Friday, January 23, 2009

A bad week for wool (and other distractions)...

This last week my progress for the update has been greatly hampered by several things, including two separate (and disappointing) wool experiences as well as two unbelievable books. I'll begin with the wool experiences.

Last week I purchased and received a cone of Henry's Attic Kona Superwash Sock Yarn (I don't have pictures of the dyed skeins yet, but I'll try to remember next time around). As I skeined this yarn off the cone I came across knots. A lot of knots. So many knots that I wasn't able to get even one knot-free skein from the cone. Six skeins. All with knots. This was very dissappointing for me, as I was hoping to add them to the update. Bummer.

Still, I tried to keep my chin up. I had a pound of merino roving on its way. At least I'd be able to dye that up and have it ready for the update.

So, it came and I remember thinking when I started weighing it out that it looked a little bit different than all of the merino I've bought in the past. I started dying it. I spent the whole day dyeing it. All things considered, the dyeing process went really well. But as I gently rinsed the cooled roving, I noticed that it had taken the dye somewhat differently than merino usually takes dye. It reminded me a lot more of BFL than of merino. As the roving dryed it began to take on more of the fuzzy qualities that BFL has. I also noticed that it was much shinier than non-superwash merino generally is.

So, once the first braid was dry, I decided to sacrifice it for a test run on the wheel. It doesn't spin like merino. It spins like BFL (or another fiber similar to BFL). The singles are intensely shiny (even when compared to the bobbin half-filled with superwash merino next to it) and when I let a stretch of single ply back on itself, it has none of the characteristic springiness of merino.

I emailed the place I bought it from and they insisted that it's merino. I disagree. Oh well. At least the wool is nice, soft, and draughts nicely. The other braids from the pound I received dyed up even more beautifully than the one I sacrificed for testing and I will be including them in my February Update. I'm calling them "mystery wool" and leaving it at that.

As for the books, when I went to work on Monday (with no knitting) to work really hard and get lots of special chores done, I arrived to find that my mother-in-law had gone nuts with the cleaning and there was almost nothing to do. It was also Martin Luther King day and it was terribly slow. At the suggestion of my sister-in-law I picked up her copy of Twilight and I started reading. I didn't read much of it, but it was starting to interest me. Tuesday afternoon I picked it up again and it started to get even better - so good that I called my sister-in-law and asked if I could take it home with me to keep reading. Within two days I finished the book and decided at about 8:00 last night that I couldn't wait to start the new one so I went out and bought it. Dudes, I finished reading New Moon in one day. These books are so good, I can hardly stand it. I'm pretty sure my sister-in-law is done with the third, and I fully intend to borrow it from her to start tomorrow. I have to know what happens.

So, more progress with the update will happen...

...Just as soon as I find out what happens to Edward and Bella. =)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Simple Yet Effective Shawl

Yesterday morning I finished my Simple Yet Effective Shawl (pattern by Laura Chau) and here it is in all its glory.

I had a very difficult time photographing the colors in this shawl but at least the photos aren't blurry like the last batch I took.

Up to this point I haven't really thought of myself as a shawl knitter (especially since it's very unlikely I'll ever have need of a shawl in my wardrobe) but I really enjoyed the process of knitting one. I like how they 'grow' as you're knitting them. I also like how you can still enjoy looking at them -even if you don't actually wear them...

Today was my first day back at work. I only worked for a couple of hours but it was a refreshing change of scenery. There's a lot of deep cleaning that needs to be done and it will probably be a long while before I have need of bringing my knitting to work with me. I'm guessing I'll have 4-6 weeks worth of work-days filled with deep cleaning before I'll have any time to knit, and hopefully when that time comes business will have picked up enough that I'll be too busy to knit.

We're also getting lots of work done around our home. This afternoon when I got home from work my hubby cleaned out the garage and I started painting the kitchen cabinets. Once the kitchen is done and put back together I'm going to start painting the bathroom. I hope we can get the bathroom finished by Tuesday. There's so much work to do... but at least we're starting to see some progress.

I'm gonna go knit...

P.S. I'm still spinning. It's slow going, but I haven't forgotten the update.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shawl Progress

I wanted to take a little break from working on the house (I've been sanding the walls in the bathroom -we're getting ready to paint) to give a little sneak peak at how the Simple Yet Effective Shawl is coming along...

I love this yarn. I love the way it feels, I love the way it drapes and I love the way the colors are shifting in it (the picture really isn't doing it justice, the colors are off and I was having a difficult time with blurring this morning). When I eventually get the second half of this fiber spun, I think whoever ends up with it is really going to enjoy it. After working with this yarn all day yesterday, I've decided to spin the second half of the fiber the same as I spun the first.

I've been spinning so much over the last week that I'm feeling a little burnt out at the wheel and am happy to be knitting instead. Another couple of days and I'll be back to it, as I don't want to get behind on the update. It also gives me a little extra time to work on the house which we're really tring to get ready to list.

Oh, and I almost forgot -I'm going back to work! I'm actually really happy about this because I spend way too much time at home. It's to the point where it's not good for me anymore. I'm starving for a change in scenery. Plus, it'll help put some money in bank. I start back at work this Saturday, and I'm hoping that as long as I manage my time well when I'm at home, I'll still be able to get everything I'm working on for the shop ready in time for the update.

Now, I'm off to do laundry and sneak in a few more rows on the shawl. =)

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Yesterday afternoon I finished plying the first half of my Spin-A-Long fiber. I love this stuff, it's becoming my favorite kind of fiber to spin. It's easy like Sunday morning.

Handspun SW Merino/Alpaca Sock Yarn
Navajo 3 ply
Fingering Weight
Approx. 4.2oz and 477 yards

It's named Octarine after the Colour of Magic (the 8th color in Terry Pratchett's discworld -generally visible only to wizards and cats) which is a kind of a bright green/yellow/purple.

I'm pleased with the way this one turned out and I've not yet made up my mind about what to do with the second braid of this fiber. More than likely it will become yarn for the shop.

As for this half, I'm keeping it. I've already decided it's going to be a Simple Yet Effective Shawl. I'm going to go put it on the swift and wind it up as soon as I'm done here.

Other than that, I'm already working on the next handspun for the February update. It's a SW Merino in a beautiful range of browns which I dyed myself. It reminds me of coffee. Hopefully it'll be done by the end of next week.

I'm off to begin my shawl, I'll have some pictures once I've made some progress. Cheers. =)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Leaf

Yesterday as I was spinning the last of the Pigeonroof Studios BFL (into singles for a 2-ply sock yarn) and thinking that I wasn't entirely happy with my spinning on this one, I was struck by a sudden irrational thought... Art yarn?

Turns out, my irrational thought was a saving grace. I'm convinced that if I had ignored my instinct on this one I would have been dissappointed with the resulting yarn. Thankfully, this one turned out to be 78 yards of coily-spun beauty. I love it, and so far out of all of the contenders for my February update this is the one that I want to keep for myself. However, I probably wont, because it's highly unlikely that I would actually knit something that would require this kind of yarn.

Aside from that, my spin-A-long fiber came yesterday, and it's absolutely beautiful...

These colors are amazing, I'm very happy I ordered a double dose. I'm spinning the first as a three ply sock and I haven't made up my mind about the second one yet, or whether or not I'll be keeping both of them. I ordered the double dose so that I would have the option of selling one and getting my whole investment back. We'll see...

I hope everyone is having a good new year so far. My is coming along good (even with the diet). I've been exercising faithfully and really pruning my eating habits. Hopefully, if I keep going this way I'll have earned new fiber by February. Cheers =)