Friday, April 02, 2010

Better living through technology

At last, Mother Nature, that Tease, has decided to let us have a real taste of spring. I wore sandals outside yesterday for the first time this year. "They" say it's going to be nice for at least the next several days, but I don't trust her, Mother Nature, that Bastion of Bitchiness. She's pulled this stuff before.

In the meantime, knitters work to clothe ourselves and our loved ones for all contingencies. For example:

The finished "Liesl de no Manos" cardigan:

Made with almost exactly three skeins of Malabrigo worsted, in the "Plena" colourway

I suspect I'll be making a couple more of these, as gifts. It was a relatively quick knit, too. But first, another one for myself, this time a concert-appropriate black version for over the sleeveless black concert dress. Here's a preview:

Fingering-weight spun wool-soysilk, to be knit together with a worsted-weight black to make another Liesl cardigan

I'll start a gauge swatch shortly.

Finally, the continuing progress on the "Hey, Lady!" Sweater:

No sleeves yet, but it's almost long enough.

I got far more done on it than I realized while visiting PA a couple weeks ago. Since I have such a short torso, the body is much closer to being done than I expected. I tried it on, and it's looking like a couple more inches of the lace pattern are all that's needed. Then it's the final couple inches of garter stitch, then sleeves.

In other news, I'd like to officially welcome the newest member of our household:

Oh no, I didn't...

Oh yes, I did.

An antique Canadian Production Wheel, bought from a lady in my concert band who is moving and downsizing. Purchased by her father in 1967 from an antique shop in Baie-St.-Paul, Quebec, it was kept in her parents' cottage and home, and following that, her home, as a decorative piece. They took great care of it, so although it hasn't been used as a working wheel in well over 40 years, it only requires a disassembly for a good cleaning and oiling, replacing the dowels that are missing on the wheel supports, and putting on a drive band.

Bandfriend Derryl and I had talked about this wheel last year. She mentioned she was planning to sell a bunch of things, including a wheel that had been in her family for decades. She wondered if I knew people who might be interested. She didn't even know if it worked, and she wanted to have it appraised, so I told her to let me know when she had an amount and I would put out feelers and drop by to see it. I promptly forgot about it until she mentioned a couple weeks ago at rehearsal that the appraiser had suggested CDN $200, if I was still interested, otherwise it would be put up for auction. Some phone calls and 24 hours later, my friend Jean and I (she's a wheel spinner who knows what to look for, so I was hoping she could come with me) went to look at it. Within five minutes, we knew the only real question was, "Will it fit into my car, or does it need to go in Jean's truck?"

It fit in the car. I called DH on the way home to warn him. He was... understandably surprised. Heck, I was surprised.

There's no maker's mark on it. It has been refinished in its past, and the mark was likely a simple stencil that was stripped off. However, thanks to the magic of the innernets and some wonderful research being done on these wheels by an online group, it has been tentatively identified as a Michel Cadorette wheel made in St Hyacinthe, Quebec, some time before 1929 (when Michel died), and likely before 1922, when his son Phillias took over the business. A woman in the online group has an exact twin of this wheel, with identical wood turnings, maker mark intact.

And so here it sits, in my kitchen. I'm pleased, if a little bewildered. Seriously, I wasn't planning to buy a wheel any time soon. I'm very happy with my large collection of drop spindles. I use them regularly and productively. Being of the belief that to really understand how things work, you have to start at the beginning, I've often considered a wheel something of an unnecessary technological luxury in my own "process" spinning. But there was no way I could walk away from this one. From her. She's a proud old lady who has stood the test of time, and she wants to be used, put back into production.

Also, she needs a name. Preferably something French Canadian - suggestions welcome. I'll learn to pronounce it properly, I promise.

The week after I brought her home, I showed pictures of the new girl to Lady S while we were chatting at the beginning of our weekly meeting - I figure it's just as well your supervisor knows exactly why you're distracted from work, no sense hiding it. Later in the meeting, my computer began to act up. I was charting something for Lady S and trying to print it, while Excel (that bastard) was crashing, taking Word (that farging arsebadger) with it, and with that the rest of the system. I cussed firmly and force-rebooted the whole dratted laptop.

"Just in case you ever wonder why I bought a spinning wheel," I said over my shoulder, "or why I have a loom, or a tendency to use two sticks to knot string into fabric a lot, this is why."

Lady S raised an eyebrow in question.

"In 40 years, this thing" - I waved jauntily with my middle finger toward the rebooting laptop - "will be junk. It won't work. I depend on it daily. I rarely leave home without it, and in a few years, it'll be a paperweight. But I'd put hard money down right now that in 40, or even 60 years, that 80-year-old spinning wheel in my kitchen will still be working."

She smiled. And she did not take me up on the bet.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

She's beautiful Bridget. I love the way she looks and more so even, because of her vintage. Since I last saw you at the frolic, I picked up a Sonata and I love spinning on her but yours in a beauty!
Hope all is well with you.