Friday, June 02, 2006

Trials and tribulations of a city girl gone country aka Diary from a Prairie girl

Trials and tribulations of a city girl gone country aka Diary from a Prairie girl

My name is Rose and I have a problem.
Last summer I told my colleagues I was quitting to become a livestock farmer in Saskatoon, they laughed and didn't believe me. My fibre buddies believed me.
Now I have 12 adult cashmere goats, 19 kids, 2 alpacas, 3 livestock dogs (to look after them all), 2 rescue ferrets, one guinea pig (found by the side of the road) and one long suffering husband, not necessarily in that order.
It has been a real learning curve as a) I am a city girl, b) I know nothing about real Winters (UK and Vancouver, 3" of snow for 4 days is a bad winter) and c) I have never had livestock before. That being said I have survived with all my fingers and toes and take less for granted. I never realised having one's mail delivered and one's garbage collected was a luxury! Occasionally the power goes off and then the well doesn't work, that still pushes me over the edge.
Over the last few months I have learnt many things....
Electric fencing is wonderful, things stay where you put them. I am wondering why there is not a child/teenager version.
A PO BOX is not a real address according to my bank and they seized my funds. Took me over 6 months to explain that just because I lived off a gravel road with no name I exist, honest.
Before everything freezes decide if you want the canopy on the truck and things on or in the ground. Once it freezes it is too late. My husband proved this point to me by bending an iron bar trying to leaver up the tiniest fork in the ground.
There is difference between 'natural' ice and 'artificial' ice.
It is possible to survive living over 40km away from the nearest Starbucks (hyperventilating). I wonder if there is a support group?
On the brighter side I have my robotic vacuum and it is wonderful. Works really well on hardwood floor.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sock Day!

I'm not sure how it all started. One day, the group of us were sitting around the Clubhouse and decided it would be fun to paint our own self patterning sock yarns. And with our usual reserve and careful attention to details (NOT!) we jumped in and planned a special sock yarn day.

The day was cold but not raining. We met at the Clubhouse early-ish and planned our next set up the workspace (Teal's garage) so that we wouldn't get dye everywhere. Things had to be covered with plastic. Tables had to be moved and set up. A good idea was to raise the tables up to our working height to minimize bending over all day. (Some of us were at a Nuno Felting workshop the day before and found it hard working over low tables.) The yarn needed to be pre-soaked in vinegar and water.

Jade's husband had very kindly made the two jigs. A marvelous piece of woodworking...except he forgot that we were not that adept in putting the pieces together. It took a couple of tries before we got the arms of the jig matched up and ready to go. The two jigs were finally set up and we were ready for warping (or would that be jigging?? - Teal).

The next challenge was to get the wet skeins warped onto the jigs. We thought the wool would soak more thoroughly if left in skein form but it would be a challenge to wind wet yarn around the jigs. A swift was set up and more time was spent trying to figure out how to put the wet wool on the swift without ruining the wood. Plastic cling wrap was an option but not practical. It was funny watching us trying to wrap plastic cling wrap around the arms. Rose came up with the idea of using a plastic garbage bag which worked wonderfully.

We were FINALLY ready to paint! The first two skeins were finally ready for steaming by 4pm! A total of six hours had gone by! The next couple of batches went much faster but it was still close to midnight by the time the last skein was done.

It took such a long time because of a few unexpected problems - setting up the jig, wrapping the swift, and mixing just the right shade of brown for Rusty. The dyes ran as we took the yarn off the jig. No matter how careful we tried to keep the yarn leveled, the dye still ran. One solution was to set it a bit with the hair dryer.

The yarn was wrapped with industrial size cling wrap and rolled up to fit on an old pizza tray for steaming.

I really wish we had a picture of us trying to pull all the plastic off the yarn. It was like unstuffing sausages! This was result of a very full day...six skeins of brightly painted yarn!

Lavender's note:

The effect I were hoping was a fairisle repeat but that didn't happen with the dyes running into each other. I did get repeating stripes. While it wasn't planned, the stripes repeated itself fairly evenly on both socks when knitted up. The pattern is Elann's Toe-Up Chevron socks.