28 July 2013

Listen to me chattering about fibre

If you would like to listen to me ramble on about the joys of making FrazzleBatts, you can listen to this podcast episode.

For fibre artists, especially spinners, this is a fabulous podcast: if you are in the Master Spinner class from Olds College, you will especially love it as there are a lot of awesome bits of information about the course, as well as other great fibrey tips and tricks.

24 July 2013

Giveaway for Rookie’s Field Guide to Supported Spinning readers!


There’s a giveaway (bribery/incentive) deal going on right now for readers of the Rookie’s Field Guide to Supported Spinning …

Details in our Ravelry forum!


Pacing is key to success in a lot of things: running a marathon, riding the Tour de France, working on a big project … getting through every day life.

I’ve been running a bit too hard lately, I think – the nightmares and really weird dreams are increasing in frequency, I’m having more and more trouble sleeping, and the chest pain is back. Yep, that’d be a sure sign that I’ve overtaxed the system and it’s time to slow things down!

It’s hard to slow down though – there is so much that needs doing, fences that need to be fixed, feeders to build, dinners to make, dishes to wash, laundry to hang up … the list is long. But, if I do a few things off the list each day and then SIT MY BUTT DOWN for awhile, I’ll be in better shape.

It’s just hard to actually *rest* when there is so much staring at me that needs doing.

Maybe if I try and tell myself this vest really needs doing, I will sit and knit on it instead of worrying about all the other things on my list. I do like how it’s coming along, the shaping along the sides is really neat. Short rows are magical.

21 July 2013

Spinning at the Garden

Today I was at the local Garden - it’s an old homestead that was made into a historical site: the old house is still there, and the guy who homesteaded there originally was determined to grow all kinds of plants. There are trees there that “shouldn’t” grow here, like a black walnut and some others .. the crazy guy even imported poison ivy (it doesn’t grow here) to see if it would grow! (It does! It has a big fence around it, but it grows here!)

Anyway, today was ”History in the Garden”, celebrating the centennial of the homestead, and I was there doing a spinning demo on my 100 year old wheel … in period costume (or close to it) and spinning rovings done at Custom Woolen Mills, here in Alberta, which uses equipment from around the turn of the century as well.

Photo 2013-07-21 11 33 30 AM

So I was at my wheel all day - and I spun up another 4 bobbins of singles, so about 400 grams more.

Photo 2013-07-21 6 29 20 PM

It’s nothing special - it was some random CWM rovings I found in my stash, don’t even know what it is, but I know it’s their stuff, I recognize the characteristic structure of the rovings - but it’s another 400 grams of wool spun up during the Tour, which officially ends today.

Oh - and today I also sold two books, a knitted scarf, and two balls of my Tour yarn, which I had on display and a lady asked if I’d sell it. :)

So yep, I had a fun day, even if I was spinning in shoes (shoes!?? at the wheel??!). The rhubarb punch was good, too! :)

20 July 2013

New watering strategy for the stock

The shape of the pastures and barnyard is an evolving thing, still. I would like it if we could just figure it out and stick with one good, workable design … but we are farm rookies, really. Every year we discover something else that sounded like a good idea until we had to live with it for a whole winter.

The impetus for this current change is that I wanted a way to have the water trough ‘downhill’ from the house, so that the water cubes we have to capture rainwater from the roof can be hooked up to the trough all summer and keep it filled without any intervention from us. Lots of fresh water, no work for the humans, that’s a good deal, right?

I also wanted it positioned so that in the winter we don’t have to run the water heater’s extension cord through the barnyard. It gets stepped on, unplugged, and generally abused when it is in the way of animal traffic, so there needed to be a way to go around. The spot downhill where the water could go for the summer would work well in that regard, but there’s just one problem: sharing.

In the past, we’ve kept the sheep and cows completely separate all winter. They run together in the summer, sharing the pasture, and they get along just fine (the calf chases the sheep around sometimes, but it’s all in good fun), but in the winter it is important to feed the two separately, or the cows will bully the sheep away from the hay. Also, after the lambs arrive there definitely needs to be a place to get away from the Big Creatures.

What we did before was keep them completely separated, with the water trough under a fence so that one half of it was available for the cows, and the other for the sheep. This works, mostly, but there are always headaches of one kind or another.

The solution (well, the solution we’re going to test out this winter) will be to have the water in the new watering pen area, and everyone will walk over there to get a drink. It isn’t very far from the feeders and shelters, and keeping the animals walking a little bit in the winter is good for them, so that’s a feature, actually. The cows will have their winter shelter and pasture area,  like before, and the sheep will have theirs … and there will be a passageway into the sheep pen the sheep can fit through but the cows can’t. That way everyone can get to the water, and the sheep can go wherever they like … and get away from the cows when they need to.

Today I got the fence up around the new watering pen – The Boy had gotten one end fenced and most of the posts put in, so all I needed to do was stretch the wire and staple it on, put up the gate and pound in one additional post. I always end up redesigning the solutions when I’m outside working, and as I was moving fences today I realized that with one small shift in the position of a gate, I could eliminate a whole lot of work and at the same time meet the requirement that the animals be able to get from any of the pastures back to the barnyard and watering pen. As it stands now, they can get from any of the three main pastures to the barnyard area, which has shelter for them from the sun or from a summer storm and has access to the water area as well. We have a fourth pasture that will have to be treated as an extension of it’s neighbour for now: it needs some more fence work done on it to be sheep-secure anyway, so there’s no urgency there.

The good news is that for the remainder of the summer, the water should be a low-maintenance thing … as long as the water barrel is full and the float valve doesn’t get knocked loose, we’re good to go. There are some finishing touches necessary – the float valve needs to be screwed in place, the fence needs barbed wire run along the top and bottom (we have discovered that woven wire alone does not stand up to the cows, dogs, and sheep – they lean on it or wiggle under it and in no time it’s bent and useless), and there’s one spot at the end where the wire didn’t quite reach that needs some boards put across it for reinforcement. However, what did get done is a good day’s work, so now I can sit down and knit with a clean conscience.

19 July 2013

Ecoprinting, Canadian style

I’ve been working on some test ecoprints, as there is a workshop coming up in August at the Pegg Garden and I need to have some examples to show – and I need to know which plants will give us good results, too!

I’m basing my experiments on the information in India Flint’s wonderful book Eco Colour. The book is fabulous, but the author is based in Australia and our plants are, of course, quite different from the ones she has available.

This means experimentation is required. Oh, how tragic. ;)

Experiments with leaves and plain, untreated cotton were disappointing. Cotton really does require pretreatment to take up colour from plants very well, I see. I’ve got some more pieces of cotton that are being soaked in some premordanting, and then we’ll see how they work out.

Silk, though … silk loves plant colours. Silk is easy to dye: just put the plants on the fabric, wrap it up in a tight sausage shape, dampen the whole thing and leave it in a plastic bag for a month or so.

I bundled up a bunch of plants in silk while I was in Ontario – pictures are here. I was going to leave it bundled until the workshop in August, but the colours were very clearly set and I was worried that the plants might start to rot in our warm weather so I unbundled it today. Also, there is some treatment required for it to look good, and I wanted to have something pretty to show people who might be considering attending the workshop, and so … unbundling happened today.

Here’s what it looked like before I unwrapped it:

Photo 2013-07-19 4 17 18 PM

You can see that the silk has turned many shades of brown, and that the string it’s wrapped up in has been dyed completely chocolate brown.

Photo 2013-07-19 4 17 48 PM

Unrolled, you can see that the leaves and other plant bits have indeed turned into slimy bits, for the most part. There were still pinecones and chunks of cedar, and some of the maple leaves were “peelable” but mostly, the plant stuff had just disintegrated.

I brushed off what I could, and spread the cloth out on the floor:

Photo 2013-07-19 4 20 02 PM

See that green? That’s a maple seed: it sprouted! I stuck it in some dirt, I dunno if it’ll grow, but it’s worth a try.

The next step is to let it dry and press it with a hot iron and a pressing cloth.

Photo 2013-07-19 4 49 13 PM

The colours are set by the heat, and the longer I can leave it now before washing, the better the colourfastness.

I unwrapped another small piece of silk that I had rolled up a few days ago, this one had ‘ditch weeds’ in it: clover, dandelions, alfalfa, vetch, and some yellow something or other that grows in the ditches here. I only left it for a few days, dampened and rolled tightly then put in a plastic bag on a window ledge, and the colours came out quite yellow and green, instead of brown:

Photo 2013-07-19 4 44 38 PM

There are a few spots where the plants didn’t make any marks, and a few where the purple flowers stained the fabric darker, but mostly it’s an interesting mix of greens and yellows.

Here are the two pieces after ironing:

Photo 2013-07-19 5 10 55 PM

I think that if I’d unwrapped the Ontario one earlier, I’d have had more greens and yellows – possibly even some purple from the flower heads, but of course I can’t be sure. More experimentation is in order! I did see a couple of small holes in the fabric, so perhaps a whole month was a bit too long, or perhaps something got in there and munched on the silk, I am not sure. I can work around it, of course, but it’s interesting to note.

I have another length of premordanted cotton (with alum and then milk) in the steamer today, it’s wrapped around dock (which is high in oxalic acid) and pineapple weed (which is just interesting), so we’ll see what happens with that – it was looking like there was green and brown coming through as it steamed, so I expect to get some good colour from that. I also have a length of silk wrapped around various leaves (poplar, willow, saskatoon, wild rose) and some weeds (goldenrod, and some small plant with leaves that look like the ones on maple trees), so we’ll see what that does. Both of those got a bit of time in the steamer, and then will sit on the window ledge for a few days until I see signs that they might be ready for pressing.

It’s an interesting adventure, to be sure – I will be at the Pegg Garden on Sunday so I will take some collection bags with me and hopefully pick up some flowers and other plant material so I can do a few more tests … there are some interesting techniques for dyeing with flowers that I want to try!

If you are interested in coming to the Pegg Garden workshop (August 25, 2013) you can register by contacting the Garden – information is on the right hand side of their web page, here. Hope to see you there!

All plyed.

I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I plyed it all up.

Photo 2013-07-18 9 18 43 PM

Starting at the top left we have 2 balls of a very soft Frazzlebatt (there was some mystery fibre in there, my much-more-clever-at-fibre-identification friend says it might be a blend of alpaca and mohair, whatever it is, it’s super soft!) that have been plyed with one strand of Malabrigo Lace – which is a super soft merino singles yarn, and about the same weight as the singles I had spun, so it worked out nicely.

Below that is a reddish/purple batt that was spun in two chunks – so it got plyed against itself.

Under that we have two balls of a nice and thick three ply yarn from a reddish/purple batt, a purple/blue batt, and a blue/kinda purple batt … it’s a really rich colour all blended together like that, and the yarn has a wonderful smooshy softness. Of course it does – three ply woolen spun yarn? What else would it be but soft!

On the top right we have a purple batt plyed with a purple Malabrigo Lace, and below that a pink batt plyed with some bright pink Texel yarn that I had spun up at the Art in the Garden event. I had just enough to ply with!

Under that we’ve got the mystery blue/gray fibre, all plyed with itself: there was about 175 grams of it all together, so it made quite a bit even plyed against itself.

Last but not least we have a green Frazzlebatt plyed with an orange/brown Frazzlebatt. I think that wants to be mittens, but I’m not sure yet.

I had originally thought I would weave with this yarn, but I am not sure now. I’ll let it sit for awhile, I’m sure it will tell me what it wants to be eventually!

17 July 2013

Tour de Fleece: GOAL REACHED!

Yes, I have spun a whole kilogram of Frazzlebatts.

First, proof:

Photo 2013-07-17 7 04 13 PM

1059 grams. That’s just a wee smidgen over the one kilogram of Frazzlebatts, which was my goal.

And the Tour doesn’t officially end until the 21st, so I am done EARLY!

Yay. :)

And now for the eye candy…

The final four batts:

Photo 2013-07-17 1 00 34 PM

Wheel spun yarn from those final four:

Photo 2013-07-17 1 59 02 PMPhoto 2013-07-17 2 55 52 PMPhoto 2013-07-17 5 55 57 PMPhoto 2013-07-17 6 50 13 PM

Group photo of everyone all together at the finish line:

Photo 2013-07-17 7 01 27 PM

I’m really thrilled.

Some of this was spindle spun, most was done on the Canadian Production Wheel. I’ve not had the energy to do much wheel spinning for the last couple of years, but I was finally in the mood to just sit down at my beloved wheel and let ‘er run. I worked hard to keep the singles fairly thick (all things considered – that’s not to say I spun bulky by any stretch, just that it was about double my default thickness). My next job is to ply: the first stuff that was done, the sort of hairy frizzy light blue and gray, will be plyed against itself and probably used for a small bag of some kind as it’s got that ‘sturdy’ feel to it (I have no idea what all is in it, that one was a blend of some stash mystery fibre plus Corriedale from the Batt Bar). The rest is likely to be plyed against things I have in the stash – stay tuned for some more interesting experiments in that regard.

In addition to finishing off my Tour goal today, I also went outside and did a bit more work in the barn (getting it cleared out is a nasty but necessary job), and thought a bit more about the fencing changes I plan to make while I shovelled.

I may actually go do a bit of plying now – the Babe is waiting for her turn to contribute to the Tour’s adventures. Maybe I can get all this stuff plyed up by the official end of Tour … maybe. No pressure though!

16 July 2013

More than halfway to the TdF goal!

My goal for the Tour de Fleece is to spin a kilogram of Frazzlebatts … as of today, I have completed 600 g!

Here are today’s accomplishments:

Photo 2013-07-16 1 02 28 PM

Photo 2013-07-16 2 19 27 PM

15 July 2013

Today I have …

- slept for eleven hours (in two parts, but still: I woke up at 6 and with effort I got back to sleep … since I don't normally sleep past 9:00, even if I went to sleep really late the night before, I must have needed it badly)
- had interesting dreams which I wrote down when I woke up
- read up on Jungian-style dream analysis techniques and applied those to the aforementioned dream (I know it sounds really weird but I do a lot of work in my dreams and I just *knew* this one had something important to tell me, even though it wasn’t at all obvious: breaking it down into symbols and retelling it as a fairytale uncovered some interesting ideas)
- took care of a sick sheep (got her into the barn, gave her dewormer and anti-scour meds, syringe fed her some water and gave her most of a tube of oral glucose)
- mucked out the barn while keeping one eye on the sick sheep (barn is now about half cleared, and the sheep had perked up considerably and was nibbling grass and drinking water from a dish by the time I came in for dinner)
- had taco salad for dinner

I am now in the recliner pondering what to do next. The vest I’m working on is about 2/3 of the way finished, I may do some more knitting. I might also do some spinning, as I’m getting behind on my Tour de Fleece goals! I’ll see how I feel – I’m a bit stiff from shovelling all that muck!

12 July 2013

Good Things: Tour de Fleece

It’s always important to balance the hard discussions with some easier ones, so let’s talk about the Tour de Fleece! After all, fibre arts are the biggest part of most of my days – I love making beautiful things, and encouraging others to make beautiful things with whatever talents they may have, too!

I love the Tour. It’s a chance to focus on spinning (or other fibre arts, but I generally go with the spinning) – which for me means getting some extra rest time in, which I really need after such a busy June. My goal this year is to spin a kilogram of Frazzlebatts during the Tour, which started June 29 and ends July 21.

So far, I have done 400 grams – I kind of got on a roll yesterday and filled two bobbins on the CPW, I was in a wheel spinning kind of mood. I finished off all the batts I’d originally carded up, then went upstairs and made more! Having a Batt Bar in your house is a wonderful thing, really.

I did a bunch of this blue stuff: it’s a mix of fibres from the stash and had some really textured stuff in there, so it came out a bit on the hairy side when it was spun. I think it’ll weave up into something neat though, maybe a bag or a tablet case type thing.

Here’s all that blue, wound into balls, plus the big fuzzy pink and purple batt all spun up:

Then I had two smaller batts made from some really soft something or other found in the stash (it might be alpaca) blended with some mohair locks and some Corriedale. There are two different batts here, I just spun them one after another and squashed them both onto the bobbin, then wound off into a ball – you can see the colour change in the middle.

Then I had to card up more batts … I’m in a pink and purple kinda mood, mostly, but I got some really nice new green shades for the Batt Bar so I had to try those out as well:

And I couldn’t resist the sparkly purple one, so it got spun up too!

Today I think I’m gonna be doing some more knitting: I’m working on a vest design with some yarn I got at Fibre Week from the lovely people at Riverstone Yarns: it’s their gorgeous mohair blend, and the colours are just amazing! I should have something photographable by tomorrow.

It’s a lovely, sunny, breezy day here at Apple Jack Creek – I hope you are having a beautiful day where you are, too!

Living Responsibly

Most of us, I think, want to  live as responsibly as we can. We try to keep our finances in some sort of order (that can be a tough one, but we do at least try), we generally pick up after ourselves, we turn off the lights when we leave a room, we shut the windows when a storm is coming.

When you live with health issues, there are additional considerations. Diabetics and others with fragile blood sugar levels need to pay close attention to what they eat and when, individuals with seizure disorders sometimes need to stay out of the driver’s seat of a vehicle, and people on regular medications need to take their meds, well, regularly, so that the underlying problems don’t get worse or send them into preventable crises.

People with mental health issues have similar responsibilities: take your meds (if you are on them) regularly, go to therapy, follow the instructions of your care team, let those around you know what they can do to help and actually be brave enough to ask for help when you need it. That help might be just to have someone sit with you or talk to you on the phone while the panic attack wears off, instead of suffering by yourself. It might be asking someone else to do your household chores today because you know that you need to rest. It might mean making the house safe for someone who periodically faces the dark thoughts of suicide – in our case, choosing not to have firearms here and keeping the medicine cabinet clear of anything particularly strong is just a reasonable precaution, as I’ve faced that darkness at times, and with a family history of severe depression, it just doesn’t seem like a risk worth taking – I might not be the only one to face that darkness, after all. It’s just the responsible thing to do.

Of course, another responsible thing to do is to find ways to enjoy the life you do have, no matter what your limitations may be. Just because you have mobility issues doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy being outside on a summer day – you might need to stick to the cleared trail, or the paved walkway, but you can still enjoy the sunshine and the fresh air. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good meal. Just because some days are dark, that doesn’t mean none of the days are light. Fibre arts are a wonderful beacon of light in my world.

And, just because you have troubles that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good relationship with your partner and your family. It is going to take extra work, though - it takes the hard work of honest conversation to keep things going. Everyone needs support to get through the tough times, and when one person in a family is hurting and struggling, everyone who loves them hurts and struggles too. Family members who live with someone facing big challenges need support too – they need a break, they need a chance to go ‘off duty’, a chance to vent the inevitable frustrations with the situation safely. The whole ‘family meeting’ thing makes good sense – with a counsellor, even, to help everyone get their messages across to one another and find solutions instead of focusing on problems.

My PTSD has been a big challenge for my whole family, but we are finding our way through the changes, one step at a time. There are days when everyone’s mostly just annoyed (or downright angry) with one another (or with me, I can be a real pain in the arse when I’ve gone over the edge). There are days when things go smoothly and you’d never even know someone in this household was living with PTSD. As I keep moving in the right direction, more and more of the days go smoothly. My chest pain has receded, and hardly ever bothers me anymore. Usually, I sleep. Most of the time, I can keep up with my responsibilities around here – not always, sometimes things just slip for a day or two and I try to catch up later, and sometimes I have to say “I can’t do it today, can someone else cover for me please?” Once in awhile, I topple over the edge into the Darkness – but I come out of it faster than before, and everyone recognizes it when it happens and the Coping Plan gets put into place. It is my deepest hope that someday, I will stop toppling over that edge – my counsellor tells me that I’ll get there, and as it is happening less and less now, I do believe her.

As I’ve worked on getting well, our family has been able to have some really blunt conversations – not easy conversations, to be sure, but honest and productive. I couldn’t have done that a year ago – I wasn’t well enough to hear what my family needed to tell me then, and they knew it, and bit their tongues. A year ago, I couldn’t have asked them for what I needed, either, because I didn’t know. It’s hard to understand – it’s hard to understand from the inside, never mind from the outside observer’s standpoint – how the healing process unfolds. It’s far slower than I thought it would be, and it doesn’t seem to be so much about having big flashes of insight (though those do happen at times) as it is about gradually shifting one’s perspective and acquiring new patterns of reaction. I expected to have some big “aha” moments and then I’d be better. The “aha” moments helped me sort out some of my mucked up thought processes, but PTSD is a conditioned response, more like a ‘learned reflex’ than a ‘thought’.

Hah, I just came up with a new analogy.

PTSD is like having an allergic reaction to an ordinary event. Allergies, like hay fever or sneezing when you are in the same room as a cat, happen when the immune system goes into a full blown attack-the-invading-organism response when presented with some kind of environmental trigger that isn’t, in fact, harmful to the body. If the body would just stop freaking out, everything would be okay: that pollen isn’t actually an infectious organism that needs to be attacked and destroyed, and it’s the body’s own response to the perceived danger that’s making your eyes swell and your skin itch and your nose stuff up.

With PTSD, the body launches into full blown fight-flight-freeze-or-fawn response when presented with some kind of environmental trigger that isn’t, in fact, harmful. There’s a loud noise, and the ex-soldier dives for cover – even though the noise was just a car that backfired or a firecracker that went off and he’s actually quite safe in his suburban neighbourhood. Thought doesn’t come into it when you are triggered, though: you just react. My triggers are, unfortunately, far more subtle – someone says something innocuous and harmless but my brain processes the words as “you aren’t good enough” or “you are a failure” or “you are not wanted” (and often the translation inside my head is so subtle that even I don’t recognize it until much, much later, if at all) and my defenses go up automatically. Sometimes it’s a bunch of tiny stuff that just accumulates, or I get worn down from doing too much and then some simple, every day thing tips me over the edge and the automatic responses kick in.

Sometimes I fight. Sometimes I run. Sometimes I freeze. Sometimes I try to appease the ‘enemy’. None of it works, because these aren’t the appropriate responses to an ordinary situation. But my old conditioning is still really strong … weakening, though, as time goes on and the catastrophes I keep bracing for don’t arrive, but it’s a long, slow process. It’s kind of like getting allergy shots to convince your body to stop going nuts every time the poplar trees start tossing white fuzz all over the neighbourhood: it takes a lot of needles over a long time to convince the body to stand down. Eventually, though, it works.

So, I continue to work at living responsibly: seeing my therapist, listening to my body when it says “today we rest” or “today we can do a bunch of stuff”, pursuing happy things like fibre arts or being with friends or reading good books or going fishing with my husband, making an effort to eat well and get some exercise, asking for help when I need it, and being aware of that edge so that when I feel myself getting closer to it, I try to back away and bring down the defenses. I don’t always succeed, but every time I come back up out of the Dark, every time my old stories prove false, every time I see goodness and hope, I get a little closer to wholeness.

It’s just the responsible thing to do.

11 July 2013

The Fragility Index

It seems to me that it would be a public service to those around us if we could have a kind of warning sign, and indicator of our risk of collapse / freak out / bursting into tears / going into withdrawal / tipping over the edge into whatever form our particular brand of crazy might take.

So, I made some images, kind of like the ones you see at the provincial park to indicate the risk of forest fire – low, moderate, high, very high, extreme, and critical.

Feel free to use them on your Facebook, your blog, a t-shirt, a magnet on the fridge … wherever you think they might help.







10 July 2013

Post Fibre Week

Once home from Fibre Week, there was the unpacking to do – which necessitated reorganizing the upstairs fibre studio to make room for a permanent batt bar, as I’ll be doing more blending now than before and I need the drum carder and all the raw materials right out where I can get to them. I got all that sorted (well, mostly, there are still some things just shoved in piles) and wore myself out even further.

Then I had a two day first aid class to take, as I plan to get my instructor’s certificate in September. This is a job that I think I can probably do even with my fluctuating energy levels: there are companies here that hire instructors just on a contract basis, so you pick up the gear, go teach, drop things back off, and get paid for the gig. No up front costs besides your training, very straightforward, and the work is the kind of thing where you can do as much or as little as suits you. So, there was that.

Then, there was the inevitable crash. I could feel it coming and I did all I could to mitigate, but I just couldn’t stave it off indefinitely. Something pushed me up and over the edge (doesn’t matter what, exactly, it was just one more straw on a heavily laden camel) and down I went. Two very, very dark days and then I managed, by sheer force of will for the most part, to drag myself up and out of the hole. I’m still pretty wiped out but at least I’m not as fragile as I was.

And, on my way back up out of the Dark, I handed my FAC license (the card that allows me to buy firearms or ammunition) over to my husband. We’ve chosen not to own firearms, given my periodic descents into Darkness, but I could, presumably, go and buy one as long as I have the card, so handing that over to the local Responsible Adult seemed like a good idea. I’m scared of guns anyhow, but still, better to just be proactive and take the option away entirely.

I am now in rest mode, spinning my fibre for the Tour de Fleece and watching Seaquest DSV on Netflix and doing as little as possible while I get my feet back under me.

I’ve made a lot of pretty string, though, see?

That’s about 275 grams so far, I hope to do a full kilogram by the end of the Tour. Which is in eleven days, so I’d better get back to spinning!

Fibre Week

I got home from Ontario with a nasty cold, and spent one full day in bed drugged to sleep with Advil Cold and Sinus so that by the time I got to Olds for Fibre Week I might have a chance of surviving. The sleep did seem to help, and I got the motorhome all packed up, all the gear loaded, and managed not to forget anything important.

I arrived to a rainy afternoon and some people standing about in bright yellow rain gear. Apparently southern Alberta was in the midst of major flooding (I don’t listen to the radio, usually, so I had no idea this was going on) and many conference attendees were unable to get through as the roads were washed out in places. This, unfortunately, included my business partner, who was stuck on the other side of the mountains with all the roads between us closed due to flooding and mudslides!

That meant I was on my own for setup, but I just made lots of extra trips and took my time getting things organized. The booth finally got put together and by Friday noon, we were ready to roll.

The Batt Bar was an amazing success. It was set up like a salad bar: pick your ingredients (as many colours as you want, then the ‘toppings’, like silk or sparkle or carbonized bamboo) and I’d blend it all together for you. On Saturday there was a steady backlog all day, folks would choose their ingredients and come back in an hour or two to pick up their batt, once I got through the pile of waiting fibre!

I was super busy at the vendor mall during the four days I was there (my partner did arrive on Saturday, so I had some help with hauling things and having meals delivered and such!) and I took it easy and skipped most of the evening events and such as I wanted to be sure I had enough energy to make it through the week, but it was awesome to be at Fibre Week, as it always is. By Monday afternoon I was running on adrenaline alone, but I did make it through and I enjoyed it all.

The event was such a success, we were able to order a new, wider drum carder that means we can make batts at about 4 times the speed, which is wonderful! There’s now an online batt bar at our shop, too, so people can have this much fun even when we aren’t there in person doing our street entertainment gig. (Several people commented that watching me was like watching a busker or a street entertainer at work – not only did you get a cool batt, you got a show!)

Catching up

I’ll be doing a series of posts to catch up on all that’s happened since the blog went into radio silence … stand by!