Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The Apple. The Tree. So Close.

My daughter started dyeing wool last night. It's gorgeous -- I'd proudly sell it as my own. In fact I just might if I can't get enough stuff done for this FibreFest thingie.

It's next Friday. Gah!

E's yarn is drying now. It was supposed to be for socks. We were going to be all matchy. She now wants it to be a scarf. I am trying not to be bitter.

I have a feeling that by this time next week I'm going to be knitting lace for a 7-year-old. Anyone have a suggestion for a good lace pattern involving sock-weight yarn?

I have pictures of the yarn; will upload tomorrow. Right now I'm sitting, itching, in the basement at work.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


My Job Is Giving Me Hives

No, srsly. I have problems with eczema and I'm itchy a lot of the time anyhow, but of late the only time I have serious problems with it is at work. I walk in the door and I go nuts with the itching for 8 hours. It drops by about 90% the minute I walk out the door. (There has been no addition of anything new at work ... just the stress, which is what mostly triggers this.)

And today I got another nastygram from the powers that be.

Makes me glad I applied for a permanent job at the "good" place this weekend. I'm anticipating I'll know within a week.

Keep your fingers crossed. I get the "yes", these motherfuckers get two weeks.

If that.

Monday, February 25, 2008


A Working Dryer. I Has One.

I'm still here, just a little swamped and I don't think there's been a whole lot of stuff going on that you'd be interested in.

"Skeined wool. Put it in water. Took it out of the water. Painted it. Nuked it. Threw it in the bathtub. Slept. Woke up, rinsed wool, went to work. Skeined wool at work. Went home, packed and labelled envelopes, took child to school, went to post office, slept" doesn't make for fascinating reading.

We do, however, have a new addition to the family. Through the diligent perusing of Craigslist (oh how I love thee) we have managed to finalize the adoption of a brand-new-but-slightly-abused (as in one small scratched area) dryer. I note from reviewing my post history that the heating element in the last dryer burned out almost exactly a year ago. It stopped even air drying a few months ago and life Chez Lapin has been a little difficult, especially considering the number of towels needed during the dyeing process.

Anyhow, 'cause it's either a floor model (or perhaps even fell off the back of a truck, I didn't ask too closely) we got it for a little less than half price. Delivered.

It works. And I am wearing clean underwear.

I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


We're There!

The website for the Fibrefest International has been updated. I know it's silly but it was pretty exciting to see my name there in black and white. Well, black and yellow. I feel like a real grown-up vendor now.

If you're in the neighbourhood March 7 or 8, be sure to drop by and say "hi". I'll be sharing a booth with Barb from Wild Geese Fibres. She's been dyeing up a storm too and I'm not sure what all she's bringing (not entirely sure what I'm bringing yet!) but I don't think you'll be disappointed -- I'm betting there's going to be lots of stuff to drool over.

Not on. If you actually drool on anything y'all have to buy it.

See you there!

Monday, February 18, 2008


Well ... Fuck.

I was trying to think of a nicer title but that sums it up.

I'm behind in dyeing so nothing is being shipped until Wednesday, however I'm always behind in everything so that's not my concern.

My problem at the moment is that I confidently opened a box of undyed yarn this morning only to discover that I'd been drunk-dialing or crocked-clicking or something.

50 skeins. Russet. Uh russet and snow aren't the same thing, are they?

I'm waiting to hear if I can exchange them. The good thing is that I think I have (almost) enough yarn to finish all of the orders I have here.

And well, if they won't exchange it, then I guess we have a hell of a lot of russet socks coming up.


Friday, February 15, 2008


The Yarn Harlot Ruined My Life*

Which is why you won't be seeing much in the way of blogging out of me until Monday, when I can hopefully post a photo of a mountain of yarn ready to be mailed out.

Apparently there are a lot of people out there who like yarn.

* this ruin, in the shape of many sales this week, has led to the loss of any hope for sleep in the next four or five days. everything else in my life remains un-ruined, many other things are improved, and sleep is highly overrated. i am not complaining in the least, apart from the fact that it's cutting into my drinking time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


When "I Love You" Doesn't Seem Like Enough ...

... why not try dragging your loved one down the street behind your car for a bit instead?

All right, I exaggerate, but it wasn't so good. Let me explain.

Life sans vehicular module is sometimes trying and so my father helps out where he can. Today was wet and cold and I had some running around to do after picking Her Surreal Highness up from school. As I'd had about two hours of sleep in the preceding 36 (and not two in a row, either) I called and asked if he'd help out. He was more than happy to do so.

So we picked E up from school and then went to the bank. There was no parking outside the bank so he stopped and let me out of the car and then drove around the block for a bit until I'd finished. I think he'd actually only circled the block once by the time I was finished, and he stopped to let me back in.

His attention was on the traffic and he was wondering if he should turn left or right at the corner.

Apparently his concentration on this was such that he didn't notice that the amount of daughter that he had in his vehicle was deficient to the tune of approximately 70%. I had put one foot in and was in the process of sort of bending down, preparatory to lowering myself onto the seat when he pulled out, dragging me along (albeit only for a few inches. I think the screaming gave him his first clue that all was not well and he stopped almost immediately. He's pretty quick on the uptake).

Most of my weight was in the process of being transferred to the foot that was inside the car, so I was off-balance to start. The subsequent loss of any sort of supporting framework pretty much flung me down onto the road. Apparently on the way down I felt it adviseable to retain a vice-like grip on my purse, so I landed with my full weight on my right knee and the back of my left wrist. (And, surprisingly enough, on several different locations scattered about my left leg, both front and back.)

People rushed to help; one even stopped her car. I live in a pretty nice place where people will help you out when you're in trouble. I was up and on my feet within seconds.

He was very remorseful. It was a case of simple human error, not a case of it being time for a family intervention to take Grandpa's license away. It was still scary as hell.

My first thought -- well right after "Holy Fuck, my father just tried to kill me," -- was "Please don't tell me I've broken anything. I have to dye at least 300 skeins in the next three weeks and I can't do that with a cast on."

Rest assured that nothing is broken. Scraped, bruised, sore as hell and very stiff? Hell yes. Broken? No.

I shall live to dye another day.

But I must say that this is the first time I've found myself lying in a dirty puddle of water in the middle of the street in broad daylight, stone cold sober.

I'm sort of hoping it'll be the last.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Weaving About

Quick update, busier than stink, no time for long rants (or explanations of my post yesterday, some of which needs to be clarified) so I leave you with images of my latest works of "art". Actually I should say "our", as my daughter helped with the weaving of both of these.

Originally uploaded by Rabbitch
Here is the result of my first foray into weaving. It was co-opted for a saddle for my daughter's rabbit and frankly I couldn't think of a better use for it.

Originally uploaded by Rabbitch
This is my second attempt. Notice that the sides don't pull in as much but dude, I could have maybe beaten the weft down a little more. Or even a lot more. I think this is destined to fall apart pretty quickly.

Originally uploaded by Rabbitch
This one actually is a work of art, or at least closer than the weaving. I managed to get some yarn into the store today. Only four skeins in total (not all this colourway) but I'm working on it.

One day I'll be organized.

No, really. I will. Shut up.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I Am Becoming A Complete Asshole

Which is likely better than a partial asshole, which would be terribly inconvenient, but still ...

I loathe when people's blogs are all commerce, all the time, but seriously I'm doing little else these days, which is interesting for me (and for those who I meet on transit and who wonder about my blue and green hands) but maybe not quite so much for you.

I'm gearing up for the FibreFest and I think anyone out there who's done any dyeing understands how much work it is to dye 200-300 skeins of yarn, plus about 15-20 lbs of roving. We won't discuss the hand-knitting and the spinning because neither may make an appearance at the 'fest and I'd rather not embarrass myself. I think right now I have like one bobbin of Corriedale spun and I don't even know if I'm going to have enough time to spin a second so that I can ply it. It's that silly around here.

I received 94 skeins of yarn in the mail on Friday and there are another 80 en route as we speak. Oh, plus another 15 or so. Plus the other 100 skeins or so I have all over the house and the 20 I got the week before that and the 30 that came a few days before that. It's utter madness (you'll remember I'm working full time plus doing occasional weekend shifts and raising a child here). Utter madness, but I couldn't be happier. There's a pretty good chance that I can kick The Job That Blows Goats to the curb within the next six months.

I've managed to do a very small store update, but unless you're a spinner it won't be of a lot of interest to you. I'm hoping to get some of the "luxury" sock yarn listed tomorrow and the last few 100% merino skeins I've done, but mostly it's roving and such that has made its appearance.

Another thing that I'm being a complete asshole about is that of late I've run into rumours that a lot of indie dyers are being asked for the source of their fibre and that some object to telling. Most do. I certainly do, and I think that to ask is tackier than asking to share chewing gum, quite frankly.

I've only been asked once or twice and have deflected the enquiry politely. Yes, I can be polite, but now I'm going to tell you what I really think.

I've only asked one person, once, and that's because she was going out of business and I couldn't find a good Canadian source of a particular fibre. I didn't ask her from whom she ordered, I just said I was having trouble and asked if she could point me in the right direction. I will note also that this is someone who I have met face to face, although we don't hang out together. She knew that I was in "competition" with her also, although her work at the time was far better than mine. (I say at the time because I flatter myself that I've improved.)

I realize now that it was likely cheeky of me to even ask, but at the time I didn't know any better and like I said she wasn't doing it any more. Oh yes, and I also asked one of my suppliers, Birkeland Brothers, if they could help me source a particular fibre that they don't carry.

(See? I'm not completely horrible, I'll give up some of my sources.)

I work long and hard to find sources for good yarn and fibre. It's not all that easy to find good stuff. Being asked for the source makes me wonder ... is the person asking because they want to buy it and dye it themselves and go into competition? (I'm not scared of competition; there are enough yarn whores for all of us. I am scared, rather, of subterfuge. I'm not willing to be taken for a fool.) Or do they just want to know what I paid for the base yarn and then do the math and work out if they're being ripped off or not?

If you think you're being ripped off ... then you are. Fibre, yarn, and the buying thereof should be a pleasurable experience. If you're fretting and fuming about it then you're ripping yourself off from the prospect of enjoyment. The ripping off is being done by you, not the vendor. You need to go to Wal-Mart, immediately. Most indie dyers work for a heck of a lot less than you think they do.

It's not just the cost of the fibre, but there's the dye, the labeling, the shipping, the bags, the bla bla bla bla bla. The list is lengthy.

I'm not saying I don't make a buck on it, but what I'm selling is my time and talent. I deny anyone's right to decide what price my talent is worth. I ask what I think is a fair price, and if people don't want to pay it that's fine ... I'll keep the goodies for myself (alas I have never gotten to do so. I've never knat with my own hand-dyed. I have one skein I'm hovering over like a vulture but I may sell it ... maybe). Most people are happy to pay it. And if they're not, there's always the chain stores -- fly free and be happy, I bear no grudge and don't weep over the lost business.

My take on it is that I'm a private business, and my private business transactions are the business of me and my suppliers and the government (to whom, sadly, I must pay taxes on my transactions.) Unless someone wants to become a shareholder (and I'm not selling shares) then they have no right to that information. I mean, you don't go to a restaurant and ask where they bought their ingredients, hmm? In fact ... does the Fleece Artist get questions like that? I hope not, but I assume if she does that she tells people, politely, to stick it in their ear.

I'm not sure if this is happening because so many of us are accessible, through blogs, email, public events or whatever and so we seem like public property or something. I just think it's a little disturbing. And rude. In fact I heard of a case where someone said that his suppliers required that he take off the labels when he dyed and sell it under his own name and he was called a liar.

I was pleased to hear that his response was something along the lines of "as is your mother".

Mine would have been less polite.

If someone is seriously trying to start out in business and asks me for some leads please email me and I will share -- to an extent ... but otherwise, my sources are my own.

Everyone needs a little secret or two, don't they?

Thursday, February 07, 2008


CafePress Store Open

OK, I have two piddly categories in my CafePress store. It's way incomplete and looks like hell and it took me like two weeks to get it done. Anybody's looking for any sort of computer/internet/store set up help should seek elsewhere.

But at least Tally will stop bugging me.

I'll fix it up some more later and try to add some more categories and delete the more lame-assed products and make it not look quite so much like poop, but now I have to find my snow boot (yes, just one, the elves have taken it) and then get the child to school.

And by "later" I mean "in my next lifetime" more than likely.

I think y'all know my grasp on time by now.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


If You Blog It, They Will Come

Or something like that.

Apparently if you actually write stuff on your blog then people will show up to read it! And if you don't, as I have not of late, then your subscribers drop you faster than ... uh ... than a fast-dropping thingie.

See? See why I am not writing? My brain is addled with dye fumes, I tell you.

The first whack of Moral Turpitude roving has been shipped out (apart from a couple of ounces that didn't exactly felt but that were more compressed than I like, making pre-drafting a bit icky. I have since perfected improved my technique and the slightly-less-easily-drafted bits will go to my friend Michelle, who has apparently been bitten by the needle felting bug.

Every needle felter needs a friend who is just learning the business of dyeing roving. And everyone who is learning to dye roving needs a friend who needle felts. I hate waste. (Michelle is also one of my oldest and dearest friends, from the wayback days of Usenet. I am proud to be her fiber pusher and guarantee there will be a stream of sheep hair flowing across the border for years to come. Or, you know, until she gets bored of poking holes in her fingers. I mock merely because I am jealous; I long for the felting of the needles but have no time to do so.)

During this process I have used up all of my black dye so a trip over to Granville Island is in order for the morning. If you're waiting for an order, it's on its way; I'm just a little behind (or, you know, a great big behind, if you prefer.)

There's really been very little going on in my life. No rants, no outrages. It makes for boring blogging.

Mr. Assmuppet starts his job "for reals" tomorrow morning, I have (or will have) enough fibre to do the Fibre Fest, and my kid hates getting up in the morning and my amazing tsock kit has arrived. That's about the most excitement there's been in my life (although I can pretty much guarantee there's going to be a lot more excitement and cussing once I actually cast those puppies on)

Oh and, apropos of nothing, I hate chenille.

Stay tuned for exciting updates as they happen!

As you were.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


St. Brigid's Day

It's St. Brigid's Day again and once more I am joining in celebration by posting some poetry I feel you all should share.

Seems I missed it last year (February having crept up on me without warning, like cheap underwear) and upon review of my archives I see that in 2006 I also posted a poem by William McGonagall. Apparently I know no other poets.

This may explain quite a lot.

Should anyone be siezed with a great desire to hurt me quite vigorously after reading this poem, please note that the address posted on my sidebar is my PO box and there's no point in looking for me there.

Without further ado, for your delight, I present perhaps his best-known poem:

The Tay Bridge Disaster

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say-
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

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