Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catchup, part 1: A Good Yarn

Yes, I know I've been gone a while. I promise I haven't forgotten about you guys, the thing is that we updated our camera software, but then for a while the camera wouldn't let us upload pictures onto the computer. My mom fixed it, though, and I'm back.

I've kind of been neglecting my knitting lately, because I've become so enchanted by spinning. I have a nice fat new skein of yarn to prove it, and a lot of pictures.

The fiber I'm using is an undyed merino top from Hello Yarn. My method of spinning thus far has been to just spin and spin and spin a pretty thin single until no more will fit comfortably on my spindle. I was going to try plying it using a method similar to Andean plying, but I realised quickly that I had way too much yarn to fit on my hand. Instead I wound it into a center-pull ball on my ball winder andjust plied from both ends.

When the plying was done, I let it soak in the bathroom sink with a little shampoo for about 45 minutes, then hung the skein out in the sunshine to dry.
The yarn fluffed up quite a bit, making the finished product a nice lofty DK-ish weight.
The yarn posing alongside Tita's gorgeous pink roses...
...and one bloom that was just too pretty and perfect not to have a closeup.

I'm really pleased with this yarn. I'm getting better about keeping an even twist and thickness, though I definitely need lots of practice.
I was right pleased with myself when I took my beautiful yarn inside, but I figured I should wind it into a wider skein. Since I have only one swift, I called the eager Thing 1 in to help. My instructions could not have been more simple: "Hold this," I said. And she did. For about 5 seconds.
After those five seconds of perfect skein-holding, she proceeded to drop the skein. This would not normally be a problem, as I clearly saw that the skein fell on the floor still in a perfect loop. I do not know how, as I dove to pick it up, that it was transformed into the horrific mess that took me a whole friggin hour to untangle.
But as they say, all's well that ends well.
And I think it ended pretty well.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Can you hear it? It's the sound of the clock, tick-tocking away the seconds until I go see the Yarn Harlot in Charlotte!!! I am so incredibly psyched!!

Remember that mass of wool that I promised would be a bag someday? Well, that day is today!! Well, I actually felted it a couple days ago, but that's not important.
I was a little worried it would turn out really wide and shallow, but It's pretty darn near perfect. I threw it in the wash and hopped on Ravelry, intending to go check on it in about 5 minutes, but you know the hypnotic time-sucking powers of Ravelry, and I completely forgot about it until the end of the wash cycle.
A closeup of the stripes at the botton. Note to self: no more 2-row stripes for felted things.

I finished the waffle rib sock I was working on at Steeplechase, and I'm quite pleased with it.
The waffle rib is incredibly simple; all you do is alternate 2 rows of stockinette and 2 rows of 2x2 rib.
I haven't started the other one yet, it's going to come with me to Charlotte.

After a brief hiatus, I picked up the Forest Path Stole again and finished the lower border and all 5 lower triangles. I found stockinette entrelac quite easy, but seed stitch entrelac can be rather tricky.
I did a lot of spinning this weekend, too (no, that up there is not what I consider "a lot." I've got a whole other single sitting on my swift). This merino is a little tougher to spin than my brown Romney, since it's so slippery. My single keeps breaking, though part of that is the weight of the spindle. I think for yarn this fine and fiber this slippery, I really need a smaller, lighter spindle. Or a wheel, but I'm not getting one of those any time soon.

I am once again forced to face the fact that I live in South Carolina, where it is not uncommon to reach 100 degrees Farenheight in the summer (though on those days, instead of putting on socks, I think I might just lay naked on the floor praying for a lightning strike). I only have one or two pairs of socks with less than 50% wool in them, but this yarn that my mom got me is only 40%. It's Marks & Kattens Clown, 45% cotton, 40% superwash wool, 15% nylon. The colorway is #1908, and I'm just tickled with the way it's striping and speckling. Sorta rough in the skein, but I reckon it'll soften in the wash.
I threw in a 4-stitch cable on either side of the foot, to make it take longer to knit than my usual stockinette. That's one method of stretching a yarn budget: knit slowly.

I added a couple of squares to the Blankie, but nothing worth taking a picture of.