Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spinning is the new avoidance

I was sick with an ill-timed, weekend stomach virus and after a not-too-successful attempt at getting some gardening done Saturday, I retreated into the house to suffer in silence* and total non-productivity for the remainder of the afternoon.

By late afternoon Sunday my new diet of delicious extra-dry saltines and ginger ale had restored me to a point that I wanted to do something that felt productive but didn't offer too much in the way of personal exertion. I didn't feel like knitting on either of my current projects (and frankly, wasn't up to working on either of them), but my current personal growth rules prevent me from starting a new knitting project. What to do...?

Well, spinning certainly doesn't count as a project as far as I can see.

In fact, it's practically a house chore since I have all this stored fiber cluttering up the house that needs to be processed and gotten out of the way. And I wouldn't be spinning any new fiber! Heavens no, this is old, old fiber from a Black Sheep Fiber Gathering event several years ago and I'm sure it should be spun up before the expiration date. Did I mention it's old?

Moving on...

Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking either.
I think I was trying to 'buy something different than I usually buy'.
I succeeded.

The fiber:
2 oz of 50% Merino/30% silk/20% angora blend dyed by Dicentra Designs

The colorway:
BRIGHT Rainbow
Official name is currently unknown. (The label has wandered off. I'm hoping it surfaces at some point.)

The goal:
light fingering weight 3 ply (Navajo plied)

I had already spun a healthy sized sample and knit up a swatch with it a few months ago in order to check the length of the color repeats:

extra large swatch

My plan is to use this yarn in a stranded knitting project in the future and the swatch had the length of the color repeats I was looking for, but there's a slight problem. The swatch is knitted flat and the project I have in mind would be in the round so it would have double the fabric and, as a result, the current color repeats would be half the length.

To solve this, instead of splitting the roving I should just spin it as is and problem solved. Unfortunately, I had proactively split all the roving already. (note to self: next time, maybe wait until *after* sampling to make decisions about the roving).

Of course I can still spin it with the longer repeats by splitting out the color sequences, it just would have been easier to do if I'd left the roving as-is until the sample was finished.

Did I say I only wanted to *feel* productive? Well mission accomplished!
Not much to see here.

*my motto is 'I don't mind suffering in silence as long as everyone knows about it first.'

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hobbies are like potato chips

What's the best solution to not having enough time to devote to one's current hobbies? Why to get a new one of course!

I am the proud owner of a Schacht Mighty Wolf 8 harness loom!

Here's a photo from the sale listing:

I don't actually have it in my possession yet since there are some logistical issues involved in picking it up (like a 456 mile one-way drive for one thing and dog-sitting arrangements for another) so I'll be driving down to get it in a couple of weeks.

Well, *I* won't actually be driving, Mr. CPA will since it's his truck and I don't like to drive it (big truck + short person = not a good match*). Have I mentioned lately that I have the best husband ever?

*for me, YMMV of course, I realize lots of other short people drive big vehicles with no problems whatsoever. I am just not one of them, unfortunately.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sample Sweaters

I'm a sucker for shop samples. The opportunity to try on a sweater to see that it fits and flatters me is reassuring and alleviates the anxiety that I usually have when knitting a sweater (I fret the whole time that I'm spending weeks (or months) knitting something that in the end will make me look frumpy/lumpy/dumpy).

So, yeah, shop samples seem to practically propel my credit card out of my wallet to buy the pattern and yarn! Which brings me to my current project: Sommelier (Raveled here)

Black Water Abbey Yarns was at Madrona this year and, as usual, had a nice selection of sample sweaters to try on. The Sommelier sweater was there and several of us tried it on and liked it. I bought the pattern and, since BWA was out of the color I wanted, bought the yarn for the sweater from Shelly at Butternut Woolens.

I cast on right away and have made good progress (it's relative - I'm a slow-ish knitter)

Not shown but also done: the sleeves

There are a couple of minor errors in the pattern but easy enough to spot and work around, I've listed all the details on my Ravelry project page.

I finished up the sleeves and prepared to sew them in but there was a slight problem.

Worked as written, the sleeve cap is several inches smaller than the armscye. Mary Scott Huff (the designer) has been quite helpful. We've compared photos and her sleeve and body both have the same number of lace repeats as mine but clearly the sleeves on mine need to be longer for this to work.

So the sweater is in project time out for just a bit.

Because I'm trying to work on my bad habits of procrastination and avoidance that have caused many a project to come to a dead-end in the past, I'm not allowing myself to start a new project until I sort this one out.

Socks don't really count as a project though, right? I had to have something to take on the plane and the sweater just wouldn't work. (That's my rationalization and I'm sticking with it).

Spring Forward Socks in my handspun BFL
(Raveled here)