Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Update on my Zuca Bag Research

(BTW the "miniSpinner" is a Hansen electric Spinning Wheel)

You can't say that I'm making this decision lightly. Now that I went down this road I had to turn every corner. Here is what I have figured out. The main difference besides the approximately $100 difference between the Zuca Sport and the Zuca Pro is the width and height. Not in the size of the actual bag but the way the wheels are positioned on the Zuca Sport it makes that bag almost 4" wider. The actual bag is almost the same size. The Zuca Pro has the wheels built in therefore making the Pro narrower so it fits in the overhead and rolls down the aisle easily.

Zuca Sport on the left and Zuca Pro on the right.

I was at my Spinning Guild meeting last Saturday and was lucky enough to spot two Zuca Bags. One of the members had a Zuca Sport and the other was a Zuca Pro! Perfect! I rolled them next to each other and compared in person.

Just to "muddy the waters" I do have one more addition, I just found out that there is a Zuca Pro Artist! The Zuca Pro "Artist" has vinyl inserts and the Zuca Pro has mesh inserts!

There! I have decided to buy a Zuca Pro with mesh inserts in the "Dusty Rose" color. Just because it's on sale and is a $100 dollar cheaper right now.

ps. I've decided to sell my Pocket Wheel if you know anybody who wants a Pocket Wheel let me know (there is a long waiting list for them)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Always happens for a good reason...

Even though at the time it was very annoying. I was walking around at the market place during a break at the Sock Summit admiring all the goodies. My yarn and fiber stash is overflowing so I'm trying not to buy too much in that department but tools and bags and jewelry is always tempting. The best part of these collective market places is seeing all sorts of things that I may not see at any of my Local Yarn Stores.

Because I travel several times a year and have always been.... well ok I'll admit it I am a luggage junkie. Packing is fun and trying to get just the right bag for the occasion is part of the fun of traveling. I like to have a rolling carry on and have had one for years and it's starting to show it's age. Even though my Dear Husband reinforced it very cleverly, it's starting to be not the ideal rolling bag. It has a lot of miles on it and it has served me well but all good things must come to an end. I am shopping for a replacement.

After looking at many options I've decided that a Zuca bag will be the next rolling carry on I want to get. There are many many reasons this bag is kind of amazing and part of it is that you can roll it around and sit on it. You know all those lines you have to wait in and sometimes there is no seating available etc. So as I was walking around at the market place I see that Morgain from Carolina Home Spun has several Zuca bags. She had them for a reasonable price and had several colors to choose from. No shipping or taxes I thought it would be good deal to buy one in person.

When I first started to shop around for this Zuca bag I came to realize that it was not so simple. There were models and colors to choose from. I mean lots of colors and patterns.... it turns out that the bag was designed for kids with sport activities ie. ice skaters etc. That is the reason they have all the colors like hot pink frame with Pink Dots & Hot Pink Reversible inserts. Oh my the colors.... I was very happy to see some of these bags in person but I kind of would like to have a bag that does not stand out like a loud sore thumb. I kind of would like to have some sort of dark color with a darkish insert.

As I was admiring all the frames and picked out a black frame and there was several choices of inserts. One of them was a black insert but it had rhine stones and kind of a tacky buckle. I was trying to decide weather I could replace this buckle or could I live with it. As I was deciding another woman showed up and she started giving her opinion on which one I should get. Often this happens when shopping people are friendly and will give their opinions freely.

Which one should I get I said? The black bag or this brown one? I put the black one on the chair and held up the brown one. Just at that moment when I took my hand off the black bag this woman picks it up and says I'll take it with the black frame. Those were the only black bag Morgain had so I would have to choose bright pink or polka dot something.

I can't believe what she just did, I'm looking at this I say! She tells me oh well "You snooze you loose".

She paid and took off in minutes and left me standing there in disbelief! WTF?

I don't want a pink bag with little pink flowers! So I walked away empty handed. When I told this story to my friend Angela she tells me that there are two different styles, one is called the Zuca sport and the one you want is the Zuca Pro!

Well you see I would have bought the wrong bag. The Zuca Sport is for sporty kids and is wider and has different dimensions than the Zuca Pro. The Zuca Pro is designed to fit in the overhead and roll down the aisles of the airplane the Zuca Sport is wider and will not roll down the aisle as easily or fit in the overhead. The Zuca Pro has No flashing wheels nicer colors and yes a bit more expensive but it's a sturdy aluminum alloy frame which is super strong and would support 300 pounds. I've made up my mind this bag should last for quite a few trips to come.

Developed for the seasoned road warrior, the ZÜCA Pro is a PATENTED new concept in travel that protects your valuable gear and provides a place to sit. You can also use the seat as a platform for carrying additional gear. Measuring 19" x 13" x 10" the Pro fits in the overhead compartment of standard commercial aircraft from 737's up. Easily roll down narrow aircraft aisles with an adult friendly 41 1/2" telescoping ergonomic handle. The ZÜCA Pro is protected by a limited LIFETIME WARRANTY, see details. With the ZÜCA Pro, you will always have the best seat in the house.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I call it "Clever Kate"

It functions as a Lazy Kate but I prefer to call it the "Clever Kate". It's the MacGyver version of building your own Lazy Kate to wind your bobbins.

Materials you will need are: A $1.00 basket from the bargain bin a couple of rubber bands and a set or two of size 9 knitting needles.

It works like a charm.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Birthday gift

My DH surprised me with this gift he made. He even rummaged through my knitting bags and picked out two little canvas bags I had to house this gift.

We call it Lazy Ana. More commonly known in the spinning world as Lazy Kate and I have no idea why Kate was Lazy. It seems to me that Kate was very clever how else can you ply several strands of single yarn strands together?

He it is and I LOVE it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sheep to Shawl

This is my one year anniversary of being a "spinner". My Ashford Joy spinning wheel is one year old. Because my DH bought me this great gift last year for my birthday I've decided to celebrate the spinning anniversary rather than how many years I've lived on this earth.

My attempt to a "sheep to shawl" is kind of sort of almost there but I have a lot to learn. This does not stop me, I am just plowing on and knitting a shawl from the Dorset fleece I got from Escondido. As I wrote about last April: "Flirting with Skirting".

The wool is "Dorset" from the Escondido Wool Festival this last spring. I do not think it's ideal for a shawl but that is what I decided to knit. I was going to make socks but then I would have to dye it because the last time I knit a light colored pair of socks they got very dirty and washing did not seem to clean them. So socks is out because I do not want to dye this wool, I want to leave it with the least processing as possible. Don't know why but that is what I decided to do and it's my hobby and I can do what ever I feel like with it.

More combing and spinning then of course knitting, I will post my progress.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dyeing experiment.

I'm calling this color-way "Annette" because my friend Annette gave me some dye and I decided to try this experiment. I did not feel like making a big production out of dyeing so I just filled this dedicated dye pot with water and showed this roving in.

I had about 8oz of this wool mixed with this odd brown stripe. I'm not sure where I got this but I've had it for a while and did not particularly like this odd combination. I knew that sooner or later I would dye it.

I added dye a squirt of this and and squirt of that then closed the lid and simmered for 15 minutes. Let it cool off and rinsed. After I put it out to dry I was indeed surprised at the wonderful colors it turned out.

I'm not sure what I will make out of this wool but I guess I'll have to see how much yardage it will yield after I spin and ply it. I'm spinning it "woolen" so I'm told, woolen vs. "worsted" is the diameter and the "luftiness" between the fibers. I'm still a new spinner so I have my default draft and it makes a nice 2 ply yarn between sock yarn and dk weight.

I prefer to knit with smaller needles so I can't spin a thick yarn. Smaller needles just seem to fit my hand better. I will post the progress of this project one of many I have floating around.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Been so busy -- Sock Summit 2011

I have not posted for a while simply because I've been so very busy. I went to Portland, Oregon to the second Sock Summit. I had such a magical time two years ago I just had to go again. This time it was great even though not quite the same as last time but a wonderful time was had by all.

On the way home my son picked me up at the airport and as he was driving he asked what I did up there? I answered: "I was in a flash mob"

Son: Flash Mob mom? Really?
Me: Yup a flash mob!
Son: Did you and five of your friends get together and jump up and down and called it a flash mob?
Me: That is not a bad idea but no honey me and 600 of my fellow sock knitters got together and jumped up and down.
Son: Oh NO
Me: Oh Yes and I have pictures!

Took some classes with Judith McKenzie and Franklin Habit. Both teachers were great and I learned a couple of new tricks, totally enjoyed each class I took. Spinning with Judith is truly magical, she is so relaxed and so full of knowledge that I could just sit and hang out with her for hours on end. Franklin was very organized and was well prepared with nice hand outs and samples. In my opinion that is important if you are paying money for a class the teacher best be prepared. The knitters are a tough and opinionated bunch.

Lots of "window" shopping at the market place. I did not buy much but really enjoyed looking at all the wonderful wares and chit chatting with the vendors.

Then there was the Fleece to Foot race, a bit silly but fun to watch. Yes they actually brought in sheep to shear and then spun the wool and knit the sock.

Probably much more but this is all I can think of to share with you. Clara Parkes did a wonderful job of writing about details of the Sock Summit read it here.