Archive for January, 2011

Master Of Efficiency

Monday, January 31st, 2011

One good thing about being busy is that you learn to make every minute count.  I’m getting pretty good at that, and well, its a good feeling to get things accomplished!

Accomplishment #1:  I drank 4 pots of tea last night and slogged through my paperwork until 4AM.  It’s done!!!  I didn’t feel all that awesome when I woke up at 7:30, but I have survived the day, and feel happy not to have paperwork looming when I get home.

I helped out today with robotics.  It was great fun to see things take shape.  The robot is getting taller, but I can’t show pictures because I’m sworn to secrecy.  It will all be revealed toward the end of February.  Needless to say, it’s going to be great.  I ate dinner with the kids, then I left at 7pm tonight.  I did not have to stay until 10pm, and that is a nice feeling to be able to leave and know that things will be just fine without you…

Accomplishment #2  I went shopping.  I HATE shopping, but I did it anyway.  I went to Value Village and got 3 pairs of pants–the first 3 I tried all fit!  Success….

Accomplishment #3  Since I saved so much time shopping for pants, I wandered over to the yarn section–dangerous!  Today it was a real gold mine.  I got all of this for $12.  10 balls of Superwash double knit 100% wool, a skein of handspun, and 2 large balls of roving.  I’m not sure how the roving will spin up, but it is soft, and interesting colours…and doesn’t smell like pets or cigarettes….it smells a bit like wood-smoke, but that’s fine with me.

Accomplishment #4 In the 1 hour since I left robotics I did all that shopping, filled the car with gas, got groceries and got home and into my PJs.

Now what….knitting?  spinning?  sleeping?  so many options.

That Time Of Year

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

It’s been a wild 3 weeks.  I’m up to my eyeballs in robots….and all the work that I usually do has been put to the back burner.  I keep telling myself that I’ll have time eventually to deal with it all…and have time to spin up another bobbin…

…lies!  all lies! There is no time!


Today I have a day off from robots, and after catching up on hours of lost sleep, and sorting out piles of paperwork, I am taking a break to transform the soft bananas that were on my counter into muffins, and planning my evening forage for caffeine.

The piles of paperwork are there…and deadlines are looming. Looks like it will be a long night tonight!

Sunday Morning Spinning

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

I took a break this morning from all the things I should be doing.  It was lovely to sit by my window, in the bright sunshine, and spin up 4 oz of “baltic” blue roving from Paradise Fibers.


It’s now one very large skein of 2 ply yarn.

Now…back to the regularly scheduled work…

Drive Band Installation

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

It’s not as hard as I thought it would be to change a drive band.  I was a little concerned because I would have to take my spinning wheel apart, or cut and refasten the drive band.  I searched online and found a tutorial that made the process look fairly simple. The process of replacing a drive band is simple– it is also not anything like what this tutorial claimed either.  Perhaps it’s because I have a single treadle wheel and the tutorial seems to be for a double treadle.

In any case, all I needed was a flat head screw driver.  I decided that because I have one treadle, and one piece of surgical tubing that connects the treadle to the footman (and the wheel) that I would undo the screw that connects the tube to the treadle, and insert the loop of drive band there, and then put the screw back in.  In a matter of minutes I’m ready to go again!  Thanks so much to Paradise Fibers for the speedy delivery of my new drive bands!

I’m taking advantage of the day at home to give it a test drive.  Back to work and robots tomorrow.

Baby Camel In The Mail

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Look at the goodies!!! mailI stopped off at the post office on the way to robotics this morning, and was thrilled to see that the package I got was a box full of my order from Paradise Fibers.  There’s some gorgeous  baby camel in there that I can’t wait to spin.  Also, and perhaps more importantly, there are two drivebands for my wheel.

After a long sleep tonight I’m going to attempt to change the band tomorrow.  It’s a job that requires a bit of wheel dismantling.  I hope I have the appropriate tools.  If I don’t, at least I know a robotics team that is happy to share!

Engineering a Ball Winder

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

30 minutes to design and build a ball winder from scratch….possible?  NO!  well…not yet at least.

A friend at robotics decided to get a group of students to work really fast and gave them this challenge to solve.  After brainstorming a bit they decided that a ball winder could be made in 30 minutes.

Step 1: draw lots of ideas on a chalkboard.

Step 2: commandeer a cutting tool and make cutting

Step 3: mount the circles on an axle.


Step 4: Attach a slanted piece and give it a try!

ball winder

Verdict:  a very good attempt for a 30 minute design process.

ball winder

But it doesn’t wind a center pull ball.

Prototype #2 will be worked on at a later date I’m sure.  I have some very creative and persistent engineering friends, and they have lots of eager helpers.

Hat 40 in progress

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

So….this past weekend was the kick off for robotics build season.  It turns out that I’m putting in over 40 hours this week in robotics mentoring, so the knitting time is seriously limited.  I did start hat 40 one evening while at a mentor meeting, discussing robot designs and competition rules.

I did a little bit more over dinner (yes…with another robotics mentor)

To see robotics progress check here.

Identical Crazy Socks

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

This is something that I’ve wanted to try for a while–thanks Santa for getting me Flying Saucer Sock Yarn from Schoppel Wolle and making it possible!

The spool of wool is wound with two strands, then injection dyed in a very small skein, so that when unravelled, each strand will form one ball, and if knit with the same needles and same tension, and from the same end of the sock, it will produce identical yet really crazy socks.  I’m keen on trying it out!

On Boxing Day my aunt and I set about winding the two balls from the one skein.  This is NOT AS EASY AS IT SOUNDS.  I don’t know how well it would have gone as a solo project–I was glad of the extra set of hands helping me out.

I didn’t see this video until later, but this shows how to do the unwinding.

The instructions state to pierce the center of the spool with a knitting needle/pencil, and suspend it with a string tied to both ends, looped from a handle or door knob.  That was easy enough to figure out.  The hard part came in the unrolling–maybe duelling ball winders would have been a good idea, but maintaining identical pacing of unwinding was the tricky part.  Just don’t be in a hurry when you are doing the unwinding.


I now have two balls of sock yarn ready to go!  I think toe up plain socks will show off the craziness the best, and allow for me to use all the yarn.

A Sewing Project

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

As Kick-Off for the robotics season nears, I devised a way to keep track of safety glasses and to keep them from getting scratched while not being worn.  Here’s my Christmas gift to K-Botics–a safety glasses protection unit!

glasses holder

I managed to find remnants of fleece and other soft fabrics on sale at Fabricland, which combined nicely with a donated piece of purple fleece to make this safety glasses holder.

I hadn’t sewn fleece before on a large scale, and I’m still surprised at how much stretch there is in the material.  Stretch is important because safety glasses are not flat!  It’s not as neat as I’d originally hoped, but it is complete, and will serve a purpose well for our team.

There are 42 pockets on this wall hanging.  Pocket dimensions are approximately 6 inches deep, and 5.5 inches across.

Step 1: cut out fabric strips 6.5 inches wide and hem them on one side (1/4 inch)

Step 2: sew a casing at the top that will fit the size/length of dowel that you have.

Step 3: sew on one strip at a time, arrange it with right sides together, so it will fold up covering the seam.  It gets bulky working with such large pieces.

Step 4: measure and pin the pocket seams.  Leave an extra 1/2 inch on each side for side seams.  Sew the pocket seams (save the exterior ones for the very end of the project)

Step 5: after all pockets are sewn, hem around the entire wall hanging-this will finish off the exterior pocket seams.

The dowel will be put through the casing, and be tied with a cord which will be suspended from a hook on the wall, once we figure out how to drill a hole in the cement wall that is!

Happy New Year

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

My mitten got done just in time!  It’s nice to start the year fresh with no knitting deadlines.

I had a great New Years Eve with my family.  We had a murder mystery party that had been slightly adapted–again with a mustache theme.

I believe this is the end of all mustache related events–for this year at least!