Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Thursday Quick Takes

Filed under: Knitting,Movies,Rats!,Spinning — folkcat at 1:42 pm on Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hope you’re all having a great week! I’ve been keeping busy here in New Hampshire.

Illegal firecrackers going off mere yards from our home are an annual problem here every Fourth of July. So many of the neighbors are the type who just don’t care, and the houses are so close together.

Gryphon and I decided to avoid the issue altogether this year. We went to the movies.

A little dark, but that’s what it really looked like at that moment. We visited the Milford Drive-in (celebrating 50 years in business), and saw Wall-E.

You are hereby ordered, if you haven’t seen it already, to go. Immediately. As quick as you can manage, at least. It’s that good. I’m not saying anything more, it’s worth seeing with as little knowledge of the story as possible.

Not for the Faint of Heart

I finished my shawl last Thursday. Attached the border and everything, except for blocking and weaving in ends. This is what it looked like Friday afternoon.

Ametrine Shawl - finished?

Here’s what it looks like today.

I know, I know – some of you just gasped, others felt a little faint. Fact is, I examined the results carefully and decided they weren’t good enough, darn it. My gauge had lied and come out smaller, the whole shawl wouldn’t block as large as I wanted, and I absolutely didn’t like the way the border fit around the corner of the shawl (the pattern is designed with no extra ease there, so it cups).

So, yes, I frogged a very nearly complete object. It’s the right thing to do if you know you won’t be happy with the end result. And honestly? I love knitting entrelac so much that I’m kinda secretly thrilled that I get to do it again!

I’ve cast on for a base of 27 triangles instead of the 25 called for in the patten. I’m working with a needle a size larger than before, and so far it’s giving the correct gauge. I’ll re-calculate the border when I get to it, and I’ll include a little extra so it can be properly eased around the point.

I was calling this my Ametrine Shawl, for the combination of purple with yellows and oranges. I think now I’ll call it my Ametrine Phoenix Shawl, for being born, returned to its source material, and reborn better than before.

Spinning

Progresses fairly rapidly.

I’m managing up to an hour at a time now, and it’s coming along well. This is around half of the fiber spun. I can’t wait to ply this (it’ll be my first chain-plying) and see how it comes out. The singles are very thin, I’m guessing I’ll get fingering weight or maybe a little thinner when I triple-ply it.

Reluctant Model

Here’s what happens when I try too hard to get a picture of the Ratties for you:

Nose of a sleepy Leonardo

Leo gets pissed at me for disturbing his sleep.

Sorry…I tried!

What I’m Working On

Filed under: Downloads - Desktop Wallpapers,Knitting,Spinning — folkcat at 4:19 pm on Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I did a bit of a teaser last week about some of the fiber crafting I’ve been doing. One was a picture of my Lendrum bobbin with some multi-colored singles spun on it.

Here’s what the same bobbin looks like today:

I’ve been putting in a minimum of 15 minutes a day at the wheel, and some days as much as 30 minutes or more. So progress is coming along nicely.

This is the first my wheel has been active in over a year. I haven’t lost the skill, I guess it’s like riding a bicycle. In fact, I think I’m better for having let the spinning hibernate for so long. It’s feeling very natural now, so natural I even find myself craving time spent at the wheel as much as I do time with the knitting needles.

One thing that has made it easier to spin – I finally picked a spot for the wheel that means I can sit down with very little effort and just start.

What you’re seeing is the corner of the living room where my desktop computer lives. The wheel is placed such that all I have to do is spin my chair in place, move the ball of roving to the left, and start treadling. Which is quite often exactly what I do after reading e-mails, posting to the blog, or other online activities. It’s amazing how it can add up when you remove obstacles like set-up time.

The roving I’m spinning is a hand-dyed merino. Purchased at the Dublin General Store here in New Hampshire over a year ago, where one of the owners is an avid knitter/spinner/dyer who sells her goods right there, one room over from the wine selection and across the main store from the deli counter. If I remember correctly (the tag is long gone), it’s about 6 oz. total weight.

I formed no plan for this when I sat down. I had pre-drafted the entire lot way back when. As I sat down to the wheel, I made a decision to move the belt on the flyer one notch smaller, upping the ratio a little. Otherwise, I’ve let the wool find its own weight. Thin, but not too thin. I haven’t done a wpi on the single, so I’m not sure.

To preserve the long color runs, I may make this my first chain-plied yarn. Or second – I have a partial bobbin of a non-descript blue single that I spun and have no other plans for, I am likely to practice on that first. Tripling this multi-colored single, I’m guessing from my quick tests, will give me something in the range of a fingering weight.

After that, I’ll just have to decide what to knit with it! If it turns out even enough, I may try for my first hand-spun socks.

Speaking of knitting, I teased this project the other day, too:

The pattern is called Autumn, and it’s an entre-lac shawl pattern published by the Jojoland yarn company. The yarn is their worsted weight variegated called Rhythm. Rhythm has very long stretches of color, making entre-lac a perfect way to display it. The particular colorway I’m using is number 023, which comes in shades of purple, orange, and yellow. I love the combination of both warm and cool colors, and of course, I love the purple.

Yes, I have abandoned both the Adult Surprise Jacket and my latest pair of socks to work on this. I was in the yarn store and she had a sample of the shawl knitted up, and I simply fell in love. I scored a copy of the pattern from her that day to be sure I’d have it. Then I developed such an eagerness to knit it over the next couple of days that I raided the piggy bank for part of the money, and talked Gryphon into the rest as an early birthday present (way early – it’s not until August).

I had my 10 11 balls of Rhythm that Saturday, and had cast on by Saturday night. (The pattern calls for 10 balls – we bought an extra as a cushion.) Today, I’m within a short distance of finishing the main body of the shawl, then I’ll cast on for the border. My goal is to finish by my birthday so I can enjoy my gift. I think I’ll have no trouble making it – and I hope those don’t become “famous last words”!

Someone amongst the commenters – you know who you are – has already hinted that the photo of the entrelac knitting would make a great desktop wallpaper. I agree! I do plan to take the image above and make all the proper size versions, add the copyright statement, etc. Since my personal monitor is now a widescreen one, I’ll be adding a new size/proportion as well, 1680 x 1050.

Until I actually get myself away from the knitting and spinning to do that, however, if you want to use the photo above as your desktop wallpaper, simply click on the image. You’ll be taken to the full size version (1600×1200), which you can then save to your own computer. Just do me the favor of doing so only for your own personal use, and don’t redistribute the image, okay?

Whew! I think I’ve said enough now. I want to get back to knitting the shawl….after I maybe spin a few minutes…the wheel’s right here…

Holy Salamanders, Batman!

Filed under: Blogfriends,Knitting,Spinning — folkcat at 4:12 pm on Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You guys just totally rock! When I posted about our friend Leesa’s contest yesterday, her entry stood at a tie for fifth place. In less than twenty-four hours, your votes have put her in first place! That is just totally awesome!

Voting doesn’t end until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 21 (Central Time – the contest holder is in Chicago). So we want to keep the action going to keep Leesa at the top. You can only vote once, but if you have any friends you think would vote, or a blog of your own where you can post the voting link, that would be absolutely wonderful.

The link to the voting page for the contest is:

http://www.avenuebeads.com/2008/06/15/name-these-shards-poll/

And the name to vote for is Amphibian. That’s Leesa’s entry. I didn’t mention before, but I like it so much because it suits the colors of the glass being named, but it’s not expectable or cliched. A lot of the other names entered are very pretty, but also a little too predictable. I can really imagine these colors in a frog or salamander, all wet and shiny and green!

I’ll post next week how Leesa does in the contest. If we can keep this momentum going, though, I think we can expect a good result!

Thank you all!

And in other news…

Entrelac Shawl
Entrelac Shawl

Handspun Merino Single
Handspun single, Merino Top

Yes, I’m knitting Yet Another Entrelac Project. And after being idle for over a year, I am spinning again. Details when I feel up to writing them up!

Lest You Think Yuri Is The Only Hot Boy…

Filed under: Knitting,Rats!,Spinning — folkcat at 2:11 pm on Thursday, January 31, 2008

This was the scene I found this morning – Lola artfully draped over Leonardo’s back, sleeping peacefully.

Leo as Lola's Mattress

Yes, Leo’s really in there – he’s the patch of white fur and the tail to the left, and the stray paw over on the right.

As further proof that Lola was pretty relaxed with the situation, here’s what she did a moment later:

Lola's Big Yawn

At least, I think I’d have to be pretty relaxed to let out a stretch and yawn that large! This is now my desktop image on the computer.

As to knitting – I’m in a slump. So I’m going to try going back to spinning for a bit. I may still need some mindless knitting project to take with me to Panera tonight, but my spinning has been neglected. I started a year and a half ago, and still have projects on the drop spindles from my first days! Now that the boys don’t need their own cage, we have a little more room again in the living room – essential for spinning, since I have to pull out a different chair to use than my comfy armchair I knit in.

Crafting pictures eventually, I promise. Meanwhile, enjoy the rats, and have a great day!

Before and After; and, Surprise Knitting Project

Filed under: Daily Life,Knitting,Rats!,Spinning — folkcat at 3:05 pm on Monday, July 9, 2007

Hello, and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good week. Gryphon and I managed to relax a bit, do some crafty shopping, and just enjoy the time.

Healthwise, I’m doing much better now. I have about 2 days more of antibiotic to take, then I’m done. And now, when someone asks if I’m sensitive to any medicine, I know to change my answer from “nothing we know of” to “Yes! Sulfa-based antibiotics!”

The Rattie Sisters are doing well, too. Star has somewhat reduced control of her hind legs because of the tumor, which the doctor believes is spinal rather than mammary. Most days, she gets around just fine, but she gave us a good scare on the Fourth when she could barely hold herself up to eat (kept falling over), and wobbled precariously everytime she moved. She even took a header off the arm of my chair, just trying to move down from the back like she always does.

We were really afraid for her that day, but on Thursday, she was already much improved. So it seems that she has good days most of the time, but every now and then, something ticks her over into having a bad day, and she needs a little extra help and care.

Funniest moment of the week came one morning when I looked over at the cage, and saw Star climbing the ladder in her slow way to get to the top deck. Right behind her was Sable, who was either feeling helpful or frustrated with Star’s slow progress. As I watched, Sable picked up her little hands, placed them on Star’s butt, and gave a mighty PUSH.

Oh, how I laughed! And wished I’d had a video camera aimed at them at that very moment. It’s always the way, the best moments don’t get captured except in your memory.

Wooly Matters

On Wednesday, Gryphon and I tackled the job of scouring the Romney fleece we found the weekend before. I found good instructions on the web for doing the job in a washing machine, which in our tiny apartment was the only way it was going to happen.

We spread a tarp out on the kitchen floor first, and dumped the fleece out on top so we could pick out any big lumps (leaves, sticks, etc.).

Before:
Emma Wool Before Scouring

After several cycles through the machine, we spread the fleece out on the tarp again, and aimed a fan to blow over it and speed the drying.

After:
Emma Wool After Scouring

For that night, and part of the next day, we walked around the edges of the kitchen as the wool dried. It was fast, though – by Thursday afternoon, we were able to bag up the now clean fleece for storage.

I’m not quite ready to start carding and spinning this yet. I want to get some more wheel time in with other prepared rovings I’ve purchased over the past year before I do. But Emma is now ready to wait patiently until I get to her.

Surprise Knitting

Today, I’ll be finishing up a project that I didn’t even have the yarn for before Thursday.

WIP: Ms. Poppin Bag - Interior
Ms. Poppins Bag in Progress

More of that “Life at the Speed of Chaos” stuff, I suppose. I stopped into Jo-Ann Fabrics on the way to Thursday night’s Knitting Around at Panera session. There I found a single color of Lion Brand Landscapes yarn was on clearance – normally $5.99 per ball, it was now $1.99. The color is called Spring Desert, all sandy browns twisted with pinks, blues, and yellows. Really pretty.

I decided I had to have it. So I pulled out of the bin all 9 balls that were intact, leaving behind two that someone had pulled half apart and tangled. With a coupon in my purse for 10% off any purchase (including sale items), I got out of there for under $16.

So here I was with 9 balls of Landscape, and no clue what I’d make with it. Then, the very next day, the Craft: Magazine blog offered a pattern from the Knitting Daily folks – the Ms. Poppins Bag. I looked at the picture, and knew in an instant that the Landscapes yarn would be perfect.

I cast on Friday night, and started swatching. Okay, not perfect. With the recommended needles (10 1/2), my gauge was 13 stitches/4 inches, and the pattern called for 10/4 inches. So I worked my way up a few needle sizes and swatched a few more times, but the new swatches were all too loose for my taste.

Easy enough – the bag really only requires that you knit a square of the right size. Which means all I had to do was re-calculate the number of stitches needed to get the correct width. I went back to the 10 1/2 needles, and instead of the pattern’s 45 stitches, I cast on 54.

I was done with the knitting itself sometime Saturday. In total, I used 3 of the 9 balls of Landscape to complete my 18″ by 18″ square. Gryphon and I (he likes to be involved in the creative process when he can) went through my fabric stash to pick a lining, finding a piece of the lovely leaf pattern you see in the photo above that was big enough. I already had a magnetic clasp, too, just waiting for a project to be attached to. Finally, we went back to Jo-Ann’s and selected the bamboo handles sitting on the bag.

The bag, as you see it in the picture, is actually inside out and waiting for the side seams to be sewn. There’s a lot of handsewing in this piece – all the lining is attached with backstitch around all the edges, then there are pleats that are stitched in, the side seams, then the handles. I think I’ll actually spend more time on the finishing of this bag than I did the knitting.

I know, I haven’t shown the yarn at all yet, have I? Trust me, it goes really well with the lining and the handles. And you’ll see it when I post a picture of the finished bag, which at this rate, should be tomorrow.

Which will mean the time from surprise yarn purchase to FO will be an entire 5 days. Not bad!

Life at the Speed of Chaos

Filed under: Daily Life,Shopping Adventures,Spinning — folkcat at 3:18 pm on Monday, July 2, 2007

First, let me tell you that I’m much better now. The old meds have worked out of my system, and the new meds are starting to take effect.

Many thanks to all who wished me well and expressed concern for my wellbeing this weekend. It was a scary thing to get sick from a medicine I was taking, especially when it was for an infection I didn’t even know I had. Knowing that you were all out there thinking good thoughts helped.

It feels like I say those things a lot lately. Yes, I have health issues, and they sometimes take over life more than I’d like. I really appreciate all of you for sticking with me “through sickness, and in health.” Thank you!

I knew I must be feeling better when, by Saturday afternoon, I was itching to get out of the house, at least a little bit. I suggested to Gryphon a couple of small errands we could run that wouldn’t wear me out too badly, and he agreed it seemed like a good idea to get me out in the nice sunshine we had that day.

As we turned the corner and headed down Main Street, Gryphon said, “Oh! You know, there’s been something I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while now!”

The something was this:

Telltale Sign

This sign is at the other end of the street we live on. Gryphon had noticed it a week and a half earlier, and had managed not to remember to tell me about it until this Saturday.

Of course, I insisted that we stop there immediately! Had to find out what the deal was!

What we’re looking at is a small home farm. Actually, a woman I found to be very like-minded, and doing things I’d do if I had the resources. Liisa Palance is a spinner, and clearly an animal lover. When we knocked on the door to inquire about the wool, there was a cage on the floor right there with a lovely angora bunny in it, and across the room were cages with parakeets, a cockatiel, and a chinchilla.

In previous months, I had already observed this pair in their pen alongside the house:

Emma and Maggie

That’s Maggie in the back, and Emma in the front. You can see there isn’t much wool hanging off them right now. There’s a reason for that.

Here’s Emma’s fleece, in this bag. I know, you can’t see it.

Bag o' Emma Fleece

Is this better?

Inside the Bag: Emma's Fleece

And yes, that bag is sitting in my kitchen now.

You know, life has been moving at the speed of chaos lately. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ve seen that for yourself. Saturday morning, if you’d said to me, “Want to buy a whole, skirted, raw fleece?” I’d have said, “Heck, no! No space, no time, haven’t been spinning much!”

And then, that afternoon, I learn that I have a local source for both Romney and Angora bunny. Closer than my nearest supermarket. Closer than the closest gas station. Nearer than anyplace we have to buy clothing or housewares.

Closer, mind you, than my Local Yarn Store.

Emma and Maggie were sheared in May, so the fleece isn’t perfectly just-cut fresh, but it’s been well kept. The staple is about 4 inches, and the crimp! Just take a look at this crimp!

Emma Fleece - Crimp Detail

Gorgeous, isn’t it? So here I was, just recovering from illness, not in the market for a fleece, and confronted with 7 pounds, 4 ounces of a really lovely, skirted Romney. We talked a bit together about it, Liisa, Gryphon, and I, and I used my tiny bit of training to evaluate it – pulled the fiber near my ear, didn’t hear a single pop! Felt through the bag a little, found nice, even staple length throughout.

A price was quoted, I said, “Can you do any better if I take the whole thing?” She could, and I did.

I believe in messages from the universe, and clearly I’m being sent a big one here. Anything that the universe makes this easy, that it practically dumps in your lap, is to be paid attention to.

I found good instructions for scouring a whole fleece in the washing machine, and Gryphon and I are going to tackle that this week, while he’s on holiday from at least the one job.

Then, I guess, I’m going to want to get back to spinning more. I think I have to – I don’t think I want to know what the universe would do next to get through to me!

BTW, if anyone living within the sound of this blog is interested, Liisa doesn’t have a website, but she does still have Maggie’s fleece. Lovely, mostly charcoal gray with some hints of black and brown. And the eggs are free range, antibiotic- and hormone-free.

Free-range Chickens

If you’re interested in either eggs or fleece, or in the Angora bunny fiber, you can either visit Maplehaven Farm at 19 Maple St., Milford, NH, or give Liisa a call at 603-654-9204.

Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it?

What I Craft When I Can’t Focus

Filed under: Knitting,Papercraft,Spinning — folkcat at 4:04 pm on Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I know, I said I couldn’t focus last week and I didn’t craft much. Just remember, much in this case is a relative term. Since I normally craft a lot, the amount of crafting you’re about to see counts as not much to me.

Friday evening, I assembled the papercraft Maneki Neko that I had cut out the week before. Like my previous Maneki Neko, this came from the Canon 3-D papercraft site.

The Maneki Neko I made before was seated, with left paw raised. Canon describes it as “beckoning people” – as in customers into a retail business. It wears a medallion with symbols for “good fortune” and “happiness”.

The new Maneki Neko is described as “beckoning for money“. Sounded like a good thing for our current situation! This one has the right paw raised. The left paw holds a large medallion with a symbol meaning “Ten Million Coins”.

Papercraft FO - Money Maneki Neko

I’ll admit it, I’m a little superstitious about these things. I believe in good luck symbols, if only as a means of focusing your intent on your needs and desires. In this case, I think we got results. Gryphon made an appointment for a job interview the Monday after I cut the pieces out; he had the interview last Friday afternoon; I assembled the Maneki Neko that night; and Monday he was offered the job.

Coincidence? Perhaps. Even if I discount any magical benefits the Maneki Neko may have provided, however, I can’t escape the fact that I spent a number of enjoyable hours building it, and we will continue to enjoy it as a decoration in our home. Win-win!

Last September, I purchased 6 oz. of hand-dyed Merino roving from Michelle, fiber artist and owner of the Dublin General Store in Dublin, NH. As a reminder, here’s what it looked like all spread out.

Rainbow Colored Roving

As a mindless task for my overtasked brain this weekend, I began pre-drafting this. First, I fluffed and spread the rope itself until it was a loose bat at least a foot wide. Then, I gently bunched it back into a rope, and began drafting the end out into a long, skinny roving ready for spinning.

The idea here is to keep the color runs as long as I can, and to have the fibers ready for easily spinning a thin yarn. I’ve learned now how long that takes – it’s been several hours of work over the entire weekend to get me to this point:

SIP - Rainbow Merino Roving

Just about a foot more to pre-draft. Then I’ll re-wind this and try to divide it into two equal balls. I don’t know if I’ll attempt to learn chained plying with this to keep the colors pure, or if I’ll just say the heck with it and 2-ply it. Either way, I think my bobbins will only hold about half of this anyhow, so it’s divide and conquer.

Finally, here’s a project that went from idea to object since Thursday. A friend who will be retiring one day to Costa Rica with her husband is having a birthday, and I decided she needs a nice sunhat.

Since it’s unlikely I’ll find a worthy sunhat in any stores around here – and at a price I can afford – I decided to re-style a gently used hat of my own. This is a genuine Shady Brady, purchased nearly unused at least a decade ago at a thrift store, and which I have barely ever used myself. It will hold up to anything at all. The size is Large, and I’m not sure what size hat my friend needs, but it does have a leather chin strap, so fingers crossed that it’ll work!

To make it truly her own, I decided to knit a lace hatband for the otherwise unadorned hat. My friend likes bright colors and pink – a little stash-diving turned up this TLC Baby yarn in the color “Fizzy Print”. Size 6 needles (Bryspun 12″ straights, I think) got a nice look to the stitches.

Cowry Center Lace Hatband

The pattern is one of several that can be found here. Scroll down to the third one, called Suzanne’s Cowry Center – that’s what I made. I picked the shell theme because she’ll be living near the beach in Costa Rica, and has already brought shells back from previous trips.

Cowry Center Lace Detail

I made sure to knit a little shorter than the actual measurement around the hat, because I knew it would stretch. The strip had a small tendency to curl, which was squelched with a good steam blocking. I whipstitched the ends together on the wrong side. Once I had the band in place, I took four extra lengths of yarn, and stitched each through a single point to tack the band on, tying the ends in a simple square knot on the inside.

Besides these projects, I also worked on Gryphon’s socks – I should be able to finish those Thursday night at Knitting at Panera, I’m that close. And I’m working on another fiber-related project that I will be able to show after the weekend. This one’s kind of fun – it’s a technique I unvented myself. Minimal materials, versatile technique, and great results. Stay tuned!

So, that’s the crafting that happens on a bad week here. I know, I know. But just think what I could have done if I’d felt better!

The Following Feathers and Instructions Would Be Useful …

Filed under: Daily Life,Knitting,Spinning — folkcat at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The rain continues on, though at a much slower rate. Rivers are beginning to subside, but not before having left lots of people with damaged homes. Rumor has it that the Souhegan River, the one passing through our town (and only a block away from our home), reached 200-year flood levels.

Gryphon went to work last night, as the waters had receded from the roads between us and them. I still cancelled craft circle, because there was just a little too much uncertainty about some of the lower roads between me and the friends who normally attend. So I stayed home, watched American Idol and Dancing With the Stars, and tried to craft.

The productivity streak was good while it lasted, but as always, all good things come to an end. I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to come up with a pattern for that red/pink/whatever yarn I spun, and didn’t have much luck.

I swatched something with acrylic yarn, and liked it a lot, but when I tried to knit it in my handspun, it looked like dreck. Then I tried a few different stitch patterns I found around the web, and they looked like dreck, too.

I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t my choice of pattern that was the problem. Maybe, I thought – just maybe, the yarn itself is dreck.

Well, in color, anyway. The problem is that the colors knit up too busy for a cable. And in anything else, they just looked dull and lifeless. I really want this yarn to look bright and inviting, and instead, it looks kinda like dirty Silly Putty ™.

I’m thinking I need to overdye it, but with what? Something to brighten it up, certainly. But do I go with a pink, to enhance the color it’s trying to be anyway? Or do I pick something else, and try to skew the color in a different direction? Yellow would make it all more orange, a nice sky blue could bring in a lot of purple shades with some hints of green. Or would the orange areas mix with the blue to make muddy brown?

I’m going to need to sit on this for a while, see what I can come up with. Meanwhile, I’m not going to sweat it – sometimes, the roving doesn’t look like you expect when it’s spun! That’s part of the learning process here.

Since crafting effectively went nowhere worth showing yesterday, I’m going to leave you with this for your amusement. Gryphon recently received a freebie pedometer from AARP (yes, he’s that old!), and the instructions are the most wonderful mishmash of Engrish we’ve seen in a while. Click through for larger, and enjoy reading!

pedometer engrish.jpg

Lest You Think I Spent Monday Bemoaning the Rain…

Filed under: Spinning — folkcat at 5:37 pm on Tuesday, April 17, 2007

…I did do some crafting. Most important, I took the yarn that I plied last Monday – my first finished wheel-spun – and I skeined and washed it.

Here’s a couple of detail shots:

Spin FO - Merino Shades of Red - Even Bits
Spin FO – Merino 2-ply, the even bits

Spin FO - Merino Shades of Red - Uneven Bits
Spin FO – Merino 2-ply, the uneven bits

As you can see, parts of the yarn came out better than others. Still, I think it will knit up nicely. I haven’t done a WPI yet, but there’s a little over 3 1/2 ounces. I did count the number of wraps on the niddy-noddy, and came up with 265 yards for my length.

The yarn is very soft, so I’m thinking a nice scarf – something I can wear next to my skin. Soft waves of reversible cables are coming to mind. I know there are a few patterns out there, and I’ve studied them a bit – I think I understand the principle enough to come up with my own approach.

Today’s Crafting

Not a clue. It’s Anything Goes Day, and I simply haven’t figured out what “Anything” is yet. Tune in tomorrow!

Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along – Ow!

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Spinning — folkcat at 12:48 pm on Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Boy, am I aching today. Though not as bad as I might have feared.

Before I get to that, though, here’s the picture of the PixelHobby progress that I had wanted to share yesterday. If you really want to see the detail, click on it for a larger image.

Pixels In Progress - Baseplates 1 - 3 of 12

This is, from left to right, Baseplates 1, 2, and 3. It’s the top row of the final image, along with Baseplate 4, which will go to the right. These three tiles together measure 4 inches high, and 15 inches wide. In the final assembly, there will be no visible seams – I placed them with a little gap so you could tell the baseplates apart. There’s a little flare in Baseplate 2 because it’s not actually complete, so the glossy, transparent baseplate is reflecting the camera flash.

As for that aching – I actually got out the weights and the book I talked about yesterday, and did a full set of the exercises – six exercises, two sets of eight repeats for each. It felt good, at the same time that my arms and everything else was hurting a little at the end. But a good hurt, you know?

Spinning & Lifting

As you can see between the weights, I also fulfilled the promise of Monday is Spinning Day, and finished my first plied, wheel-spun yarn. This is a mixed red, orange, pink, and cream merino roving that I’ve been working on for far too long, totalling about 4 ounces. It’s now a variable weight 2-ply. Next step will be to wind it off onto a niddy-noddy, give it a good bath, and do a WPI check to see what I really have here.

Spinning FO, detail

It looks a bit sloppy here – I’m still getting the hang of how often to move the sliding guide down the flyer to evenly distribute the yarn on the bobbin.

No idea what I’ll knit with this yet, but at 4 ounces, there’s enough to make something measurable. Hat, scarf, who knows? I’m sure the right thing will suggest itself as I finish it off into a nice skein.

The spinning was another factor contributing to today’s general achiness. This was my longest wheel session ever – over two hours, with minor breaks. I finished the last half ounce of the singles, then decided that, since everything was right there, I might as well go ahead with the plying. So I did, and I kept going until it was done.

So at the end of the day – and getting out of bed this morning – yeah, I hurt. My legs and arms know that I worked yesterday. But I’m very pleased, because yesterday was perhaps the best example of how this new approach of mine – assigning different craft categories to different days – can work for me. I got a lot done on a craft that’s been neglected, and have a nearly finished yarn to show for it.

Yay, me!

Today, Tuesday, I get to be a bit more still. It’s Needlework Day, meaning embroidery, needlepoint, etc. Good thing – I need a day of rest before I repeat my strength exercises tomorrow, and spend Wednesday running around the house cutting fabric and sewing up some quilt!

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