Weekend Roundup Etc

I was disappointed in the debate last night. I was hoping for actual adult discussion of policy and platform. What we got was people pointing fingers at one another. Snarking about it on Twitter with Canadian friends helped me get through it. All I really got out of it was an odd dream that I was an environmentalist active in avian preservation, and Stephen Harper personally promised me that he’d build a new habitat for penguins at the Biodome if I’d vote for him. I think the bird book is getting to me.

We had a whirlwind trip out to Rowan Tree Farm on Saturday for our annual spring equinox ritual (affectionately referred to as OsTaras) with t! and Jan, which was very enjoyable, and the next day we did a late equinox/early Easter brunch and egg-decorating session with the Preston-LeBlancs:

The bulbs HRH and the boy planted all over the place last fall are coming up, and we have discovered naturalized crocuses (crocii?) in the back garden, to our delight:

(Hello, lovely macro setting on my camera. You make crocuses look very, very nice indeed.)

I did a preliminary dye test to tint the Falkland warp fibre green to better match the Manos weft yarn. The green dye really turned the fibre an emerald, Astroturf-y green despite me using a half-saturated solution, gack. So I hauled out the hackle and blended the emerald fibre with undyed fibre in two different proportions, spindle-spun both samples and plied them, et voila; a pretty decent match, I’d say. The left photo shows the Manos at the back, a sample skein of a 2 white:1 green yarn in the middle, a sample of 1 white:1 green yarn on the right, and on the far left is the emerald dyed fibre, just for kicks. The photo on the right shows the two sample skeins laid over the skein of Manos, showing just how close my two hand-blended yarns got.

There’s so much variation in the kettle-dyed Manos that either of these blends would work, I think. Or rather, I could be a bit less precise about how much of each colour I’m blending in as I go, and it will still look lovely. Now I know that I can blend it, I could dye up about 4 ounces of green at this solution and trundle down to Ariadne Knits with it and another 4-6 ounces of undyed fibre to crank out 8 to 10 ounces of batts on the drum carder there… or I could further experiment with a much, much weaker solution of emerald green on a larger amount of fibre. Which I may still have to card with undyed fibre; who knows? It’s academic at this point, though, because I need my order of undyed Falkland to arrive at the shop first.

The bird book proceeds apace; deadline is in two and a half weeks, five days of which I am away for Easter. We had a bit of a setback last week when we discovered some of the art wasn’t available, which led to a three-level list of birds to be cut, and unfortunately I’d already written over half of them. It was somewhat demoralizing so close to the finish line, especially because I immediately assumed I’d have to find about twenty replacement birds from among the available art, but it turns out I won’t, so I’m still on track. I do mourn the loss of the research and time spent writing those entries I’ve already completed, though, especially since a couple of them were extensive. I am very tired, and I am aware that this manuscript will not be the shiny, polished thing I prefer to hand in. It’s somewhat uneven in that some birds just have a pile of folklore and superstition attached to them, and others don’t. Generally, birds that are found both in the Old World and the New World have more; New World-only birds have a lot less. It’s simply a question of the amount of time that the lore has had to accumulate. The proposed cover for the book is just wonderful, and I’ve been signed to write the intro to the accompanying birdwatching journal as well.

The book has been wringing me out, so I’ve been restless without a lot of mental focus to apply anywhere. I’ve been spinning a bit, and because I can’t seem to gather enough energy to select music I actually want to listen to I decided to try downloading free audiobook recordings. I’m working through the Librivox Sense & Sensibility right now, and I’m of two minds about it. Librivox switches narrators every two or three chapters, which is fair, but also jarring. I’m lucky in that there’s only one narrator I’ve really disliked so far whose reading isn’t very good at all (her recording level is low, in mono, and her enunciation isn’t great so a lot of the time it’s mostly a murmur). On the other hand, it’s kind of neat to have different interpretations; the change in narrator really wakes you up and makes you listen a bit more closely. I do about five chapters in a session and get through almost a half-ounce of fibre in that time. I wish my library had a decent audiobook selection.

3 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup Etc

  1. Ceri

    Nice job on the wool matching! I didn’t realize you’d actually made a hackle.

    Those crocus pics are really something else. I love the colours.

  2. Autumn Post author

    Yes, I got HRH to screw a bunch of plastic hair pick combs to a 2×4 that I clamp to my desk. It works remarkably well for what I need it to do.

    I’m pretty darn impressed at how close the colour match is on those yarns. The Falkland is a bit shinier than the Manos, but that’s not an issue; it will give the blanket even more dimension. I’m really, really tempted to spin a thick and thin single like the Manos for the warp, but standard wisdom indicates that a plied yarn has more strength and resilience in the heddle. There are proponents for singles as warp, but I don’t know how much I trust myself or my singles, or my plastic heddles, for that matter.

    You know what this means, of course. Another spin and weave test!


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