disturb anyone else with their fit.  The conflicting emotions of Motherhood often left he overwhelmed. And when it was all just a bit to much, she'd step away and close herself in her craft room, and create something. Anything. But mostly yarn.

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My Road of Trials yarn hinges on one thing that has got to be my biggest trial of all: Motherhood. It's the journey I started with, and the journey I will follow, likely through out the remainder of the modules. (Module three is the vision quest, a journey into the deeper you, and having examined what drove me to this course, and what I've discovered through the journaling about me already, Motherhood is a huge part of me, but definitly not the only part of me.)  A quick break down of the components and how they relate to this road of trials is as such:  There is a big fat purple single (of varying grist/diameter) that was auto wrapped with a teal, navy and white crochet cotton, each of varying diameter, which was then quick coiled and Shelob'd (which is a technique Wool Wench shared with us!) The purple represents the pride, how it swells and how it is always there.  The threads it is auto wrapped in represents the chaos and struggle that is often playing along side. And it's coiled up(mostly just because coiling looks super pretty ;) ) and then wrapped in the silk hanky which was purple and grey, to represent how it's all wrapped up in love.

Creatively this was a real struggle. I couldn't for the life of me 1) keep the purple single even and 2) understand that it was OK that the single wasn't even.  Spinning has become very technical for me since starting the Master Spinners course.  Instead of being bound to the rigidity of counting treadles and keeping make lengths consistent, just allowing for texture and the auto wraps to actually auto wrap (without adjusting and allowing them to do what they wanted...) was really difficult.   I am happy with this yarn, though. It's light and fluffy, and textured.

Onward to Module 3, The vision quest!

~Kara

Friday, February 21, 2014

Found it Friday- Sheep shelf.



An artist by the name of Oscar Tusquats created 21 tables like this from taxidermy sheep. One of them is black with white legs.  It was inspire by a painting done by Salvidor Dali, “Interpretation Project for a Stable-Library.”


image and original story found at 
http://www.neatorama.com/2014/02/06/Sheep-Cabinets/#!vvesM


This is the best thing sliced bread.  My husband told me I was not allowed to sell the house for one, not even the black one.  Which is highly disappointing.  But I suppose I'll live.

~Kara

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Holy newness, batman!

Yesterday, Majacraft unveiled their newest creation.  The Majacraft Overdrive Head.  I do believe I really really really want need this. So badly.
I watched the Fibery Goodness live-stream on youtube, where they went into great discussion about all it's features, and the development, showed all the prototypes. It was great to watch!  And it was great to "meet" Arlene and Suzy.  Their little duet at the end was awesome.  I'm going to share the video with you, so you can watch it, if you like.

So, back to the Overdrive head.  I have an Aura. I love him. He would be so much more awesome with this head attached.  I could spin yards upon yards of yarn!  So, I'd appreciate your help in getting one of these fabulous beasts.   Just to the right there is the link to my Etsy shop: SpinHeartSpin.  Check it out, and if you see something you like, don't be afraid to buy it ;)

~Kara

Friday, February 14, 2014

Found it Friday- The Gap

No.  Not the clothing store. Though I do have a pair of jeans from there that I plan on wearing into the ground and patching the ever living snot out of when they start to fail, simple because they are the most comfortable jeans ever.
I digress.  This Gap is about the creative gap. The one you are in as a beginner artist. Where you know you can create wonderful things, but no mater how many times you make, it's always falling short of the vision.  This video is an encouragement to working through that Gap. It may take a long time. But you will find your voice. I'm still finding mine. I'd say I'm still in the Gap.  I know my current limitations (family responsibility etc.) are holding me back, but I create what I can when I can. I'm trudging on through the Gap. So. For those out there, who find themselves striving for more, to be better, and to be all you know you were meant to be, I give you this video. I hope it finds you at the right time, as it found me, and bolsters your ambitions.
And since it's on Vimeo, and not Youtube, I have to give you the link.... Sigh...

http://vimeo.com/85040589

Keep going, keep creating, keep working.  You will be awesome one day.

~Kara

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Keeping on track.

Well, more or less.  I've had a look at the schedule I've made up for myself, and I'm behind, but definitely not for lack of trying. 
These are my first four attempts at recreating a commercial yarn. Yep. 4. Four tries. Four fails. The fifth attempt, after consulting the experts, was perfect.
Well, it's not perfectly perfect, but it's what's going in the book. It's homework worthy. Thank goodness! 

I've given myself 3 days off over the weekend, that I will probably just use to catch up. Still on track.

~Kara 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Found it Friday -Disgruntled ex has 17lbs of yarn for sale

And maybe two cats.  This is the funniest thing I've read in a long time with perfect quotes, like

"Maybe that's why I had thousands of dollars of credit card bills from "ravelry.com" and other such life-destroying sites."
And

" Some of it is even still in its packaging, I guess just in case she decided she suddenly needed this brand new package of yarn and there was some sort of crop-shortage in yarn-land so she had to buy it in advance." 

Apparently yarn and fluff aren't all love and sunshine.  At least not everyone. And definitly not to this guy.

Maybe I should send him a link to last weeks Found it Friday... That second song pretty much sums up his life...  And maybe, just maybe, she found a guy who asked her if she was knitting with handspun to replace this guy, as the first song...

~Kara

Sunday, February 2, 2014

and so it begins

The final homework push.  I wrote it out. I have a plan.  It starts off today, with two skeins.  Module C1.  A wool silk blend, and a wool wool blend.  Should be easy enough.   After that, there's just one skien a day, or computer work and calculations.

The plan.

It's not inclusive of every module.  So I'll be pushing into March. Which I'd hoped not to have to do.  But it's okay.  You can't rush this stuff.   I've got to get it done in a timely manner though.  I don't want to drag it out any longer.


I can keep this pace. The laundry and the kitchen may suffer from it, but I can keep this pace.  I know I can.

~Kara

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Wewt! Again! Craftster Best of 2013

Hurray! Such an honour to be chosen again as a Craftster Best of Winner. And this year, not once, but 3 times! Three of my projects got top "votes" by members hitting the "This Rocks" button throughout the year.

The three projects that were chosen are Making Mawata,  I gave my Lady a makeover, and A couple small pin woven tapestries.  I do believe I have shared the first two here, but not necessarily the last ones!!  So here they are, for your viewing pleasure :)  One was made for a swap, and the other as a thank you gift!

This one was woven with my Spun Summer yarn, incorporating the beehive coils, the little bee and the daisy that was already present in the yarn.
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This one was a combination of handspun, commercial and locks.  It's a bit uneven in tension, but hey, it's tricky to weave evenly on a pin loom!!
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~Kara

Friday, January 31, 2014

Journey To the Golden fleece, module 1



Module 1 Journey to the Golden Fleece Yarn
The story.
Once upon a time, lived a beautiful woman, who was quite content, happy even, with her situation in life. She was happily married, and had two wonderful and cute sons. The discussion of more children came up now and again, and they’d settled it, that they would at least wait, but were very uncertain that more would happen anyway. So this woman went and made an appointment to be sure that she did not conceive again until she was ready, if she would ever be ready. But the in the days before the appointment she found out they had in fact conceived despite their best efforts to not to. now, the reaction was quite the opposite most would expect. Shock, disappointment, frustration, anger, regret, resentment. Many tears were shed. She, they, were not ready for this. Everything had finally settled into routine! Her adjustment period to a new child was always much longer then what it seems most peoples was. She was not ready for the upheaval an infant brings, and she knew just what it would be like. So, despite always wanting a girl but not getting one, she did not find out what this little bundle was. She couldn’t bare the thought of it being a boy, though that would be okay, she’s got more then enough of the things boys need. She didn’t want to know who was in there, to have them tell her one thing, and it turn out the other. She left her answer to that questions “kittens”. So 8.75 months of being kept in the dark, turning over thoughts of the struggles alone, never thinking of the joys. Lying on the operating table, as baby was born via c-section due to the other two deliveries not going well, She was told “oh, what a beautiful face he has!” “A boy?” she said, just a bit disappointed, but not surprised, she rarely get’s what she wants. “Oh!!” say’s the anethesiologist ” I haven’t seen yet! our talk of boys had me focused on boys….. It’s a girl!!” “A girl? really?” At this point, the emotions should have went through the roof, elation, joy, excitement. However, while she thought those, intellectually, she did not feel them through. She was just happy the pregnancy was over, but still no where near ready for the challenges an infant brings. And there they were, forever entangled.
So, how all this related to the yarn.
The yarn starts off with a blue navajo plied section, that is candy cane plied with a purple crochet cotton. The blue represents the 3 boys in my life, the purple myself. These yarns are carried through the entire skien. Then, you can’t see it, but there’s a pink thread added as a core, and it’s covered in black/silver mohair. This mohair was a real PTA to spin like that, because when I washed it, I washed it with wool, and some of the lanolin must have stuck to the mohair. And didn’t come out. Mean while the purple and blue wrapped around, hid under and kind of did as it pleased. Then once I got short on the pink thread, I grabbed a chunk of hot pink merino and made a big slub. Towards the end, just the 3 threads are plied together, but you can’t see that in this picture.
And finally, how this all relates to my creative journey.
Have you ever just wanted to escape? Run away from the things that cause you stress? I do. All the time. So, this moment in my life pushed me to take the Olds Master Spinner course, sooner then I’d meant to. So much yarn, and soo much alone time in one big chunk. An escape. That course and all it’s requirements to end with a certificate are what lead me here. I needed an escape from the precise, accurate spinning, and this gives me a damn good excuse!! And often in the in-between time, when i just need some quiet, I head to my fluff room, and spin or card or whatever.
Final note: Know that this story does have a happy ending. The woman, while still struggling to balance it all, 4 years in, still not finding any balance what so ever, still mal adjusted to the life she has, she is content, even happy with the chaos. Embrace it, because within the chaos there is light.

~Kara

P.S. I kind of just copied and pasted my own words from the Golden Fleece Forums.  Because it was easier, and it was commented on that when I write in third person, it's a pretty good story.  So I'll stick with that. :)

P.P.S.  I nearly forgot!!  The second enrolment is open to the Journey to the Golden Fleece!!  Go to fiberygoodness.com for more details!!

Found it Friday - Hilarious knitting songs.

I saw this on Facebook.. It made my day.  And I shared it on my personal wall too.  But I'll share with you too, since it's quite cute.



And that promoted a friend to link this one to me.



All kinds of fun and awesome. Enjoy!!


~Kara

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I did math.

And no, it wasn't the required calculations for my homework...  There are 143 days until Fibre Week, 2014.  I do have to say I've got pretty much none of the homework done for Level 3 of the Master Spinners Program.  In each level there is at least 150 hours of homework time.  While I know I've got one of the big, time consuming things done, the dye module, I've still got the be all and end all part of this level, and that's the spin to a certain TPI skeins.  Those are not very likely to turn out exactly at all the first time. I'll be really really lucky, if even 1/4 of them do.

So, let's say that I've still got a good 120 hours of work to do.  If I do 1 hour of work a day, every day from February first to June twentieth, I'll be golden.  The chances of that happening every day? Not likely.  I know it gives a 30 day buffer zone, but for some reason, I think I'll more likely have 150 hours of work.  Knowing my own pace, and desire for extreme quality in this endeavour, there will be more time required.

At least now I know. I've got to buckle down, and repeat my mantra from last year, and the year before. "I will not do this again next level".  I will not do this again next level.  I will spend all of the Tour de Fleece spinning my homework.  I'll get it done a lot sooner. Because this is crazy making.


~Kara

Friday, January 24, 2014

Found it Friday - Jumping Llama

This gif.
http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2014/008/6/5/jumpingllama0000_by_x7994-d71dc5u.gif

If I knew how to embed it, I would.  Click it though, because it's awesome.

~Kara

Friday, January 10, 2014

Carding up a storm!

ThaI've been creating batts like a mad woman lately, so I decided to time just how long it takes to make one batt. 27 minutes, 13 seconds later, I had one batt.  Mind you these batts are more complex then some of the other ones, as they get a preliminary blend and a second pass to  add the pops of color. But the time is worth it for the effect I get! 
A follower on Facebook mentioned they look like Sulley from Monsters inc. I dare say they do!
I've got 2 more of those ones to blend, and one more, simpler color way to do up.  But this pile if fibre makes me happy 
That's over 20 oz of Fibery fun!!! Wewt! 

But all this fun will come to an end in February, when it's buckle down and do your homework time. I'm going to try to be done for the end of March, so I can be back to this fun stuff sooner rather then later!

~Kara

Friday, January 3, 2014

Found it Friday - Alpaca Hair do's

The good folks at Phat Fiber posted this link on their Facebook page, and incase you don't follow them on there, I'll share this with you now!  It's pretty cute! and made me smile.  You should totally check it out :)

http://distractify.com/fun/humor/the-most-ridiculously-good-looking-alpaca-hairdos/


~Kara

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oh hey! it's 2014!

Another year has gone by, which in and of itself is not surprising. The speed at which the years are going by, however, still seems to astonish me. With that said, I'm making no resolutions this year.  i'm just going to keep going, hoping that life does not throw me so many curve balls. Simple enough.
I'll keep blogging, selling, and doing my class work. And the mothering bits, and the wife-ing bits, and the girl guide-ing bits.  When it all fits in.

Anywho, I do hope 2014 is a wonderful year for everyone.  The best yet! One that tops all the others.

I finished out 2013 by taking a project off the bobbins.  It's 6.6 oz of Canadian grown and prepped Ets D'Laine Merino wool, spun woollen from carded roving, making it a super squishy and wonderful yarn. There's approximately 330 yards of this one. Such a lovely 3 ply.
Canadian wool

And I'm starting 2014 by carding up some full sized batts of this llama merino yak blend that went out as samples in the Phat Fiber box! There will be approximately 12 oz (in smaller bits, likely 2oz chunks :) ) in the shop soon!
Phat fibre Jan 2014


Don't forget to check out the Etsy Shop! 10% off until the 15th of January! Enter code Spingrand0 (that's a zero, not an 'o')

Happy happy new year to you!

~Kara