Friday, 14 March 2014

Happy Pi Day!

Today is Pi Day, which I actually remembered this year for a change. March 14, or 3/14 is also Einstein's birthday, so a fitting day of celebration for nerds everywhere. It seems next year's will be a big one though, since it will be possible to have a date and time of 3/14/15 9:26:53 - the first 10 digits of pi, which is as far as I can recite it without having to look numbers up.

You're supposed to have pie on Pi day, not surprisingly. I've got quiche planned for supper, so I suppose that's close enough. If I were the shopping type, though, I would be out on Cafe Press looking at T-shirts. Check these out. I think I particularly like the ones that say 'Irrational, but well rounded', and  'My PIN is the last 4 digits of Pi'. Also the one that says 'Come to the dork side. We have Pi'.

And yes, if you laugh at those, you should definitely be celebrating Pi Day.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Farm Show

Last year, what with school and all, I didn't get a chance to go out and do too many demos with the Weaving and Spinning Guild. But I've managed a couple this winter, and yesterday was the demo at the Ottawa Farm Show. I did this one a couple years ago too, the first year they were at the Ernst and Young Centre, when we scored fleeces from Rare Breeds Canada to sample.

It's a fun show, for several reasons. I always get a kick out of seeing the contrast between the EY Centre, which is shiny-modern-new, and the show clientele, which is heavy on pick-up trucks in the lot and feed-caps, plaid shirts, and jeans on the people. And even if you're not interested in the latest breed of wheat or model of John Deere tractor, there's plenty to see in the way of antiques and fun things in the exhibition area. Our station was right outside there.

We had a  good variety of things to show people about the Guild and what we do.

Across from us was a rope maker, who also had some wooden toys and games, and who got people to help make plied and cabled ropes from cakes of baler twine. Inside the exhibition there was leather-working, antique implements, quilts, detailed wooden models, and a sock-knitting machine.

Some of the booths in the show had what definitely could be called eye-catching displays, like the stuffed bison I passed on my way in.

And then there's the loot. We saw people passing with foam #1 fingers, wooden staffs, Kubota bags, balloons, and who knows what else. I think the best, though, was the T-shirts that were for sale. Both of my demo partners bought shirts. One said 'Kiss me, I'm a farmer', and the other said, '100% Farm-Raised'.

The only draw-back, in fact, was the weather. Snow and wind all afternoon and evening, making getting home lots of fun. Sigh. More white stuff to melt before we can do more than plan gardens and start seedlings, and dream of going outside without a coat and boots...

Friday, 7 March 2014

Friday, Fun and Games

I've gotten myself into a whole new round of exciting things to do, and all rather different. An outdoor bake oven, a new job, and a new pattern to write up.

First up, the bake oven. Something along these lines.

A friend of mine is involved with a local community garden that just got a grant  to build an outdoor bake oven as part of a community improvement initiative. And I said, "Ooh, cool, can I help?" Because, you know, someday I might want to build one for me, and a little practice is a good thing. So yesterday there was a meeting with the group and the head of Masonry at Algonquin, who has built this type of oven, and after his presentation, they talked about options, and presenting the building plan - and when they were talking about wanting a more professional look to do the presenting for the plan to be approved, I was all excited and jumped in and offered my Dynascape CAD program to draw a pretty plan, and maybe translate the overhead view into 3-D. Two of the group members and I had a bit more of a chat to throw around ideas today, and I will get an aerial photo with the current planned improvements marked, and get to do a little designing. Glad I opted to get the extension on my Dynascape, otherwise it would have stopped working a month ago. And this is going to be fun.

This afternoon I also heard from Hansen, who I interviewed with a couple weeks ago, and accepted their job offer. So nice to have that settled, and to be able to stop job-hunting! Now I get some online training to do this week, and I should begin actual work in April - assuming the snow has melted enough to do any garden work at that point. The weather this week looks like there's hope, even though people were skating on the canal yesterday.

And finally, I just finished a pair of mittens which I'm really happy with (except the cuff, I might change the cuff), and the pattern is getting written up ASAP. They were made with a particular call for submissions in mind, but they make me smile so much that even if they don't make the cut, I want them out there for people to enjoy.

Tempted to knock on wood, it's a little worrying with so much going right and being exciting. Well, I will do that, and then relax this evening before I plunge into the whirlpool of things-to-do which looks like my life for the next little while!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Snowflake Hat Challenge

Last time I dropped things at Johanne's and we discussed what she wanted next for the store, she had a hat in mind.

It was a blue and white hat, a stocking cap with snowflakes on it, that she had seen on a Tim Horton's commercial a while back.

Then she had seen something very similar on someone at the bank recently, and decided to ask me about making something similar, and she drew me a little sketch picture and gave me a couple skeins of alpaca lopi yarn, one indigo-dyed and one white.

I love getting to exercise the creative juices on something like this.

A search on google failed to turn up any indication of the Tim's hat, so that meant I was on my own. I hunted out an idea of how a stocking cap was shaped, swatched and calculated, decided on 6mm needles, found a nice snowflake design in an appropriate size, and settled in to work.

It felt like Goldilocks for a while. The first hat was too small, so it got ripped out. The second hat was too big, so it got ripped out. The third hat (thankfully) was just right. And it didn't run me into a second skein of the white yarn.

I think it's kind of cute, so I hope Johanne likes it.

It's been snowing most of the day. Wonder if there's any chance the weather's linked to the snowflakes on the hat? The next project has a southwestern feel in the pattern, so maybe that'll improve the conditions outside...  

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Long Winter, and Temperature Sweater Log

So it's March...and no end in sight for the white stuff. Does a cold, snowy day count as March coming in like a lamb or a lion? Or is it, as someone on Rav posted, coming in like a polar bear, and if so, what does that mean? I really hope it means it's going to go out like a parrot, or something similarly tropical.

Don't get me wrong - I'm glad I'm not in the Prairies, where they've got -30 and below in the forecast still. Or getting buried in snow, or flooded out. But it's March now, and I would like to see something in the forecast that's not a negative number. Beginning to wonder if those 'snowball Earth' theories might have a point!

Last year when a local group was doing a temperature scarf KCAL, I loved the idea, but no time to play. This year, though, I am keeping a tally. Got my Excel spread-sheet set up, and adding daily high, low, and average, and colour-coding them to get an idea of how the stripe pattern is coming out. See? That's January. I'll probably end up using the average temp (3rd column), but I like colour, so I'm keeping all three columns for now.

I think it may end up being a temperature sweater rather than a scarf, but I will have to plan out the pattern. I probably can't just stripe it top to bottom and get the whole year in, since even at a rather fine gauge (9 sts/") that works out to 40" long. Hmm, Temperature Tunic-dress? Temperature leggings? Well, time enough to think on that yet.