Thursday, May 3, 2007

Computer Down

Looks like our hard drive decided to say sayonara last week, it just went downhill fast all of a sudden while hubby was working on it. Fortunately he's very good with problem-solving these things, so we've got a spare drive hooked up until he can order a new one, and he was able to slave the bad one and with the help of a Linux OS called Ubuntu, pull off all our files onto DVD backups. So thank God I didn't lose all my photos of projects I've done or the ones I recovered from my business a few years ago.

But it does mean that until I can figure out how to use Gimp (Linux's answer to Photoshop) in conjunction with our digital camera on Ubuntu, I won't be posting any pictures. Hopefully I will catch that up fairly soon.

In the meantime, a quick review of stuff I've been working on...

First, I got my Mother Marion kick spindle a couple of days ago from the lady whose husband makes them. I absolutely love it! I tend to have a problem with spinning too fast and over-twisting the yarn with it, but then again I have that problem with the drop spindle so what else is new?

But it's definitely easy to learn and it works fast. I was able to crank out four ounces using dyed wool roving from Sullivans in Rich Autumn shaeds. I decided to try something different and spin fibers of different colors together at the same time - I spun the brown, blue and green together, then I did the purple, gold and red. From there I twisted the two separate yarn shades using the kick spindle to make a bulky double ply yarn that is quite stunning. I really am enjoying working with this roving.

I'm also spinning some yarn from the Vintage colors. I'm doing just one color at a time like I did with the School Colors for my daughter's hat. I spun half on my drop spindle already but I'm going to finish it on the kick spindle and then do another two-ply yarn. Since I picked colors randomly back and forth that should give it a different effect.

I'm planning to use these yarns to knit felted clutch purses for my mother in law and sister in law as Mother's Day gifts. Yes, I know I had mentioned doing a jacket for MIL, but I'm running out of time... and I admit I'm having so much fun with the handspinning it's taking the fun out of knitting from premade yarn.

Speaking of felting, I did my first project in that a couple weeks ago: A pouch for the rosary my SIL gave me as a Mother's Day gift a couple years ago. It used to belong to her and hubby's grandmother and it deserved a better place than the cardboard box it came in, so I made the pouch out of the remaining yarn after my daughter's hat was done. I then followed the directions I found online for felting using a washing machine. I just thought it was the coolest thing when it came out the way it was supposed to - I'm so used to the opposite on everything I do the first time!

So hopefully I can turn out some nice projects for my SIL and MIL too... and hopefully they aren't going to visit my site in the next week or so and have their surprise spoiled *blush*

Finally, I bought two pounds of natural white NZ Corriedale from Paradise Fibers this morning, which I'm hoping to spin into yarn that's a bit better than my first efforts for that sweater I might finally get around to knitting for my husband (gah, my procrastination is showing!). It looks like they have a pretty good selection of different fibers, colors, dyes, etc.

I was very impressed with their prices - even with shipping costs I still saved seven dollars over what it would have cost me to get what I wanted over at my local spinning supply store. I was even MORE impressed when they let me purchase it through Google Checkout, so I was done in less than five minutes... and then they shipped it out not even an hour after I placed my order! Woo hoo!

So once I figure out how to get the camera working with Ubuntu to post new pictures (and learn how to edit them in Gimp) I'll throw up photos of what I've been up to... and maybe the wool I bought will be in by then too. I'll let you know whether the quality of their product is as good as their customer service.