Monday, June 23, 2008

computers, computers, and yarn

I have lots of news to report. First of all, my new computer came! It's very tiny but very usable. I was concerned that the keyboard would be too small or that the 7" screen would drive me crazy by only showing three letters at a time or something, but it's fine in both of those regards. It's about the size of a portable DVD player. Here it is with my hand for scale.

Of course, having a new cute little laptop running around, I had to set up my wireless router so I could surf with it. I won't get into the gory details, but let's just say that it took nine hours on Saturday to get it working. This is one of my big downfalls--I know nothing about networking, I absolutely despise trying to make things work, and if in the course of trying to make something work I've broken something that used to work, I'm absolutely crawling out of my skin until I get it working again. Thus Saturday was quite the miserable day for me, but I did get finally get it working, which was exciting. Of course, this morning the laptop is not seeing the wireless router (why why why????) so it appears I still have more struggles ahead. Also, one of the things I was really excited about was the fact that it comes with an SD card reader built in. I finally got it to mount my SD card, but it won't read it. I don't know if this is because of all the Mac files sitting around on the card or what, but it's really infuriating. The Windows machine at work will read it, and they're not exactly known for their enthusiasm for compatibility and sharing. In short, I hate computers.
In other news, I finally got the bicycle computer I ordered and tried that out. Ingrid at Yarn Workshop, who suggested this to me, is a genius! I bought this one. Notice the distance display to three digits after the decimal--this bicycle computer displays down to the meter. That's pretty awesome and seems to be fairly rare. But what's even better is that I was telling my lunch buddy about this whole thing and entering the yarn circumference to get it to calculate the actual length of the yarn, and he said the magic words: "If you really want to know how many times you've gone around, just divide the distance by the circumference." It turns out this thing has you enter the circumference of the bicycle wheel in millimeters. If I wanted to know the actual length of yarn I was winding, I could convert 76" to millimeters and get that. But I already know that 107 wraps gives me a 100 g skein, so what I really wanted was for it to count wraps. I told it my bicycle wheel has a circumference of 1000 mm (that's 1 meter for the math impaired), so now my distance actually gives me the number of wraps, exactly what I wanted! This is totally awesome, and it's silent and smooth. I love it.
It operates by counting the number of times a magnet mounted on one arm of the skein winder (or one spoke of a bicycle wheel) goes past another piece that's mounted on a stationary part of the skein winder/bike. I was concerned about how I was going to mount these things. It came with cable ties, but I came up with something even better: that tacky stuff you put posters up with.

Here's a closeup.

This allows me to put the display anywhere I want, notably someplace where I can see it, unlike some counting skein winders, and watch it count as I wind.

On Sunday I decided to do some spinning. Normally I save the really nice fiber for when I'm feeling confident in my spinning abilities. Sunday I felt ready to spin the very best, most beautiful fiber I have: the tencel/wool blend from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks. Remember this?

Here it is unfurled.

It's so beautiful, so soft and luminous, and it spun like an absolute dream. I have to get some of this stuff to dye--it is absolutely incredible. And I was actually spinning consistently enough that the trick of splitting the roving in half lengthwise and spinning both halves actually worked--the colors lined up nicely.

I was hoping for some sections of pure purple, but the purple parts in the roving were all shorter than the staple length of the fiber, so that was impossible as far as I know. But it came out better than I thought--some parts are clearly purple. I think I'm in love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ooooh new toys! Yay! Lovely spinnage as well. I skeined some yarn last night using the bottom of a chair; it's a good arm workout....but not anywhere near as groovy as your wheel.

P.S. I haven't put up any pics of my yarn on my blog because I am currently without a camera! And I cannot seem to get the pictures out of my camera phone.....