Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm Such a Weakling

I admit it. I couldn't take waiting on the new bobbins any more so I wound off one the bobbins and plied what was left on the others. Crazy I know. I'm trying to convince myself this somewhat compulsive behavior was done for reasons other than I've become addicted to smitten with spinning. I really need to make sure I can spin a consistent yarn. Right? I really need to know exactly how many yards of that yarn I can spin per gram if I'm going to have any success at all with dyeing the awaiting pencil rovings and ending up with a yarn that has the color lengths I want. Right? I need to know if I can and if I even like spinning ultra tiny singles needed for a 3-ply. Right? Those are legitimate reasons. Right? Right!?!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

This hank is a 2-ply that I plied with lots of twists per inch. I could count it I guess but I'm such a tactile and visual person the numbers wouldn't really mean much to me anyway. It was over plied as a matter of fact, but I did that on purpose just to learn. I had to put a little weight on the hanging hank to set it straight. I learned with this skein that I could in fact put in enough twist while plying to make a 2-ply look almost round in a cross-cut view like a 3-ply would. It also cuts down on the lofty smoochie-ness of the yarn and makes it feel similar to a cabled yarn. I sure this will be an incredibly hard wearing yarn. How it will knit up is another story for another day.

104 grams, 178 yards, 2-ply, very high TPI

Below is my attempt to make tiny singles. No I didn't stop to take pix of the bobbins before I plied...sigh. It wasn't as difficult as I anticipated. While spinning I only thinned out and broke 4 times and broke the thread only once as I plied. (yes, I am patting myself on the back)

103 grams, 234 yards, 3-ply

What did I learn by making this skein? I learned that I can spin a fine, consistent, single. I also learned that I'm just as pleased with my 2-ply worsted wt as I am with this 3 ply worsted wt. 2-ply is soooo much easier to ply and more fun to do. I doubt if a lot of 3-ply is my future.

The two skeins below are just what was left on the bobbins after doing the 3-ply. 118 yds of a light 2-ply sport wt and 42 yds that was Navajo plied. Hmmm I guess I really ought to divide the fiber a little more evenly obviously just eyeballing the pile isn't cutting it. Imagine how much closer I could get to having fewer leftovers if I had a scale. Oh wait, I do. Guess I ought to use it a little bit more. :o)

I sent and inquiry regarding my should-be-here-by-now bobbins today. I got a reply late this afternoon. There was a slight mix up, they thought they had already shipped them to me. arrrrgh
But they are making everything right and have shipped them today promising delivery on Friday.

Here I sit. Nothing on the wheel, new bobbins coming on Friday, rovings not dyed yet, and my sister is arriving from GA tomorrow for a little visit. She a non-fiber person and I haven't seen her for almost 2 years. I'm sure I don't have to explain to anyone reading this what that means. I guess Ill be digging up long ignored knitting that has been patiently waiting on the needles to keep my itchy fingers busy as we chat, yak, giggle, and talk while stuffing ourselves silly on all the food she misses by not being here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Measured and Weighed

Slow and lazy today not a lot accomplished. But I did get that batch of handspun from yesterday's post weighed and measured.

This batch is 264 grams, approximately 520 yards, WPI approximately 13, but obviously variable!

This batch is 159 grams, 249 yards, WPI approximately 12, and again variable. :o)

This one is 96 grams, 141 yards, WPI approximately 13, and yet again variable lol.

The rest of these all fall into the bulky/super bulky range. The first batch range is 70-83 grams per hank, 42 - 58 yards. The second batch below weigh in between 24 - 34 grams per hank, 20 - 38 yards (some of these are Navajo plied)

All tolled there is 898 grams and 1186 yards. I think I can work this into a decent enough cardi for the Ravelympics. :o)

I'm thrilled with what I've done, although I do realize there is much room for improvement. :o) I'm just amazed at how different the rovings looked before they were spun. All but the really bright yellow, and the darker tawny one were nearly identical in color until spun. Boy was I surprised when some of them ended up celery green and others yellow!

I've also got a decent handle on how large my singles should be. giggle/snort Now I just have to see if I can actually achieve that size. :o) So while I'm dyeing this week in preparation for my Ravelympic events, I'll be practicing itty bitty singles. I ultimately want my event yarn to be a 3-ply sport wt.....wish me luck! If I fail to achieve this goal, I'm not going to be too upset if I end up with a worsted wt 2 ply, I've just about got that under control.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Handspun Heptathalon

I've decided what I'm going to do for the Ravelympics.....sort of. I've named my projects "Whirling Dervish" and "Hmmmm"

"Hmmm" is going to be a cardi (pattern to be determined) out of some of this yarn spun that first week I was spinning. Pictured below is all the yarn I did that week.

A little bit closer left to right, almost in the order in which it as spun.

Most of the yarns in the first pic are worsted wt. and Navajo plied. The second pic is about half 2-ply and half Navajo plied, most are aran wt. In the last pic all of it is 2-ply and 'round about a dk wt. I'll post the real WPI and yardage in a couple days. A really rough measure of the dk celery green is 750 yds. I think for project "Hmmmm" I'll use this yarn for the cardigan and trim it out with some of the other heavier wt stuff. You can't imagine how excited I am about actually knitting my first sweater with yarn I actually spun myself!!!!

I haven't done anymore spinning since the other day cuz all my bobbins look like this.

OK, that's a lie, the others (6 in all) are full, but all are sitting in wait for the new bobbins to arrive. Boy did I guesstimate the delivery date wrong!!!

The Whirling Dervish project is going to be my attempt to spin a yarn with really long color graduations. Think Kauni type yarn. I'm breaking out the undyed pencil roving I have and will be dyeing it as part of my "training" in the next few days. I'm going to spin enough for two maybe three sweaters. At least one sweater will be a colorway that will go well with a solid shetland I already have (something I've reclaimed in the past) Another will be a sweater of the long colorway displacing the colors like Ruth Sorenson's Rainbow Cardigan although I think I'll use a different pattern, and the 3rd, if there will be one, will be the long colorway worked with a semi-solid that I will also dye and spin. Phew! I think that will keep me busy don't you? Then again, maybe not. I am sooo like a fish out of water trying to figure this stuff, and you know the Yardage Nymph always has her eye on me. It should all be very interesting, certainly a major learning experience! :o)

Remember the other day I spoke of festooning the house in post-it notes? I did it. Wanna see the one that gave Joe the biggest chuckle?

No need to go to Babel Fish I'll zoom out for another self-explanatory pic:

:o) I can't imagine we'll ever have the need to inquire about a cat's litter box when traveling, but I was on a roll. LOL

Friday, July 25, 2008

Random Colors

Yes, I know, it's been a long time, I've been busy. Busy playing. I've spun up all my yellows and light greens. Not everything is plied yet though. In anticipation of receiving a package of 3 more bobbins and a nifty mega-sized bobbin for plying I filled all my bobbins. Now I have to sit and wait, the package has not arrived.......sigh

I did have great fun last night when the urge to spin was too much to ignore and the only empty bobbins I had were of a much higher ratio. It was good to challenge myself like that having found a comfortable (stagnant?) speed with the bobbins I usually used.

I've also made some progress on the knitted slipcover for my chair. Oh yeah, I didn't tell you, but as you can see I decided to cover the green chair.

I decided since this is most definitely an accent chair, it would need lots of color. I also wanted it to have a geometric pattern that was totally mindless in execution. Mindless execution is a must when working materials that are not dreamy to work with. All the fibers used in this chair can only be described as upholstery grade wools, cottons, and wool/cotton blends. Most are the same weight, some I had to beef up by using multiple strands, with others I've had to split some plies.

There are 16 colors in all. The seat portion that is shown above is 15 squares wide. Each square is 8st across and 10 rows deep, thus making 1.5 inch squares. I'm using #3 needles so the fabric is pretty tight, not too tight, but it is dense. The easiest way I could think to do this was to measure off lengths of each color that would be long enough to make one single square (about 65 inches), I couldn't imagine the nightmare it would be if I have 16 cones of yarn hanging from the back of this thing! YIKES!

Wanna see what the back looks like?

Agreed, it's kind of scary, but IMHO in a really cool way. :o) I've left the tails longish cuz I'm not sure what I'll do with them. I am NOT going to work them in, but I just might do a little random embroidery on the front with them, ala Debbie New. Or maybe I'll just forget about them trim them up a tad and think of them as added padding. lol

I'm thrilled with my choices of color, pattern and chair, so is Joe. It's been a real struggle for both of us these last few days, should I spin some more or should I work on the chair more? I really think Joe is nearly as thrilled with these two endeavors as I am. Imagine that. Yes, I DO know how lucky I am.

Two more pix to help you envision what this chair will ultimately become.

Now, what to do today? It's time to pre-cut some more lengths of yarn for the chair, the mail-lady just came but did not deliver the bobbins...sigh, but she did leave the Amazon box. Hmmmm within that box are 3 books. EZ's Opinionated Knitter...that's a no brainer it is a must read ASAP but on the other hand the other books are calling to me as well. There's been yet another new adventure begun here at the Hermitage. With plans/hope/dreams of a trip to Germany and Austria in the next year or two, or three (when will Gillian be done with school???) Joe and I have begun teaching ourselves German. It's going better than I anticipated, but it's only been a week. Perhaps I have already scrounged up all residual knowledge of the German language that was lurking in the dusty recesses of my brain from High School days and we will soon hit a wall and all the 'oh yeah I remember that's' will cease. Time will soon tell. In anticipation of the arrival of the German books, we bought a stack of post-it notes yesterday. Maybe when Joe comes home from work tonight he'll be greeted with post-its festooning the house...der Badezimmer, der Brot, die Stehlampe, die Wanduhr, das Fenster, das Hemd......

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pix Are Coming

Yea! I finally have my camera but, the batteries died just as I began taking pix for the hiatus montage. :-/ I suppose I should have started the pix in chronological order, but of course my ADD kicked in and I just had to have pix of the new project.

New project, you ask? Why yes, yet another new project. Don't worry I'm still knitting and I'm still spinning, and I'm still weaving rug squares, this is a new project that will fall into the "slightly off my rocker" category. I've committed myself to a new group on Ravelry created for like mind folks. Were knitting slipcovers. Yep, slipcovers and/or upholstery fabric, for real furniture.

The group is called Society for Knitted Upholstery (that's a Ravelry link) begun by none other than the girls (Ann and Kay) from Mason-Dixon Knitting.

So the only pix I have for you today are three chairs that are in the running to get a new face lift. In no particular order these are my choices.

I like this chair, a LOT. It is in good shape just the way it is, except one tiny thing. The color. In the pic the color is washed out. It is almost granny smith green. The "almost" is the problem. In the kitchen the green is not green enough, and the yellow in the sitting room is all wrong for it. It does look fab in the purple living room, but it's the wrong style. Don't get me wrong, I love an eclectic look, but this chair in that room looks like a red-headed step-child. Damn.

Next up is this little beauty. Obviously, someone at some point, has already re-upholstered this chair. I wonder what it really was like, nonetheless, this fabric has got to go one way or the other, so it's in the running for a knitted facelift. btw the original plan for this chair was to recover it in leather keeping the wood natural, or maybe, just maybe paint it with a plethora of colors highlighting the carvings and turnings, and use I-don't-know-what fabric to re-cover it.

And finally we have this chair.

Now if the Society for Knitted Upholstery had started up last week I wouldn't be in such a quandary right now. I would have just done this chair, but you see kiddies, I made slipcovers for this chair just last week!!!!! arrrgh

I now find myself with waaay too many options. Not only do I have several chairs to chose from (these are the three I've whittled my choices down to after much thought and consideration and yes, I have a thing for chairs, and the chair stash is considerable as well. Dang, I love my hubby) but I also have a variety of chair styles each of which kind of screams or at least suggests what type of knitting in which it wants to be adorned. For example can't you just see and kewl geometric mosaic fabric on that green chair, Op art-ish maybe? What about some nifty miters, or is that just too obvious with that back? Polka dots? Checker board? How about some sleek sensual waves for that blue chair, or maybe a nubby textured tone-on-tone, or a huge chunky knit? Some tiny scrolling cables for the chair with the carvings/turnings? How about some Fair Isle??

Lest we forget, there is still fiber to be chosen as well. I might go stash diving today to see what my options are. Available materials might be a determining factor in which chair and what design, but right now I'm even too tired to go stash diving. Shocking, I know. Bart is home from Aspen, (obviously I have my camera) Gillian is back in Savannah having come and gone for a world wind visit this pass weekend, and I'm exhausted. It's been 5 days of parties, family, eating, family, preparing meals, family, get-togethers, family, playing games, family, driving, family, etc. family. I'll say it again, I'm exhausted, happy, but exhausted.

As usual all input regarding above chairs would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

"And the wheels keeps on turning,

and turning, and turning.
and nothings disturbing the way they go around"

Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians,
Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars,
The Wheel

This little sweetie and I have a lot in common of late. I've been a spinning fool. I've been bitten hard. Every bobbin I spin is better than the next, I'm getting the hang of this. I absolutely LOVE Navajo plying!!!! I'm all warm and fuzzy about 2-plying also. I haven't tried a 3-ply since the other day.

Wanna see what I'm spinning??? Um, yeah, about that, remember no camera until next week. but this is a shot of what it looked like when I brought it home.

Yes, I agree, that is an obscene amount of fiber. Everything you see here (and there was more not pictured) is some sort of prepared fiber. It is a portion of the "Motherload", a once in a lifetime find. Last summer I washed it all and organized it. Yesterday I actually started to spin some of it. So far what I've spun is three very small batches of the pencil roving, like the stuff you see in the upper right. I started with the ickiest of the bunch. I've got to be careful about using up all the fiber doncha know. :o) I'm working my way through all the yellow/gold stuff those just aren't my colors. At this point I have 84 yards of a heavy worsted wt in 1970's harvest gold (navajo plied) 79 yards of a heavy worsted wt. creamy mellow harvest gold (navajo plied) and 66.5 yards of a sunshine yellow and pale yellow 2 ply worsted/aran wt. The 2-ply is the last thing I spun today, I'm loving it. I'm thinking right now the rest of these various yellows are going to be spun and plied in the same way. When all is said and done I'll see what I have and then I'll prob'ly throw it all in a dye pot and change it to something a bit more me.

I'm not going to touch any of the undyed fiber, I'm saving all that for when I'm good at spinning and then have a fun roving dyeing day.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I'm trying

OK, I'm trying to keep you guys entertained this week with out having a camera, thus the ice cream quiz.....sigh

Further explanation:

You're Chocolate.

You embody the perfect blend of sweetness and seduction. You personality is just as luscious and irresistible as chocolate ice cream. You have a flirty, melty attitude that's easygoing and delicious. You appreciate luxurious, extravagant things, like the way ultra-soft fabrics feel against your skin. Some people want to hog you all to themselves, but you find ways to make everyone feel special.

21% of the people who took this quiz got the same evaluation.

OK I'll go with the luxurious, extravagant things, of that I am guilty, waaaaay guilty, and I thank The Powers That Be everyday that I can be this way. Sweetness?!? Really?!? Moi?!? LOL Dang these silly games can be real knee slappers. Besides, although I like flavor chocolate, I'm not rabid for it like some are, plus it literally makes me sick so I steer clear of it. LOL

On the knitting front, not much done today I literally talked to Gillian on the phone for over 2 hours. Egads. I HATE talking on the phone!!!! But I was sitting outside and the day was beautiful, and we hadn't had a real conversation for a while..........

I finished the Open Cable Top today. I thought I had finished it yesterday until I tried it on last night and the shoulder straps/armholes were waaaay too deep. I realized that unfortunate turn of events after I had already grafted seams and concealed ends. Grrrrrr Today I cut and slashed and made much shorter shoulder straps. I'm very pleased. Pix of course will follow in the "Hiatus Week Montage" (read that as the week without my camera montage).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I Take It All Back

I'm sorry for every dirty rotten curse I spewed about you. I'm sorry for every monkey wrench and crescent I hurled in your direction. I'm sorry for contemplating throwing you into the burn barrel even though your label says I shouldn't do that, but was mentally delighting in your explosive demise for days now.

WD-40 you are a godsend. You salvaged my bike, I honesty thought it was a goner, but you did your magic and now my bike and I are on the road to recovery.

Sure, it's only taken six days, but I love you just the same.

Joe just took the tire uptown and got air in them. One is already flat. Recovery of the this bike is going to take a while.....sigh