Sunday, 9 May 2010

Embracing 20,000+ Year Old Technology

Yesterday was one of the biggest days in the year of my life as a knitter - the Knitter's Frolic, sponsored by the Downtown Knit Collective (DKC) in Toronto.  Elaine and I hurtled into The Big City for this event and spent several hours luxuriating amid all the yarny things.

I looked for Heidi at her Sheep and Spindle booth because I had decided I wanted to purchase a Turkish drop spindle. The one I selected was 1.7oz. and is Bolivian rosewood.

I wanted one like this because a centre-pull ball is created when you pull the tapered stick (I'm not sure of the official name for it) out and then slide out the crosspieces.

Heidi gave me a crash course in drop spindling and plying at the show and I was on my way. Here is the result of about an hour of spinning and plying - 9 grams of 80% alpaca and 20% merino from top which I had purchased last October at the Spin In in Campbellford.

Last night I watched some videos on YouTube dealing specifically with the Turkish drop spindle and learned the recommended way to wrap the spun yarn around the crosspieces - "over two and under one". 

There is archeological evidence that spinning fibre into yarn dates back to the Upper Paleolithic era. I found the activity of hand spinning to be rather enjoyable and as long as I'm not concerned about not generating a vast output of yarn, I can see spending some time attempting to improve my skills.

Here are some other things I picked up at the Frolic:

  • a couple of skeins of Fleece Artist Nyoni sock yarn containing 65% merino, 20% kid, 10% nylon and 5% silk. Each skein is 115g and 325m.

  • two skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts Hand Dyed Yarn - 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon in deep sea and shadow colourways. 
I certainly seem to be gravitating towards the blues, wouldn't you say?

I think I'll use these for the Robin Gallimore Filigree sock pattern.

  • The Scotian Shrug, Wavelet and Fern Glade patterns caught my eye

  • I've also read a lot about these Kollage square knitting needles so thought I'd give a 5mm circular set a try. I saw them the first time last October at Rhinebeck and when I saw them for the same price ($15) yesterday, but in Canadian dollars, I thought I'd give them a try.

Last night marked a milestone in Scooter's life, his last piano recital.We almost didn't make it there because Skip and I had totally forgotten about it. Scooter wasn't with us this weekend and we were puttering around doing stuff until I looked at the calendar and thought, "Holy sh*t, the piano recital's in an hour and a half!". I hollered down the stairs for Ship and the two of us ran around like maniacs finding appropriate clothes to wear and getting ourselves out the door within 15 minutes. We got there with 20 minutes to spare and I found an electrical outlet to charge the video camera whose battery was deader than a mackerel (as Skip would say). Since Scooter was going to be last on the program, being the oldest non-adult student Frank Horvat teaches, I hoped the 30+ minutes of charging would be enough to get me through his performance. Luck was in my favour once again and everything worked out fine. I was quite overcome with emotion after his Bach Prelude and Fugue in cm when he began his Chopin Prelude in Db Major. I held back the tears so I wouldn't snivel into the mic of the video camera. Even Scooter admitted that during his performance, it occurred to him that this would be his last recital and he had a bit of a 'moment'. His dad and I are SO proud of him. The level he has attained in piano proficiency is one that only a small percentage of piano students ever reach. And, of course, being a music educator, I have loved every step of his musical training.

Scooter is starting to realize that some chapters in his life are going to start closing over the next year or so - piano, high school, living at home and that many new ones will be opening for him. As much as he has travelled both with family and on his own, he is quite a homebody, but I believe is quite excited about the whole world being out there for him. Even though I'm not his biological mother, I sure felt like a proud step-mama last night.

I did have some still shots of this historic event on my digital camera but for some reason, the connector to the computer won't work (I suspect it's as a result of the camera falling off my desk onto the carpeted floor yesterday) and I can't get the SD card to work in the card reader when I take it out of the camera. But this is what we looked like at his last recital early last December.

Speaking of Latvian braid (I remember doing Latvian braid in the failing light in the car on the way to his previous recital), I finished the cuff and leg of the first Latvian Dances sock and in the car on the way home last night, I finished the Latvian braid around the ankle.

 How many braids are around the top of the cuff, you say?

Well, there are three around the top and then another set just below the checked design.

I am happy to report that they are very easy to execute. The process involves being able to knit with two colours and purl with both yarns at the front and alternating colours by twisting one round consistently in one direction then the next round twisting in the other direction. I'm thinking I'll save these socks for the Roseneath Fair in September.

1 comment:

  1. I thought you were going to stop by and say Hello when you were at the show. I thought maybe you didn't go.