Finish Line to Starting Line

I finished my spinning for the Tour de Fleece with a little time to spare.  I didn’t want to go too crazy with the spinning since I’m participating in what one of my online knitting groups (Friends of Abby’s Yarns) is calling the Masochism Tango where whatever you spun during the Tour de Fleece gets knit into something during the Ravelympics Ravellenic Games.  Since one of the things I spun was a skein of laceweight singles with a total of 864 yards, I knew I’d have my work cut out for me in the knitting department.

So, the final totals at my Tour de Fleece finish line are
1. (Top) Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club – August 2011 – Falkland – Change, 3-ply, sport weight, 234 yards
2. (Bottom) Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club – December 2012 – Superwash Corriedale – David’s Gift, singles, laceweight, 864 yards

Plans are still the same for the knitting up as I posted at the beginning of the Tour de Fleece: the 3-ply Falkland will become the Autumn Vines Beret, and the laceweight SW Corriedale will become a Citron shawl.

I cast on the beret Friday evening.  If I had been thinking ahead I would have had the yarn balled up and ready to go to cast on while riding the bus home from work that afternoon.  But I was totally unprepared for the start of the Ravellenic Games.  The yarn was balled up, the pattern pulled out, and a quickie gauge swatch knit up after dinner while watching the woefully time-delayed opening ceremony (probably the only thing except for the closing ceremony that I’ll actually watch during the whole thing, I think).  I am ready and willing to except that my gauge swatch might have been lying to me as I only knit about an inch or so before measuring and deeming the chosen needles good to go.  But the fabric I’m getting looks good, and the hat itself does not look overly small or large.

I’m hoping to have the beret done and the shawl cast on by Monday of next week, the sooner the better obviously.  I’m expecting that the shawl will go quickly since it doesn’t have the same amount of patterning as the hat; the hope is that I will be able to mostly memorize the shawl pattern and go at it like a speed demon rather than having to check the pattern every few minutes like I do with all the cables on the hat.

A Niddy-Noddy Problem

I was hit by the oddest fever in the middle of the week.  No other symptoms, just a fever and all its fun side-effects like aches, chills, joint pain, and sore neck.  Thankfully, it only lasted a few days, and by Saturday morning I was feeling much better but still not up for much.  So, I got out the spinning wheel and sat down to plying.

Plying up 4 ounces of wool into a approximately fingering weight yarn (I’ll know more details once it has finished drying from its bath) went a lot quicker than I expected.  I am so used to spinning 2-ply, laceweight yarns that take forever to see a finished product.

On Sunday, I wanted to see about getting the yarn into a bath to see how it looked finished.  Go to pull out my niddy-noddy only to remember that the pup chewed it up a couple weeks ago.  *sigh*  I also remember that my LYS is on vacation, so no quick dash to the store to save me.  This is when I recall that I have a back-up niddy-noddy.  It’s a handmade piece that I bought from The Rug & Yarn Hut years ago.  I also have a spindle made by the same guy.  It took me a little while I find where I stashed it and to get it back together into one piece (it splits in the middle for storage and it held together by a wooden pin, which has a very tight fit).  I gleefully proceed to winding the yarn off the bobbin into a 2-yard skein for washing.  I tie up the ends and go to pull the skein off, when it dawns on me why this is my back-up niddy-noddy.  I can’t get the yarn off, at least not easily.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful piece of wood and craftsmanship.  A dark hard wood with a lighter wood inlay.  The maker thoughtfully put a slot in one of the arms to hold the end of the yarn as you beginning to wind it.  But, and it’s a bit of a but, he left all 4 arms of the niddy-noddy swooped up in a pretty little design.  A pretty little design that does not allow the yarn to slide off the niddy-noddy.  My now gone Ashford niddy-noddy had all 4 arms smoothed in a downward fashion making slipping the skein off a breeze.  I have seen more ornate niddy-noddies such as mine with the decorative ends, but they usually have one arm left smoothed down for yarn removal.

This beautiful niddy-noddy took me a good 15 minutes to get the yarn off as I slowly slipped small sections off at a time, hoping that doing so wouldn’t hurt my newly-minted yarn.  So, unless someone can recommend a way to make this tool work more easily for me, I am now on the hunt for a usable niddy-noddy or skein-winder that doesn’t cost too much.

Meanwhile, the yarn came off the niddy-noddy looking extremely excited.  It’s gotten a nice soak and several thwacks.  I can’t wait to see how it looks once it’s dry.