Thursday, July 9, 2009

Physics of wool

Woohoo! I’m done! I’m really done. I’m really actually done. But I have a few comments.

How is it that I weighed out my 8 ounces of fiber as I split it into 2 4-oz bunches but when I spun them up, one bobbin was finished and the other wasn't. Like this:

I solved the problem, by the way, by using the Andean-ply method but believe me, it was a significant difference.

It’s been really hard to get a picture that shows the colors but you get a little of the idea here.

It’s not really lace weight but it’s definitely a light fingering weight so I don’t think that went too badly. The yardage was not quite up to the 1,000 yards I was hoping for but it was about 975 yards so I’m definitely happy about that. 975 yards.

Now, of course, the question is, what to do with it. You know what I’m thinking? I’m kind of thinking of a lacy poncho. I’ve got triangular shawls and rectangular shawls but how about a circular(ish) shawl? I’m thinking really open pattern on size 6 needles or so. The only issue will be that there will definitely not be any running to the store to buy an extra skein of yarn, although I think I could probably find a solid roving that would go with this but I’ll need something that I can work until I run out and then be happy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Space/Time Continuum

There is a point in some projects that you hit a wall. It’s kind of like waiting for the punch line in Uncle Ed’s joke or like standing in line at the grocery store or like watching the kettle waiting for it to boil. No matter how much you knit, no matter how much you spin, there’s no progress. You can knit for 2 hours and the silly thing only measures about ½ inch from where you started. I spun for 2 ½ hours the other night and still had exactly the same length of roving I started out with. I swear. Exactly the same length.

I’ve actually got 2 projects going right now that fall into this category. One is the edging of a shawl I started before I went to Scotland a year and a half ago. The other is spinning some wool roving into some lace weight (I hope) yarn.

The shawl has something like 1,200 stitches to knit off and I’m basically halfway around. But each stitch to knit off requires doing 2 rows of the edging and every time I hold it up to see how much progress I’m making, I feel like there’s a little knitting gremlin adding stitches to the back of my needle. I don’t know how that’s accomplished but I know it’s happening.

The spinning project entails some
Ashland Bay Colonial Wool Top in the Northern Lights colorway that I got from Karen Poulakos. I have another package of this in the old stash but I’ve never gotten to spinning it. The colors on this one are so subtle (as you can see from the picture on the link above) that I’m still not sure how it’s going to look. I think some of the colors will show up better once it’s plied and off the bobbin but it’s hard to know. I’ve been trying to spin as finely as I can and, for the most part, I’ve been pleased with the effort. I’m hoping to get at least 800 yards out of the 8 oz but we’ll have to see.

Which brings me to the space/time fiber work continuum mentioned above. Before I started out I weighed it out so I knew I had 4 oz in each section so I’d be able to 2-ply it when I was finished with the singles. The first 4 ounces went well enough but I got a little bit into the second batch when it hit. I spun and spun and spun and spun but it wasn’t going anywhere. For a while I thought it was because I was spinning so finely but after a while that excuse wouldn’t fly anymore. It was multiplying. I know it was.

But I’m finally there. I spun at night, I got up early in the morning and spun for a hour before work, I spun at lunchtime and finally, today I finished – the singles, that is. Now I have to start the plying! I have a feeling I’m going to have to either sit outside or bring in an extra light to do the plying because it’s so dark, I can’t see the twists. I already have a problem with not getting enough twist into the ply so I’m not taking any chances with this stuff. Last thing I want is to have to ply it a second time!!

Edited: I've now got most of the Colonial top plied. The first skein is about 480 yards and the second one, though not finished, looks like it will be almost the same so I should definitely have my 800 yards. Now I have to figure out what to make with it...