Sunday, February 20, 2011

Miss Calli

This post is totally off topic. There's no weaving, no fibre, no looms. I think you will enjoy this post none the less though.

Its been five, going on six months since our Connor passed away. We are past the tears and now recall all the good stuff. We went from NO MORE DOGS to...'" so if you were to consider it, what kind would you like?" So it didn't surprise me when in time I found Bruce cruising the web looking at different breeds. Connor was a Lakeland terrier and while there are breeders out there, they are few and far between.   So Bruce did some research on other terrier breeds. We like that irascible terrier attitude (or is that terrorist?) The focus for a while was Welsh terriers which seemed to be a happy alternative and a couple of months ago we even put our name down for a puppy this spring.

Fast forward a a bit and one day I looked around my kitchen that is just a year old and suddenly put it all together. Puppies CHEW and piddle and it lasts for months.   Oh, crap.... time to review. How did I miss that part?  Oh, yeah... they are cute.

So we sat and talked about things over a cup of tea of just what we are looking for and what do we really want in a dog?   We have had small terriers for the past 15 years and the purpose of the 'small' stature was that at one time we lived on a boat for five years and needed all the attitude in a portable pooch!   Way back when I met Bruce he had a large (and I mean large!) Airedale named Samson  or Sammie for short. He was a big gentle bear of a dog and my daughter Carrie played for summers with him at her side. We never worried about her because Sam was there with her. I'm sure she will verify this and her tom boy ways (or was that shenanigans ?) I tried to find a nice picture of Sam for this post but he passed on so many years and so many moves ago. They are in a box somewhere along with pictures of the cats, other dogs and parrots we have owned through the years.

So we came away from our chat deciding that we wanted an Airedale again,  approximately one year or older, the gender didn't matter as it was more important to have a dog that is calm, no obvious issues and has a balanced personality. I still wanted a girl and Bruce a boy though. We withdrew from any commitments that were in place with our thanks and then started a new search. We did find one 2 1/2 year old female Airedale who showed great promise and based on the information we received, we got excited and arranged to meet her. She was beautiful but as a mature female she would be bred two times as part of a breeding arrangement and would spend large amounts of time at the breeders. We took her for a walk and it was a bit of a struggle She knew only 'show dog' commands and apparently, we did not. The word SIT  was met with a blank look of 'what??'   Oh, dear... this just didn't feel right and we are not about to force things to fit.

The next dog we viewed is also a female, ten months old and fully house trained and leash trained. She lived and mingled with other Airedales and other breeds of dogs that came along with their owners who stable their horses at the property there. We spent a good deal of time watching her interact with the owner and other dogs. Then we went for a walk and ran into a playful pit bull (yes, I said that right and in fact it was the most obedient pit bull I have ever met!) They played with no barking or growling. The border collie we also met could have used some more manners as it bounced its muddy paws off my new fleece jacket! I never saw it coming. There were large horses moving around us... cars passing on the driveway and she behaved beautifully.

So long story short, we bought her and brought her home on Wednesday. This past Friday she has had a vet wellness visit and was totally relaxed about the whole thing. She even licked the vet while he listened to her heart beat. Then there was the cranky pit bull who was not having a good day at the clinic that didn't phase her and she stood her ground; no growling, no barking. The pit bull was literally pulled out like a belligerent school bully after clearing everyone present down to one end of the waiting room. The slim built woman owner was a bit rattled and could barely hold onto the dog. (It begs the question: why get this breed of dog if you can't train and work with it properly? Anyhow, I digress....)

Today was the beauty parlor visit and she went through with flying colours!  So with our further adieu, may I present Calli    (formerly known as Calypso)

Calli was a scruffy girl before the cut, though she had had a bath by me. I don't know who was wetter: her or me or the entire bathroom? So here's the before shot to show how well she cleaned up!

Quite the improvement huh? She likes to lay by my feet where ever I go which is really nice. Normally all pets we have ever had have bonded with Bruce. She may well switch allegiance too but for now I'm loving it!
We have only heard one bark at the stables, but here at home no barking* (see edit below at end) and there has been no growling at all. But we are singing all night in our kennel as we adjust to all the new stuff in her life, which if you think of it, is a lot! She's very affectionate and loves her pats and hugs. Show her the leash and she's raring to go!

But one thing we know she likes and has a sense of ownership over, is her new pink martingale collar!  Its for a big Airedale gal with attitude :)

So we missed the early puppy stage but I can comfort myself with pictures. Now, doesn't this pup look sweet? Look at the size of those paws!  Now this may not be Calli but this pup is from the same breeder.

The best thing is we have a cookie jar back on the counter again. My daughter bought this for us many years ago and it now has its first fresh load in a long time!

Understandably there hasn't been much weaving happening around here as I still heal from the bad back (and wait for the new chair base)   and I also have been fighting a virus bug thing that is making the rounds this time of year. Hope you are all keeping  keeping warm and healthy as winter runs its course.
To borrow from friend Theresa,  here's a parting shot:

Feb 22nd. 2011
* edit: we have had our first bark! wow... impressive. We were in a pet store shopping and she barked at a well 'shaved'  small white dog walking by. (It looked more like Babe the pig) She didn't bark at the pit bull but this? Then the store manager said "looks like a rat... I'd bark at that too! "

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Making Promises

A great  promise?  that Spring is coming... take heart!

I forget the full name of this hardy worker in the garden but its second name is Japonicus. It just doesn't quit! Blossoms, new red leaves all spring and again in the fall well into the frosts.

Early days yet, but that is the first primula blossom and a cluster of new buds forming, with a crocus nudging its way up.

There is a purple magnolia bloom in here. There's also the start of a new shoot at the base too!

The pink hellebore is almost ready!  Tough little plant and was the first to have fresh shoots up even in sub zero weather.
My personal favourite: heather which blooms from November to May, even through the snows.
So I guess you could call this the "Colours of February" on the west coast of Canada and these are all for Lynnette. I promised her I would....

Okay, back to indoor pursuits!
The chair situation in the studio was experiencing a delay.  Turns out the eight inch riser model was just a single solid pole and that simply won't work. So the ten inch hydraulic gas cylinder is the only other choice and then I found out the lowest setting is twenty four inches! I need twenty two and a half inches.  Since it can't be returned for a refund I had to mull it over some more and be really sure. The guy from the store actually came over to our house, looked at the benches and looms and we talked it through. (nice guy!) Seems when you sit down on the current regular chair, your body weight  depresses the chair down, therefore when I sit on the lowest setting of twenty four inches, it would also depress down and we deduced by at least one and a half to two inches so I'm placing the order this week. It makes sense that they would have one base meet and take over from the standard height and not leave a gap!  Phew...  it will take three to four weeks to come in.    *fingers crossed!*

I ran the gauntlet last week and went to the Government of Canada offices to get my first ever, bonafide passport. I absolutely hate the picture. I look like I'm attending a funeral or something but they liked it which is what matters most.  All around me were people grumbling about the long wait, having to get new pictures, more documents, that it was their third time back in line etc. I sat and waited my turn and it all went through first try and I was out of there in 30 minutes.  Now, Hubby promises I'll get to use it but as he pointed out, it is good for five years!

So after that grueling experience, I needed some retail therapy and so went to a yarn store "Knotty by Nature" ( in downtown Victoria, BC. which was just voted the most romantic city in Canada)
 I bought some additional shades of the finer bamboo in navy blue, black and a mid range magenta (which looks more pink here than anything):

While there was so much to love in the store, I was being mindful of my stash at home, counting my pennies... and that Hubby was waiting to carry my bag for me (oops!) I did buy this linen just for the colour!

Greens are so energizing aren't they?  I see the promise of leaves, grass.... and some nice huck lace runners!

So am I weaving again? yes, as a matter of fact I am, but only for short periods of time and not every day.  I do NOT want to go through another set back so I'm taking my time. I have a nine yard warp for three scarves and  I'm fifty four inches into my first scarf. So show and tell will be a while yet. A promise I'm happy that I can make again!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cobbling Things Together

I have a confession to make. It seems I might have pushed things a bit and had a bit of a set back this past week. I suspect strongly that sitting on my weaving bench, even with a cushion, to do that one weaving repeat I showed you in my last post aggravated the nerve. My physiotherapist agrees. So I resumed my 'resting' and left the loom alone. Its so hard  NOT being able to weave...

So the hard edge of the wooden bench(s) is an issue, even with my elevating the rear legs to angle the bench. Its a problem now and I can see where it may contribute to future flare up's. So Hub and I did some talking about what might be a good fix.  I heard that Fireside looms makes an angled bench but its a bit spendy.  We went to our local Staples office supply store and looked at chairs, all kinds of chairs. At first we thought a  tall drafting chair would do as it can be raised to higher positions than normal chairs, but the edge of the seat was hard and not really rounded or soft.  Your normal office style chairs will only come up to 21 inches at full height and my bench at the Louet is at 22 1/2 inches. That small difference is actually a lot up top at the breast beam ! The Woolhouse Tools CM loom has an even higher bench at 27 inches, so being able to make adjustments is important.

So here's what we have come up with:

It's a regular style office chair but it has the added bonus of being able to adjust just about everything! You can move the back up and down, the entire back will shift to adjust the lumbar support, the seat will be flat or even tipped forward, the entire seat will drop or rise  and finally the arm rests can be moved up and down, moved in or out from the chair or even removed entirely.

 There is some good news and some bad news though...   The good? It was on SALE for $99.00 !!  The bad? it will only rise to 21 inches. So we want to see if the chair meets my basic needs which is to not cut into the back of my thighs and and be comfortable to weave with. If not, we can return it , no questions asked. 
If it works then there is a special extension base that can be bought separately that will increase the rise by either 8 inches in one model, 10 inches in another. With the part being a special order, it can't be returned. If this test of the chair works, then the 8 inch additional riser will do as the other loom will be covered too with 2 extra inches to spare.

So today I felt good enough to give it a try. The focus is the chair and seeing if it will work so...

I gathered up my usual bench cushions on the chair and sat and wove for a bit. Well, one repeat! I can't stop half way you know or I'll lose my place. My ample butt compressed things down a bit too far but there was no pressure on the thighs! The arms didn't get on the way and I actually needed them to hoist myself up on the cushions. I needed more height so I found one more pillow for the pile and tried that.

It looks ridiculous but it helps to boost me up the needed right height and hey, I wove a repeat or two more as well. It was right there in front of me after all.  So I think this will work out nicely and with the new special base I can use the chair at either loom. I'm going to order the part this coming week. So for someone who was only going to size up a chair and take 20 minutes, I wove up 21 inches and then called it a day. Don't tell my physiotherapist okay?!

So what else have I been doing? Not a whole lot to be truthful but I have kept my spinning wheel humming. I have a lot of singles to ply up. This is 70% merino with 30% silk in a pumpkin shade and no, I'm not sure what it will become (yet)

I'm one of those spinners who will buy another bobbin over plying.  I have quite simply run out of bobbins so plying will be ongoing for while!

I have also been using the time to catch up on annual paper work, reports and writing letters. I have family living in the flood zone in Queensland Australia and between water and cyclones they have been well tested. But  my great aunt is 94 and has survived fires and floods before, plus a world war so she's doing fine. I would like to thank reader Gay in Melbourne for your assistance to our family during what has been a difficult time for Australia.

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, then you'll know that this time last year we were in the middle of a full kitchen renovation. Well, it was much, much more than that but I won't force you to live through it again. I know I don't want to do it again! Hub, Bruce found a wonderful new area rug for our new dining room walnut hardwood floor. Its not the usual Asian style pattern and I love the colours. In fact, it looks like a tapestry! It was on clearance and came home with us that same day.

Here's another view!  Its made from 100% wool from New Zealand.

The light cream portions match the cream of the new kitchen cupboards. It was worth the wait to find it. Thanks Hun.