Thursday, April 10, 2008

technology turns against me

Yesterday my work computer ground completely to a halt. It had been degenerating for a while, but yesterday I couldn't even get it to boot up. In addition to small things like, oh, my job, I had been using it to edit the photos for this blog! It had an SD card reader and PhotoShop. :( This morning I attempted to replace its functionality using the quirky collection of machines I have at home. For some reason, my new less old Mac won't read from my camera, only the old one will do that. But the old one sometimes flakes out when I copy stuff from it onto my jump drive to move it back to my new machine, which is the only one with any photo editing software whatsoever. I downloaded a Gimp installer for it way back when--I should actually use that at some point. Meanwhile, I'm using freebie stuff that came with the machine and the scanner. So I finally got the images copied from the camera to a machine that could edit them...and most of them are no good anyway. I wanted to show you all what I was talking about with the butterfly clip thing on the Little Gem, but the camera absolutely refuses to focus on that. I took pictures of it from all different angles, and I've got really great shots of my carpet, the quilt on the futon, the closet door, and anything else that was in the background, with a big fuzzy flyer in the front, totally useless. I was also completely unable to capture the wacky yarn I made last night. I was reading on Ask the Bellwether about spinning thick yarn, and she mentioned having people get some pencil roving and just not draft at all. Well, last night for some reason I couldn't draft evenly to save my life--I was just making all these fuzzballs in the yarn. So I thought, hey, maybe I should just try the no-drafting approach! Rock on, solve that problem, right? I don't have any pencil roving, but I think it's just roving in really thin strips. Maybe it's combed? What I had was carded, and I just divided it lengthwise until it was about the amount of fiber I'd draft out if I was trying to make a thick yarn, and started trying to spin it. (No pictures of this either--!@#%%^$!)
I had a lot of trouble with it breaking. In retrospect, I'd say this is probably because I wasn't putting enough twist on it because I was feeding it onto the bobbin too fast because I didn't have all that time taken up with drafting. Anyway, it certainly did make thick yarn, but it wasn't much fun. If I did it again, I'd definitely pay more attention to the twist. Spinning is a lot of fun if you can get a rhythm going, but not much fun if it just keeps breaking or getting tangled up.
Anyway, my camera came through for me in one area: the blanket for Project Linus.

It's about 2/3 done now--we had another meeting of the Blankie Brigade last night. The design has evolved a bit--I ran out of purple, so the purple and yellow wide stripes are smaller than intended. I'm in danger of running out of yellow, too, which could be disastrous at this point. I really don't want to buy a whole 'nother ball for, like, two stripes, but at this point it would be hard to come up with a balanced end without a few more yellow strips. (I already bought more hot pink.) Well, so far the yellow is holding out, so maybe it will just make it.
Anyway, I did manage to capture my improvised "tension" scheme for the lazy kate. I didn't think to take a picture while I was actually using it, but here it is. I just leaned the afghan squares against the bobbins, and that little bit of drag was enough to keep things going nicely.

With any luck, tomorrow will be a better day for all this stuff. Meanwhile, even if I can't document it, at least I got to play!


Amelia, belle of The Bellwether said...

Love the improvised tension scheme! Another thing that works for me on an untensioned lazy kate, is to run a rubber band around the metal posts, at their bases (just the posts, not the bobbins) so the bobbins sit on top of the rubber band. That provides enough friction (usually) to keep the bobbins well-behaved.

Oh ... pencil roving is just a roving that has been drafted out (by machine) to a width about as wide as a pencil. Splitting or pre-drafting thicker roving down to pencil thickness would be about the same.

Cara said...

Thanks, Amelia!