Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Always Thinking

By now, most/many of you will have seen The Last Knit which is making its way around the internets. Is it a cautionary tale? A true life account? Or just exactly what we would all do in similar circumstances? (If you haven’t already seen it, rush over to YouTube and watch. We’ll wait for you.)

(insert soothing “hold” music here)

Anyway, I was thinking the other day about how much I actually think about knitting. Or yarn. Or (now) spinning and fibre. (or fiber for the Americans and other people who didn’t have the stupid; “re” spellings pounded into their brains in elementary school) Some cases in point:

-The other day one of my customers found out I knit and asked me to make him some mittens. Yesterday he asked if I had started on them yet, which I hadn’t, but found it hilarious that I had actually spent some time thinking about them.
-My friend Sunny Jim* generally teases me about my knitting/yarn/fiber obsession but he also thinks it’s cool at the same time. The other day he was over and saw the toque I made in August. He went on and on about how much he liked it and wanted one similar. I may have gotten a little, well, enthusiastic; as the conversation went on and he was telling me about other types of toques he thought I might be able to sell and then, a sweater he would like. If he didn’t know me well already, he would have probably been terrified.
-I dyed some fibre/fiber last night. On my drive to work this morning I was mentally splitting the roving, predrafting, spinning and plying. Then, I was also thinking about what to make with it. (Ask me what I’m thinking about right now.)
-This morning I was talking with my manager about something he needs me to do. The whole time he was talking I was completely distracted by the fact that there is a dropped stitch in his sweater and if it's not taken care of soon it will look like costuming from the Matrix movies. You know, when they're not in the matrix and they wear those cool drapey sweaters with the strategically placed dropped stitches. Anyway, it took all of my concentration to not interupt him and offer to fix his sweater.

The thing is, I don’t sit and stare into the middle distance, thinking about knitting/yarn/spinning etc. It’s just that my brain is frequently working out some creative problem or coming up with a new/better idea the whole time I’m doing other things.

Am I the only one? I’m sure that I’m not. (I may, however, be the only one to think about how much I think about knitting/yarn etc).

Also, on my drive to work this morning, I was thinking about how this constant processing of current and future projects tends to feed the multiple WIP thing I have going. I was thinking that I need to focus and just finish something. Maybe practice a little self-discipline. Then, I was wondering if it is necessary to discipline myself to focus on something that is a “hobby”. Then I thought about how this could be a blog post. Then I laughed at myself for thinking about all of this.

So, what is the end result of all this navel contemplation? (There is a word that means “navel contemplation” but I can’t remember what it is right now. Anyone?) Basically, it’s that I feel like I need to focus more so that I can complete projects. And that I can’t wait to get home to try spinning the fiber I dyed last night. And I have a great idea for a new toque. Which I want to cast on right now. So, basically, I didn’t learn anything from the navel contemplation. Shocking.

*not his real name. obviously. His real name is Sunny Joe

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Project Acrylic Stash Reduction

Status report:

Afghan count: 1

Due to incompetence complete inability to count circumstances beyond my control I abandoned the crocheted log cabin squares. Don't ask. However, I am happy that this afghan worked out so well. I used up a LOT of the acrylic stash, in colors that I love, and ended up with a large (approx. 66 x 68 inches) afghan. I need to snip some ends and wash it and then put it somewhere where I can't see it because I want to keep it. Sigh.

Toque (knit hat for my non-Canadian friends) count: 9.75 !!

8 of these were knit at various times over the past 2 years. I didn't have any intended recipients at the time and I don't entirely know why I knit them other than just to knit them. Hmm. (the sage green ribbed one in the left corner was knit last week)

I'm almost done this one. I'm using a chart that I made up for the toque I knit in August. (when it was 30C and sunny, which is a perfectly sensible time to knit a wool toque). I'm using acrylic stash, as per my challenge to myself, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it's working in the fair isle.

(I was going to wait until it's done to post a pic but with the days getting short I need to take pics when I have light.)

All of this progress (and, you should know, I still (STILL!) have a box full of acrylic) could not be at a better time, since I had an email from Michael's about their Yarn Sale that started today. (no, I didn't go out and buy new yarn today)(which, frankly, is kind of shocking!)

I think I'll get working on some mittens and kid-sized toques with the rest of the acrylic stash. Or, maybe I'll just start working on something for me. Or I'll finish the (slow moving) Cowichan/Siwash style sweater/jacket for my sister-in-law:

if you have ever wondered what a farm with livestock smells like in the spring, and, really, who hasn't wondered that, you should smell this yarn when it is steamed. Mmmm... livestock-y

Or, I'll just keep spinning:

This is approximately 3oz/129 yards of Ingeo that I dyed, spun and navajo plied. I like how this turned out, especially considering that the Ingeo was not meant for spinning. The day after I took the drop spindle class, I was at (big obnoxious soul-sucking store) for something or other and saw the shelves of polyester stuffing. Being the cheapskate Magyver that I am, I wondered if I could spin any of it. At the time, I was looking for some "practice" fiber so that I wouldn't "ruin" the nice Merino I bought. I saw this Ingeo, which I had never heard of and was intrigued. I got 12oz for about $4 and brought it home. It takes dye really well (using my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants dyeing methods) and spins pretty easily. It's not as smooth as a prepared roving would be, but I'm pretty happy with it. I haven't tried knitting with it yet, but i like the look of the 3 ply in the skein.

3.5 oz/292 yards Merino 2 ply. I love this yarn. I'm hoping that when I get it all spun up (I have another 4 oz or so) I will have enough to make something for me!

Currently on the bobbin: the Ramie that I dyed. I LOVE these colors! This fiber was making me insane last night. It's very wispy and slippery. (I have individual fibers EVERYWHERE. Including in my eyes) I almost gave up on it when I remembered reading something about spinning from the fold for slippery fibers. This was a lifesaver (at least for this fiber). I am spinning it fairly thin and will probably navajo ply it. (When I say I will navajo ply it, I mean I will use my probably incorrect understanding of the method that totally works for me)

I just realized how long this post is. Sorry! Thanks for all the encouragement with the spinning! I need to knit a swatch in the fugly Kool-aid dyed wool to see if it is as fugly shocking knit up!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

But Mom, she followed me home! Can I keep her?

Last week I decided to play with kool aid and dye the 2nd bit of the not-really-for-spinning roving I had got so I could practice. It didn't come out so pretty (the colors are more garish than this picture would indicate):

I mostly wanted to see what would happen when I spun it: what would happen to the distinct color sections, what would it look like plied etc.

It's pretty horrendous though.

BUT, then I dyed some Ramie I bought as a consolation after a extremely frustrating somewhat disappointing trip to a fiber/spinning shop in the area. I had wanted to try some plant fiber so that I could learn and because my mom can't wear wool, I wanted to be able to spin/make something for her. I had an idea of what I hoped it would look like but no real plan to acheive what I hoped for. In this instance, it turned out exactly like what I was aiming for:

Greens and browns and deep blue all moving along the length. I feel so happy when I look at this! The fiber is really nice, although a little frustrating to start out with. I couldn't wait to try it so as soon as the Ramie was dry:

The spinning blended and muted the colors a bit, as did the plying but this picture doesn't quite do it justice. It's slightly silky feeling and has a nice sheen with the colors alternately deep and muted.


Now for the most fun news (and the title of today's post):

As you know, I decided to get a wheel. I had a frustrating encounter with someone who sells wheels on the weekend. After that, I ended up calling Make One Yarns to see if they stock the S17 that I tried out. I decided that I would get one from them since it would save me shipping and customs etc. So I went in yesterday and it turned out that the one they had in stock was the demo one I tried out and they sold it to me assembled!


So, since it was assembled, I spun. And spun. (and watched football) And spun. And giggled to myself as I spun.

I started with the butt ugly rather unfortunate looking roving I kool aid dyed (see above) because I figured if I mess it up, I won't cry at all.

I didn't bother to set the twist yet. It's about 85 yards and 2.5 oz (ish). Now to think about what to spin next...

Thanks to everyone for suggestions and encouragement! Thanks also to the girls at Make One who, in addition to being total enablers are really helpful, friendly and gave me my first real-life blog recognition yesterday, which was fun in that dorky-knit-blogger kind of way!