Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Mental Block

I know I don’t usually wax political on here (though nothing else seems to be off-limits!) but I saw this article about the Yarn Blockade that the First Nations people of Hartley Bay in northern BC put up as a protest against the proposed oil pipeline and oil supertankers that would go right past their doors. It’s made from yarn crocheted into a chain 4.6 kilometres long stretched across Douglas Channel! Impressive. They couldn’t blockade a road so they had to come up with something that could go across the water. The Federal government has approved this oil project even though most British Columbians (including yours truly) strongly oppose it. I don’t know if the chain will help convince the government that it’s a stupid idea but at least they are trying to get their point across. Testing the power of yarn.

In case you hadn’t noticed I’m really an ardent environmentalist. I love my Earth and I’m more than concerned about how things are going. Greed and ignorance and apathy are not doing Her any favours. Somebody has to be the Lorax and speak for more than the trees! I just hope the Important People will finally pay attention before we reach some unimaginable tipping point. I don’t know. (My cynical side says not to bet on it.) But I’d like a clean and happy world for my grandkids to inherit. I don’t think it should be too much to ask.

OK, I’m done now. Jumping off the soapbox. Moving right along.

I have lots of photos for you today. First up, let me show you the upgrade that I did on my Guild’s rental Lendrum spinning wheel. It was one of the oldest models (the company began in 1976) with the horrible (to me anyway) wire footman. It was the single biggest reason why I didn’t buy a Lendrum as my first spinning wheel way back then. I hate the spongy action of the wire. I’m sure good old Gord got lots of feedback on this so he eventually changed to a wood footman and now makes double-treadle wheels as well. In his wisdom he came up with a retrofit option for the earlier model. Here’s the original wire footman:


Swaged stainless steel. Reminds me of the rigging on the sailboat we used to own. A little shout-out to our more-or-less local supplier and fellow guild members Fibres Plus for the replacement part. (I’d give you a link to them but their minimal website seems down at the moment.) The only difficulty was trying to snip off the wire at that little white pulley. That stuff is tough! Thom finally sawed it off (wire cutters weren’t biting through) and we attached the new footman:


The new wood doesn’t match terrifically well to the old darkened finish. But that’s ok. It works really nicely now! I just need to clean it up a bit more and make this beast some kind of padded carry bag out of stash materials like I’ve been promising for a year or so now. Plus a separate tote for the optional plying head. Which, btw, should be called a jumbo head because that’s what it is. It might be old but it’s still a perfectly serviceable spinning wheel. Now if only someone would rent the poor thing! It gets tired of hanging about in my attic.

What else? I’ve wound about 1/4 of the warp for the Waffle Weave Towels. I would have gotten more done but it took about 2 hours just to wind the handspun yarns (threads really) into balls. The skeins were rather tangled and I had to go very slowly and carefully. Even the weight of the skein winder was too much for the thread and it snapped several times when I accidentally went too fast or lost concentration for a moment. Not a pleasant experience. I’m pretty patient though – especially when it’s my own super-fine handspun I’m dealing with. So why bother to spin my own thread you ask? Because I can! Heh.

I’m somewhat concerned that the thicker hemp/blue jeans won’t fit comfortably doubled through the 15-dent reed. Cross that bridge when I come to it. It’s pretty squishy. As long as the slubby bits don’t catch, it should be fine. I hope.

Meanwhile I’m at the second i-cord cuff on the Rainbow Dark sweater. Hope it matches the first one when I’m done. Notice that I’m full of hopes today?

I’ve been taking advantage of the lovely weather to start on the Annual Woolie Wash. Here’s the first instalment:


More sweaters are on the agenda for today. It gets more complicated when I start doing the lacy scarves and shawls that need proper blocking with wires and pins. I can only do about 3 at a time. Ummm…yes, I have a LOT of woolies. I love them.

And because you haven’t seen it recently, here’s some garden goodness. My little baby Juliet tomatoes:


Baby Black Cherry tomato:


The tomatoes are up to the top of the greenhouse! These are indeterminates so they just keep growing until either frost kills them or I pull them out. It gets very jungly in that greenhouse.


Baby spaghetti squash. As big as a baseball now!


All in all, it’s looking pretty nice out there this year. This is about 1/4 of the veggie patch:


Those lemon cucumbers in the foreground are planted much too closely together. I usually lose quite a few of them to bugs so I overplant but that didn’t happen this year. They seem to be doing ok so far so I’m not going to disturb them. Maybe they just like to party! Cukey mosh pit. (Yes, I anthropomorphise randomly. So?)

So this is the quickly-rigged Raccoon Foiler we’ve been putting up at night. So far it’s been working – even though it’s kind of a PITA to set up and take down every day. We probably need proper gates. Or even a baby gate. We’ll be on the lookout for an appropriate option. Meanwhile this ugly thing is doing what’s necessary:


Curse you, Rocky! You made me do it!


Heather said...

Yes, I thought the yarn blockade was pretty cool. It got coverage on CBC and in the Sun. Don't apologize for standing on a soapbox, this is important stuff. And your garden is looking fabulous.

Louisa said...

Ah, Heather! You were my inspiration! I know you're not at all afraid to speak your mind on the important topics.

pao said...

I don't know the half of what you're talking about Louisa, more than half the time, but it all sounds fascinating. You are beyond me in all areas of gardening, knitting, weaving, spinning, dyeing, etc. and I admire you to no end. I do love seeing the pix of whatever it is and the pieces in process and even finished. It's all magic to me.

Louisa said...

Oh poor pao! I don't mean to be so obscure. I just get enthusiastic! How about if you request further clarification when it gets too confusing? That might benefit someone else at the same time. And thank you for the lovely compliment. You amaze ME too!!