The work week is drawing to a close, and it’s been a strange one. My trusty Cardzilla, I fear, is begging for a vacation; after years of incredibly faithful, incredibly hard-working service on a near-daily basis, service far above and beyond the call of mere duty, Cardzilla’s motor’s gearbox is showing signs of wear. This could well mean motor replacement! And for the short term, it means no new custom blends for a bit; so the ones that are presently up for sale will be the last until… well, further notice, I suppose. Rest assured Cardzilla will be back in action as quickly as possible, but at this time there is no time estimate.
One thing I want to take a minute to point out is that what wore out and needs fixing is NOT a standard part. Were I to affix a handcrank to it, I would be able to operate it in handcrank mode, just fine. What has worn out is an aftermarket part, in the aftermarket motor that isn’t supplied by Strauch, Cardzilla’s maker. Had I been cranking through all the years that the motor drove Cardzilla for me, I think my shoulder would have worn out for sure. Based on all this, I have to say that I don’t think there is a way for any normal human being to wear out a Strauch carder. That thing is a tank. Let’s take a moment here and give it up for Cardzilla, the Strauch 500-series:
That photo was taken early in Cardzilla’s service with me, before I installed the brush, but after the installation of the very important Edelbrock and MSD stickers. And Cardzilla’s importance cannot be understated: he’s been named, and has a gender role! I almost never name, or assign perceived gender, to my tools. None of my spinning wheels are named, for instance. But in this case, well, it just happened. So you can imagine I’m stricken by his motor ailment, even though I rationally know everybody deserves a little rest and recuperation now and again and I’ve worked Cardzilla about as hard as I tend to work myself, so he’s earned one.
And in honor of how little I seem to pat Cardzilla on the back, tell him thanks, and talk him up… anybody making a purchase from me by the end of May, and mentioning Cardzilla at checkout time, will receive free shipping and a fibery surprise gift.
As it happens, I, like Cardzilla, am now something that can be wrenched on, and the dentist appointment yesterday really drove that home. I’m in the end stages of having a dental implant installed, a process which may be more sterile now than in Mayan or Egyptian antiquity, but somehow, I think, no less time-consuming or frustrating; surely no less bizarre. Since January, I’ve had a titanium screw in the root area of what was once a tooth (a tooth I first broke biting into a piece of toast on my very first Mother’s Day as a mother, resulting in me always answering the question about what I’d like for Mother’s Day by saying “No emergency dental work!”). My Mother’s Day Crown, alas, broke in turn right after last Thanksgiving, and the diagnosis from multiple specialists was that although it might be possible to crown the tooth again, the smart thing to do would be a bridge or an implant. I opted for the implant, though it would take longer.
Longer is an understatement. Yesterday, almost 5 months after the initial screw installation, casts and impressions were taken and the small screw cover was replaced with, I kid you not, a large flathead screw type thingy, the technical term for which is “healing abutment.” The not-so-technical description is, seriously, I have a flat-headed screw cap in my mouth that was installed with a fancy ratcheting screwdriver setup. Now I wait *another* month, and at the end of June, get a temporary crown. After that, I wait some other length of time, and then get a permanent crown, by late summer sometime. And this, folks, is the newfangled shorter-duration, lower-impact process. Becoming a cyborg is weird, and slow. And I’m sure, worth it in the end. But I remain a little crabby about the mouth screw.
So, changing the subject to happy and less-weird things, some of you asked about the black yarn in yesterday’s post. And I’m so glad you asked! It’s a neat new fiber, and this skein was spun from a leftover/tester bit of it. While I was fondling it and pondering it, I concluded it really, really wanted to go fine; this fiber is slicker’n… uh, something really slick! But yet, it’s got a little grip to it, so it doesn’t just drift apart while you’re spinning — it’s slick, but not purely slippery. And shiny. And it drafts really nicely too, and takes dye just beautifully, look:
“Yes, yes, Abby,” you’re thinking now, “but what IS it?”
Oh, very well. It’s superwash merino/tencel, a 50/50 blend in commercial combed top. Wanna see more?
Man, I just don’t think any of these photos do this fiber justice! It’s soft, so super-soft, it’s shiny, it’s smooth-drafting and easy to spin thick or fine, it’s stunning sock stuff, is what it is. Or lace stuff. Or all kinds of things. It’s really, really neat stuff.
Well, I did a few other bits of dyeing this past week too, carder and human maintenance notwithstanding:
Just a few new tussah silks — the main new round of ’em will probably be next week. By “just a few,” of course, I mean 20-some odd.
Also some merino/tussah 50/50 commercial top, that I’m thinking about adding to the long-term repertoire, if only so that I can have an excuse to be dyeing it for myself lots and lots…
…and this baby camel top (there are other colours, of course, of the merino/tussah and the baby camel). I’m on the fence about the baby camel; it’s high-maintenance to handle while dyeing, and although I love camel, it seems to be an underrated fiber that people don’t know they’d love and therefore don’t buy.
This particular week’s dyeing came out really, really nice, which I guess is some consolation for the dentist trip, screw in my mouth, Cardzilla’s woes, and everything.
Oh that’s right! The black yarn! I forgot to talk about the yarn itself. Well, that’ll have to wait till tomorrow at this point, I think. In short, it’s 280 yards of 2-ply from 30 grams of that superwash/tencel blend, making it about a 4300 ypp yarn. I’d actually hoped for better yield… but I’m probably going to have to play with this fiber more regardless, so it’s not like this is my last chance!