Saturday, March 25, 2017

More Rhubarb & A Field Trip

I just couldn't bring myself to dump out the rhubarb root dyepot quite yet! So I tore off a width of the wool gauze knit I told you about and gave it a quick wash in Unicorn Power Scour (there was quite a bit of sheepy smell and grease or oil in the fabric). The cut edges madly rolled up to the right side so I didn't think any kind of edge finishing would be necessary. Then I popped it in the reheated pot for an overnight soak. Of course I couldn't leave it just plain, could I? Instead I scrunched the whole loop up in my gloved hand and dipped one end in the soda ash jar and the other end in an iron solution. When I realised that I'd somehow gotten drips of iron water on the pinkish edge, I dripped some more on both edges to make the mistake look deliberate. Somehow those drips are darker than the greenish edge - both iron and alkaline creating grey? In the end I didn't leave the piece very long but tried rinsing it out quickly in order to avoid getting iron water all over it and dulling all the colours. The end result is not terribly exciting but I like it wrapped 3 times around my neck:

It stays put very well and keeps my neck warm but not too hot. Oh, and the sock yarn dried to a slightly more golden hue than the Highland wool did:

Very pretty! The little swatch of 20/2 wool was in the same pot and it is quite a bit lighter lemon yellow. Fascinating stuff. Meanwhile I still have some yellow in the pot but now I'm really planning to dump it because there's nothing left to dye right now. That was about 450g of fibre and only 150g of rhubarb root. I would say it's a pretty giving plant, wouldn't you? Roots (dye), leaves (mordant and dye) and of course the stalks (eating!) Here's one of my precious patches:

What else? Oh yeah. A proper photo of the Late Winter Fields Shawl:

I really like how it turned out and the handspun Corriedale holds its blocking beautifully. The pattern is Shaelyn by Leila Raabe. I made a few changes: balancing the lace pattern, knit 5 pattern repeats and didn't do the p2togs in the final lace section. I bound off after the last garter row with the Russian bind-off (k2tog tbl) for a nice substantial edge. Sadly it may not see too much use now until next autumn. But that's ok. It's a great memory of the snowiest iciest winter that I can ever remember in Vancouver.

Speaking of which, the city finally came and swept up all the sand that they threw on the icy streets. It was too much too late but better late than never, I suppose. Now maybe the vehicles won't get so covered in the dust!

On Thursday, Thom and I went to Granville Island for the opening of my friend Dawn's gallery show at the Craft Council of BC. Entitled "Thirteen to Zero: exploring sustainable design", she is working with historical cloth-cutting techniques to reduce fabric waste to zero. Dawn also uses plant dyes, rusting and other eco-conscious colouring methods. This approach is right up my alley, although I'm not so fond of the fit on my own body of most of the ethnic and historical garment shapes. I was curious to see what she did with the ideas.

The top on the left is pieced from small squares with the surface patterning eco-dyed with leaves and seeds. The bog jacket on the right is handwoven silk and Hanji paper yarn and rust-dyed. And this indigo dyed wool jersey top has no fabric waste:

This Greek-inspired cotton/linen dress is also indigo shibori-dyed to evoke dappled light on water:

The last piece is the most elaborate: subtraction cutting technique, ferment/compost dyed linen:

There was a photo of this gorgeous dress on a model along with the pattern:

You can see Dawn explaining her techniques to visitors just behind! If you are local, you should come and check it out in person, on at Crafthouse until May 4th. Dawn Michelle Russell, Della Terra Designs.

May I add here that knitting my sweaters is very minimal waste! A few small ends for the compost and sometimes leftovers to be used in another project. Result: a garment that fits exactly the way I want it, one stitch at a time. In my sewing I have a few more bits of waste depending on the pattern but I've discovered that if I'm making more than one garment I can arrange all the pattern pieces at once and become very efficient. Like a real-life Tetris game! My expensive Italian wool suiting had barely the tiniest scraps left over and I got a shirt-jacket and a vest with pieced collar and pockets both of which I wear a lot. Sewing doesn't always work out quite so well but we do what we can, right?

So if you didn't see it on Instagram (my user name: damselfly.ca) this is my next spinning project, the yarn for a sweater for Thom from the lovely Coopworth roving I bought at Fibres West from Birkeland Bros. The actual colour is a little cooler than the photo - kind of a warm mid-grey. He loves it and I've already spun nearly half a bobbin of singles. I'm going to be using my new Killer Kate to ply this so I need 3 full bobbins first! It spins up easily so will be a very pleasant task. Good thing because this will be a lot of yarn! Again.

I also want to whine about wanting to start my new yellow sweater as soon as the Cloudborn yarn is dry. However, I still need to finish a few other knitting projects first, not the least of which is the Isabel Likes Espresso cardi. I'm nearly up to the armholes and I'm still on the second skein. This stuff has amazing yardage! Though I'm sure I'll be joining a new ball tonight while I watch TV. Moving right along...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

So Spring

Hello, my dears! I hope you are enjoying some signs of spring wherever you are. Unless of course you live in the Southern Hemisphere - does anyone read my blog from there? Shout out if you do! Anyway, there are (finally!) plenty of spring-like things going on around here. I've been planting seeds in flats in the Grow-Op:

This photo was taken several days ago and there are already little green shoots poking up and more flats planted. Soon I'll have to transplant my early Asian greens into bigger digs and put them out in the greenhouse during the day until their garden beds are ready. They don't much like the heat under the lights. I was out there mucking about already and managed to get the peas in a week earlier than last year. Yay me! I also cleaned up, dug and manured the dye garden. The asparagus and rhubarb got fertilized also. Lots more work left to do still though! This is the most intense time of the year for the garden.

Speaking of rhubarb, I finally used some of my precious dried rhubarb roots:

Notice how the ziploc baggie is turning yellow! This stuff is potent and even likes to stain plastic. Not so useful on cellulose fibres however judging by the cotton ties on my skeins. So what did I dye? I got my last order of Cloudborn yarn from Craftsy! And immediately decided that I needed to dye 3 of the 4 skeins of Oatmeal Heather:

This is a lovely creamy near-white but I'm really craving a yellow sweater. 3 skeins equal just under 1500 yards in total and I have an idea on the pattern which only should take around 1300. I used 150g of the rhubarb root (50% WOF) and did a triple extraction for the dyebath. That means that I soaked the roots in hot water for about an hour, strained the plant matter out and dumped the juice in the dyepot and then repeated this sequence three times. They don't need much heat or it will bring out more gold tones so I kept everything below even a simmer, just barely steaming.

Then, since it doesn't really need a mordant for yellow, I just soaked the skeins while I was extracting and popped them right in when the pot was ready. I went down to the dye studio several times to turn the skeins and heat the pot again briefly and then finally left the pot to sit overnight. And we have yellow:

I had a heck of a time getting a true colour photo. This one is close but these skeins are still damp and also haven't had the excess dye rinsed off yet. I'm heeding the advice of Kathy Hattori (of Botanical Colors) to not rinse the fibre until it has dried bone dry first. She says it makes for deeper more fast colours. OK, I'm game to try. Though the yarn needs a tray underneath because no matter how well I squeeze it out it drips a lot! Now I know why people dye outdoors.

This morning there was still quite a lot of dye left in the pot so I decided to also sacrifice one of my white Cloudborn merino/nylon sock yarn skeins to the dye gods. It came out a little deeper than the first yarn and more golden in tone. Superwash wool yarn is a dye sponge! The little bit of regular wool thrums I threw in was quite a lot lighter, more of a lemon yellow. I haven't taken a photo of these yet.

Rhubarb root is really versatile and you can get a whole range of colours depending on pH and other modifiers. Apparently Alum mordant gives more of a gold, iron modifier will turn it green and copper modifier gives tan. I decided to scoop out a bit of the dye liquor and try adding soda ash to turn it pink. Wow. Did it ever!

I only dyed another little wool thrum bundle in this very alkaline bath:

So not yellow! You definitely don't want to heat this bath too hot or the high pH will damage the wool. I rinsed it rather quickly after only giving it an hour or so in the dye. Definitely possibilities here if you (unlike me) are fond of pinks. The true colour is actually a little less peachy than the photo.

That was fun. Now I still have a little bit of colour in the dyepot but I've exhausted all the fibres that I wanted to dye. So I guess it's going bye-bye. I still have plenty of roots left and now I'm wishing I'd divided my rhubarb again this year. It probably needs it too but it's a bit late now so I'll wait until earlier next spring. It's a big job! I have 4 or 5 plants now and nowhere to put any more of them so splitting would be more for the roots for dye and refreshing the clumps than to propagate new plants.

Well, I have more news too but I'll save it all for next time.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Fibres West Recap

Bad blogger didn't take one single picture while I was out in Cloverdale yesterday at Fibres West! I had a lovely time even if we only stayed for a couple of hours and left for home after lunch. Of course I did manage to succumb to the wool fumes and spend a silly amount of money. You knew that was going to happen, didn't you?

I was not wrong about all the indie-dyed yarns and fibres that were available. In fact I would say that at least 3/4 of the vendors carried brightly coloured skeins and braids. There were a few selling weaving yarns, an occasional llama or alpaca farm booth, a couple of sheep fleeces and blended and undyed rovings. Of course I fell for some naturally coloured roving from Birkeland Bros. Gotta take advantage of my opportunity now that they are no longer located three blocks from my house! This one-pound bag is Shetland in moorit to add to my coloured Shetland roving collection. One day there will be a project...

And this huge bag (5 lb!) is Coopworth (33-39 micron) in a natural warm grey:

It's actually a little darker than it looks in this photo. It's quite long-staple and very clean and is earmarked for another sweater for Thom - and of course several other projects. Well, in my defence I would have needed to buy 2 lbs for that project anyway and this bulk bag was discounted a little. Trust me, I have plans for it all. Besides Thom is very happy with the colour and the feel of this wool so a definite good purchase. He's looking forward to having another sweater since this winter he's worn the heck out of the two I've made him recently.

I also went a little nuts at the ancientFUTURES booth! The lovely owner, Ali, sews and sells her garments in hand-dyed merino, bamboo, organic cotton, hemp and soy fabrics. Last year at Fibres West I asked her if she sold some of her undyed wool knits by the yard and she said she did but sadly hadn't brought any along. Happily she remembered to bring some this year! So of course I had to reward her for such great customer service and buy some:

This one (above) is a very lightweight wool crepe knit that washes and dries into delicious crinkles. And this one (below) is a heavy ponte doubleknit:

It's not especially soft in this form but I was able to handle some of her finished garments and it softens up a lot in washing and wear and develops a little bit of texture. I got 3 yards of each (ouch! My credit card!) but I'm already envisioning things to make from it.

I forgot to mention the wares in some of the other booths: African baskets, polymer clay buttons, coloured wires for bobbin lace, silver knitters' jewelry, needles, spindles, wheels and looms. There were also a number of guild displays and several classes being held in a curtained-off area at the back. It was delightful to see all the gleams in everyone's eyes as they chatted and ogled and fondled and purchased! My travel companions and I cheerfully dragged our respective hauls out to the car and had a wee show-and-tell before heading home.

A good time was had by all. Now I have to let my poor credit card recuperate and start playing with all my new acquisitions. Which reminds me, I have a new piece of spinning equipment:

Thom played around in his woodworking studio while I was gone and made me this fabulous (and very heavy duty) lazy kate. Isn't she a beauty? Ticks all the boxes: 45-degree angle, heavy enough not to tip, rubber feet so no sliding around, long enough rods for any of my various bobbin sizes, a handle to drag it around by, hard rubber washers to protect bobbins and wood from wear, rubber stoppers at the top to prevent anything from falling off, and even a little peg to store the stoppers on when I don't need them. The base is somewhat thicker than was really necessary because that was the piece of maple he had available. It's rather pretty I think. We purchased the handle, brass rod and feet but all the rest was from his stash. I'm very pleased! Want another view?

The design was inspired by a couple of kates we saw on the Internet but modified for my own needs and desires. And before anyone asks, sorry, no, he isn't making them for sale. I'm definitely using this for the 3-ply yarn I'm going to be spinning from the Coopworth. It'll be fabulous to be able to place my plying bobbins in a more convenient spot behind and to the left of me instead of on my Louet S90's built-in kate that is too close in front of me even if I splay it out to the side. And the kate that came with my Victoria wheel (older version) is just not great though very light and portable for packing in the backpack. It only holds one size of bobbin and only 2 of them at a time. The lace bobbins (the black plastic one in the photo) don't even fit on it at all. (Now you know why Louet doesn't make this kate style anymore!) My new Killer Kate is going to solve all these problems - even if it isn't very portable - plus I saved a bunch of money and got exactly what I wanted. At least the handle helps to move it around the house. I wasn't planning to take it camping or anything. Good and enough.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Knitting and oh, yeah, Knitting

It's a dark and rainy day here today but it's definitely warmer than it has been, though still not up to our usual temps. The forsythia is budding out more every day - at least the buds that survived the birds who like to munch them like a salad! I can watch them from my seat at the kitchen table. Thom has made a birdhouse from some old cedar boards, nailed it to the fence and hopes that a chickadee or wren will move in. We shall see. The birds are all pairing up and getting rather twitterpated so you never know.

I've written you a plethora of interesting posts...in my head. Apparently none of them actually got typed out. Instead I've been casually knitting and surfing Ravelry for patterns. Oh and succumbing to more yarn purchases on Craftsy. The last buy of their exclusive Cloudborn yarn pleased me so much that I decided to get more of it:

Because obviously I can't control myself! I figure this should come under the heading of "Clothing Allowance", right? Whatever. The light and heat are still on and we aren't going hungry so I don't have to justify myself, do I? This is at least 3 sweater quantities plus maybe an accessory or two. The colours of the Highland Fingering are Stone Heather and Oatmeal Heather. This is the same yarn that I'm currently knitting my Isabel cardi in the Espresso Heather. It's a light fingering fairly softly twisted 2-ply and the Peruvian Highland wool washes and blocks beautifully soft and drapey. I got 4 skeins of each.

The last yarn is a limited edition wool fingering yarn with a higher twist and lower yardage per 100g skein. So of course I got 6 skeins just to be on the safe side. I suspect it might be a little more "woolly wool" than the Highland which in turn is not quite as buttery soft as Merino. But since I'm not really a huge fan of super-soft yarns anyway, at least for sweaters, I'm sure I'll be as pleased with this one. Yeah, I know I already have a metric tonne of wool to spin but most of it is much coarser (Romney!) and more suitable for heavier yarns. Anyway, can you imagine prepping and spinning this much very fine 2-ply yarn in a reasonable amount of time? And then knitting it into 3 fairly large garments? I could do it - but why should I? Oops, do I still sound like I'm trying to justify my purchase? Nah.

Well, maybe I'm feeling just a tad guilty since FibresWest is this Friday and Saturday in Cloverdale and I'm planning to go out Friday with friends. However I'm willing to bet there won't be any of this type of heathery fine fingering yarn there. Most of the offerings are the usual bright indy-dyed skeins of superwash sock yarn and maybe some worsted-weight. Plus a lot of spinning fibre (dyed or not) and of course some weaving yarns and various tools and equipment. Just because I don't need anything doesn't mean I'll come home empty-handed. Yarn fumes, right? Ahem. And I mostly go for the visiting/schmoozing/hugging anyhow! It's always lovely to see old friends and catch up. I'll certainly get my fill of fibre friends this week since it's also Guild Meeting on Thursday evening. I'll be in the library.

So just what have I been knitting? I'm currently up to four projects on the go - at least 2 more than usual. The aforementioned Isabel Likes Espresso (but I don't) cardi is coming along:

This is a lot of teeny-tiny stitches but it's easy to work on while watching TV or reading because it's mostly plain knit except for the border/collar's slip-stitch pattern. I can still only get an inch of length done per session but I'm enjoying it very much because I do so love the yarn.

The After The Melting socks and the Spring Thaw shawl aren't moving along quite as well and are sitting and waiting for me patiently. The Spring Thaw is the only not-brown project (green!) so you'd think I'd be more excited, wouldn't you? But no, instead I'm working on the new shawl that I started in the Late Winter Fields snow-dyed and handspun yarn:

Hey, I think that's the most accurate colour I've managed to capture on this yarn! The pattern is "Shaelyn" by Leila Raabe and it's a regular garter-tab-start triangle with alternating wide stripes of plain knit and an Old Shale variation separated by a garter ridge. It's easy to do and the pattern includes hints for continuing without needing to follow the chart. Perfect. BTW, the yarn after it was finished puffed up quite a lot (thank you, Corriedale!) and is not exactly fingering weight anymore but more like sport or a light DK. This is going to be quite a good-sized warm shawl! Probably be done just about in time for warm weather when I'll wish I'd finished the Zephyr silk and wool Spring Thaw shawl instead, right?

So I kind of fell down the proverbial rabbit hole on Ravelry (while I was knitting!) and just looked at pages and pages of the most popular knits out of the gazillions on there. I've actually knitted quite a number of them myself, even if I'm often late to the party. While I was trying to decide on what the Late Winter Fields yarn wanted to become, I tried a very nice shawl called "Close to You" by Justyna Lorkowska but I didn't like the garter stitch in my thicker yarn. (I plan to revisit this pattern later with a different yarn choice. It's perfect for variegated or striping yarns that don't play well with more elaborate patterns.) So then I considered "Annis" by Susanna IC which I've knitted before and gifted the results so I don't actually have one of my own. But I couldn't find large enough beads that went with the yarn and didn't want to do nupps in it either. So back to the search. I was a little disappointed that the cost of the Shaelyn pattern at $5 US actually came to nearly $7 Canadian. Ouch. But it's a well-written pattern so I don't really begrudge it at all. Just annoyed with the crappy exchange rate! (Another good reason to stay in our own country for the time being.)

Have you ever noticed all the different shawl shapes? I've been kind of cataloging them. Excluding circles, rectangles and squares, there are regular triangles (top-down or bottom-up), elongated triangles of various sorts, crescents and curves, spirals and more. As if that wasn't enough variety, the decorative embellishments range from plain to elaborately fine lace and a single colour through variegated and long colour changes to stripes and short-row swaths. It's pretty amazing! The industry and creativity invested in a single piece of knitted drapery boggles the mind. I already own so many but that doesn't stop me from wanting more of them. If I get too many, I'll just cull my least favourites and either pass them on or frog them and reuse the yarn.

Life is short. Knit what you want. And be happy!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Woolly FO

I got a wee bit obsessed yesterday and finished up the Late Winter Fields fingering yarn!

To recap, this is Corriedale sliver, snow-dyed with acid dyes, spun on my Louet Victoria at 13.5:1 ratio and plied on my Louet S90 at the same ratio. The two nearly-full Victoria bobbins just fit on the larger S90 one so I didn't have to break the yarn. They almost matched up perfectly in length and I was able to wind off the last few yards on my fingers and ply them in so there's no leftovers. It's still a might damp after its wash but I couldn't wait. That's 520 yards and 141g of fingering weight goodness! It's quite a bit softer than I expected and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. The colours are a little more definite in some lighting and in others they blend more. It'll be exciting to see what they do in a mostly garter-stitch shawl. (Yes, I have one in mind.) It's a definite souvenir of this Awful Winter of 2016-2017 with dried grasses, composting leaves, frozen mud and dirty snow. Doesn't that all sound lovely? Heh.

I also have an outfit for you today:

This one works with the wide-legged pants that I rejected yesterday. The tunic mimics the pants but the sweater pulls it in at the top so it's not baggy all over. You can't really see but my socks are an autumn rainbow that includes the rusty orange. They'll be covered by my boots when I go out so they're only visible indoors. The only non-me-made are the pants.

Off to get out in the sunshine while it lasts! It's a tad warmer today than it has been so I need to take full advantage.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Keep Up The Good Work

So how do you celebrate International Women's Day? And did you add the Day Without A Woman strike to your participation? Do you think Sophie Trudeau blew it badly when she suggested honouring the men who support the women? How do we all come together when we are so divided in our opinions?

For me as an Official Little Old Lady this is just another day though I will be with all the working (paid or not) women in spirit. I'm sorry things are not better for us, though I'm old enough to remember when things were a lot worse! And I'm sorry we seem to be stalled or even retrograding on the journey to equality. I think somebody got complacent. Or scared. Or lazy. Or something I can't quite articulate. There was big pushback from the other side. It's about power and privilege and (most) men don't want to give any of that up. Voluntarily at least. We obviously have to take it for ourselves.

I don't really have any of the answers. Although I did my best to bring up two people (one female, one male) to be strong, competent, considerate and as feminist as possible, my own life looks rather "June Cleaver" to the outside eye. (Does anybody under a certain age even remember anything about "Leave It To Beaver"? Never mind.) I never had an actual career or worked a 9-5 job but stayed home with the kids (and everybody else's kids) and ran the household. I consider myself extremely lucky that my dear husband was able to make enough money to allow me to do that. These days that situation is an anomaly! But we were content with "enough" and I worked rather hard to make things comfortable for us so I could avoid going out to work for somebody else. I did of course make some pin money (love that phrase!) sewing, babysitting and teaching occasional craft classes. I even worked a part time job for a couple of years just to prove to myself that I could. That one was a mixed good/bad experience. Mostly because my boss was difficult and I also injured my wrists (not at work) and I had to quit so they would heal. But I digress.

One of the good things about getting to this stage in life is that I don't really have to please anyone but myself anymore. (Oh yeah, and Thom of course! But he's easy-peasy. No, really. Truly sorry I can't clone him for you!) There has to be some compensation for getting old and decrepit, doesn't there? But not everyone is in such a good place. We women have come a long way but until we are at least half of the government and earn the same as a man in the same position; until we are listened to and our opinions and solutions considered equally valid; until we are appreciated as more than just a body but a mind and a heart and a whole person; until then we need to do whatever it takes to get there. Amen.

Whew! Okey-dokey then. I have an outfit for you today:

This ensemble is only half me-made (including the gray bamboo t-shirt you can't see underneath). The jacket was the first expensive garment purchase I've made in decades and I've already had it for nearly 2 years. The designer was Japanese but it was made in Thailand for a local boutique (that I believe has since closed?) The name on the label is "Tha Ngen" and it's beautifully finished inside and out. I love it but I don't wear it as often as I should because it's a little difficult to style. The fabulous collar is too bulky to add a coat over it. However it's not warm enough to wear outdoors until later in spring/early summer before it gets too hot. And I have to watch what I wear under it too or the silhouette looks wrong. For instance, I had wide-legged pants underneath this morning and it just made a column of width all the way down. Substituting the narrower leggings balanced it better. The gray (which is really a black warp with white weft and thicker doubled supplementary warp and weft threads) goes well with my pieced tunic. I like this jacket best however over my orange-red Marcy Tilton French Housewife's Dress. I'll have to show you that combo sometime.

What else? I'm about halfway through spinning the second bobbin of Late Winter Fields roving and trying not to overtax my hands. The Isabel Likes Espresso cardi is coming along. I'm cruising up the body. OK, maybe not cruising since I can only get maybe an inch of length knitted in a whole 2-hour TV-watching session. Those are some long rows! And only getting shorter at the equally slow rate of 4 stitches every 6 rows. Silly me flubbed when I was working the short rows for the back dipped hem which ended up extending into the band/collar's slip-stitch pattern area and I forgot to work that part in pattern. I dropped each of the collar stitches one at a time down to the ribbing and picked them up again properly (with good light and a small crochet hook) and it all seems to look fine now. Mischief managed.

So today the snow seems to have given up though we still have quite a lot on our north-facing front lawn. It's still pretty damp and cold even if the sun is out right this second. I still haven't started planting any seeds in the basement grow-op yet. Instead I've been spending an inordinate amount of time on Pinterest lately saving garments and outfits that please me for some reason or other. My excuse is that I'm trying to train my eye and hone my design sense. And of course get ideas for future sewing projects. I'd like to expand on this in a future post. Right now though my spinning is calling me. Back soon!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Enough Already

Sigh. Remember the last post where I was complaining about winter never leaving? Guess what I woke up to this morning?

I'm sure you can imagine the expletive I let out when I saw this! It's still snowing though now it's mixed with rain and melting nearly as fast as it's falling. There's a good inch or more remaining on top of the crocuses and snowdrops though. Please. Go. Away. Now.

In other news I've been concentrating on spinning up the Corriedale that I snow-dyed awhile back. I'm calling it "Late Winter Fields" - aka MUD! Though the colours are quite subtle they are intriguing me so I'm finding it hard to stop. This was a couple of days ago when I began:

That bobbin is currently full and the second one looks just about the same as this at the moment. I'd be spinning right now except that I hurt my thumb joint a little yesterday by overdoing it so I'm trying to be good and only spun for a short while today. I'm hoping when I've filled the second bobbin I can ply them together on the larger S90 bobbin and have the whole thing end up as one skein. The total weight of the fibre is around 140g and half of that nearly filled the Victoria's smaller bobbin. So that's a lot to expect the S90 to hold at once. We'll see if it will all squeeze on! I already have a possible shawl pattern picked out for this yarn.

What else? The brown sweater is coming along (more mud!) but I haven't knitted on either the socks or the nearly-forgotten shawl project for awhile. The sweater gets knitted on after dinner while watching TV and as I said, the spinning has been obsessing me. The socks will be good for travelling knitting when the sweater gets too large to be portable. And the shawl needs more concentration than I want to give it at the moment. Not to worrry. I rarely abandon projects entirely.

Which reminds me of something I was going to talk about - have you ever had a Myers Briggs test to determine your basic personality type? Some people think it just puts people into boxes but I've found it quite helpful in understanding why I am the way I am and perhaps deal with some of my less-than-helpful traits. So anyway it turns out that I'm an ISTJ -A, which means Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging. If you read the literature on this type it actually sounds seriously boring and bureaucratic. However, I am definitely an introvert, love facts, objective logic and clear organization so that much is definitely true. I tend to focus on the details, the here and now, and am very realistic and pragmatic. What I am not is conservative, traditional or particularly quiet and serious. I don't have any problem showing emotions but others sometimes take me wrong because I'm not good at taking their emotions into consideration when I'm trying to be logical. Or as my late mom used to put it: I'm not very diplomatic. I'm working on that.

I'm very good at following step-by-step instructions (or writing them!) but I'm not good at being spontaneous and fanciful. My imagination can get squashed by my factual/logical side so I'm no good at group-think sessions or free association games. I like to have time to think about my answers and to be able to edit, add and clarify. That's why I prefer to type than handwrite and read aloud rather than talk off the cuff.

I prefer to work on my own since I'm not really a team player. I also don't like to make decisions for other people so I'm not good at management. I just want to know what's expected and then be left alone to do it. I guess that's one reason why I never had a "real job" in the 9-5 sense. I apparently was a pretty good craft teacher, at least for most of my students, but the stress of dealing with so many different people/venues/crafts ended up burning me out. I've been asked several times to run some formal classes again but I'm perfectly happy to say no. Sometimes you have to know when to fold 'em, right?

One trait that really resonated with me is that I have to see a practical side to something or I just won't be motivated to work on it. I don't want theory; I want the facts. (Not the "alternative facts" either!) I hold to the truth - no matter how difficult that might be to hear. Lies make me crazy! However I am trying to learn that not every situation needs all of the truth all of the time from me. Sometimes it's good to keep my trap shut. Well, I do try.

They say that ISTJ personalities are less common in women. Possibly that has something to do with why I can feel misunderstood by other women sometimes. My intuitive side is not as strong as my sensing side so sometimes I have to have it right in front of my face to get it rather than just knowing. Women also aren't often as concerned with "the whole truth and nothing but the truth" because it makes them uncomfortable. Ooh, lookit me getting all analytical!

Well, it was an interesting exercise for me anyhow. YMMV as they say. I've got to go make dinner now. Did it stop snowing yet? Don't tell me they're forecasting more tonight! Arghhh...