Saturday, 21 July 2012


My Fibre Room is well supervised and well stocked with assistants.  The other day I was trying to take some pictures so I could list more Fractals on Etsy.  I thought the coast was clear, but the Assistants are ever vigilant:

Here is Ash testing for loft.  He has his "fierce face" on, but I don't know if that's because the fibre isn't cushy enough for his liking or that he'd rather there weren't evidence that he's really a softie.
Ginny is assessing the tangling potential of the skeins.  She was about to test shear strength when I convinced her her services were not required.  She sulked off.

Hobbes attempted to assist with the photography but he was too quick to get a shot of this time.  Instead, Thing Small provided the following evidence of his helpyness.  She found him guarding the fibre laid out for tagging:

Lastly, here is Puzzle helping with another photo shoot:

He also likes to inspect the water containers on the dye table.  He has to be convinced to be elsewhere when I am dyeing.

(for those who might wonder, Ash and Puzzle are brothers and Ginny and Hobbes are brother and sister.  All were originally rescued by my friends Heidi and Steve.  Ash, Puzzle and their two brothers were rescued from a hollow tree at 3 weeks old when their mother died.  Ginny, Hobbes and their mother Cora were rescued from a barn where the resident Tom Cat ate their two siblings.  Cora now lives with my MIL)

Friday, 20 July 2012

A Day at the Beach

Thing Small and her friends wanted to go to Mooney's Bay on Monday.  Their plan was to have someone drop them off for the day.  All 6 parental units rather disagreed with this plan given that the girls are only 13, so instead I agreed to spend the day supervising them.

It's a tough life, but sometimes mothers have to make sacrifices :-)

That's my Hitchhiker wheel.  I'm spinning Fractal Roving in "Midnight Periwinkle".  On my chair arms are two new colourways I tried last weekend.  "Rubies" - which was a test for some yarn my friend Sonja wants me to dye for her to make a Swirl Jacket (Rubies and Ribbons from Knit Swirl by Sandra McIver) and "Monet" which is pale grey greens with purples and just a little rust.

Sonja and her 5 year old came a bit later.  She liked the colours.  And her son loved being in the water with the girls.

I got a whole bobbin spun, then realized I had only brought one bobbin.  So I got a good bit of knitting in, too.

I also attracted two sets of onlookers curious enough to actually come ask what I was doing.  

It was so nice, and other friends so wanted to join us that we will do it again soon.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Dyes should be WYSIWYG

Those my age and older (I am old enough that I learned to type on a manual typewriter and the first computer I actually used was a Commodore Pet) will remember our delight when word processors became WYSIWYG (pronounced "wussywig"and standing for "what you see is what you get".  Before that time Word Star and other word processors couldn't show you on the screen that you had used bold or underline or italics or changed the font size, you had to trust that the codes you added would do their thing. 

Sometimes acid dyes are not WYSIWYG.  This results in some interesting guesswork when one is trying to replicate a colour.  Case in point "Antique".  Here is one from the original set I made more than a year ago:
I had notes and formulas, but I couldn't remember which one I used for this particular one.  So I tried the one I thought it was.  Didn't look at all like that on the dye table nor did it look the way it turned out:
Really pretty, a keeper even, but "not the mama!"  I'm calling this one "Old Country" because Chriss says it looks like her china pattern "Old Country Roses"

Tried again.  This one looked even stranger on the table.  Imagine blue greens.
 Even prettier!  A definite keeper.  Still "Not the Mama!"  It's called China Rose because I'm sure there was a china teacup in my Nana's collection with just those colours.

One more time, this time I found my old pencil notes.  And I started.  And shook my head looking at it on the dye table.  Look at the colour in the dish.  Does that say "rust or maroon" to you?  You can see from the part that's already got dye on it that the colour changes as it interacts with the fibre.  It's starting to look sort of purple and green:

Believe it or not, after heat setting what looked purple and green came out really close to the original. Which my new camera then stubbornly refused to photograph accurately, despite Himself's best photoshopping efforts.  Will need to wait for Himself to pull out the big guns and rephotograph it before I can put it up on Etsy.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Back to Blogging

A few years ago a friend set me up with a blog.  I used it for a while and then we had a domain name issue and I gave up.  It's time to start again.  The old blog began like this:

My name is Elizabeth and I am a fibre pusher.  Also an unrepentant fibre addict.  I knit, spin, dye, weave and generally make mischief with fibres.  I teach all these things at the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild.  I'm also a wife, mother of 2, an SLP (Speech/Language Pathologist), a choir member, a bread baker and a whole lot of other things you'll no doubt hear about along the way.  

This will be the same.  Lots has happened since the old blog.  I finished my In-Depth study and became an Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Master Spinner.  Himself and I started a new business - The Manotick Village Butcher .  The Things (Tall and Small) have grown, a lot in Thing Tall's case (6'4) a little less in Thing Small's (5'1 but she isn't bitter yet, just hopeful she hasn't quite stopped growing).  I've made new fibre friends and kept old ones.  This summer I am rebooting the Hilltop Fibreworker on etsy and at a few LYS's.  There will be lots of Fractal Roving this summer and lots to say about the challenges of dyes and colourways.  And there are now two more feline supervisors of the Fibre Room - totalling 1 canine and 4 felines supervising all aspects of production - who add to the challenge and the joy.  Welcome to my Fibre and Family rooms, come in and make yourselves comfortable while you watch me muddle through a life with fibre.