Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Posts Tagged ‘wooly husky

Spinning tricks: spinning wheel mat and drying handspun yarn.

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It’s a delightfully rainy and stormy day here in Duluth, MN. Chris is out of town working so I’m left to entertain myself. I wanted to get out of the house, so I’m at Dunn Bros enjoying a latte. Yum! I’ve been spinning this weekend, and wanted to share a couple of tricks that I use when I spin.

On Saturday, I brought out my spinning wheel for the first time in almost a year. Since we’ve moved I kept putting off getting rubber feet to keep it from sliding on our hardwood floors. I tried some rubber feet Chris had bought for something else, little bubble-like things, but they kept sliding off because they weren’t sticky enough. I thought of getting a bath rug with a grippy bottom, but thought the wheel would slide across the carpet, too. Then, I thought of the perfect thing:

It’s grippy contact paper from the kitchen cleaning aisle at Target.

Another trick I thought I would share is how I weight the yarn when I dry it. I must be getting better at spinning, because my plied yarn seemed fairly balanced and not twisty this time, but I still hung it the way I usually do. I put one end of the wound skein around the top of a hanger. I used to put a soup can or other heavy can through the bottom loop, but recently have started hanging another hanger in the bottom to weight the skein. To make the hanger heavy enough, I put a folded towel on it. This way, the water that drips from the bottom of the skein drips onto the towel instead of the floor as it dries.

Puppy News
Gru is getting along just wonderfully at our house, and we couldn’t have asked for a better dog. The other night, when I went to Target to get my spinning wheel mat material, I brought Gru. Little did I know, I was driving straight into a thunderstorm. I could see it in the distance when I parked the car, and by the time I got out of the store it was right over us. I came back to no dog in the back of my wagon – he’d climbed over the seats and was huddled in a ball in the driver’s seat! He’s afraid of thunder, lightning, and, by association, camera flashes.

When Chris is gone, Gru sleeps on the bed with me, and he woke me up with a nose in the face this morning to let me know there was more thunder. Every time there was a boom or a flash, he paced nervously around the bed. Finally, in search of a small space to curl up in, he jumped from the bed to the top of his kennel.

Here he is looking very sad, trying to be in a small space between the wall and the clothes hamper:

I had to pick him up and put him back on the bed, and I finally got him to lay down by petting him. He’s gotten better about storms since we first discovered his fear. The first time we figured it out was because he woke us up by scrabbling under the bed. Now, he comes to us to be comforted, and will just lay on the floor as close to us as possible while making sad faces.


Sunny Saturday

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Today was a very full day. Despite a couple of inches of snow that we woke up to Friday morning, it’s starting to smell like spring around here. Most of that snow, and the accumulated snow from all winter, is all melted away now, and it was 44 degrees today! Yep, that’s right, in Duluth, when it gets to be 40 degrees, we all crawl out of hibernation and do things outside like take walks by the lake and wear shorts. Well, I myself do not wear shorts, not even in the summer, but other people were.

Anyway, this morning started with a fiber rummage sale. I wouldn’t have even known about it if Chris hadn’t spotted a sign on the side of the road! The fiber rummage sale was held in the Duluth Art Institute’s building in west Duluth. It’s an old vine-covered brick building that used to be a library. It’s awesome! I grabbed up a whole bunch of fun stuff.


Various types of yarn. Big cones of wool, smaller cones of cotton, one of which is labeled as “rug warp,” balls of “weaving wool,” and three things of linen yarn. I’ll probably weave more scarves with the wool. I got the bag of cotton yarns because I’ve been wanting to try out tablet, or card weaving. I got the book Card Weaving by Candace Crockett last year and then later happened across a pack of pre-made cards for it, so I’ve been wanting to try for awhile. Inexpensive random yarns from a rummage sale seem like just the thing to practice with!

Then, for a total of $8, I got this:


and this:


The first one is labeled “raw wool” and the second is alpaca fleece. They both need to be washed and processed before becoming spinnable, but I decided this will be a learning experience. I figure that there’s a high chance that there won’t even be any very good, usable wool in that $3 bag, but it was a $3 bag of wool! It’ll be a good summer project to learn to wash and process it. I have high hopes for the alpaca, too. It’s full of VM, or vegetable matter, but already feels super soft.

After our short stint at the fiber sale, we went out for lunch, then ran home and got the pup for a walk. We went down to Canal Park and walked him on the lakewalk. We discovered that he likes going in water. Many huskies do not. Gru made many friends, human and canine, on our very long walk today. He’s so pretty and then when people approach him he flops right into them to get pet, so he’s a charmer. We couldn’t have asked for a better dog.


All in all, a very nice sunny Saturday.

Written by nikkinbird

April 3, 2011 at 12:35 am

Doggie homecoming

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Today was Gru’s first full day here. He spent all of Saturday and Sunday being relayed between a team of volunteer drivers between Alabama and Wisconsin. We met him in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a three hour drive from here. Somehow, though we picked him from afar and didn’t get to meet him, he is the perfect dog for us. There aren’t many dogs that we wouldn’t like, really, but his personality is so amazing. First of all, he’s a major cuddler. He loves being pet all the time. Second, he has absolutely no interest in our cats. So they will get used to him more quickly since he won’t be pestering them. Third, he’s extremely cuddly.

Since I’m tired, I’ll wrap up this post for now with a couple of photos. Earlier, I sat down with Gru to brush him a little bit, and he fell asleep as I brushed. It made me feel drowsy, so I lay down on the floor next to him and took a nap! That might have just been the fact that we didn’t get home until late last night so I didn’t get a lot of sleep. Anyway, here are some pictures of Gru settling in!

I was ambushed with cuddles while trying to take out the trash:


He likes to flop over while being petted:


Once again, lulling people to sleep with his sheer bliss of cuddles:


Written by nikkinbird

March 15, 2011 at 3:17 am

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Organizing my yarn stash

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This is the chaos in my living room right now:


I’ve never thought of myself as having a yarn “stash” before. I think that’s probably because I don’t have a lot of yarn that isn’t leftovers from something. I guess I do have several untouched skeins that were purchased for a specific project and never started, but I don’t normally buy yarn with nothing in mind. Unless it’s on a trip, then I get souvenir yarn.

I’m calling it a night and finishing this sorting in the morning! Tomorrow afternoon, we go on a road trip to get our puppy! Right now he is being transported by a lovely group of volunteers relaying him all across the country to get to us! We’re meeting him in Eau Claire, WI. The person keeping him overnight sent us this picture of him:


Up until now, the only picture we’ve had straight on of his face was very sad looking, so we are happy to see that he has an adorable doggie smile. I can’t wait! We’re going to have a dog!

Written by nikkinbird

March 13, 2011 at 5:01 am

Finished the book, and a little knitting.

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After dinner tonight, I hunkered down on the couch and finished my book. It was satisfying, and I couldn’t put it down, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. Certain parts of the plot got really intense for a short amount of time, but resolved much more quickly than I’ve come to expect from murder mystery/thriller novels. Maybe that’s a good thing. It’s also possible that I was just chugging through it so fast that the events in the novel seemed to take place more quickly than if I’d read it more slowly in several sittings. Either way, it was good to feel that absorbed-in-a-book feeling again.

I’ve done some knitting over the past few days on a new hat. I have lots of unfinished knitting projects lying around, yet I can’t help going to the yarn store and starting a new project. I do need a hat, though. I lost my only wearable hat somewhere. So I’m knitting a new one. We’re getting our dog soon, and it’s a husky, which means it’s high energy and will need lots of walks. And it’s still freezing outside! So I need good protection from the cold. Here’s the hat:


Like the hat I lost, this hat is made using this Basic Earflap Hat pattern. This time, though, I’m knitting at a tighter gauge, so I adjusted numbers a bit. I’m using Peace Fleece yarn and size 6 needles. I’m thinking I’ll have enough yarn leftover for some matching armwarmers or something. I also have another skein of the Peace Fleece in a lovely deep turquoise pattern that I may make into another hat.

And speaking of the husky, the latest news is that the shelter he is at has been making arrangements for him to be transported to a rescue here in MN that we can officially adopt him from. We are anxiously awaiting news, checking our emails frantically every time one of our iPhones makes a noise, feeling like little children who cannot wait until their birthdays!

Written by nikkinbird

March 3, 2011 at 4:21 am

It’s so fluffy!

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No crafting today, because after dinner we went shopping in preparation for a new member of our family!


We’ve always wanted a dog, and then lately we started sort of talking about getting one. Tentatively. We bought a Siberian Husky book the last time we went to get cat litter. We mentioned to friends that we eventually, someday soon, might want a husky. Well, one of those friends located a husky in need. This guy was at a shelter and on his way to being euthanized. We couldn’t say no in that situation! Besides, look at that face!!!


Details are still being worked out, as he is going to be transported from Alabama to Minnesota somehow. Now that the ball’s rolling, we can’t wait to have a dog in our house!

We’ve even already decided on a name:


The name is from the movie Despicable Me. Gru is a wooly husky, which I didn’t even know existed even though we had one in our family when I was growing up. My stepmom’s dog, Jazzy, was a rescued wooly husky, but all of us assumed she was a husky mix because of her long fur. After seeing Gru described as a wooly husky, we looked it up and found out that it’s a rare coat variation that is considered a fault in purebred siberian huskies. But we don’t care. He’s so cute, and HE’S SO FLUFFY!!!

Written by nikkinbird

February 26, 2011 at 4:13 am

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