Saturday, July 30, 2005

Working instead of goofing on the long weekend

This week, acid dyes...

Neither sick, nor lame to be offered as an excuse but possibly lazy will cut it, the ‘Blog is a day late (and several dollars short) but …but

I’ve been very productive the last few days. I’m into the third repeat of the Faux Russian Stole which has been my hand-knitting baby for the past couple of weeks. I wish the colours of it would photograph better. There’s little flecks of navy in it and it’s very heathery.

I ran into Liz last night at the pub, just before Oneida and I went home to cook dinner. I relayed my adventures in dyeing -- I think she could only shake her head in muttered amusement that I tackled the silk first, considering that I’d bought six skeins of Briggs & Little singles to practice dyeing. Something about fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I was rather astounded how much dye the silk took. I used the entire large jar and considering that it retails at $18.50 a jar, it was expensive.

“Acid dyes are better for that”, were the words of wisdom, so I went home and contemplated the very large box of the Majic Carpet acid dyes I’d bought when I was at London-Wul Farms. After considerable pondering, I decided I couldn’t make much more mess than I did with Kool-Aid, and all in all, that experiment turned out all right.

Have you ever noticed how frequently the correct answer to any dilemma is “OH, what the hell….?” Consequently, today was acid dye day. I’m happy with the results. Above is four 100g skeins of Briggs & Little singles. The first two are “Wow! No Kidding!” red for Christmas stockings (more on that later) and the other two are experiments with near exhausted dye bath where I’m just having a bit of fun.

I know at some point, something is going to go awry and I’m going to end up with a bucket of god-awful but so far, beginner’s luck has held.

You wanna salute the guy wearing these socks.

Last night, in the midst of my pondering, sans gin for the record, my eye fell upon my much neglected knitting machine. I’ll confess, the thing has me a bit in the puck-shy mode. It is not the walk in the park I might have dreamed it would be. But I’ve taken a a couple of good pieces of advice from Lynn Laagland, the Yarn Haven Lady who sold it to me. The first was to NOT stash it away. It’s been sitting, very prominently, in the kitchen for the past two weeks. And last night, I decided to take another flying leap at it. If I'd put it away in a closet, it would still be sitting in a box and I'd be suffering from the out of sight, out of mind sydrome. Where it is, I'm tripping over it and it has taken over the kitchen. It will eventually get moved into the studio space of my bedroom but right now, I think I'm best off with it front and centre. I’d found a pattern for Christmas stockings and by the end of the night, I had it entirely knit.

For the record, I semi-hate it. It took me a while to figure out why. I did it exactly according to the pattern which will probably cause Liz to have a stroke or something. There’s a finishing detail on it that I don’t like but I’ve figured out how to fix that for the Mark II edition. I finally decided that it’s just not OddBall enough for me but that’s okay. I can OddBall it at leisure now that I’ve got the basics worked out.

The other good news is that I now know that I can use my much beloved Briggs & Little singles in the new knitting machine. It’s my favourite yarn, full stop. There is nothing I don’t like about it and I think in the back of my mind, I was a little afraid it wouldn’t work in the machine. No, I didn’t say any of this was rational (pass the gin).

But now I’ve got the yarn and a small project that I can play with, all is well. I think I need a little confidence builder with the knitting machine. I don’t do humble worth a damn.

In any event, I have to feed this tribe of marauding locusts sometime tonight and my sister Kelly is up from Halifax for the long weekend, so I’ll talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Baby steps, baby steps.

Step 1: the colour changes

Short post today because technically, I'm sleeping. I'm in between night shifts and this is just the mid-nap break.

Well, there ya go... 500 g of lace weight spun Bombyx silk and a package of Gaywool Dye later, and see what you got -- purpleness. Very purpleness. Very subtle shaded purpleness that flirts with the very concept that was in my brain all along. It's tone on tone violet/amythest. And it's the first 'big girl' dyeing project of yours truly. And, I'll confess, I'm pretty damn impressed with it.

I was originally a bit worried (oh all right, I was bloody panicked -- I can't slide nothing past you lot) because the silk lost some of its sheen after the dye bath. I was hoping (praying) it was just that the threads were not smooth and aligned anymore. Sure enough, after winding a couple of the skeins into balls, all is good again. Like who in her right mind picks $80 worth of silk yarn for her first real dying project?

Eventual destination is ... oh, how did you guess shawl? You know, you're right but I so hate being that predictable. But in the meanwhile, I'm going to bang away at the Faux Russian stole a while longer. I'm nearly finished the second repeat (of five) and am just finishing up the first ball of wool. I've got another 2 of the same dye lot in the stash so there's that instant bit of relief knowing I didn't miscalculate and I do have enough to finish it off.

Anyway, it's nap time. Talk at you'se all laters; thanks for reading.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Faux Russian Stole

One repeat and a bit...

I can't wait to see this blocked. It's a wonderful lace pattern and my old stand-by, Briggs & Little singles is the perfecct yarn for it. It has the body that good solid lace like this needs to give it form. I'm about 1/3 through the second pattern repeat, out of 5 in total. It's knitting up fairly fast and I'm pleased with it so far.

It's taken directly from A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swanson, School House Press, p 16.

I need to do a bit more of the needle felted Celtic knot before I take a picture of it. Right now, it makes 'no sense' -- it's just unrelated blobs of colour. I'm felting a illustration from The Lindisfarne Gospel and once I have enough of it done for it to make sense, I'll publish it.

Talk at you'se all laters; thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Long Saturday Post...or Kate & Liz go to the Highland Games

Liz at the spinning wheel

The OddBall at "work"

Today was the NB Highland Games and Festival, held on the lawn of Old Government House in Fredericton. Through serendipitous means, Liz and I were recruited to do some demonstrations of fibre things. Liz usually weaves tartan at the event but the call for service didn’t arrive until late Wednesday, so it was pretty much giddy-up, go and off we flew, by the ass of our pants, as usual. Have spinning wheel; will travel. Have felting needles; will travel. Okay, the travel bit meant from my house, across the river and Liz could have walked if it wasn’t for towing that pesky spinning wheel bit but you all get the drift here…

It was a great day. I mean, it was a hellish hardship. We were marooned in a spacious tent that was completely set up for our arrival, and no need to ask for furniture. The tent was instant habitable with tables, 6 chairs and a large piece of plywood for the spinning wheel. Volunteers from the Games kept interrupting, asking if we had anything and could they offer yet more assistance. We were in the middle of the action, right on the main drag through the festival, 100 m from the whiskey tent, possibly not such a good idea, and 10 feet from the ambulance service, . Oh yeah, and then there was the part about having to listen to some of the best Highland bands and pipers in the county playing their thing and the “might as well be front row seating” for the concert tents. Yeah, it was a hardship all right…all that Celtic harp music and the incredible Gaeleag singers. And the men in kilts…who, of course, I didn’t look at. We had such an awful time that by mid-afternoon, we were plotting what we were going to do for next year’s festival when yet more of those pesky Festival volunteers arrived with the table loom they’d picked up for Liz to use tomorrow. Oh, make us come back…

Again, I spent most of the day talking about needle felting. I’m sure poor Liz is to the point where she could recite my ‘spiel’ in her sleep, she’s listened to it so many times. But the crowds were good and there was a great deal of interest in people learning it, so I think we’re going to offer some workshops in the fall for it.

I had a great day. Many thanks to the Festival organizers with their hordes of ever helpful volunteers. Count me in for next year, please…I’d love to come back. I'll knit you a pretty shawl...

Talk to you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Short Saturday Post

We're off to the Highland at you'se all laters; thanks for checking.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


It could have been worse...

Good grief, I just love it when Diana gets all tanked up on Raspberry Coladas and Mudslides and comes up with things for me to do. On the other hand, it could be worse and she could have asked me to balance the cheque book or some other equally ridiculous task.

Apparently, I’ve been tagged. What does tagged mean? It means I get to make up outrageous lies about me, my family and people I otherwise like. Some of these answers are the God’s honest truth; other answers are pure, unadulterated bullshit. Have fun figuring out which is which…

10 years ago: I was in the hospital with yet another episode of pre-natal bleeding. I was pregnant with Oneida, praying to God that this pregnancy would make it, that I’d finally be a momma and that Brian and I wouldn’t know the heartbreak of another lost child.

5 years ago: Absolutely nothing significant in my life happened so this is where I get to make something up. I think I should have some fantastic adventure to relate to my great-grandchildren, so I’ve decided that it was the summer of 2000 when Brad Pitt threw himself at me and begged me to run away to Paris with him. Naturally, I declined and in his sorrow, he married that Jennifer chick and you all see how well that worked out… I also lost about 50 lbs and wrote the great Canadian novel that I was far too modest to publish. And did I mention that whole cold fusion thing I invented? Well, it kind of went by the wayside while I was developing the cure for cellulite...

One year ago: We were camping in Kouchibouqac National Park in New Brunswick, doing some cycling. I also tried to create some job openings in the City of Fredericton by nearly drowning three of my colleagues in a bizarre rowing accident during our very first lesson. The poor little girl coaching my tribe of fat-assed misfits was traumatized for the duration of the summer and is probably still in therapy. The rowing club decided she was way too nice for us and assigned someone who just laughed at us when we were stupid. It was a great summer.

Yesterday: I slept. I worked nights and in spite of the fact that it was approximately a bazillion degrees Celsius, I slept. I got up once, decided it was too hot for humanity and went back to bed and, you guessed it, I slept. And right now, for the record, I could use a nap. I also worked on my Faux Russian Lace stole and have a vague glimmer of a hope that I will manage to get one error free repeat of this pattern done before I reach retirement. I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Today: I knit more on the Faux Russian Lace Stole. I will rip back everything I knit last night and two additional rows for good luck. I worked. I plan to sleep. I also broke a nail.

Tomorrow: Liz and Kids and Me and Kid are loading up the picnic basket and the Honda and heading out for Saint Andrews, NB. We’re going to Cricket Cove yarn shop, Kingsbrae Botanical Garden, the Huntsmans Marine Laboratory. We won’t even consider stopping at Briggs & Little Woolen Mill. Not me. Not Liz. No, that won’t happen. Honest. Well, if the kids beg hard enough, I suppose we could consider it. I hate to deny the little darlings.

You do realize that this is entirely Diana’s fault. She’s the one who mentioned ‘stash busting’ in a public forum and now we’re all doomed to increase the size of the stash by a minimum of 13%. Send the bills for the yarn purchases and therapy to Diana.

5 Snacks I enjoy: I don’t snack. Snacks have the annoying property of interfering with my capacity to consume booze. If I’m consuming mindless calories, I’m going to drink them instead -- besides, in interests of better health and my cholestrol levels, all my drink choices have zero fat grams. I‘m such a good girl. So my top 5 choices are single malt whiskey (Balvenie Double Wood, Aberlour, or Glen Dronach are particularly favourites); Tanquaray Gin and Tonic (quinine to prevent malaria), Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale, and Bloody Caesars for the lycopine content. In cases of environmental extremes, like the weather we are currently NOT enjoying, I will make an exception for home made ice cream. Technically, it’s not a snack. It’s a dairy serving.

5 Bands or Singers I know the lyrics to most of their songs: Lyle Lovett, Great Big Sea, Stomping Tom Connors, Tom Waits and Monty Python. And the Who. I know that’s more than 5, but you expect me to edit that list?

Things I would Do with $1, 000, 000 – well, by current agreement and conditions of the marriage contract, half goes to Brian, who quits his real job and takes up the full time employment of trying to keep me from spending his half. My half, well that goes AWOL fairly fast. It wouldn’t take me too long to find someone who needed money worse than I do. After all these years, Brian’s used to it.

5 Locations I would love to run away to: The Canadian Yukon, because it was my mother’s unrealized dream destination and because I have a long standing fascination with the ecology of Beringia; Lake Turkana in Kenya because I would like to walk upon the shores that nurtured humanity when we were still an infant species; the Champs d’Elysee for the final day of the Tour de France, preferably the year Tyler Hamilton wins it after having exonerated himself because there is no revenge sweeter than success; the northern most reaches of Scotland because it’s impossible to understand a people until you understand the geography that shapes them and I wish to better understand the people I come from; Newfoundland because I’ve never been there and I’d like to see the oldest rocks on earth.

5 bad habits I have: I have no bad habits. I mean, other than my overwhelming sense of modesty. I prefer to think of my little irksome quirks not so much as ‘bad habits’ but as well-earned and ought to be savoured “vices“. I was far too much good girl to have a sordid past but I’m hoping for at least a semi-shocking, peri-menopausal breakdown before careening into an absolutely scandalous old age of debauchery, preferably drinking doubles and cavorting with cabana boys. Oh, come on, I’ve earned it…

5 things I like doing: Sleeping frequently heads the list but right now, I’m good in that department. I like being with la famille -- I’ve grown rather fond of them. Oneida cracks me up. She’s getting funnier by the day. Solving all the problems of the world with Liz. Knitting and other funky fibre related things. Writing this blog and I’m going to be really smaltzy and swarmy here…I love my job. I know, that's one sick sycophantic suckup statement, except my boss doesn’t read this ‘Blog.

5 things I would never wear: Okay, I’ve made all the fashion faux pas that one person is allowed to make in a lifetime. How about the list of things I will never wear AGAIN? combat boot and fatigues -- I did my stint in Her Majesty‘s Loyal Service and I thank you for it but no need for a repeat engagement; Speedo swimsuit - I hate them when I was a competitive swimmer and since I‘ve fluffed up considerably since we won‘t even go there; 4 inch stilletto heel pumps, even if they are Italian leather and they’re so gorgeous that they make me drool ; Maternity clothes -- love the kid, would have taken the full dozen had the Good Lord in Heaven Above been willing but let’s face it, I’m 42 years old and the thoughts of 2 am feedings and schlepping a little bundle of joy into a carseat gives me night sweats.

5 TV Shows that I like: murder, mayhem, chaos, and perennial nastiness… count me in for CSI: Crime Scene Investigations (the original Los Vegas version), Law & Order, the BBC Crime movies: Dalziel and Pascoe, Inspector Morse, Touch of Frost and Mid Somerset Murders. For the record, I was never an Agatha Christie fan. Hercules Periot is a pompous arse and Miss Marple really should have got laid more often. Yeah, I know -- I’m so going to Hell for that last crack.

5 Movies I Like: hmmmmmmmmm always a hard category for me since I so rarely watch the damn things. Lion in Winter remains my all time favourite of any genre. Most recently, I watched Coach Carter and liked it. Calendar Girls was good. My ass is still numb from watching that Lord of the Rings thing. The only thing more tedious than the second Lord of the Rings movie was the second Lord of the Rings book.

5 Famous People I would like to meet: The problem with famous people is that I secretly suspect that 99% of them are total horses arses who are totally uninterested in learning all about the ever-fascinating and all-compelling moi…Okay, just for one minute, we will pretend this is not all about me… Eleanor of Aquataine, just because she’s about the coolest, ass-kicking-est woman in all of recorded Western history; Florence Nightingale, for her contributions to statistical methodology; Dr. Frederick Banting for the discovery of insulin, Dr. John Snow for his founding of modern epidemiology, and Dr. Bill Bass for his contributions to the development of modern forensic anthropology. … Ok, now by show of hands, how many of you out there didn’t know I’m a science geek?? Fooled ya, didn’t I? You thought it was all shiny, shiny, Princess Bling-Bling, didn’t ya?

5 Biggest Joys in my Life at this Moment: Diana had to go ruin it for the rest of us by naming her family members…what a suck up that woman is…so in keeping with the established theme that none of us now dare to deviate from…Brian, my loving hubby, Oneida the wonder Kid, and the bestest friend ever, Liz Haines.

Okay, enough with the sentimental schmaltz … Arsenal Football Club because they finally flogged that total Pain in the Ass poser, not fit to call himself captain, badge kissing hypocrite Patrick Vieira -- Lord, I’m glad to see the arse end of that thing heading out the door. Good luck to you, you dumb ass.

And just because it’s July -- what list would be complete without mention of the spectacle that is the Tour de France. Kudos to all the American cyclists (it’s more than just Lance, you know) who get absolutely no respect at home for their accomplishments.

5 Favourite Toys: my knitting machine, my bike, my digital camera, this computer and the cocktail shaker. You will all note that the following did not make the cut on this list: vacuum cleaner, dust rag, mop, dishcloth.

Fruitcakes and Liz, you’ve been tagged. Talk at the rest of you’se laters; thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Drinks on the house

The complete knitting basket

Arrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh…snark, grumble accompanied by the gnashing of teeth, the clinking of ice cubes and the pouring of gin.

Plop, plop; fizz, fizz. Oh, what a relief it is…that would be the sound of ice cubes hitting tonic water, for those of you with the misguided belief that Alka-Selzer actually does anything for those of us having knitting moments.

The problem? The problem, you ask? The problem would be that it is hotter than the hubs of hell and I’m knitting with wool. I’m knitting a wool shawl because it’s the best way I can think of to sooth my savaged nerves. And the root, the cause, the prime mover of the thing proving most irksome in the OddBall Universe? Why, my darlings, that would be the knitting machine.

“Oh, what the hell is She whinging on about now?” I can hear the mutterings of the Assembled Masses (all 12 of you) now. Yes, I know. I’m being very whiny but I’ve had the knitting machine in my house for all of 3 days now and I’m **NOT** an expert yet. (Cue the gasps of horror from the Assembled Masses). There you have it -- the OddBall is not an Expert of All Things Textile.
The knitting machine has been a humbling experience in truth, a confession sure to bring a smile to the many who think I’ve needed to be brought down a peg or two for some time now. I’m used to being an ‘advanced knitter’. I tackle patterns with abandon and modify as I’m on the fly. But the machine…ahhhhhh, the machine… she is a thing of some complexity.

I had heard before I bought the machine the machine knitting was an entirely different sport than hand knitting. In the past few days, that reality has been brought home to me. I’ve gone from being an expert knitter, or at least an extremely advanced, highly technically competent knitter to an utter beginner. Remember your first knitting experiences? If you’re like me, you had visions of Aran sweaters whilst trying to keep from strangling yourself with the yarn as you managed to make it through a dishcloth without too many extra holes. Even if I did finish the beginner project with a minimum of mistakes, I never derived any satisfaction from these efforts. To my eye, even at age 6, they were ‘baby’ crap and I wanted to make the ‘big girl’ stuff -- like lace tableclothes and intricately cabled cardigan sweaters. My Nana was an expert knitter and I consoled my lack of skill with the comfort that someday I would be as good a knitter as her, if only I persevered. And, sure enough, eventually my skill level advanced to match my design eye.

I feel like I’m six again. I have all this stuff in my head but still no means by which to execute it. And unlike when I was six, and surrounded by very competent knitters, I feel very ‘on my own’. Mentally, I don’t understand what it is I’m doing with the machine. I haven’t developed that instinctive sense of how to navigate from ‘design idea’ to ‘execution’ to ‘final product’. The advantage to being 40+, over being six, is that I know that this is a process. It’s going to take me the best part of a year to learn how to use that knitting machine as well as I use the ‘sticks’. So, instead of cracking myself around the head and shoulders over the issue, I’m going to take the next year to learn how to use it. I’ve got a few ‘baby’ projects that will utterly freaking annoy me from a design perspective but will serve to enforce my sense of what I’m doing on the machine. Baby steps, baby steps.

For you fanatics who think the fabric is what this is about...

In the meanwhile, before the damn knitting machine drives me to drink (ooops, too late!!), I started a new shawl. The sticks in hand and my beloved Briggs & Little running between my fingers is very soothing, in spite of the hotter than the hubs of Hell weather we’re enjoying. Even ripping the damn thing back three times has had very little impact on my sense of serenity.

Well, that’s the news from the exceedingly humid Maritimes. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Yet another Odd Ball toy

Momma's new baby

The 'Blog's been delayed while I play with my new toy. This is the knitting machine and I'm here to tell ya, I'm a happy camper. It's got enough stuff that I'm not going to be bored any time soon. I managed to make a shawl on it yesterday and today.

The 24 hr shawl

It's certainly nothing I'd consider an Odd Ball shawl, but it's a start. What impressed me was that it was 24 hours from start to finish -- obviously without blocking. This has potential folks. In any event, I'm tired. I'll goo and gush more laters.

Talk at you'se all laters; thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Update on the fly...

I'm so excited. My new knitting machine is coming today. I'll post pictures later but in the meanwhile, I need to vacuum and clean out a space for it.

Talk at you'se all laters. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Rothesay Craft Festival

The future potters of New Brunswick.

As promised, yesterday was spent at the Rothesay Fine Craft Festival in, oddly enough, Rothesay, NB. Rothesay, you have to understand, is one of the tonier districts of New Brunswick. It’s a suburb of Saint John, built specifically for people who need to escape from urban industrial. It houses the only private prep school in the province and the inhabitants tend to be a tad on the chi-chi side, when they’re not out and out psycho-nut jobs. Excuse me, these people have enough money to properly qualify as ’eccentric’. The rest of us would be nut-jobs. Overall, I think ’posh’ would be the word we’re looking for but yee-haw, once a year a full flock of uncurried artisans, none of whom probably qualify for ‘chi-chi’ descend upon the place, invade the Rothesay Commons and put on one ass-kicked craft show. It’s worth the trip.

I got tagged to demonstrate needle felting and I did that pretty much without stopping. In fact, I was so busy yapping to people, talking textiles that I neglected to spend any money. The shock of this would have been fatal to my long-suffering husband, so to keep his world a-right, I bought Oneida a necklace. Not that there wasn’t places for me to splash the cash. Bejewel Jewellery Studio was there, as was Master Works Studios by Jonathan Corey. Both of these studios make stuff I covet dearly but I reigned in my tendency to acquire anything all shiny shiny and sparkly.

There was considerable interest in having some needle felting workshops so I think I need to organize a couple for September and October. Yet another thing for the ’list of many things to do’. Today, I hope to finish the needle felting wall hanging I started at the demo.

It was a great day. Liz and I shared space in the demo tent. I must confess that I was a tad nervous sitting with my little pile of off-white felt within striking distance of a woman armed with red iron mud and a bucket of dirty water. We had a great giggle at the start of the day. Liz trained as a potter when she was in craft college but hasn’t thrown a pot in four or five years. Apparently, playing in mud is like riding a bike -- you never forget how to make a mess.
The festival is still on today, for those of you in the southern/central New Brunswick region and I think the weather promises to be a little more co-operative. We were shut down a little early yesterday by some thunderstorm activity.

For those of you who follow Liz’s blog, she will be back. She’s just been busier than a one armed paper hanger this past week. Between the last minute run-up to the Festival and training two new staff members, she’s earned the non-existent pay cheque she doesn’t get. It has to be a labour of love.

In any event, it’s time for me to go torture more fuzzy things. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Somebody stop me before I stash again.

Come east, Diana, come east....

Diana, the Dysfunktional Knitter, would have been in stroke territory yesterday. She's taken it upon herself to keep the Canadian economy afloat with yarn purchases (thanks Diana, the PMO says we appreciate the efforts) and I'm thinking she needs to start spreading it in an easterly direction. Diana, I'm here to tell you that if you find yourself buried under a mountain of icky old cash that you need to dispose of, the London-Wul Farm would be a place to consider. I lit out, under the careful supervision of a semi-responsible adult and two impatient children, for this fibre junkie's paradise.

First off, I’m here to tell you that the directions posted on the website for the London-Wul Farm suck. Here’s the **real** version… Take Exit 474 A-B off the Trans-Canada Hy and turn onto Hy 132 southbound (towards Dieppe). Melanson Rd is on the left, before you get to the Dieppe Airport. The farm is a few kilometres down the road, again on your left.

Now that we’ve got that straightened out, I didn’t spend enough time wandering around there but the girls, Oneida and her little friend Jordan, were impatient to get to the water theme park. Brian kept reminding me that while they were being very good, the statute of limitations on that would run out shortly.

Not putting Liz out of business or anything

My purpose for the trip was to buy some wool dyes, not that I have any intention of putting Liz out of business or anything, but have you ever tried to describe a colour to someone else? The conversation quickly degenerates into a mess of it “it’s not quite that but it’s almost a this, but with more umppph and slightly heavier”. Liz and I can practically read each other’s minds and we can’t communicate it fully. I’ve come to the conclusion that for some things I’m just going to have to get off my fat duff and dye the damn stuff myself. So I picked up a basic starter kit of acid dyes and a couple of Gaywool dyes. This should be a project. I'm smelling 'blog fodder for the fall.

Obviously, this means there’s another road trip to Briggs & Little coming because I need some practise materials. I am not going to have at my first kick at the dye pot be this bit of bad-assed-ness…That's right, the stash needs expanding.

OH, you know it, baby, ...angora & silk

Oh yeah, baby, you know it. 2800m of 55% angora/45% silk blend, cobweb weight. Can we all say……..Shetland Shawl?? I know, I know…I need more yarn in this house like I need a do-it-yourself lobotomy kit. So how did I handle that issue? You got it . I bought more yarn…225 g of mohair madness but it was so yummy. Doesn’t that just scream shawl to you? You know you just need to wrap yourself in it. Now I need to figure out the colour for it.

And this fuzzy would be 1/2 lb of mohair badness

I could have splashed a lot more cash but the girls were at about the end of their collective tethers. Have no fear, I’ll be back when I have more time to wander and check out the place in full. It’s an Economusee site and there was a lot more to see. I mean besides the merino…check it out. I was very good and managed to not dive head first into the yarn barns. I know you're all so very proud of me. I’ll wait until my next trip to make a total arse of myself.

Don' t ya just wanna huff it??

Tomorrow, I’m off to the Rothesay Fine Craft Show. It’s one of two annual craft festivals sponsored by the New Brunswick Craft Council. I’m demonstrating needle felting on Saturday, so today I really need to get some stencils cut. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Road trip...AGAIN

Don't look now but that OddBall is here ...

Today, la Famille departed for Moncton/Dieppe to go a water amusement park, full of water slides and that sort of rot. I, of course, has other destinations in mind, namely London-Wul Farms just outside Dieppe.

I'll post all the gory details later. In the meanwhile, I'm going have a cold drink, preferably something with alcohol and deal with my very minor sunburn. Talk at you'se all laters; thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Road Trip...

Home, Sweet, Home

Yesterday I was scheduled to pick up little Miss Oneida from Girl Guide Camp. The camp is out in Harvey, NB, which quite coincidentally is about 3 minutes up the road from the one and only Briggs & Little Woolen Mills Ltd. It's the oldest woolen mill in Canada, having been established in 1857, a decade before Canada became a nation. It's been burnt to the ground and rebuilt 4 times. In these parts, it's not a manufacturer - it's an institution.

Liz, grab your purse, it’s a road trip.

We were a bit late in the day getting away because Liz had a craft council meeting. Contrary to what I reported last week, the Rothesay Fine Craft show was not last weekend but is actually this weekend coming… more on that later but my separation anxiety was entirely self-inflicted and for naught. In any event, back to the story… Harvey is a small village about 45 minutes west of Fredericton. Liz’s meeting lasted until 12:30. We had to pick up the Princess and company at 2 pm. Doing the math, it’s not a lot of time in the shop. It’s okay, we still managed to blow some money.

The stash additions

For the record, I love Briggs & Little wool yarns. It’s not some sappy, softy, little whoosy, prissy Merino that falls apart while you look at it. This is a yarn that can take what life passes out. It sneers at the forces that turns other yarns to rags. This is a yarn as hardy and rugged as the people of New Brunswick. A pair of socks made from B&L is a lifetime procurement. Sweaters from B&L do not wear out -- they’re inherited. And for those who dislike the ‘hand’ of it when you’re in the yarn shop huffing it, wash it. That roughness disappears with the first wash. I frequently wash it before I knit it up. And since it comes in about 8 weights and 40 colours in each, there’s not lack of what you can do with the stuff. Next trip, we’ll get some shots of inside the shop.

I also managed to score the last ball winder that they had on the shelf. It’s so much better to have one here than having to borrow one from Trish. Finally, the 4 skeins or 1500 meters of the single ply (in mulberry) is slated to be a shawl. I haven’t decided which pattern yet but I’ll come up with something.

B&L singles...100% wool, 100% pure yummy goodness.

Oh yeah, the Rothesay Fine Craft show is this weekend coming -- July 9 & 10 in Rothesay, NB, just outside Saint John. This OddBall is slated to demonstrate needle felting on Saturday. I’m looking forward to it. Now I have to come up with a piece to do. That’s today’s project. I have my machine knitting lessons on Wednesday with Lynn Laagland. My goodness, so many things, so little time. Oh well, it’s all fodder for the Blog.

In any event, that was the view from here. Talk at you’se laters; thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 03, 2005 gotta love it...

Rip-it ... rip-it...

I’ve hummed. I’ve hawed. I’ve walked in circles, contemplated, re-thought, considered and pondered to no avail and there’s no escaping the notion that the burgundy mohair shawl is too small. Yes, it still needs to be blocked but blocking *might* bring it to the barely acceptable dimension and certainly nothing spectacular. So now all I need is to develop the courage to rip the edging out and pick up all 500 + freaking stitches and… sigh.

Moral of the story -- go with your gut instincts. When I first got ready to cast it off, I was a bit dubious. It would have been so much easier to knit another 10 rows then but I managed to talk myself out of it. You see, Liz, this is what happens when I follow the freakin’ instructions. Every time I follow the pattern, I end up pissed off.

So, that’s the story on the burgundy stitch shawl. I’m leaving it alone however until I finish the edging on the other mohair boucle shawl. I know it’s been a while but I’ve got about 3 inches of the lace edging done on it. There’s a lot of stitches in each round, along the lines of 460, if memory serves correct.

On other news, tonight is the last night shift before vacation. Tomorrow I pick La Princesse up from Girl Guide camp and this week, my new knitting machine will arrive. That should constitute some serious Blog fodder or some more exercises to hone my cursing abilities. I’m looking forward to it but at the same time, that sense of panic that I’m no where close to having stuff ready for jurying has not abated. The way I look at it, I’ve got 2 months to knit 5 really solid pieces and I’m not anywhere there yet. So the knitting machine may get tucked in a corner for a couple of months until I can relax enough to play and enjoy myself.

In any event, I’ll sort it out eventually. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Happy Birthday, you OddBall Nation

Happy Canada Day! If you fought for your country, you can ride. The rest of you slackers can walk.

Happy Anniversary at that grand and glorious social experiment known as Canada. As your OddBall gets older, and progressively more demented, she finds herself growing increasingly sentimental. So you’re all going to have to be patient while she constructs her list of Why I’m Glad I’m a Canadian, the 40-something-ish edition. Im glad that I'm a Canadian because:

* Today in Toronto, a Muslim woman stood in the mosque and lead her community in the Friday prayers and no one blew up the building;

* Because when four members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, our national police force, were killed on the job, it wasn’t business as usual. The entire nation went into a week of official mourning, 10 000 people attended their funerals and the rest of us stood by our televisions and wept.

* Because in spite of our frequent political hissy-fits and spitting matches with our neighbours to the south, over everything from international relations with Cuba to software lumber, to mad-cows to potato viruses and the definition of ‘national security’, we remain the only nation on earth who ‘gets’ America. We look at the troupe of clowns leading us in Ottawa and understand that Joe and Josephine America aren’t responsible for what’s coming out of Washington on most days of the week.

* Because last week, when the Conservative Party vowed to fight yet another election on the necessity, nay in the moral righteousness even, of depriving an identifiable sector of our population of their basic civil rights, the rest of us figured out that how the next door neighbour defined his marriage really didn’t concern us in the slightest. At the news that the federal government bill to legalize same-sex marriages passed the House of Commons, the sane 97.3% of the nation responded by going to Tim Hortons and having a coffee. At last report, civilization as we know it has survived the assault.

* Because what other nation of lunatics would have a parade to honour the Kyoto Accord agreements and decide to have no motorized vehicles in it to draw attention to the need for us all to cut our greenhouse gas contributions? Even the police escort to the Canada Day parade in my hometown of Fredericton was done by cops on bicycles. It was a parade of push-mowers and bicycles and horse drawn carriages. And in an uniquely Canadian sense of compromise and negotiation, the only motorized float was the one carrying our veterans who are too old and infirmed to walk the distance of the parade route in summer heat.

* Because the older I get, the more I miss Pierre Trudeau.

* Because the world would be a lesser place without the Canadian inventions of IMAX theatres, refined insulin as a treatment for diabetes, international peacekeeping armies, the zipper, hockey goalie masks, electron microscopes, and the telephone.

Happy Canada Day to the 30 million plus OddBalls out there who are the OddBall Nation known as Canada. It's been my pleasure. Talk at you'se laters; thanks for reading.