Ruh-roh

Sep. 3rd, 2015 10:30 am
kadenza: (disapproval)
It's been nearly a week, but the wasp stings are somehow getting worse. The ones on my leg and forehead now only resemble small mosquito bites, however the one area that was stung the most (the back of my arm, above the elbow) has morphed into one large, pulsating red lump. I'm still not sure how many stings are in there; the swelling has never ebbed enough for me to distinguish one from another (maybe 5 or 6?). I guess the next step is Benadryl, and after that the walk-in clinic.
Last night it actually woke me up with its furious itching. Oh man, I hope it's not getting infected. The red border is scaring me a bit.

kadenza: (weaving)
The most exciting part of weaving (for me) is right at the beginning, when I see the first pattern repeat. The second-most exciting part is testing out different wefts to see how they interract with the warp.
This is the result of today's experimenting. Sad to say, my walnut yarn (the brown stripe) is by far the ugliest. It overwhelms the warp with fuzz, and the plaited twill pattern is barely visible.

[click to embiggen]


From bottom left to upper right, we have navy egyptian cotton, the walnut-dyed wool, cornflower Tencel, gold spun silk I got in Japan, white silk noil, and rose Tencel.
I'm leaning towards the Tencel because it has a real shine to it and is also hard-wearing. The gold silk really pops, but I think it overwhelms the warp a bit too much.
Anyway, I really hope to finish this up before I go away to the east coast next week, so my partner has the whole month of August to make stuff with it.
kadenza: (crafts)
At the June meeting, my weaving guild assigns a creative challenge to work on over the summer. In September, the projects are judged and a prize is usually given. This year spinners were paired up with weavers to create cloth together, and make something with it. My spinning partner and I have decided on one of these snap-closure change purses. She's given me the yarn, so it's all me now (except for the sewing part, which she thankfully said she could handle). As luck would have it, she already had a snap purse frame in her stash, plus plenty of scraps of silk and stuff to use for the lining.

I've decided on a plaited twill, which I've always wanted to do on a wrap, but the treadling is way too complicated for long stretches of cloth. A small piece of cloth like this should be no problem. The warp is shades of purple and pink, and I'm dyeing the weft right now in a smelly bucket full of semi-fermented walnut and butternut husks that Nat and I have been gathering over the past week or so around our neighbourhood. We have three walnut trees and one butternut tree on our route.

Nat is at a half-day soccer/tennis camp this week, so I'm hoping to make some real headway and get the loom empty again in time for the next wrap.
kadenza: (facepalm)
Did I ever claim to love squirrels? It was a lie! I hate them. Or rather, I hate one in particular.
One of them has found its way up to our 3rd floor deck, and has been chewing and shredding stuff ever since. Our cushions are toast-- chewed all over, and the stuffing pulled out. It also gnaws on the wood beams. This morning brings a new squirrel surprise-- I thought I had removed everything vulnerable, but now it has chewed through the ropes on our Ikea deck chairs (see below). Shortly after making this discovery, I heard the distinct sound of something else being shredded. Over on our neighbour's side sat the squirrel, busily chewing up the outdoor rug underneath their patio set. It glanced up at me for a second, and then got back to work.





<---- ruined
kadenza: (cello)
In other news, I'm trying to get back into playing the cello. Every time I come upstairs I see it in the corner, looking forlorn. I also felt very guilty that most of the hairs had fallen out of the bow due to neglect. So a few weeks ago I took it in to get it rehaired, and got it back on Saturday. Fortunately I also decided to pick up a new chunk of rosin, because when I got home the old one was nowhere to be found. I found a stash of old music books I didn't even remember I had, including a book of rounds (not much use when playing by yourself, however).

Anyway, my first time playing in about a decade was yesterday afternoon, and it wasn't too terrible. I did it down in the basement in the hopes of causing limited disturbance to neighbours. My fingers are killing me–I should maybe take a break from it today so I don't get blisters. At one point Nat came down to listen and told me, "I don't know why, but your playing is making me feel cold all over!" which is... good I guess? It gave her chills? The last time I played, she was not even born.

I've also located a community orchestra that rehearses just a few blocks from here, though their season is over and starts up again in September. It may be the impetus I need to actually play, and keep playing.

[edited to add...] Looking back over my "cello" tag, I discovered that in 2006 I was told by a Sound Post repair dude that the neck was about to fall off. I had completely forgotten about that. Well, it seems ok so far. I guess I'll keep practicing and hope it doesn't explode.
kadenza: (facepalm)
I've noticed that people now like to message exclusively on Facebook. Like, at no point do they suggest that we switch to email, or even ask for my email address. My latest customer is one such person. After about the 70th message I finally asked if we could switch over, because the PM thread was just getting so long I could no longer keep track of it, and there is no search function. Anyway, I feel kind of sad that email seems to be for "old" people now, like a VCR that is flashing 12:00.

(what's a VCR? My own daughter doesn't even know what a DVD player is.)

*crickets*

Apr. 15th, 2015 11:47 am
kadenza: (intermission)
I attempted to post to LJ a week or so ago, but the site ate my post and the draft thingy didn't manage to save any of it, so I gave up. Honestly I don't even remember what I was trying to post about anymore (so as my mother would say, "Well I guess it wasn't very important, was it?")

My latest wrap arrived safely in Ottawa yesterday, and the customer is ecstatic. I must admit, it was really nice, one of the nicest: beautiful silky egyptian cotton in herringbone twill. I contacted the remainder of my waiting list-- two are no longer interested, and the third I haven't heard from yet. So... um... with two empty looms, I guess I will throw myself into dishtowels until something else comes up.

There is an empty store along the Danforth (formerly a very small hair salon), and when I see it, I have this crazy idea of renting out the store and turning it into a weaving studio. It's a really crazy idea, though. There's no way in hell it could be anything but a financial vortex of suckage. But I do find myself thinking about it, a lot.
kadenza: (nophoto)
Welp, we've just about made it through March Break. It has actually gone quite smoothly. Nat is very good at entertaining herself, and with a few planned activities, we've avoided crowds and had fun. I've got next to no weaving done, but what can you do. I've got a wrap on the go and have been meaning to start another set of towels– the last ones proved very popular.

We've done origami, painting, cooking, and assorted outings. One surprising hit was a trip to Target, which is having a going out of business sale and all toys are 50% off. We were hoping to find some Lego, but not surprisingly, it was long gone and the shelves were bare. We ended up picking up a couple of Minecraft "papercraft" kits. It's basically a bunch of paper blocks you have to punch out and fold. She is totally in love with this set and spends a lot of her time down in the basement, folding and building. She tells me how much she loves "creepers" and makes little beds and houses for them. I know next to nothing about Minecraft, but according to Nat, "Creepers are not evil. They can't help blowing things up. It's just the way they are."

Wow!

Jan. 30th, 2015 06:55 pm
kadenza: (wow)
My first towel turned out really well! I cut the first one off as a sneak preview, because I didn't have the patience to weave all four to see the results.
What can I say... I'm pretty pleased with it now that it's washed and hemmed. They are pretty exciting, as dish towels go.
I'm going to try to finish the rest before the next wrap project starts.

IMG_8448
kadenza: (ask dr stupid)
This is a pretty interesting topic. Canada has always been caught between several cultures (British, French, US). We were supposed to be fully Metricated by 1980, but some things just never caught on.
Reading the Wiki article brought back many memories, as Metrication was in full swing when I started Kindergarten. I had forgotten about this symbol, but it is really familiar to me– the symbol of the government's Metrication movement. It was found on things like our yellow classroom rulers, scales, and posters.

Despite all this, we continue to use paper that is 8.5 x 11" and print photos that are 4x6". All my print design work is in inches... and I hate it. Eighths and sixteenths of inches? Please.
Personally, I think of temperature in Celcius, very small measurements in milimetres, my own height in feet and inches (though I can give it in cm if need be), and distances in km. I think of large weights in pounds, small ones in grams. Many older people, like MIL, still very stubbornly use F when it comes to outdoor temperatures, though secretly they know that 20° is a nice day and -20° is fricking freezing. However, when it comes to body temperature, I know 37°C is normal, but I think of fevers in °F because that was what all our thermometers full of mercury used when I was a kid. I know anything over 37 is a fever, but I often translate it to F to figure out how "serious" a fever it is. 38.8° is a fever of 102°F. To me, 102 sounds much worse. Similarly, I think of body weight in pounds but prefer to weigh myself in kg, specifically because the number I see has no emotional associations. It's neither good nor bad, but truly "just a number."

Meanwhile, in craft land, it's just a mess. Most people I know measure knitting needle diameter by mm, but we frequently encounter US needle sizes in stores and knitting patterns. Yarn thickness is often measured in wraps per inch. All North American looms, even brand new ones made in Canada, are hopelessly Imperial. Reeds come in dents per inch, weaving widths are measured in inches, warping boards have pegs set one yard apart. Even my hand is 6" long, and I use it to measure with frequently. However, my customers all want wraps in metres; even the American ones. This has caused a few miscalculations on my part, but at least it's not as serious as some incidents I can think of.

This map of non-metric countries continues to boggle my mind (though clearly there are several countries that at least deserve to be shaded slightly pink, including mine):
kadenza: (kirby)
He may not be terribly helpful, but keeps me company and definitely raises morale around the loom room.

IMG_8196
kadenza: (nophoto)
Here's what's going on. I think I'll do bullet points.

• I'm having about 15 people over for xmas dinner. I forget exactly why I agreed to it, but it's happening. Fortunately, someone else has offered to bring the turkey, so I don't have to touch gizzards or whatever. The offer was gratefully accepted.

•Two customers on my waiting list have recently bailed, and the wrap I finished in November was put up for sale within two weeks (my ever-vigilant former customers always keep me up to date on these happenings, for which I am grateful). I know she can do whatever she wants with it (including cutting it up and making cleaning rags) but I can't help feeling a bit hurt. I should probably develop a thicker skin in these matters. In other news, I've decided the anonymity thing is getting old, so I now fully label all my products, as well as publishing my facebook business page (www.facebook.com/inchbyinchweaving). There's not a lot of info there, but people can contact me if they wish.

• My xmas cards are in the mail, and I'm very pleased with them this year.

• Nat is desperate to have another Furby. Much as I hate the first one, I can't really deny her request, since it's the only thing she has asked for. It arrived yesterday. It has a very distinctive trapazoidal box, so I think I'll either put it inside a bigger box, or put a note inside a really tiny box that says, "look behind the couch" or something.

• I made some really kick-ass saag paneer last night. Tonight I think I'll make another pot of soondubu jjigae (Korean tofu stew) which was a huge hit a couple of weeks ago. So hot and comforting in cold weather.

• Last week I dragged home a large dead tree branch from a nearby street. Marshall chopped it up for the fireplace, and parts of it turned out to be hollow. It also turned out to have some wasps inside, who started crawling out once they were sufficiently warmed up. That added some excitement to our evening.

• In other tree-related news, the city finally planted a new tree on our lawn--only two years after we requested one. It's a white oak, which Nat has named Lilac. I asked her if she would name a dog "cat", and she was quick to remind me that her teacher has a cat named Puppy. Touché, kid. Touché.
kadenza: (nophoto)
My friend just got her on Sunday... her name is Padma. 7 weeks old.
Happy, from last year, is doing well in guide dog school.

IMG_5064
kadenza: (zeke)
This year Nat wants to be Zeke (as seen in icon)-- very do-able with clothing items she already owns, though I did buy her a pair of fuzzy black ears at our local costume-atorium. I sewed on a tail to the back of a black hoodie, and basted on a white felt bib to the front. This is my third hoodie conversion, and the first that I have made a conscious effort to make all embellishments completely reversible. No glue gun, only sewing that can be easily ripped out. Nat is so wired about Halloween, it's difficult to get her to talk about anything else. And when we got to school today, all the kids were screeching to each other that iIT'S TOMORROW! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? I don't recall getting this worked up about it when I was a kid, but I probably did. But it's SO MUCH WORK for adults I have really started to loathe it. Carving the stupid pumpkin, buying a bunch of candy, and enduring the doorbell ringing for hours. Life in the condo was so much simpler-- we ignored the very existence of Halloween for 10 years straight.

One thing that is making me happy is that it is squirrel time. After ignoring me all summer because of their busy rodent lives, the squirrels are my friends again. They are so fuzzy and round at this time of year I desperately want to pet them, especially the one we call Fat Gary (we call all grey squirrels Gary, and all black ones Bob. It makes things so much easier). He's pretty much a furry volleyball with legs and a tail. I also have a promising relationship with one we call Half Bob because he's kind of brown on the back end due to some kind of shedding pattern. Anyway, I just love squirrels and I can't help myself. Literally every jacket I own is stuffed with peanuts in case I meet one while I'm out walking.
kadenza: (duh)
Well, there's another Pinterest fail for the books.
Cookie cups for ice cream on the back of a muffin tin... NAILED IT!

IMG_4909

Curb Alert

Sep. 14th, 2014 11:12 am
kadenza: (nophoto)
We've been meaning to get rid of our old computer desk since... 2010 or so. Now that my new loom needs to be set up, I'm a bit more motivated. So we finally dragged it out to the curb and put it up on both Craigslist and Kijiji. An hour later, it's gone. Huge relief, and huge corner of the spare bedroom now vacated. It's one of those things I would have done years ago if I had known it was going to be so easy.

I think this picture really helped sell it (thanks Kirby). I mentioned in the ad that the top shelf was perfect for cat storage.

DSCN1838
kadenza: (syntax error)

I can see I've been spending too much time in babywearing communities... I scared myself yesterday by reading this conversation and being able to understand it:

Admin: Just a quick reminder that Uppywear are MWs. As this group is here for HWs only, please remember not to post any MWs FS here. It IS ok to put a MW up FT for a HW. What we don't allow are MWs listed FS.

Member: What if the MWs are only FT for HWs?

Admin: MV can be FT for HW, as long as all MV are FT for HW

I can also recognize all the weaving company names by initials, and most of the carries they use (e.g. BWCC= Back Wrap Cross Carry, RTIF=Ruck Tied in Front).

I also hit something of a personal weaving milestone yesterday-- one of my wraps appeared in someone's stash shot. I have to say, it's a very strange little community, and a large part of it seems to be about showing off. That said, I'm pretty proud to be at the top of this pile. :)

This is several thousand dollars' worth of cloth right here. I tell you, it's nuts.

10460104_10154378461985254_9152894740717623006_n

Bee

Jul. 8th, 2014 08:53 am
kadenza: (nophoto)
There has been a bee hanging around in our back yard, and it has no wings. Well it sort of has shrivelled wings, like they didn't develop properly. But in any case, the thing can't fly. Now that I know he's there, I see him all the time trundling around. I should note this is not a honey bee, but a bumble bee of some kind-- round and fuzzy. Nat picked it up at one point and I demanded that she put it down immediately– I got stung when I was about 3 after doing the same thing. I think she might have taken the whole "Don't be afraid of bees; they won't hurt you if you don't hurt them" thing a bit too literally. It may be true, but don't go picking them up. Come on.

So we were lying in Nat's tent in the yard watching this poor bee, and I noticed that he had tons of pollen on his legs. Then we saw him climb up on a clover flower and lo and behold, sip out the nectar. Then he went on to the next. Despite his handicap, he continued to be a good bee and support his hive, literally walking from flower to flower. I wish I could say that this inspiring bee has influenced me to be a better person and not let obstacles get me down but... not really. I do enjoy watching him, though.
kadenza: (disapproval)
I'm sure not everyone who drives a Mercedes is a douche, but I'm still waiting for proof.

I heard a bunch of honking after lunch today, which is very unusual for our quiet one-way street. It turns out an entitled d-bag in a white Mercedes had been delayed for three seconds because the Diabetes association van was stopped in front of my house picking up my clothing donation. She laid solidly on the horn as the dude got out and ran to my porch. Then she started to back up, which people sometimes do when they get stuck behind the garbage truck or whatever, I assumed to go back to the main road and find a different route. Nope, she then proceeded to ram the van as the driver hurried back with the bags. Maybe 30 seconds had elapsed while all this was going on. Generally non-confrontational me yelled out the window at her that she was being an entitled ass, but you just know she's the kind of person who will just stare straight ahead and pretend you aren't there while continuing to lay on the horn. WTF. My blood pressure has been raised all afternoon as a result of this douchebaggery.

Score

Jun. 12th, 2014 10:18 am
kadenza: (nophoto)
I scored nearly 3 lbs of silk yarn at my guild's annual auction last night for $10. I can't wait to start experimenting with it. It's natural colour so I'm looking forward to dyeing experiments. Everything I donated to the auction got a pretty good price as well. There were tables and tables full of yarn cones, but a lot of it was unlabelled. I'm glad I got in on the silk.

Nat spotted a butterfly in the grass on the way to school. It seems to be unable to fly, so perhaps it got wet in the rain storm last night and just needs to dry out. I brought it home and put it out in the garden. Google tells me it's a black swallowtail.



edit: I went out to check on it and found it sitting on the same flower. I tried to pick it up, and it flew away. Yay!

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