Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An open letter to the IDIOT in the giant truck:


In the future, when you are driving your giant redneck truck with the side mirror extensions through the neighborhood streets of La Grande, please watch where you are going. You, IDIOT, and you alone, are responsible for your own actions. I cannot control how and where you are driving your giant truck, especially when I am on my bicycle.

Now, I’m all for bikers riding responsibly. I wear a helmet. I ride on the right side of the road. I come to a complete stop at stop signs and red and yellow stop lights. I watch out for vehicles (because many are driven by IDIOTS like you). I do understand that it may be hard for you to see me, when you’re up there in your giant truck with the side mirror extensions. I watch out and try to take care of myself while on my bike, because that’s my responsibility as a biker.

However, IDIOT, you also have a responsibility as a driver to be aware of what’s happening on the roads you’re traveling, and that includes watching out for other giant trucks (even those poor saps who don’t have side mirror extensions), cars, motorcycles, scooters, pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone else that may be on the road. One would think that the point of having side mirror extensions would be to increase awareness of one’s surroundings, but maybe I’m mistaken. Maybe they are only there to make IDIOTS look cool.

When you drove down narrow little Spring Street at 7:55 this morning, were you even aware that someone else was on the street as well, or were you too busy talking on your cell phone? In fact, IDIOT, there was someone else on the road. Me. I was on my bike, over on the right side of the road, a fact which you should have noticed as your giant truck rumbly-growled its way up behind me, side mirror extensions and all. I was aware that you were coming, because of the rumbly-growling, and was at the edge of the road, where bikers are supposed to ride.

Do you realize that side mirror extensions extend beyond the normal space taken up by a giant truck? You should, IDIOT, because you have them on your giant truck. This is not rocket science.

Here’s another question for you, IDIOT: When you passed me, the apparently invisible woman on an invisible bike, did you not feel your passenger-side side mirror extension impact on my shoulder, sending me sprawling off my bike on the side of the road? Did you not see me sprawled on the side of the road, in either your rear-view mirror or extended side mirrors? Or were you too busy talking on your cell phone?

Because I saw you talking on your cell phone as you drove away without even stopping. Convenient that your license plate was completely mudded over, so I couldn’t call the cops.

Thanks to you, IDIOT, I have a bruised left shoulder, scraped and bruised right elbow, and a massively bruised right hip. My bike is fine, but you’re lucky I didn’t break anything.

I’m sitting at my desk now, waiting for the Advil to kick in, and wondering how I’m going to tolerate sitting on this bruise all day.


Yours with NO LOVE AT ALL,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nothing fibery to report today, except that I dyed some yarn and started knitting another pair of Rose Tyler Mitts as a commission for my shop. This is the fourth pair I've made. After the second pair, I sat down and charted out the pattern all pretty and official, and may make it available to the public. Blending sweater batts will commence this weekend.

I finished watching Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica last night. I feel bereft and lonely, now that I won't be seeing my friends on the Galactica every night anymore (for a while). Now to get my hands on Razor and Season 4.0...

Oh, and nice cliffhanger there, Galactica writers.

(Please don't tell me what happens! I want to find out as I watch.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I spent lots of time the over the past few days doing woolly things. I do love a fiber-filled weekend! I finished picking the rest of the uncarded sweater wool on Saturday and Sunday, but discovered along the way that several batches needed another wash. Fine wools are just so greasy, and I guess I tend to be conservative when I wash wool. I'd rather be careful and do an extra wash later down the line, than risk felting the wool. As it is, I practically have to tie my hands down when I'm washing wool, because I can't. stop. poking. at. it. Criminy, just set the timer and walk away, Sue... I would like to state, for the record, that no part of Buttercup's or Herkel's fleece felted!

I've been considering getting some Power Scour to try out. I've heard good things about it on Ravelry, and think maybe I'll give it a try. I currently use Dawn to wash wool, and am happy with the results, but after washing Buttercup I realized that even with the concentrated Dawn, it takes a LOT of soap to get a finewool fleece clean. The hype reviews I've read indicate that Power Scour gives comparable results to Dawn, doesn't take as much, and it is better suited to lower water temperatures. Even though I don't usually add any boiling water to the basin when I wash fleece with Dawn, if Power Scour gives the same results in my hottest tap water, using much less product, I'm willing to give it a go.

Those five batches weren't super-greasy, but enough to leave a pretty good film on my hands while I was picking, and I didn't want that gunking up my carder. Plus, VM falls out better if the wool is squeaky clean. So anyway, I finished picking everything Sunday night, and then washed the five batches that needed it.Last night and tonight, I got the rest of Buttercup's wool carded through the first time. What a glorious sight in my dining room!

Now I'm ready to blend!

Backing up a bit to recap, last Saturday was a majorly fibery day. One thing I did was to start spinning the brown Border Leicester/Romney wool. It's drafting like a dream now, after carding, and should be lovely yarn for an outerwear garment. I think I have four batts left to spin, then will 3-ply the singles and add the yarn into the pile of odds and ends that may eventually become another sweater.

After two batts of that were spun, and I picked a couple batches of the Buttercup wool, I broke out the combs and made a few nests of Herkel's wool.

I'll work through the 150 grams of wool I reserved for the froghair shawl as I get a chance. There's no rush on this, since I'm not even done spinning the first 100 grams I combed. This is definitely a long-haul project.

Then, just for kicks, I carded up one lock of Herkel's wool on my hand cards, and spun the resulting rolag on my Cascade spindle. This was the first time I've tried wool on both the hand cards (only done cotton before) and that spindle (only used silk before). The results were quite lovely:

That little sample skein weighs barely 1 gram (my scale doesn't register amounts that small very well, and fluctuated between "0" and "1"), and contains 28 yards. That works out to about 12,700 yards per pound, 2-ply, and roughly 70 wpi. It's very soft and squishable.

Apparently, there's nothing you can do to Herkel's fleece to make it look bad. Flick it, comb it, card it, use a wheel, use a spindle - it's all good....

Monday, January 12, 2009

More carding, carding, carding! I now have a 52-inch table full of semi-carded batts for my sweater.

All the accent colors are now carded the first time, and are so pretty. The closest two batts aren't an accent, they're the odd green batch that didn't make the cut to be a main color (they will blend into the final mix just fine). This spread represents about half of the fleece; the second half consists of 4 batches of green and 3 batches of brown-green, which will be the main colors of the yarn.

I've been really enjoying the nightly session of picking at least one ~100g batch of fleece then carding it into a rough batt. It takes longer to pick a batch than it does to card it up, but I don't find it irksome. I did four batches over the past two days, assisted by Emma, who thinks picking wool is great fun.

She does a pretty good job, too! We had a little contest last night, to see whose lap cloth collected the most VM and second cuts. I'm not sure who won, but we got a lot of wool picked!

And speaking of Emma, she gave me a bit of a silly fright on Saturday night. I normally peek in on her on my way to bed, just to make sure she's covered and give her one more kiss. When I went in to check her on Saturday, she wasn't in her bed. This is not an unusual occurrance, as she frequently sneaks over to our big bed, given the chance. So I went into my room to transfer her back to her own bed. She wasn't in the big bed. Hmm. Well, she sometimes decides to sleep in the recliner in her room, maybe I just didn't notice her when I checked the bed before. I went back to Emma's room, but she wasn't in the recliner.

OK, now I'm edging toward panic. Where is my child? I checked both beds again, lifting up the covers completely to check all lumps. I checked her recliner again, I checked behind her recliner, I checked both recliners in the living room, and the couch. I don't know how she could have gone to sleep in the living room without me noticing, since I was watching TV there, but I checked anyway. I looked under her bed. I looked under my bed. I looked on the futon in the loom room, and under the futon. I looked in Emma's closet. I looked in my closet. I looked in the bathtub, and under the dining room table.

No Emma.

I am now slightly beyond "edging" toward panic. It's about midnight. Every light in the house is on. I have been awake in the living room all evening, and am pretty sure I haven't heard either outside door open. Could she have climbed out through a window? Could someone have climbed IN her window? (That made me sick to my stomach when I thought it.) I was walking (quickly) down the hallway to wake up Shaun so we could call out the National Guard and alert the Marines, when I saw this at the end of the hallway, between my bedroom and the loom room, and literally did a double-take:

See that blue and yellow lump at the bottom? That's Emma, in her yellow jammies and blue fleece sleeping bag, curled up perfectly peacefully in the linen closet.

Oh. Well, OK then. Silly me, why didn't I think that she would be sleeping in the linen closet? How obvious.

The funny(-ish) thing is that I nearly closed the closet door when I first didn't find her in her bed and went to look in mine, but was focussed on finding her and just walked past. She wasn't immediately visible except from halfway down the hall because she was close to the back of the closet with her back to the outside.

It's a good thing I didn't close that door. I doubt she would have woken up since she was completely inside the closet and wouldn't have been hit by the door, and was completely, deeply asleep. I don't know that we would have found her without a lot of commotion in the house to wake her up and start banging on the door to be let out.

My heart rate did eventually go back to normal.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Oh, what fun this is! I spent all evening yesterday and most of the day today playing with fiber, and I don't feel the least bit guilty for the housework that didn't get done. Here are the results, complete with a ridiculous number of pictures.

I started with some Buttercup sweater wool last night. As with the brown, this is the first carding (just picked and one pass through the carder), to get it ready for blending. Mmmm, squishy.

After I finished the red batts, I had to try a different fiber. I just couldn't wait to finish all the Corriedale before testing something else.

I have had a piece of an alpaca fleece in my fiber closet since 2003, a gift from a friend. It is lovely, and I haven't found the right project for it yet, so it has been just waiting there, like a treasure in the bank. Last night, I decided its time had come. I still don't know what project it will become, but it was time to graduate to becoming a batt or two.

This is a cria alpaca blanket. A cria is a baby alpaca, and has the finest, softest fiber of all alpacas (...beautiful...), the blanket is the portion of the fleece from the back and upper sides, and is the finest and softest of any given fleece (... incredibly gorgeous...), and this particular fleece is a natural colored true inky black (...heart-stoppingly breathtaking...).

Natural-colored jet black cria alpaca blanket. It really doesn't get any better than this. The staple length is about 4", it has a gentle but well defined crimp, has no guard hair at all, and is so incredibly soft that you can't even really feel it. The carder did a great job. I picked the locks open and sent it through three times, and the result is a thick, puffy, even batt of pure deliciousness. It is so black and soft and non-reflective that it looks like a black hole in all the pictures I took. It looks like that in real life, too.

Ability to card super fine alpaca: Check. Huge success. Hooray!

Today, I did another batch of Buttercup's wool, this time one of the two chartreuse batches.

Again, one time through the carder. I picked open the second batch of chartreuse, but it felt a little greasy still, so I washed it again and will card it tomorrow. I also picked open the lighter teal batch, in preparation for tomorrow. Here's the progress so far.

After finishing that, I saw that the bag of black alpaca was still sitting next to the carder. I couldn't resist any longer. I needed to make a blend.

I weighed out 35 grams of the black alpaca and 15 grams of some tussah silk that has also been in my stash for many years (This bag of tussah never ends. I bought 1 pound of top from eBay shortly after I started spinning, and have been using it off and on since then. Every 100% silk spinning project I've ever done has been from this fiber, and the ball of top never seems to get any smaller.)

I started by putting a good layer of alpaca on the carder, probably about a third of the total alpaca. Then I added a layer of silk by toploading. Silk by itself is so fine and slippery that it tends to stick in the lickerin drum, and is hard to card alone. Toploading is just that: apply the silk directly to the large drum while it's turning. You lay the section of top gently against the drum and let the teeth grab it, while holding onto the other end. It puts a nice even layer down. I put about half the silk on in this first layer.

I followed that with layers consisting of another third of the alpaca, the rest of the silk, and the last third of the alpaca.

The batt looked like this after one pass. Not very blended.

I split it lengthwise into four strips, pulled chunks off, and spread them out into thin layers before feeding them into the carder.

You want the layer of fiber to be thin enough to see through, for maximum carding action and to avoid jamming the lickerin drum. If you feed too much through at once, it will let you know by being hard to turn, and fiber will collect on the lickerin. With the Strauch carder, when you get it right NO fiber collects on the lickerin drum other than short second cuts. Those sort of sit on top of the lickerin teeth and can be picked right off.

The batt looked like this after the second pass through the carder. The silk is still a little clumpy and not thoroughly blended, but I think with a good predrafting or pulling the batt through a diz, this would be very spinnable. Alternatively, use it as is for a textured yarn.

I was after a smooth blend, though, so I kept going. I split it into four strips and pulled off chunks as above, and sent it through a third time.

This is much more blended, though still not completely homogeneous. Actually, it looked a lot like Louet Merino/silk top.

I sent it through a fourth time, though, just to break up the silk streaks a bit more.

The finished batt of 70% baby alpaca /30% tussah silk weighs 49 grams, and is incredibly soft. It looks like tarnished silver.

Ability to card super fine silk blends: Check. Be still my heart.

Possibility of hyperventilation and dizziness from the sheer beauty of this blend is a real danger. Must remember to spin this sitting down.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Just a quick break from the all-carder-all-the-time postings which you may expect over the next little while, to share a cool discovery from when I cleaned my fish tank over the weekend.

A couple background updates since the last installment of The Panda Cory Show:
  • I stopped collecting eggs and raising fry from the cories a bit over a year ago.
  • The three oldest cories disappeared from the tank, and I'm assuming that they died natural deaths, given that they were 4+ years old.
  • When we moved last October, I consolidated the 7-gallon tank and the 14-gallon tanks. Taking care of two tanks was too much work, plus there isn't a good place for the second tank in the new house.
  • The 14-gallon tank fits perfectly on the counter between the kitchen and dining room, and I really like it there because you can see both sides of the tank.
  • All the fish (5 glowlight tetras, 2 black neon tetras, 5 panda corydoras catfish, 1 otocinclus catfish) have been doing great since the move, and the plants are growing well and providing lots of cover. This is good because both sides are exposed and they can't go hide in the back anymore, though I did put a pothos plant trailing across counter on the dining room side to screen it a bit.
  • Since the move, the glowlight tetras and panda cories have spawned at least five times each, and the rest of the fish have thoroughly enjoyed the caviar.
  • I got 4 more otocinclus catfish last weekend, because they like to be in schools, and the singleton I had was lonely.
Then, early this week, after the new otos had had a chance to adjust to the new tank, I did a routine 30% water change and cleaned the filter. Luckily, I dumped all the water from the filter into a bucket and not straight into the sink, because when I went to empty the bucket, I saw this:

A little baby cory that has been living in the filter! I'm guessing he's about 6 or 7 weeks old, based on the amount of pigmentation on his head, dorsal fin and tail. He was about 3/4" long, give or take. I released him into the main tank, and hopefully he's thriving and enjoying the extra room.

Panda cories are tough little fish.

It's a pretty aquarium, and always provides something interesting to look at when I walk past. I enjoy it.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Oh. My. Goodness.

Ok, seriously? I love this carder. It is solid, well built, does exactly what it is supposed to do, and does it very well.

Ooo, shiny. That yellow sticker isn't kidding, though. Keep your hands away from the business end of this machine!

The bonus fibers it came with were: 8 oz of tussah silk, 8 oz of white mohair, 4 oz of fawn alpaca, 4 oz of bamboo, 4 oz of faux cashmere (nylon, very soft), and 4 oz of Icicle (also nylon, very sparkly). I'll be doing lots of gleaming blends after my sweater batts are carded up.

I started out tonight with the compacted Border Leicester/Romney roving. I knew that whatever wool I put through the carder first was likely to pick up a bit of dust and grime from the manufacturing process, so I didn't want to jump right in with the good stuff. This wool is not something that I'm deeply emotionally attached to, so if it was totally wrecked I wouldn't be heartbroken, and a little grime wouldn't even show anyway. If it's there, it will wash out.

The wool went from this compacted and slightly matted roving that wouldn't draft easily:

To this, the inaugural First Batt:

A lovely thick and lofty batt, ready to spin. Since I was just loosening up existing roving, I only did one pass through the carder, and it did a great job. It's ready to spin. That first batt was 34 grams (1.2 oz), but the rest were slightly heavier. I'd say 55 grams (~2 oz) is about the limit for this carder, and you'd have to load it carefully and evenly. I carded all the Border Leicester/Romney in about half an hour, and got 6 batts (4 biggish ones and two smaller ones).


These will be very nice to spin, and are a huge improvement over the matted roving. Just lovely.

I took a break for a late dinner, and put Emma to bed. Then I dove right into Buttercup's fleece! I've been thinking over the past week or so about how I want to approach this yarn. I want the end product to be a well-blended, smooth yarn, suitable for knitting cables, and I want the color to be fairly consistent from skein to skein.

To achieve this, I decided that I would card each of the dye batches separately first, just once through the carder. This will even out each color within itself and make the wool easier to work with. Since I dyed in 100-g batches, there will be two batts from each batch. I'll have to keep this in mind as I'm blending, and take some from each. For the two main colors (green and brown-green), I will have many batts of each; 8 of the green and 6 of the brown-green. It will be a lot of jumbling-up. I will probably do it by weight, and calculate how many grams from each batt individually, to keep the proportions the same in each finished batt.

In any case, to avoid damaging the carder the first step is to pick the wool. This just means manually opening up each lock, literally pulling the fibers apart from one another with your fingers. This lets most of the VM fall out and lets me pick out any second cuts and neppy clumps that slipped by my first inspection before washing. Not that there really was much VM or many second cuts in this fleece. Buttercup's fleece is a very nice Corriedale, well sheared and skirted, and coated fleeces are always a pleasure to work with.

I started with the brown batch. On the left you see the picked wool, and on the right is the first batt, after going through the carder once. ONCE! Isn't it pretty? I was really pleased, and somewhat surprised, to see how it came out. That batt is almost spinnable as-is, smooth after one trip through, from picked locks! I expected the Border Leicester/Romney to come out nice after one pass, since I was re-carding roving, but this was just a picked mass of wool! Beautiful.

I finished up the brown batch, and have it safely stowed in a storage tub. I can't wait to see that tub fill up. The carder does such a nice job, and I'm over the moon that it's mine. I forsee a long and happy relationship.

As long as I'm careful of those teeth!

It is HERE!

It's HERE, my carder is HERE, and I am at WORK!


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My carder didn't arrive today.

It was delayed in Spokane yesterday, due to "Adverse Weather Conditions."


The UPS website says it made it to Portland today, and should be delivered tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I finished dyeing Buttercup's fleece tonight:

I ended up dyeing dark brown instead of black as one of the accent colors, because, well... I wanted to. I just thought the brown would go better with the rest of the muted earthy colors. We shall see. If the first batt doesn't come out as planned, I can always overdye that bunch of wool to darken it up. I ended up doing two batches of the chartreuse. I was concerned that the small amount of bright colors would get lost in the dark green, and be unnoticable. I dyed the last little bit of fleece, which wasn't enough to make a full 100 gram batch, red for the same reason. The red over the natural gray looks fabulous, by the way, and there will be a red sweater from a gray fleece at some point down the road.

So in all, I have:
  • 400 g green
  • 400 g brown-green
  • 100 g green-brown
  • 100 g dark teal
  • 100 g light teal
  • 200 g chartreuse
  • 133 g red
  • 100 g brown
Hopefully 1533 g (~3.4 lb) of fiber will make enough 3-ply worsted weight yarn for a sweater with some cable-y goodness on it. It should.

I also had a helper tonight, running quality control to ensure the wool is sufficiently soft and has a good warmth factor. Note the lovely cozy cat bed immediately behind him.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

In anticipation of my carder arriving on Wednesday (THREE DAYS!), I decided to get a whole pile o' wool ready. I got out Buttercup's fleece and the dye last night, and had lots of fun creating a beautiful variety of greens. I worked in 100-gram batches of wool, and dyed in the mesh bags I use for washing. I've found this works very well for ease of handling the wool without felting or messing up the locks too much.

I decided that I want a green sweater, but not a flat monotone green. Using more than one color, or even more than one shade of a single color, gives a much more interesting yarn. The first batch I dyed was straight Spruce.

The next batch was a 2:1 mix of Spruce:Emerald.

I decided both these were more blue than I want for my sweater, but they will look nice carded in with the rest of the greens.

The third batch was 2:1 Spruce:Sun Yellow.

The fourth was 1:0.5:1 Spruce:Sun Yellow:Brown.

And the fifth was 0.5:1:0.25 Sapphire:Sun Yellow:Black.

There is some color variation within each batch, due to the natural variation of grays in the fleece, which ranges from pearly light gray to lightish charcoal. It looks somewhat blotchy now, but I think it will give a fabulous depth to the finished yarn.

After I did those five, I paused to evaluate. Actually, I paused to go to bed. I was so involved in dyeing Buttercup and washing Herkel (more on that in a minute), that I was shocked to look at the clock and see that it was 3:30am. Oops. Off I went to bed.

This morning, in real light, I evaluated. Numbers 1 and 2 are too blue. They will be accent colors. Number 3 is very very nice, and is a keeper. Numbers 4 and 5 also good, and are quite close in color, despite being very different mixes. I'll use Number 4, and I think it will combine very well with Number 3 as the base color for my yarn.

So, I'll dye most of the rest of the fleece with Numbers 3 and 4. I'm also going to dye 100g batches in bright chartreuse green, dark red, and black, as accent colors to blend in along with the blues I did last night.

So, that was last night. While the dyes were going, I also worked on Herkel's fleece. I didn't get all the grease out when I washed the fleece the first time, and consequently it was impossible to comb. The first two bags I washed combed up fine, so I think I may have gotten paranoid about felting it, or tried to do too much at once or something. Anyway, I've been unable to comb any more wool because it's just too sticky. I got it out last night intending to wash 100 grams, enough to ply with what I have already spun, but then I got on a roll and ended up washing the whole thing. It's not completely dry yet, but I can already tell it's much better. Once it's dry, I'll weigh out 100 g and set that aside to comb for the cobweb shawl project. I figure 200 g of yarn should spin up somewhere in the neighborhood of 4400 yards, if I keep going as fine as I have been. That should be enough for whatever shawl I end up designing, but I may set aside an additional 100 g, just in case. I decided to card the rest. Actually, I'll card one batt and see how it goes. This is very fine, crimpy wool, so if it gets neppy on the carder, I'll comb the whole thing.

So I started out with a dye evening, and washed wool to fill in the time when the dyes were cooking. The wool has to soak while it's washing, though, so I still had time on my hands. I put Season One of Battlestar Galactica (which my brother-in-law was kind enough to addict me to hook me on introduce me to over Christmas) on the DVD player and picked open some Border Leicester/Romney roving that sat way too long in its bag and was partially matted and didn't draft well.

I got this wool last summer, in Friday Harbor, from a spinning friend who was destashing. It's local Friday Harbor wool, from Shepherd's Croft, the farm of another spinning friend. I've spun one bobbin full of singles already (that ball in front), and while it came out OK,

the slight matting and difficult drafting made it less than fun. So I'm picking the roving open and will send it through the carder (THREE DAYS!!). I'm aiming for a sweater-weight 3-ply yarn with this, and may possibly combine it with the Tunis I spun a year ago. Each is only 8 oz, but if I get another pound or so of a coordinating wool to tie them together, it will work for a sweater. Maybe I'll contact Annette at Shepherd's Croft and buy a piece of one of her white fleeces next spring, and dye it.

Oh, and that gorgeous basket up there? I picked that up yesterday in Portland after taking Shaun to the airport. We went to Goodwill for a couple pairs of long pants that actually fit Emma's fast-growing self, and there it was: a sturdy wood slat basket with leather handles, reinforced top and bottom edges, and a removable cloth liner, for a dollar! It's 15 inches in diameter and 9" tall. I got the basket, three pairs of pants, a skirt, a dress, and three shirts for Emma, three shirts for me, four Handwoven magazines, a hardcover Harry Potter book, a kid's book and little dolly for Emma, a DVD, and a brand new L.L. Bean backpack bookbag with the tags still on. All for about $50. I love thrift stores.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Well, I'm halfway through the wait until my box from Copper Moose gets here. Five more days. Caroline guessed what I'm getting - a drum carder. Specifically, a Strauch Finest! Yippee!

I've wanted a good drum carder since I started spinning eight years ago, and finally took the plunge. The question of which carder to get has been percolating around in the back of my mind for at least seven years. I went back and forth between features and price, tried out a couple different models and researched on the internet, thought about price some more, and finally came to the conclusion that the Strauch is the one.

I definitely wanted a full-size carder, and chain drive would be a plus. What really sealed it for Strauch is the chain drive, the unique lickerin drum cloth, the brush attachment, and their solid track record of happy customers. The accessories (batt picker, cleaning brushes, teasing board, clamps) that come included with it are great, and the package from Copper Moose includes a free 2 pound fiber bonus in addition to free shipping. Woot! Plus, I knew that Strauch was going to be raising their prices on Jan 1, so it just seemed like the ideal time to buy.

This is the longest week and a half ever.