Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Speed bump

In our continued efforts to get Miss Bert back on the open road, we decided to work on rebuilding the carburetor last night. I'd already ordered the carb kit, which consisted of needles and pins and gaskets, and Mike was sure he had the carb cleaner from his MC carb-extravaganza leftover (hard to believe he rebuilt his carbs just over a year ago...).

As we set about getting started, we realized we were out of cleaner *and* needed more instruction that what the Bentley manual provided. So, we walked to PepBoys (what else do you do when you don't have a running car or motorcycle?) and then came home and printed out the instructions here, and then got down to business. Things went as according to plan as possible (there were some moments of noodle-scratching) until we came to step 5 (Remove the three screws that hold the automatic choke. Remove the ... Retainer. Spacers. Choke. Plastic cap.). In fact, things in step 5, you might say, had an 85% success rate. Years of grime and possible neglect (I've developed a huge amount of doubt as to how much previous owners have truly cared about this car, but that's an in-person rant) had that plastic cap in place good. With no place to get a good grip, Mike decided to use a flat-head screwdriver to pry it out. He nicked something off of the top of the plastic cap and stopped. I had the brilliant idea that I could perhaps get the screwdriver in the slot and then twist it so that the fatter part of the head would allow me to apply pressure from below. That didn't work, so I tried prying too. And snapped that plastic cap in two.

carb choke plastic cap broken

For reference, this is what it's supposed to look like:

carb choke plastic cap

We soldiered on, broken piece and all, assuming a replacement cap would be easy enough to come by. So, the carburetor was completely disassembled and cleaned up (and, an aside, the rust in the carburetor? I'm pretty sure I'm off pudding for a while... It was sludgy and disgusting and brownish-red.) and I cleaned up my fuel/grease/grime covered hands and consulted the Internet for a new part. And I learned that there is no replacement part.

Site after site, page after page, Google after Google revealed no matches. Mike and I wondered aloud to each other why something as simple a plastic cap, something that could quite possibly snap in a situation similar to the one we'd just earlier participated in, why it was so unique, so irreplaceable, so not available to purchase for the low, low cost of $4.35.

All's not lost, though. A few tips from the forums (thanks Kevin!) and I should be able to get a used cap soon enough. This just means that instead of driving around top-down this long weekend, the adventures have been pushed back at least another weekend. That's okay, though. Because I can keep dreaming.

ETA: BugCity is hooking me up with a used cap--should be here by week's end! We might get her on the road by Sunday!!! The queue for rides start *here*.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Like a kitten with a ball of yarn

I've been stashing a lot over on Ravelry. I'm up to 56 entries and I feel both under- and over-whelmed. I feel like I don't have enough (greedy, much), but mostly because it's all yarn that I'm so familiar with (except for one thing that I'm manually importing from my Excel file--I am still trying to figure out what one of my stash yarns is because the notes in my file make no sense to me...). But, I also was reminded, as I stashed the yarn, that almost all of the stash has a project associated with it. Sugar 'n' Cream? Sonnet. Jo Sharp DK Wool? Scoop du Jour cardi. I'm struck by the amount of sock yarn I have, but I'm also somewhat disappointed that I don't have more (again, see comment above regarding greed).

What I haven't stashed yet is the handspun yarn, and my oh my, am I ever amassing a stash of that. Here're some shots of what I've been spinning just lately. As always, click on the photo to get a bigger image.


Spunky Eclectic's FOTM in Tulips. Yummy, yummy, tulips.


I'm still working on spinning thinner singles, but I'm getting better at it. All along, I intended the Tulips to be paired with something else and I wanted the final yarn to remain at a lighter gauge than worsted.

monica's ghia

So, at Dye Day last month, I did up something in a red-orange and black (it came out light mandarin and gray), spun that up thin, and then plied the two for a completely custom look. I'm calling it Monica's Ghia because it was her car that inspired me (her '71 Karmann Ghia is Tangerine with a black top).

tulips navajo

With what I had leftover of the Tulips after plying, I tried Navajo plying once again. This time I kept things slower and much more steady and I ended up with perfectly plied (that is, no doo-doo spots) yarn.

bflbunny spindle1

At the August Stitch 'n' Bitch, I learned how to use hand carders and blended BFL with Winston, creamy, yummy, bunny.


With the angora I had left over, I played with one of Anj's spindles and drop spindled a good ounce of bunny into lovely, sumptuous, Oh. My. God. singles.

celebrations navajo

Before I perfectly plied the Tulips, I imperfectly plied Celebrations, another FOTM offering. This is Shetland wool and it's wonderful to work with. I drafted it by color section to preserve the color changes a bit better when it came to plying. I knew before the package even arrived that I'd be Navajo plying this bit, if for no other reason than to get more practice in.

sleeping beastie3

And because I can't resist. He looks so harmless and sweet when he's asleep...

I'm looking to get some blog recommendations. Any one you'd like to recommend? It doesn't have to be yarn or fiber-ish...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Was sie w√ľnschen

With a week or so to digest the State of Bert, I'm less angry now and more optimistic. Pleasantly challenged, you might say. Mike and I spent Sunday siphoning the tank and removing it, taking off the carburetor, and removing the fuel pump. Of course, I took photos*.

Passenger side repair

Here's the Ghia, freshly rolled** out from the garage yesterday afternoon.

Driver's side full shot

The repairs on the driver's side, with a view of the engine compartment, too.

Rust in the neck

The fuel tank's neck. You can't really tell here (and I don't know that you can tell in the original size, either), but there is a significant amount of rust in the neck.


We read the manual...

Removing the tank

...and pulled out the tank. There clearly was something fouling the gas. So, now we're going to clean and coat the inside of the tank before re-installing it.

34 PICT 3

We pulled the carburetor off. It looked fairly clean on first inspection, but we're going to give it a cleaning anyway. If the second fuel filter (the one that is visible in the engine compartment; the first fuel filter was inline right off of the gas tank) really was a puddingly fouled as Carl said, then chances are the carbs got some junk while in the trunk, too.

Ghia in the garage

Then, we rolled her back in for the night.

(The complete set--all 63 images--can be found here.)

So, we've got a shopping list: sending unit (the one we pulled out was rusty), carb kit, boot (the one I have is kind of coming apart), Rodine 50 (to clean out the tank), fuel pump (less than $20, so, c'mon). Martin made a good point (he rolled up as we were wrapping up)--it ran fine to get it there, so it's not necessarily the engine or something more in-depth. And, since we found lots of floaties in the gas, it's obvious the fuel was contaminated. Whether that's Carl's fault or ours, I'm not going to worry about at this point. Because. Well, because fuck that shit, yo. Martin, the Wise Ol' Swede, also pointed out that most fuel lines are made of stainless steel, so that shouldn't be rusty. Which, I might add, is good news because holy petrol, replacing the fuel line would be a major pain in the ass.

I'm pretty excited to be working on her after spending much of the last year worrying that she'd never be road-worthy. And even though we had to roll her out of the garage, that didn't stop the neighbors and passers-by from rubbernecking. I believe I promised rides to at least a half-dozen people yesterday, so I hope I can deliver on that in a few weeks...

As for the paint job she's sporting now... I was originally going to paint the car the stock blue it was in June 1974. But, I don't know, now. I've got about a year or so to mull it over, and then next year's big money will be spent on painting. I know that I don't want red... I'm just not a fan of red cars. And, I don't want to redo the interior, though it would be fairly easy and it's not something I'm going to rule out for a future project. That said, I don't want a dark interior (black seats in a convertible? Yeah. Not cool. Literally.), so if I redo the interior, it would be cream or white or beige. Because, let's admit it, the interior is not exactly where it's at anyway, you know?

* I'm finding that as I go about working on the car, there's not a lot of photographic assistance on the Internet. The forums have been helpful in a textual sense, but sometimes I look at the engine, look at the manual, and still have to ask, "What the hell is that thingie that comes off of the thingie?" So, I'm trying to document the stages and steps we take and the oddities that we encounter so that maybe somewhere some other Ghia-enthusiast will Google the "thingie that comes off of the thingie" and find satisfaction here.

** Do not get me started on how pissed I was that when we took the car to the garage on April 29, it was DRIVEN there. BUT, when the time came to bring the car home, it wouldn't start. How the hell body work impacted the engine, I don't want to know. I mean, Carl gave us scenarios (including one that might be classified as insurance fraud), but that's not the point. I fully expected to drive my car home, especially when I think about the amount of money we paid to have the body work done... I cannot think rationally on this yet.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Rhinebeck countdown

Let's not fool each other--the Rhinebeck countdown really began the day we left the fairgrounds last year, the wool and the roving piled high in the back of the rental. But, to seem sane, let's just pretend it's just now beginning.

The list of things I might want to buy (read: IF I DON'T HAVE IT BY FRIDAY NIGHT, I WILL THROW A HISSY) is short and is definitely fiber/spinning focused. In fact, there's no yarn on my list at all! Considering that the only festival yarn I've used in the last year is Great Adirondack's Soxie (Jaywalkers!!!), I'd say I'm not exactly hurting for more yarn. Of course, that's the wrong way to go about Rhinebeck, so just because yarn is absent from the list does not mean it will be absent from my haul.

Moving on...

I'd like to get a new spindle. Something lightweight, ideal for super-fine spinning. Bosworth? Golding? Both?

I'm interested in finding exotic rovings--a little cashmere, a little camel, a little llama, a little yak. An ounce or so will do, just to have the tactile experience of these luxe yarns.

I'm also going to be looking for interesting blends and/or calling-my-name dye jobs.

Having just used Anj's hand carders yesterday, I'm confident in adding a set of hand carders to my list of Rhinebeck Must-haves.

Finally, I'd like to find a shawl pin. This is low on my list, but I'm hopeful that while browsing the stalls, something shiny will spark my subconscious.

ETA: Sock blockers, WPI tool (I know, I could use a needle, or something, a ruler, but I want to consider something fluffy like this), and one other thing I thought of last night on my way home...

Now, the list of vendors I'd like to see... That's a bit longer than the shopping list.

A Touch of Twist
Liberty Ridge
Barefoot Spinner
Barneswallow Farm
Golding Ring Spindles
Dashing Star Farm
Done Roving Farm and Carding
Sheep Thrills
Shepherd's Rest at Autumn House
Sheep Frills
Fessler Spinning and Weaving
Spirit Trail
Decadent Fibers
Grafton Fibers
Hampden Hills
Wheel Thing

That's just the list to start--I'm sure the vendor list will grow. To be honest, though, I don't know why I even made a vendor list--I will purposefully stop at each and every stall at least twice. That is how I roll.

Next up: the Ghia comes home, I've been spinning LOTS, and the EF House Tour '08.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Process of recollection

Mom came up last Saturday and we went to see Wicked, as planned. I wore The Sweater, and was generally ecstatic about wearing something I knit and properly finished. Then, the bottom edge started to curl up--and it just wouldn't stop! I'm thinking I need to pick up and knit a row or so of garter or maybe seed stitch along the bottom edge... Though, the sleeves (knit in the same pattern as the bottom hem) have not curled a bit. That must be because there's less width? I don't know.

I've been spinning like mad. So mad, in fact, that last night Mike said to me, "I think you have a problem." And like any true addict, I said, "NO, I THINK YOU HAVE THE PROBLEM. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. I WORKED ALL DAY. LET ME HAVE MY SPINNING TIME, DAMN IT!!!!" Conversation killed.

Anyway, I spun up some of the BFL I dyed at Dye Day, and I plied it with Spunky's FOTM Tulips. The two singles separate looked like cats and dogs, but once plied, it was as if they were a natural and forever match. I wasn't happy with the dye job I did--the colors came out much more muted than I anticipated. In fact, the singles of the dye-your-own come out almost brown. But, that almost brown is enough to tone down the RED in Tulips. And, the result is awesomeness. I've spun all 4oz of Tulips, about an ounce or so of the dye-your-own, and am left with LOTS of Tulips left. So, I guess next up for Mr. Fricke is more of the dye-your-own. Then, pictures. Maybe. :-P

Soon, as in tomorrow, my little Ghia comes home. I have a whole post brewing about that ordeal. It will not be pleasant. You've been warned.