A very happy holiday was had here by all, one of the nicest in recent memory, to be truthful - as a matter of fact, the most difficult thing I had to endure was being partnered with Megan for euchre, and having her repeatedly trump my aces. (Meg's a brilliant girl, and there seems to be no end to the wonders that she can learn and do, but trying to get her up to speed on Euchre is like trying to teach a horse to play cards. Let's start with the fact that she says things like "I might remember that spades were trump if we called them shovels. Can we all just call them shovels?") We got through it, and she's way better at Signal, which is the game that we eventually switched to when Sam (who plays Euchre better than anybody) was finally moved to hysteria when we were calling spades shovels and clubs clovers and Meg still couldn't keep track of trump or even why it mattered.
We played cards, watched movies, played 20 Questions with Hank - a wonderful time, and one of the best parts was that I had a ton of carding/spinning time, and managed to get a massive chunk of the Jacob shawl project spun. I washed all the locks, separated them by colour, and then got out the drum carder to card them all up - and encountered my first and only trouble. My drum carder wasn't working. No matter what I did or how I tried, all of the fibre was going on to the "licker-in" which is the smaller of the two drums, and that's not helpful, or productive. I swore, cursed and then did the only clever thing I could think of. I called Judith MacKenzie and asked her what to do.
"Take it apart" she said - and so I did. I felt crazy doing it, I mean - that drum carder is probably the most expensive fibre equipment I own, and I sort of love it. I worried that if I took it apart I wouldn't get it back together - but when I said that to Judith, she just told me that everything that comes apart goes back together - which frankly, isn't my experience, but who am I to argue with Judith? She told me to disassemble it, then call her back, which is just what I did, except for a small break to take this picture and freak out.
I called her back, she talked me through checking the thing, a single screw was tightened, and bingo, the thing works like a treat again. There was a few tense minutes when I couldn't get the side back on because the gears wouldn't engage right, but I got it. Judith and I were both really impressed with the gears inside, and how clean they were after years of use. (Judith expected there to be a belt inside, and was delighted it was longer wearing gears. I didn't expect to find anything inside so I was just glad she was happy. That thing could have been run by tiny monkeys for all I know.) I expected to find all sorts of dirt/fibre/VM in it, but nope. Louet makes a pretty spiffy carder. Judith thinks that tightening the screw fixed it, but I think it was scared straight by the disemboweling at the hands of an amateur.
Once that was up and running, I got all the colours carded, then sat down to spin.
Aren't they pretty? Each little skein is only about 50m. (Some a little more, some a little less. It depended on how much of that colour the sheep had.) After a crazy amount of consideration (and extremely helpful suggestions from the lot of you) I've chosen Damask as the pattern, so now I'll cast on with the darkest colour, and start working towards the white.
The pattern says I'll need about 440m, and that's only about 350m of yarn - so I'll definitely need to spin more white - but not today.
Today - I knit. I'm really excited.