Friday, June 21, 2019

A sale! An article! A finished object

Let's celebrate summer!  Every year for maybe five years now, I've participated in the Canada KAL (Knit Along) by offering a discount on all my Ravelry patterns!  This year, I'm also offering four free patterns to folks who participate in knit along.  To find out more, check out the Designed in Canada Ravelry group here.

To cut right to the chase, my patterns are all on sale until midnight (ends CT, Canada and the US, on Canada Day, July 1st.  To get 25% off, just use the coupon code:

Hint: You can use this discount even if you don't want to knit along with anyone else!
In other news...This past week or two has been a bit rocky.  I described some of it in this column I wrote for the Jewish Independent.  It's called Being positive can be hard.

Cause, yes, it has been a bit difficult to be positive.  My car still has two broken windows. We have had more than two weeks of sidewalk and street construction right beside our house.  Last, but not least, before we knew that the construction was happening, we scheduled a renovation job....and had insulation shot into the walls of our house.

On the good side, getting insulation into our 100 year old, empty walls, will be amazing in the winter time now.  Hopefully, when you stand by an outer wall inside our house this winter, it will not feel like the dementors from Harry Potter are sucking out your soul!  On the bad side, there was a lot of drilling, blowing, and other construction sounds to add to the jack hammering on the street.  It was a long few days.  (And we still have more renos happening in July.)  We've been hoping to do this work for a long time, so now I just have to grin and bear it!

I've also been doing a big editing job so haven't had a chance to write up a knitting pattern for a while...or frankly, think much beyond what we would have for dinner.  As a little palette cleanser, I took a ball of Japanese cellulose yarn that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law brought me back from Japan and I turned into this little crocheted pouch.  That wasn't enough though, I had to make a lining and a zipper, too.  It turned out ok, too!  Here it is, blocking, with a plastic bin inside to make it stand upright. Sometimes making something, from start to finish, and ending up with a useful item helps combat the feeling of chaos all around me...

Right as the insulation job was starting, we found out that they would not be able to drill all the holes on the outside of the house.  So, the professor and one of my twins worked all last weekend to move anything fragile or delicate out of the way.  This is what my office looks like right now.  There's just a bit of room on the edge of the futon, between the wheels and the loom bench, for me to sit while working, and if Sadie the dog is careful, she can sleep near me on the futon, or on my foot.  It's cramped.  (And it will all be moved again, after the walls are spackled and repainted.  It might be a while...)  Happy summer projects!

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Messy Cop

 I recently had an article come out in Ply magazine!  The editors asked me to post about it on social media using this snapshot of my writing. (click on it to embiggen to read it)  I haven't received my magazine yet in Canada...but people have asked me for more info.

I first heard about it via a reader query on Ravelry, saying she liked the cowl I was wearing in the article!  (uhh, I didn't think I'd sent a photo with a cowl in it.)  Oh, she said, had I designed this lacy teal leaf cowl?  Could she purchase it?  Ummm...this is when I wondered if I'd lost my mind. Was it lack of sleep, the street construction jack hammering noise or something else?  I'd designed a lot of cowls, but teal?  Leafy? Lace?  Huh.

Turns out the photos featured with this article don't match anything I sent in my submission. (This happens to freelancers.) The woman featured isn't me, and not sporting any of the cowls, scarves, or shawls I have designed!  (Note, my designs work well in handspun!)  I use commercial yarns in most my design samples to make substitution easier for those who don't spin, but there is always plenty of info for spinners who want to supply their handspun for the patterns.

A friend noticed that the lady in the article didn't look like me.  (She's older, for one) She sent me some photos so I could see the article.  Here are some photos I took for this article that illustrate the messy cop process if you're curious to learn cops look different from what I saw featured there. (These photos weren't published, I own copyright, so they're mine to use as I like.)
#1. Use scrap paper or a stiff bit of cardboard to wrap around the spindle.  Tuck the end of the leader so it sticks out of the bottom of the spindle, towards your hand, for easy access later on.  Wind solely onto the scrap paper for ease of removal later.  I started with blue so you can see the leader clearly in the next photo.

#2 As the cop progresses, wind on however you'd like, as messy as you want --the end result is a ball-- but make sure you can still see that (blue) leader yarn at the bottom so you know you could do a center pull ball for plying later.  Keep the cop on your scrap paper quill.

 #3.  When the spindle no longer spins consistently in the right direction, it's full and too heavy to work effectively.  Gently pull the (round) ball off the spindle shaft, holding onto those two ends.  The paper/cardboard quill inside should remain intact inside the ball.

#4.  Take your ball and wind the two ends together onto a nostepinde or distaff for ease in plying.  If you do not have this tool, you can use: A smooth stick, a yard stick, a pencil, another spindle shaft...whatever's convenient.  I tend to tuck the nostepinde under one armpit when I ply, so if that's your practice, make sure the stick is long enough for this to be comfortable. Armpit sizes vary!
Note: The blue leader is still visible, you can see where I pulled it out of the center pull ball to begin to wind the two plies together.

#5. To complete the plying, you're again putting on the scrap paper, leader at the bottom, and twisting your two plies in the opposite direction.  There were will be no leftovers as you are spinning from both ends of a single messy cop/ball rather than two separate ones.

#6.  If you're making a 4 ply yarn, you're ready to go with the cop on a piece of scrap can easily access both ends of the ball to ply again.  If not, slip the 2-ply yarn off the spindle: it's ready to skein up so you can wash and set the twist.

OK, that's the whole story!  You don't have to wind on in any kind of zen-tidy way!  Your yarn making will still work just fine.  I hope this is leave a comment if you have questions and I'll try to check back to answer them.
All the best,

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Sunday, June 09, 2019

What will you do to further reconciliation?

This photo features what the Canadian Oath of Citizenship SHOULD say if the government passes a bill to update it to meet one of the points in the Truth and Reconciliation's 94 calls to action

Here's a link to my opinion piece that came out today on the CBC-Manitoba website:

'What will you do to further reconciliation?' Canadians need to act on MMIWG inquiry's calls for justice

I wrote this piece in response to being asked this "What will you do' question. In responding, I was reflecting on how all the inquiries seem to request  many similar things from the people and government of Canada... And few or none of the-totally valid-points are being dealt with properly or promptly in response.

(In other--less important-- household news, it's Shavuot, my kids have had way too much ice cream this weekend, and they also did very well at their first piano recital.  There's a lot going on, all at once-as usual- at my house.)

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Friday, June 07, 2019

Finding the light

 During June, we have many hours of sunshine in Winnipeg.  We get up earlier and stay up later, and things seem very busy.  The birds are singing, it's bright daylight at 5AM, and we're doing all the things except sleeping enough.  Last weekend was especially busy, as these gentlemen turned 8.  Yes, eight years old!!  (Yup, they do not look like this anymore!  My twins have new hats....)

We were very busy with planting our garden, eating gelati with some of our favorite grown ups, and having a special kids' birthday at the university greenhouse last Sunday with a few kid friends.  Yes, the professor was loaned a key to the greenhouse and did the tours--there are a few advantages to having a biology professor dad!
I made cupcakes.  They tasted pretty good, but it is obvious that I did, indeed, fail the icing and piping section of the breads and desserts class. I took this course as a senior at Cornell...I'd already finished most of the coursework for my double major.  It was an elective at the Cornell hotel school. I can make a really presentable loaf of rustic whole wheat bread, but somehow, no one wants that with a candle in it on his eighth birthday!  Go figure.

On Monday, I worked like crazy, trying to catch up on my worklife after the big festivities.  This was complicated by the city's plans to fix some sidewalks near our house.  There was a lot of jackhammering. It's truly hard to write and edit when the house is shaking. 

Tuesday, I hopped in the car at lunch hour to run errands and looked in my rear view mirror.  I prepared to back out.  Then I noticed this.  It's not really clear if this was vandalism (and there is this kind of window breaking vandalism in our neighbourhood...) or if it was just the vibrations from the jackhammer.  Needless to say, I was a little shaken up.  (Note my very annoyed reflection in the glass there...)
The professor kindly brought the car to an autobody shop, where they treated my bright yellow, 16 year old Pontiac Aztek like it was a unicorn.  They told him there were no replacement parts in Canada, they don't make this anymore. It would take 3-4 weeks to get the replacement glass from Minnesota. And-- if it did not work out, well, they would have to total my-low mileage, entirely functional, reasonably fuel efficient- car.  (Please insert your bad words of choice here.)  Needless to say, we're going to try to make the repair work out.

In an effort to try to be cheery, despite the jack hammering outside, (AHHHHHH!), here is my latest article in the Jewish Independent:
See the light inside everyone

And, despite the sidewalk construction noise, the port-a-potty across the street, the workers leaving their lunch trash in front of my house....and smoking near my old wooden house, --even though we've got a fire ban going on--(it's dry as heck here), well, I'm trying really hard to see that light.

Note: Sometime soon, I will post about my new article in PLY Magazine's spindle issue.  Probably after the jack hammering stops...

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