Thursday, September 28, 2006

This skein looks sort of like the skein in the last post, but it's really a new skein. Honest. It's really the second skein of unknown yardage and grist, awaiting measurement and a plan. Sometime. Mostly I was just tired of looking at the stuff and wanted it spun up and into the next phase of waiting for attention.
I was asked recently whether I spun for spinning's sake or whether I spun to have yarn to use and actually used it. The answer sort of is "both". I spin because I like to - it is a different process and product than the rest of my fiber activities. I usually don't start spinning with a project in mind, but often by the time I have the first skein done, a project has come to mind. This project often has to wait for a while because I have other projects in the knitting queue ahead of it. As long as I still look at that yarn and see that project as one I want to do, I keep the yarn, but it's in the knitting queue not the spinning queue now. If I look at the yarn and no longer see that project as one I want to do, there's no longer any point in keeping the yarn. About once I year, I purge the yarn closet. Skeins that are left over from finished projects (I believe I did mention overbuying for projects once or twice before), skeins that were from interesting spinning projects but which didn't result in yarn that elicited a desired knitting project, and skeins such as these from overpurchase of fiber wind up in a box to Manhattan. These particular skeins may very well wind up in hats meant for Dulaan, but if I don't get to them within a year or so, they'll wind up in a box elsewhere. I don't see any point at all in cluttering up my closet and my mind with unplanned for yarn; someone should use it for something useful.

This is a yarn that has no particular project in mind. It's spinning project, meant to stretch in a different direction and has been a great deal of fun. This is a three ply 100% Bombyx silk (Chasing Rainbows). (Obligatory dime picture below.)

This skein is about 380 yards and is approximately 2 ounces of fiber, so should be approximately 3040 ypp. Ok - that's well into the laceweight range. The second skein is in the works.

And then we have "Homespun" (a product name I truly despise), my version of same. Mine is alpaca and leftover silk single. The silk single is from the three-ply above. The alpaca was ripped through as a fat single (one of these fill a bobbin with poorly prepped fiber in 15 minutes or less deals). Plying took another 15 minutes. But! I don't have to look at the single or the fiber anymore, it will make a nice warm thick-thin cap for somebody which I will felt a little bit (I'll do something with it - I wouldn't foist this yarn off on anybody) and it was a nice temporary change from the fiddliness that is silk spinning.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Finally! I was beginning to think that my schedule and blogger's schedule were never going to coincide. I have pictures! First up is the Brown Sheep Wild Raspberry top that I started spinning up as a laceweight a while back (no fair going back through the blog to figure out how long a while is). When I got many yards of laceweight done, I quit. I have enough for Icarus, that is enough. So... wanting to be done with the rest of it, I spun it up quick and dirty. I now enough an unmeasured number of yards of approximately worsted weight that I will use in an unknown project. Sometime. Maybe. It is a never ending source of amusement and amazement, the difference in hand, drape and look that one can get by varying the style of spinning.
Then we have what I was clearing the decks of Brown Sheep to get to:
Chasing Rainbows silk. I have a number of silks (from various sources)that have been building up in the queue and I'm determined to get them done. This is the first one, popping out of the queue first by virtue of having been started and then left because I started it without finishing the then previous project and then starting another project because the silk was packed in the boxes and the spinning wheel wasn't, and then some other project came along... You get the picture. Three years later, here we are. This is the third bobbin. I'm preserving the color changes in large blocks and the thought is that I'm going to do this as a circular shawl, center out. I think the long repeats will make it reasonable for a lace shawl, since the color changes should not distract from the pattern. I'm dying to figure out how much yardage I have. Even at a 3 ply, this is going to be fairly fine. Just this bit represents 3 hours of spinning for me, and I'll have 8 or 9 hours in a finished bobbin. By contrast the worsted weight in the picture above represents 2 hours of spinning (one for each ply) and less than half an hour of plying, with a bobbin that was physically full each time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It must be some sort of Murphy's corollary - I have time and ideas and am ready to post pictures and babble about them. So, what does the camera say? "Please change batteries". And stubbornly refuses to do anything until I follow directions. Do I have any batteries ready that go in the new camera? Don't be silly.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Once upon a time (in California, so it was many years ago) I bought 3 books all at the same time about knitting lace. One was Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman, one was The Lacy Knitting of Mary Schiffmann by Nancy Nehring, and one was Shetland Lace by Gladys Amedro. I can tell you this now, but for some years, I couldn't. I didn't remember.
In 2000, we moved from CA to OR. I bought these books about a month before we moved and started knitting one of the shawls. These shawls are not charted, just written out, and Ms Amedro used her own notation so it took learning that notation to get started. You start with the border and knit repeat after repeat until it is long enough. I had 82 of 84 repeats finished. The knitting bag was in the car. The car was broken into the week before we left CA and the bag (including contents) was stolen, apparently to carry along the other stuff taken from the car. I'm sure having a radio stuffed in on top of the knitting did it no good.
I was extremely bummed out losing my knitting with that many repeats done. I was also extremely busy trying to get the house ready to sell and the stuff packed up to move to OR and my children were 7 and 5 at the time, still needing a great deal of attention at this stressful period of time. I did not run right out to replace the book.
I moved to OR, got settled into the new house, got a new job, all that lovely stuff. I started unpacking books. I could only find one of the books (the Waterman). Which book was the book I lost? (And why couldn't I find the other book, or a few other books of a similar nature?) The local store didn't have any of them so that I could look at it. What was the name of it? You have to understand this was a couple of years later and I wasn't concentrating on the problem, just idly wondering.
Then, we moved again, from OR to NY. When unpacking in NY, I suddenly came upon a box that was oddly packed. There were a few things on top, a ton of packing paper, and a set of books on the bottom. My missing knitting books, and oh, yes, it was the Mary Schiffmann book which was the second book, but what was the third one?
Today I stumbled across on a blog entry that mentioned Brora Black out of the Amedro book on Shetland Lace. Bingo! I'm so happy.

Of course, it's out of print and nobody has a copy that I can even get a relative price off of...
Morning sky

Sunday, we went and watched rockets. This is one of J's taking off - a model of a Canadian Arrow. He had fun playing with the new camera, getting the rockets just as they lifted. You can see the flame spurting out of the bottom.

We go down to Geneseo, to the field owned by the 1941 Historic Air Group, who graciously allows the rocket clubs to use their space. This time, HAG was having their fall barbecue/corn roast and people were flying in to get some. There was a constant stream of little planes coming in and going out and each time they went over the field, the rockets had to stop. (reasonably enough). This was complicated this time by the wind - just enough of it that if the planes came from the west, we couldn't hear them coming. We were having to be extra vigilant.
There is a B17 that has apparently taken up residence at the field. It went out once - making a loud coughing noise on take off but apparently not serious enough to make the pilot abort the take off. One engine sounded off tune after that, but it wasn't enough to stop him from buzzing the field and flying circles for a while. It got interesting when we noticed that a Cesna was taking off just as the B17 was setting up for the approach to land. The Cesna apparently didn't see him ? or thought he had more time? We don't have a radio at the rocket site so we don't know what was said, but that Cesna sure took off in a hurry and banked way right just after take off in a way I've not seen done at that airport before. The B17 landed without incident after that. Someone said the airport isn't controlled, so I suppose the pilots have to work it out among themselves.
We also saw a plane with Coast Guard markings take off, among all the rest. It was a two seater biplane I had been admiring on the ground and I was amused to note as the pilot got in the front seat that he definitely stepped on the wing where it said "No Step". I had been wondering just how a person got into the plane with the contortions indicated by the "Step" and "No Step" markings on the side of the plane.
I got some knitting done while I was there (big surprise, eh?). I always get comments on what I'm doing, particularly if I've taken a spindle. I told one fellow I saw no reason not to practice my hobby while watching John practice his. He sighed and said he wished his wife felt the same way.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Trying again
Shawls: This is the Beginner Triangle Shawl from GOL, done in handspun and the close up picture is much truer to color than the one with the flash. One ply of the yarn is a dark red, the other ply is a variegated red/orange/yellow. The whole is soft and cushy in the hand. I'm not sure if I'm running out of yarn. Theoretically I have enough, but in actuality? Then we have Icarus in progress. Lovely mindless knitting in handspun Brown Sheep top laceweight. I don't care for the 15% mohair content; someday I will remember this before I buy stuff rather than after. It makes the yarn a trifle wirey in the fashion I have spun it, but it does control the ends enough that I don't find it itchy. Everything's a tradeoff donchaknow.
This, on the other hand (while not yet yarn, much less a shawl), I expect to be nothing but softness incarnate. Chasing Rainbows bombyx/merino. It arrived in the box with my shawl returned from Spindlicity - a consolation prize one supposes. I consider myself properly consoled.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Things that make me crabby:
1. Having blog posts vanish into the ether just as I hit "publish".
2. Having people drive along at 2 miles per hour looking for a parking spot they can get their honking big SUV into. (Ok, so I drive a honking big stretch minivan on occasion. I know how to park it without having to test park 3 times before finally pulling into a space and a half in the empty section of the parking lot and then having to spend five minutes backing and filling to make it come out right.)
3. Having the receptionist at the Drs. office tell me someone will call me within 48 hours about a form she was supposed to hand me on the spot, necessitating a return trip and a new parking fee on my part.
4. Having my children pop their heads in every two minutes: Can I have the computer yet?
5. Not knowing whether I have enough yarn to finish a project. I overbuy just to avoid this one.

Due to #1 and #4, I'm crabby in a big way at the moment. I was going to show you reasonably lovely pictures of shawls but it will need to wait. I'm going to go knit faster and see if I can get out of #5 or if I'll need to rip back.