Sunday, February 22, 2009

Big Zippy's Birthday!!

Now, I built Zippy, and you all know how pleased I am with Zippy. I want to point out that Zippy was put together out of PVC pipe and pipe joints. It is held together with rubber bands, because I have not yet glued the PVC pipe. Even so, Zippy is a work of art because she lets you spin Soooooo faaaaaaasssssst. I have been spinning dog hair, and I can fill a bobbin (2 oz) of a nicely spun single in mind bending time.
DH planned and built Big Zippy. It has a louet jumbo head, so Big Zippy does fat yarn. Of course, DH is not going to put something together out of PVC pipe. Oh, no. He is going to built a freakin' work of art. It not only spins like crazy, but is pleasing in every other way, as well.
(I think Zippy can hear me....) I THINK THEY ARE BOTH BEAUTIFUL!
I'll tell you what part of me thinks that: my feet and my hands! My feet think so because they are not trying to treadle like the wicked witch of the east on her bicycle. My hands think so because they are drafting faster and faster. (My whole body enjoys spinning about 6 feet back from the orifice, a trick that cannot be accomplished if you have to treadle.)
Zippy and Big Zippy join an extensive family of spinning wheels. I have the terrific open spindle spinner that DH made for me last year, the $10 Lendrum, and 2 Adkins double treadle wheels. I feel like Mia Farrow (If Mia Farrow was a handspinner and adopted every wheel she saw...)
Well, you know what I mean.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Hair of the Dog

I made handspun yarn from dog hair, for a woman who wants to knit a sentimental piece for the dog's owner. I made 240 yards, and when she picked up the yarn, she wanted about three times more. Okay, then. She dropped off a large bag of dog hair, and that has become my fill-in spinning. When I don't have a project, I spin the hair of the dog. On Zippy. My spinning speed is next to incredible on Zippy. I have gotten faster and faster.
Meantime, I think Zippy 2 will be ready for a test drive today. DH has been fussing with Z2 in the shop off and on for several days. Z2 will be cosmetically more attractive than Z, and has a bigger bobbin and is bobbin drive/flyer brake (it's a louet head).
Back to the Dog Hair.
This stuff is really very soft, and spins up nicely. (Note to BrooklynJogger: If Frederick ever grows any hair, save some for me.)
On to Knitting machines: This event will be known as the Crash of 09. I am talking about a 20 meg hard drive on a 386, with 8 meg of enhanced memory. Is there anybody around who still knows what that is? If so, this part is for you. The only thing this old 386 had to do was run an old version of knitting machine software- a DOS application that is basically a very enhanced bar code reader. She has been doing that since the early 90's. Well, not today. Oh, No! the 16 year old 20 meg seagate crashed. Totally. I did all the things you do, but she was dead. A goner. passed on. crossed over. Kicked the bucket. Not coming back any time soon.
Of course, the tragedy of any crash is not the drive, but what was on it. When I lost the drive, I lost the knitting machine software. The software, which I love, has been through a few upgrades since my version, and I had to go shopping. Sticker shock aside, I located the stuff and I'm still entitled to the upgrade price!! (Look for the silver lining...) So, I will shortly be back in business, with both of my electronic KM's on the same 'page' (of the software, that is). NOW, I'm excited. I am going skiing today. It is 'poke you in the eye' beautiful outside. A brilliant, clear, sunny day, with a couple inches of new snow on a wonderful, dense base. Perfect for a glide in the woods. The dog will get all the exercise she can stand. If you could look out over the corn fields, to the woods, and see the crisp shadows that every stick and stalk is painting with the early morning sun- you would want to be me today. Wish you all were here.