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.

Tour de Fleece – Day 3

I chose to start my Tour de Fleece spinning with the SW Corriedale in David’s Gift. I’ve gotten the bobbin about half full, and it’s all orange. When I stopped spinning this afternoon, I had just begun to see a little of the brown creeping in. I’m a little worried about how I’m spinning it – sometimes I think I’m going too thick and other times, too thin. I have a Spinner’s Control Card somewhere, but I haven’t been able to find it. Normally, I wouldn’t worry too much about the thickness variation because I’d be plying it, and most of the time it all blends together. Since this is destined to be singles, I won’t have a second ply to balance it out. I think I’m just psyching myself out a little cause I keep thinking it’s a good weight if I were to ply it as a laceweight, but I want this to be a laceweight without plying.

Part of the problem is I don’t usually spin singles yarn.  I jumped in without thinking about the thickness much at all other than knowing I want laceweight.  For this single to be laceweight all on it’s own, it needs to be a bit thicker that I normally spin the singles for a plied laceweight.  But when I spin that way, some part of my brain tells me I’m spinning too thick and I back off.

I guess I’ll just need to trust my fingers and understand that I can work with whatever the end result is.  I am spinning this for a shawl after all and that means that a little thicker will simply give me a slightly larger shawl, which can be nice.

Tour de Fleece – Day 2

While drinking my tea this morning, I prepped the Spunky Eclectic Falkland in Change.  I opted to divide the top into 3 even portions.  Two of the portions were then split into thirds lengthwise, and the third was spilt in half; not for any particular reason, that’s just how they seemed to want to spilt.  A little pre-drafting later and I have 3 fluffy balls of fiber ready for spinning.

I’m a little surprised at how much orange I have going on for Tour de Fleece this year.  I’m not usually an orange person as it looks hideous on me, or more appropriately, I look hideous in it.  (There are a couple shades of green and orange that have caused strangers to approach me and ask if I’m feeling well and if I need to sit down or have some water.  I kid you not.)  Spunky Eclectic really seems to like oranges and yellows, and while I doubt anyone will ever convince me that yellow is a nice color, her oranges have started to grow on me, especially when she mixes them with a sage-y green and a raspberry red.  :)

Now to decide which fiber to start spinning first.

Tour de Fleece 2012 – Day 1

Today was the beginning of Tour de Fleece 2012. This year I’m going the Masochistic Tango version where I spin during Tour de Fleece, then knit using that yarn during the Ravelympics Ravellenic Games. I have two main projects planned: 1) laceweight singles spun from Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club – Dec 2010 – David’s Gift – SW Corriedale (pictured left) to knit a Citron Shawl, 2) 3-ply sport weight spun from Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club – Aug 2011 – Change – Falkland to knit a Autumn Vines Beret (Rav link).

Today, so far, there has not been any knitting.  I’ve been working on prepping the fiber.  The David’s Gift is a progression dyed fiber, and I want to maintain the color order.  I opened up the fiber and did a little pre-drafting without splitting the fiber at all.  I really only did the pre-drafting because the SW Corriedale can be a little sticky, and I want to concentrate on spinning it not on fighting it.  For the Change fiber I’m not sure if I’m going to spilt it 3 ways lengthwise or divide it into 3 pieces horizontally.  I want this one to have the colors mixed up so they don’t argue with the pattern of the beret.

End of the Line, Temporarily

My niece’s first birthday is next month, and I had decided to knit her a sweater made from my handspun.  Because my sister knows how to take care of nice things, I decided that I wasn’t restricted to just superwash fibers.  I selected the organic merino I got in the Spunky Eclectic club in March 2011; the colorway is Little Periwinkles, which is pastels — pink, blue, green, purple with some white.  For the pattern, I choose Elizabeth Zimmerman’s February Baby Sweater from The Knitting Almanac.  It’s pretty much seamless, with some lace to make it pretty.

I started by spinning up 4 oz, which gave me approximately 194 yards of light worsted yarn.  I used about 30 yards knitting a swatch to determine which needle size would be best for the yarn and get me the closest to the gauge listed in the pattern (5 sts/inch).  I tested out size 5, 6, and 7 needles.  It was hard waiting for the swatch to dry, but in the end it told me that I could get 5 sts/inch on size 6 needles.  However, I liked the fabric from the size 7 needles better, and the gauge was only 4.8 sts/inch; close enough, and would allow me to err on the bigger size for the sweater since Miss M is growing quickly.

Unfortunately, the 160-ish yards I had left were not enough to complete the sweater. I got through the yoke, the arm separation, and about 3 inches of the body before I ran out. So, it’s back to the spinning wheel for me to get more yarn for finishing up. I’ve gotten the 4 bobbins of singles done and am just waiting for them to rest a little before getting the plying started.

I must say, the organic merino is a dream to spin. I have more of it in different colors from Spunky Eclectic and am now looking forward to spinning and knitting it up. So soft.

Never-ending spinning

Thanks to a few threads on Ravelry aimed at either spinning down stash or spinning for a lace project, I’ve been motivated to pull my poor neglected wheel out of my fiber room and do some spinning. I’ve even managed to finish(-ish) a couple of projects that have been languishing. On Monday night, I finally finished spinning the singles from those green merino/silk batts that were my first drum carding experiment.  They went sadly unfinished during the Ravelympics, but there is an end in sight now.  Here’s proof:

All that’s left is to ply it.  I think I’m going to try making a plying ball to see if that works better than plying from a center-pull ball.  The only thing I’m slightly worried about is that I know there are some spots where the singles are more than a bit thin.  I’m already anticipating them breaking as I try to create a plying ball.

Ravelympics

How are your Ravelympics projects going?

I can tell you that they are probably going far better than mine.  I have yet to pull out the fiber I decided upon for my spinning project (the superwash Corriedale that was to become socks).  Instead, I have been spinning some green batts that were the first to ever come off my drum carder.

I had received some very, very dark green with touches of red and yellow fiber from Deep Color in a swap several years ago (see the yarn to the right).  It was one of those cases where I highly doubt my swap partner had read my questionnaire because I had listed green as a color I don’t like.  (It wasn’t even until everyone was supposed to be finding out who their secret swap partners had been that I realized that my partner had fallen off the planet.  Oh well.)  So, I had this nice merino that just happened to be dyed a rather unfortunately color.  I tried spinning some of it, but hated the color so much that it languished on a bobbin for almost a year and a half.  I ended up using it as my first attempt to Navajo ply because I didn’t care if I completely screwed it up.

I had spun less  than half of it, so I still had over 2 oz. of this fiber laying around.  Then, I finally decided to get brave and try to use my drum carder.  I bought an ounce of bright yellow silk from Spunky Eclectic; it was a color called Walking on the Sun.  I blended the 2 together and got a much lighter grass green.  The silk also add a great feel.

I have been wanting to practice spinning from the fold and these batts seemed like good practice fodder.  Next thing you know, that’s what’s on my wheel.  The problem?  I started spinning it back in September, so I definitely don’t believe it’s eligible for the Ravelympics.  My wheel got put away after I had spun only 1 of the 4 batts I had made because the new puppy showed too much interest in wanting to chew on the treadles, which I just couldn’t let happen to my beautiful Catherine.  When I got the wheel out to begin working on the superwash Corriedale, I saw the silky green bobbin and couldn’t help myself.  The Corriedale was forgotten.

At least my knitting is going okay… I think.

End of the week

After I finished the Rivendell socks, I was a bit listless over what to knit next.  I had bought some Mountain Lace in a nice navy blue that I want to make Aeolian out of, but the idea just wasn’t getting me excited.  I kept thinking I wanted to knit something out of some of my handspun.  I hadn’t done that in some time.  There’s something really nice about knitting with yarn that you’ve spun yourself.

I had managed to get my hands of some Spunky Ecelectic Corripaca before Amy ran out of it several months ago.  The colorway I chose was Estuary, which was a pretty mix of green, brown, and natural.  I spun it up as a 2-ply lacewight getting approximately 509 yds out of the 4 oz.

I thought with the brown and greens the perfect pattern would be Laminaria.  So, I cast it on last Thursday.  I’ve gotten through the star chart and have completed the first repeat of the blossom chart.  So far, I love the way the colors are stripping up.  I think with the edging it will really look seaweedy.

I should also say thanks to BigAlice and Sandy for their comments on my last post.  Since they’ve given me permission to whinge, here it is, in all its silly glory….

First off, I’m an introvert; being around people can be tiring, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to be social.  Things in my life got a lot better when I accepted the fact that I am an introvert, that I’ll never be an extrovert, and I learned what I needed to do for myself.  However, knowing and accepting don’t always help when I go through periods of profound loneliness.  I lament that I don’t have many close friends; I pity myself for not being invited out to do things.  It leaves me feeling like there’s a hole in my gut for a few days, then it passes.  I have to remember that I probably don’t present myself as someone who is interested in going out and doing things, and frankly, I’m not sure how to even give that impression.  I don’t know how to make instant friends with people, and I have only a slim number of lasting friendships.

I’m not looking for a pity party, but just explaining where my head was earlier this week.  I’m hoping maybe by putting some of it into words I’ll get a better grasp on what it is that bothers me.

Now, on a lighter note… YARN!

Friday

The Husband is going out to play Vampire tonight, leaving me home alone with a movie, wine, and my knitting.

But, what I really want to do is spin… and I can’t. My knee is still too sore to use it that way. All the talk about spinning that’s going around is making me miss it. I haven’t spun since the last weekend of May. I had just started spinning up the fiber I had dyed.

Of course, I also want my knee to get better, so it might be time to pull out a drop spindle.

I’ve got 2 increases left on the first sleeve for my Ribby Cardi. I’m not sure if I’ll continue working on the sleeve or if I’ll try to work on Birch tonight.

Fun car news
Last week I discovered the chrome on the inside passenger side door handle was peeling off on my car. How did I discover this? Why I managed to slice 2 fingertips open on it while trying to get out of the car. While chrome may look insubstantial, it’s rather quite sharp. Thankfully, neither injured finger is terribly important for knitting.

So, yesterday I took my car in for it’s 35,000 mile oil change and asked them to take a look at it. Wouldn’t have been any problem except the warranty that covers such things expires at 36,000 miles, and I was a bit late bringing my car in at 37,000. I managed to use my blonde powers (don’t worry I only use them for good) and the nice car guy ran off to speak with his supervisor about. He was back within a minute to inform me that they’d cover it. Woot! So, they replaced the door handle assembly; no more sharp chrome.

The Husband took a co-worker out to lunch today and discovered that the new, shiny door handle doesn’t work. You can’t open the door from the inside. Unfortunately, he was unable to get it in today, so we have an appointment Monday morning to have them look at it again. *sigh*

Tulips!

My tulips seem to have weathered the rainy winter much better than the iris bulbs I planted. My crocus bulbs seem to have been hit or miss. I’m afraid that for several of the bulbs the rain just made them rot. My bearded irises are starting to shoot up, too. Yeah, for spring flowers. I had to drive up to San Bruno to see my chiropractor this afternoon and the dandilions are blooming along the Palo Alto section of 280. Very pretty.

Meanwhile, there was yarn…

This is about 140 yards of a 60% silk/40% wool yarn. I haven’t measured the wpi, so I don’t know if it classifies as lace weight, or if it’s fingering weight. The silk is multi-colored: pink, yellow, green, blue… I got it from The Silk Worker. The blue ply is a 80% wool/20% silk that I got off eBay.

Okay, I’m going to go have soup now… soup is good.