Saturday, 24 January 2015

Guardian Cat to the Rescue

Cat snuggled against the hip incision
Soooooo, my cat does not like to sit on people.  His idea of a good cuddle, is to sit near you, but not touching.  He will sit on the back of a comfy chair while you sit on the chair, or he'll sit on the cushion at one end of the couch, while you sit on the other end.   But sit on your lap for a nice pet and a snuggle, nope, not ever.

Yet.......... if I am not feeling well, and not a I have a cold unwell, but really unwell, he is right there checking up on me.    When I got home from the hospital, we couldn't keep Cat away.  He normally asks me to feed him as soon as I'm up, but he didn't once mew pitifully as if he would waste away without his morning tablespoon of wet, gushy food.    Instead, he spent his days and afternoons cuddling up to me.  Either right beside my incision or trying to get on top of it.  As long as he could be touching my right leg in some rather overt fashion, he would make himself at home and cuddle up.

Cat snuggled up on my right leg
Yesterday he was still finding ways to perch on top of my leg.    This morning however, he decided that perhaps it was time for me to begin feeding him again, although it will be a little bit longer before I can actually access the kitchen for his food and manipulate the tins to his dish.   He has also decided to take his morning nap someplace other than on my leg.

 That can only be good news. It can only speak of good things for the awesomeness of kitty healing powers.

Cat snuggled up on top of my right leg.
Cat migrated to a more comfortable position

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

On Floors and Cats

The kitchen floor is wonky.  In a previous life, the kitchen had basement stairs in the far corner.  When the entrance to the basement was moved, they just went over the opening, without adding support.  To top that, the original floor was built on a slope to begin with.  When we first moved in, hubby put new beams in the kitchen because they are over a hundred years old and probably needed it anyway.   It helped a little, but the time has come to actually fix the floor.  I will need the stability of an even floor for the next couple of months.  I can avoid the other uneven floors, but not the kitchen.

It turns out that there are only 3 layers of flooring and a subfloor put down over one of the linoleum layers.   However, nobody actually bothered to repair the slope in any of those times and one included putting in a set of cupboards, such as they are.   That would have been the perfect time to level the floor.

It started with ripping off the trim and finding out that the original lathe and plaster has simply been covered with old paneling and then wallpaper over that.   I would love to replace the walls but it is so not the time for that right now.   Hubby had hoped that the flooring hadn't been glued down, so it could be reused for now because it is in reasonably good shape.   However, it was well glued down so the floor is just going over it.   The first efforts had full 2x4's used to level things, but it was too uneven, so 4 foot lengths were used instead.   It's been slow and painstaking to get it even, but slowly it is happening.  

The plan had been to bring it up the the cupboards and just lose the few inches of height, which for me would be fine.  However, it turns out the slope is such that it won't work, so all the cupboards will be coming out, to be temporarily replaced with shelving until we find bottom cupboards.  It's not going to be a huge loss, because they were so badly designed that almost half the bottom cupboard space is actually inacessible.  Good planning there!

Will it be done before I get home from the hip replacement?  I doubt it, however I have hopes that it will be finished or at least even when I start getting my mobility back.

It turns out that Kevin isn't the only cat to get into trouble.  My kitty, Cat is so well behaved it's silly.  He never gets into trouble, is polite yet full of personality.  He is getting on in age, but once in a while he is still playful.   After batting puzzle pieces around for a bit he did what he has always loved to do when a project is left in the open.   He got comfortable for his evening nap.

gratuitous cat picture

Friday, 2 January 2015

2014 Final Project Wrap up

 One night just before Christmas, the sky looked like it was on fire.  It was a totally awesome sunset!  I was glad I looked up when I did as I had time to grab my camera and get outside for a few shots.  I couldn't go far because I didn't have my coat, my mittens or time.   It had faded after a couple of minutes, but was glorious while it lasted.

 I finished one quilt but not the second one.  I just did straight stitching along the blocks, but I did a large stipple on the black border.  The backing is a green print that isn't related to the blocks in any way other than some of the greens are similar.   It was well received.   I wrapped up the second quilt top and gave it anyway.  It is sitting on my sewing machine, waiting for me to finish it up.  I have all the supplies except thread. 

I finally found the rest of the alpaca/superwash merino yarn.  I knit the second mitten and finished it the evening of Dec. 31st.   They are soft, pretty and very warm.   I was glad to have gotten that project finished before the new year.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Fibre Processing Comparison

Way back in October, I had a bunch of Merino and some lovely fawn alpaca.  I was playing with the blending board and pulled off a bunch of rolags.  Because the Merino and Alpaca were of similar staple lengths and about 3-4 inches long, I decided to practice the long draw.   
The last skein in the photo is the first that I spun.   I used a traditional English type long draw or double drafting.  The rolags spun easily though you can see the uneveness in the blending.  It was a really nice skein and relatively consistent. 

 However, I realized then that I had more than enough fibre to do a bit of an experiment.  I divided up the rest of the rolags.  I ran one set through the drum carder a single time and the second set through the drum carder twice.   I rolled up each batt and attenuated the fibres from the centre.   I then spun the resulting roving with a similar long draw technique to the first skein.  

The first skein, directly from the blending board rolags is fairly consistent in grist and there are distinct areas of Alpaca and Merino.   The skein made from the drum carded batt carded only once, was much more difficult to keep consistent in grist.  There were still patchy areas which just wouldn't behave the way I wanted them too.  The third skein, which was from the twice drumcarded fibre, was much more consistent win grist, well blended and uniform.  

The skeins are all nice.  They are all close enough in grist to be used in a single project.  There are differences though, which show that you really do need to take fibre preparation into consideration as one of the factors in spinning yarn.  It was a fun little experiment.

I started knitting a pair of mittens with the fibre.  It knit up easily and is very soft.   I just got the tails sewn into this mitten.   I went to grab the second skein and I can't find it anywhere.  It seems that in the pre-holiday rush, my skeins were put in a safe place.   Now I have a single mitten that I cannot wet finish or block because I need it for a pattern for it's mate, whenever I find the missing skeins.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Kevin update

The other day, my friend Christiana asked about Kevin.   He's doing okay, grown up and maturing into a daddy's boy.  He knows what time his papa should be home from work and waits by the door and if he's home early, he'll run to the door as soon as he hears the truck drive up.  He whines incessantly if his papa is late and comes to him when he's called, just like a puppy.  When Kevin is home with me though, he spends much of his time like this.
 He loves to sleep on the rocking chair.  We think it's because when he was little, he was always falling off the back of the sofa or the chairs when he slept.  However, the rocking chair has a backward slope and it kept him from tumbling while he slept.  He must feel secure there.
When he's not sleeping, he likes to sit by the side window on his little bench and watch whatever is out there, birds, chickens, bunnies and even the neighbour's dogs. 

He loves to sit on my loom and catch the views from the front window as well. 

In the mornings you'll find him and my cat in my bedroom, snuggled on the plush blankie.  There are two cats in this photo!  Kevin sleeps on top but right in front of him, snuggled under the blanket is my cat.  They are often snuggled together this way.

 That being said, Kevin still likes to explore.   He was thrilled when we got our Christmas tree. It's a lovely, fragrant Balsam Fir, which Kevin seems to enjoy sniffing.  He seems to do that a lot.  We used a galvanized pail, with bricks and a drainage tile for a stand.  It's always been plenty sturdy for whatever tree we've had in the past.
A few minutes after Kevin's first tree sniffing session, I heard a crash and found him sitting innocently behind the tree, watching the drama unfold.   We spent the evening picking up ornaments, and mopping up about 8 litres of water from the rug!   I was thankful the vintage ornaments weren't on the tree yet, although a little ticked off that an awful lot of the glass ornaments on the tree were smashed in the fall.  However, that is a risk one takes when you use glass instead of plastic ornaments.  We have a new, larger, more secure stand now too.  

It's a good thing hubby thinks Kevin is cute!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Colours of December

It's early December.  We've had snow and it's melted.  We've had more snow and it melted.  Yesterday they changed the longterm weather forecast from another cold, snowy winter, dominated by a polar vortex, to hey, the El Nino will moderate things, so who knows what sort of weather we'll get.  Today the temperature is hoving a few degrees below freezing.  We're getting small bursts of sunshine once in a while, which is a lovely change to our normally dreary, grey days.   We get a lot of overcast days during the winter.

 One of the girls was brave enough to wander around outside.  These chooks aren't that fond of any snow on the ground.   We used to have some which would stoically head outside until the snow was so deep that they couldn't travel in it without bogging down.  These girls are wusses in comparison.

 View from behind the back fenceline. 

 Across the road.  Sometimes you can see the cows wandering through the trees and back field this time of year.  When winter sets in properly, they'll be housed in a nice warm barn, but until then, they are fun to watch.

The nice thing about being with the Carolinian Forest area is the variety of deciduous trees.  We have several nice oaks, which hold their leaves through most of the winter winds.   Interestingly Carolinian Forest is a Canadian term and it's U.S. counterpart is something like Eastern Woodlands.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Garnet Yarn

First take a bunch of yarn and cut it up into bits.  I'd have done smaller bits, but it's been a bit difficult because of that ->

I've no idea what I did, but I woke up one morning in pain.  After realizing it wasn't just a simple strain and it wasn't getting better by itself, the x-rays showed a fractured wrist bone and landed me in a splint for at least 2 - 3 weeks.  This is after several weeks of babying it, and being relatively unproductive, so I'm not too happy about this.  Not at all!  It is interfering with all sorts of activities.

So back to spinning.  Take a bunch of yarn and cut it up into bits.  I used leftover blended colours from Master Spinner level 2.  I used 3 different scraps and cut them into bits.   I found a bit of leftover Icelandic fibre from a previous project.

I started carding the Icelandic and once the fibres were blended and aligned, I put some of the chopped up pieces on the carder and continued carding, finally forming a rolag with the chopped up bits integrated into the fibres.

Then I spun the rolags, using a long draw.   Mainly the chopped up bits are securely spun into the singles.   But every once in a while, one of the bits gets flicked off the fibre.   It creates a fun yarn with a very simple technique.  It was also quite fun to spin.