Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ever wonder what volume of unspun wool it takes to spin 200 g of yarn? I wondered--so I decided to check it out. I weighed one of my finished skeins of homespun, then started carding the washed Tunis fleece I've been spinning from and piled up rolags on the scale...and more rolags...and more... (a rolag being a soft tube of wool, the product of brushing a lock of washed or unwashed fleece with wooden "cards" set with bent metal teeth--something like dog brushes--until the fibers are straightened out, then rolling it up).

Unfortunately, it was hard piling even half that amount on the styrofoam carry-out box which I eventually substituted for the little plastic tray on my kitchen scale. This is 100 g of carded rolags:
One rolag is roughly 4 g of wool. They can't all be the same size, though, because if they were, that 100 g of wool would have 25 rolags in it. It actually has 28.

I will need 2 of these mountains of rolags to fill my spinning-wheel bobbin once.

So now you know!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My new desk

As of the week after Christmas I have a real desk. In the living room. On the table that held our 4-ft. tall Christmas tree this year. It is now My Desk. It has wire shelves on top of it, against the wall, to hold things such as stationery, reference books, and writing tools.

My Desk is awesome. Much work with words goes on there--mostly letter-writing, reading, journaling, and the keeping of authorised loose notes such as grocery, menu, and to-do lists. I often check and update my Events calendar at My Desk. Other things happen there too (such as prayer, small sewing and knitting jobs, and occasionally even a bit of sleeping).

I might not know till next November (well...April, for Script Frenzy) whether any "real" writing will happen at My Desk--anything that doesn't have to do with money, food, the immediate furthering of personal relationships, or the organising of time and priorities--but it is a great place to hang out. I find myself gravitating there and taking a deep, slow breath as I sit down. I am tempted to eat meals at My Desk but have resisted the urge on all but the most appropriate occasions.

I have firmly resisted all efforts on the part of family members to colonise My Desk with their own belongings. It's not that I blame them for catching a glimpse of an empty horizontal surface as they hurtle past on their way to more interesting parts of the house, and thinking it would be a good place to deposit whatever books, papers and tools are burdening them at the moment. I sympathise; I myself often search the house for an empty horizontal surface on which to set something I don't need at the moment. But they may not use My Desk!

This is the first Desk I have ever successfully used for any appreciable length of time, without seeing it become a depository for my own miscellaneous paraphernalia. My first memory of hearing the word "paraphernalia" was, now that I think of it, when I was about 10 years old and a student teacher applied it to the collection of useful or at least interesting items that was stored on top of my fourth-grade classroom desk and left me little room for doing schoolwork, and until now any Desk I have attempted to set up and use has invariably become just another failed storage system rather than a functional working surface. Perhaps I have finally grown up enough to be able to have a Desk. Perhaps something has, finally, changed.

Either way, it's a nice place to be.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 is just like 2011, only the numbers are different

So who was it who decided that it's a big deal when the numbers change to the next year? Today has been pretty much like yesterday so far, except no big party in the evening, and that's OK; one big party per weekend (year) is fairly close to being enough.

The New Year is shaping up to be relatively busy so far. I have some orders for art carried over from 2011 (last week) and am looking toward two art shows in the next couple of months, revising and editing my 2009 and 2011 NaNoWriMo novels into one seamless story, getting my studio sorted and cleaned so it can double as a guest room (possibly as soon as mid-February), and just generally keeping up with things.

Being busy is not, in itself, a bad thing. As long as one takes time to be quiet and reflective and to continue to have conversations with those one loves, being busy is not necessarily the same as being stressed out.

Note to self: remember these things in 2012.