Day 145

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Kinda sorta worked out the e-spinner today. It’s so sloooooow though that I have to apply patience to get enough twist in the yarn. My first batch had to go through the machine twice to get it to hold together.

That’s not just because there is less twist going into the yarn each second but also because as the newly spun yarn moves from your fingers onto the bobbin it runs along several surfaces that force some of the twist out of the yarn and back towards your hands.

It can be difficult to judge how much twist is lost, particularly when you are working with new equipment.

I still want a faster motor.

A blue/green trapezoid today. Not sure I joined the short row pick-ups the same way as previously but it looks ok so I’m leaving it alone.

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Biffy Clyro. I’ve no idea where the name comes from but I really enjoy their music. They’re a British band – specifically from my nana’s hometown of Kilmarnock in Scotland – and they ROCK! Literally, in the musical sense, and in the modern colloquial sense.

I had trouble choosing which of the first two of their songs I ever heard to share. ‘The Captain’ won because I love the opening riff. Also, Pirates! (And the video clip doesn’t confuse me…)

Biffy Clyro – The Captain

Day 144

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I added yesterday’s trapezoid (stripes!) as well as todays rectangle to the blanket this evening (I love turquoise yarn!).

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I spent most of the day disassembling, cleaning the rebuilding The Machine today. Yes, my e-spinner got a new motor. We bought 2 with different ratios when we decided to try a geared motor. The one I killed was 50:1. This one is 95:1. It’s a lot slower but has higher torque so it will hopefully stand up to the requirements for a little longer. Also, the lack of dust to get caught in the works might help too.

I’m not sure I like the lower speed. I spin very thin yarn – because I like to, because it’s what I most often knit with, and because I want to get as much mileage from each braid of fibre as possible (unplied, the green and pink yarn I finished the other week was a full 1500 metres long – that’s one and a half kilometres of useable yarn from 100g of fibre!!!). Thin yarn needs a lot of twist to hold it together and to give it strength. This is most commonly done using a high speed flyer (does what it says on the tin – it has smaller pulleys so it spins faster than a normal flyer which puts more twist into the yarn without having to exert more effort. It’s all about the ratios), or faster treadling on a regular spinning wheel.

Both of these things very quickly become non-factors with an e-spinner. The motor sets the speed limits so it doesn’t really matter what flyer you have. If the motor is slow, the flyer will move more slowly. You have to adjust the speed you draft out your yarn. This may sound like a simple thing but we all fall into natural rhythms. When we spin yarn, we set our spinning wheels to complement those rhythms. I suspect that i am not the only spinner who slips into a meditative mental state when spinning. If something on the machine changes, my yarn becomes inconsistent because the twist in the yarn and the pull from the bobbin are no longer complementary to my yarn draw.

The point is, it stops being calming and starts to get frustrating. And that entirely defeats the purpose of crafting as far as I’m concerned.

So we’re still trying to find a motor that will meet my demands and won’t bankrupt us. Have you seen how much hobby motors cost?!

I also reinforced the opening for the jack. It won’t get pushed into the housing everytime I plug it in. I quite like the way it looks.

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Something funny for you to watch/listen to today.

I do not watch the news for ao many reasons but I love comedy/satire news shows, particularly panel shows. In the 1990’s, when I still lived in Australia, I loved watching Good News Week, hosted by Paul Mcdermott. Occassionally there would even be a musical number. This is one I have never forgotten. I love the song and Mark Trevorrow is brilliant (check out Bob Downe on YouTube).

GNW Paul Mcdermott & Mark Trevorrow – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

Day 143

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Still not quite back to ‘normal’ but I feel like I only did half a million sit-ups today.

I had intended to ply the blue-faced Leicester yarn then knit my blanket piece but I managed to burn out the motor on my e-spinner so finished it on a hand spindle. There was maybe a quarter of it left to go but that took much longer than I had planned so no blanket piece today. I’ll take measurements and photos of my new handspun in the day light tomorrow.

The motor burn out may be due to wood dust but it’s more likely that it just isn’t strong enough to withstand the stress of resistance in the flyer. We have another of these motors with lower rpm but higher torque and they are cheap enough that burning another, while annoying, won’t be bank breaking.

We knew when we started this project that finding the right motor would be the most difficult part. Many people who have built their own e-spinners have used sewing machine motors. I’m not convinced they are the best option but I’ll be checking the local charity shops for a cheap sewing machine to dismantle (which is the most fun part ;) )

Revisiting my (tormented) youth with Pearl Jam today, just because.

Pearl Jam – Alive

Day 142

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Have been physically ill today – every muscle in my abdomen feels like I did a million sit-ups – so I have nothing to report except for a turquoise rectangle.

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Day 141

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Am having hold my posture very carefully tonight. I managed to upset my back today which has left me feeling bloated and sick and restricted if I sit in the wrong position. Yes, this is what had me running to the osteopath last month. Don’t think I’ll need her this time but it doesn’t matter if I do. The appointments are expensive.

A rusty red-ish sort of coloured small square joined the blanket today. I think there’s some orange in the mix too. Hard to tell under artificial light. I like it though.

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I got another chunk of the spinning done today before I upset my body by taking a nap. I had wanted it finished today but it is not to be. I’m just glad the sound of the motor isn’t giving me a headache anymore. I’m considering some noise dampening insulation. I’m investigating whether sheets of craft foam would work.

I *love* Pink’s music. I have all of her albums and it has been fantastic to see her grow and change through her music, from a somewhat self-loathing 20-something to a woman who is married and worked through the difficulties of that relationship to becoming a mum. She finishes her latest all ‘The Truth About Love’ with an upbeat tune that I can fully support. She sings about how she didn’t expect to be where she is but that *now* are the proverbial good old days. Not that her now is perfect but that ‘all’s good right now’. (Yes, I identify with quite a bit of her music).

Pink – Good Old Days

Day 140

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Ugh! Just found a dead fly in my drink…. Almost spat that mouthful all over the blanket. Didn’t though. Yay me, I guess.

The blanket didn’t get a mouthful of hot chocolate but it did get a pink trapezoid. I confess that sometimes I don’t like knitting the trapezoids but I do love how they look when finished and how pretty the sloped joining looks.

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It’s been a distracted day for me. Again. I’m pretty sure I need to go back to seeing a psychologist. I’m already on the recommended  dosage of my meds and while I won’t refuse an increase if that’s what is decided, I would prefer to avoid it. I know I need the medication but I do t have to like taking it. And by ‘need’, I mean that I do not much like the person I am without the medication, and I am even less capable of being a functioning human. It’s not much fun being on that high speed , emotional roller coaster. At least with the medication, the ride is less dynamic – fewer and less intense ups and downs, and a little more time between them. Still not sure I can be classed as functioning though.

I spent some of the day using my e-spinner to spin some very lovely blue-faced Leicester wool in a natural mid-brown colour that I bought at Fibre-East last year from Adelaide Walker. I think I’m about halfway through the batch and have been thinking about putting beads into the plied yarn. I’m thinking gold, although light blue might work too.

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I kinda love marching bands. Not so much that I seek them out but I enjoy them when I get the chance to see/hear/watch one. I am utterly lacking in the coordination to participate in one. I can’t even coordinate my hands to play both parts of a piano piece and that doesn’t even require forward momentum! I also kinda love Fleetwood Mac. Again, don’t usually seek them out but don’t change the radio station if they’re on.

This is a tidied up copy of the video for Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tusk’. It wasn’t particularly great in the first place but the song is good.

Fleetwood Mac – Tusk