I’ve been a bit preoccupied

Since my manic posting on Thursday, I’ve been a bit preoccupied. I just couldn’t stop spinning!

Here is my first skein of yarn, spun Thursday afternoon after about 2 hours of practice and reacquaintance:

It’s a little uneven, but overall I’m pretty pleased with my initial efforts. This is a mixture of the batt that I purchased from Grafton Fibers (Corriedale, color 411 Blended) and the wool that came with my wheel from Louet. Here is skein number two:

This is just the wool from Louet, and I got 33 yards of two ply before the constant gray bored me to tears. This wool is significantly coarser than the stuff I purchased from Grafton Fibers and overall I’m not very impressed with it. Here, then, is my third skein:

This is my favorite. I managed to spin 56 yards of two ply yarn, although I couldn’t tell you what the weight or wraps per inch are. This is only from the batt that I purchased from GF, and it was really quite lovely to work with.

With the loveliness of that wool in mind, I just can’t wait to start in on this:

But first, guess what’s back in my active queue…

Yup, the orange shawl of doom! Even though I showed my poor math skills the other day with the sleeve of my February Lady Sweater, I am going to tell you that, according to my calculations I have 30 rows left to go on this shawl. You may want to check back on Wednesday, though, to see if I have fewer or more rows at that point. My bet would be more.

Here are some final notes:

Bea, I hope you’re feeling better. We missed you at knit night!

I did finish Sami’s costume on time, and I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went at ComiCon. It fit her (which was a major accomplishment) and she looked very cute (which was the easy part).

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Waiting

10:23am – I’ve done most of my work-work for the day, and am straightening out the house so when FedEX gets here I can play with my wheel guilt-free. Every time I hear a truck outside, I check to see if it’s them. In fact, I’ve even caught myself thinking that maybe, just maybe, the FedEX dude is making deliveries in his personal car today, so I get excited every time a car slows in front of my house. This is stressful, as I live on a corner with a stop sign.

11:02am – Why are there so many trucks on my street today? I’m wishing the FedEX tracking site had a little GPS linked map so I could see EXACTLY where my wheel is. In fact, the only things keeping me from going out and trying to track him (the FedEX dude) down are: 1) if I leave the house, he’ll get here and I’ll miss the delivery (that’s Murphy’s Law of Shipping); and 2) he’d think I was a psycho, and I’d probably get arrested. I don’t think they let you spin in jail.

11:07 – DUDE! (I’m so excited my hands are shaking!!)

11:35 – It’s all put together, and I’m ready to try it out. YAY!!

Ok, not only does it work, but I remembered (after a brief incident where I was spinning rope suitable for use on an aircraft carrier) how to do it!  Thanks again to Cathy from the California Angora Rabbit Society (she taught me to spin), John at Village Spinning and Weaving, and my lovely husband who encouraged me to do this.

Final update:

I promise I’ll stop after this. Here is the roving I bought a few weeks ago:

…and here it is now, spun up:

I have to tell you, I’m feeling a little bit like a magician!

The Endless Sleeve

You know, I’ve never claimed to be great at math. My estimating skills, likewise, leave a lot to be desired.

Yesterday, I tried on my sweater and measured the space left between where the knitting stopped and where my wrist is. I came up with about 6.5 inches. I measured how long each pattern repeat was (1.25 inches), and did the math. According to my calculations, I had 25 rows left. I knit 10 rows during lunch, then 5 more during a break. This morning I knit 10 more, and tried my sweater on, wondering if I’d have to rip any out due to going too far.

It’s still only halfway down my forearm!! What the….?

Well, if I’d bothered to compare my math plus the number of repeats I’d already done on the sleeve with the number of repeats I’d done for the body, I’d have realized that I was WAY off. With my math, I’d end up with ~23 repeats in the sleeve. The body has 19 repeats. My arms are about 1.5x the length of my torso. That just doesn’t add up.

So, here I am, a day before the knit night where I’d planned to debut my not only finished but washed and blocked sweater, with a sleeve and a quarter still to go.

The yarn I needed to finish Jojo’s shawl arrived on Monday, but I’m still working on Sami’s costume (still stymied by the zipper).

My wheel is still in North Salt Lake City, UT, according to the FedEx tracking website. I’m hopeful that this is because it’s still en route there from New York, rather than that it’s been sitting there since Saturday, forlorn and forgotten. Tomorrow is the big day (theoretically) . I wouldn’t be able to stand it if I didn’t have a gazillion other things that needed to be done.

Today my editor was Max, who contributed by smacking the keys on the right side of my keyboard, sometimes adding a bunch of “\”, sometimes deleting a whole chunk of text. So, if any of my sentences change topic midway, it was due to Max’s fine editing skills.

Oh yeah!

What a way to start the weekend (I only work half days on Fridays)!! First, last night I finally got a FedEx tracking number for my wheel. The last update stated it left Syracuse, NY, at 7:30am East Coast time. Oh, I am SO excited. The only down side is that it’s currently scheduled for delivery on Thursday, which is my knit night. I haven’t decided if I’ll be able to focus on my friends and knitting knowing that my wheel is here, still packed in its box.

Also yesterday, I received my July Rockin’ Sock Club shipment. The yarn is wonderful, the pattern is cool, but the best part is the “extra” they threw in this time. It’s a bumper sticker that says, “No Coffee, No Workee”. I didn’t realize the ladies at Blue Moon knew me personally!! I can’t wait to post it on the door to my office!

Finally, the coup de grace:

Next up, sleeves! But first, I have to find either my short, size 8, circular needles or my size 8 DPNs.  Wish me luck!

Softly

In addition to my February Lady, I have several other projects currently in the works. First, of course, is the orange monster shawl for Jojo (my daughter). No photo of this is necessary, as it hasn’t progressed since my last post about it. Next are my Rockin’ Socks from May. These also require no photo. They’re hanging out in limbo with the shawl.

Finally, we have the Whisper Cardigan from the Spring 2009 issue of Interweave Knits. I don’t have the guts to “slurp” the photo from their page, as I don’t want to get smacked for violating copyrights. I’m doing mine in yellow malabrigo lace, and it is really quite a lovely yarn to work with. It’s soft and hasn’t made me swear yet (which is a very good sign). Here is a picture of mine. I’m still going round and round on the sleeve,

but that’s because I’ve been distracted…

Compare with yesterday’s post…28 hours later, and I’m well into the body.

I couldn’t possibly have skipped a close up. Here is the “Gull Lace” pattern of the body

According to the time stamps on my pictures, that’s a 28 hour difference. I knit 20 rows (5 repeats of the lace). But just so you don’t think me a total slacker, keep in mind that in that time I had to sleep (6 hours), eat (2 hours – we went out), hang out with Max the Great (10 hours – he only took a 20 minute nap), and do some basic housekeeping (3 hours). Which leaves me with 7 hours for 20 rows. I know it’s not taking me 20 minutes per row, so it would appear that my time-accounting isn’t totally accurate. Anyway, my progress has been steady, if slow, and I’m really liking how it’s turning out. I’m really glad that I started it over – and no, I’m not just trying to talk myself into believing that.

In other news, I got this from John at Village Spinning and Weaving regarding my new wheel and when I will (likely) get it:

” ship docked over weekend and US Customs has OK’d the shipment. The dockworkers are unloading and dispatching the large containers. . .  Louet North America hopes to have theirs Thursday (today) and will be shipping backorders as goods come out of the container – they anticipate the shipping to start Friday but some may not be able to be shipped until Monday. . .”

It would appear, based on the information on my account page at his online store, that mine has not yet been shipped. I’m currently looking forward to seeing my wheel by the 20th of July. It may come earlier, but I’m not going to get my hopes up. I’d just like to take this opportunity to say that John has been the epitome of patience when it came to handling all of my questions and requests for updates. I know I must be driving him crazy, but I hope he can understand that I’m really just that excited. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again. While the service and products offered via the online store is exceptional, you really should go to the actual Village Spinning and Weaving store in Solvang, CA. If you live pretty far away, don’t fear!! After you’ve spent several hours and a pocket or two full of money in John’s store, you can

wander around the charming little village,

eat some great Danish food,

take pictures of the beautiful flowers

and charming alleys,

and just sit and appreciate the lovely weather and gorgeous landscape. (I find it amusing that even though I spent a lot of time in the store, the only photo I have of it is the fern that was planted outside).

A new, potentially pricey, skill…

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hanging out in Mira Loma, California, with the Angora Rabbit Society and Spinning Guild. I contacted the Guild a few weeks ago to see if they could recommend anyone in the Escondido/San Diego area who might be willing to teach me how to spin. Cathy, who is listed as the point of contact for the group, offered to teach me herself and proceeded to invite me to a potluck gathering which was to be  yesterday.

Almost as soon as I walked in the door, she had me sit on the couch and introduced me to the drop spindle. Man, she made it look SO easy!! She explained it, then handed me a spindle and a bunch of roving (it was Kid Mohair) and had me give it a try.

This is what I ended up with:

That’s about 2 feet (and I’m being generous here) of yarn. Any part of it that appears to be spun correctly wasn’t done by me. This happened to be what Cathy was using to demonstrate. I don’t hold out much hope for ever being able to spin with a drop spindle. My coordination is just not up to the challenge. I may try again someday, but not soon.

Next, she offered to let me try out a wheel. She had a grand collection of Louet S90’s, and I snagged one and settled in for another lesson. My initial attempts were pretty dismal, and after a few tries she determined that the wheel wasn’t working quite right and sent me in to trade my first choice for another. Her sister happened to be in the living room, and whispered to me that the best one was the one in the back. Of course, I moved the other wheels out of the way and took that one!

Although it was tough at first, within an hour or so, I was hooked. In fact, I was so hooked that I never did get up to eat lunch. I didn’t even finish the Diet Coke I’d brought along with me. I sat in that chair for two and a half hours (possibly more), and made real live yarn!  Look!

It’s still really thick and uneven, but I’m so proud of it! I can’t describe how magical it was to watch as the single I spun was plyed, then wound up into a real live hank. Of yarn. Real yarn. That I made.

How cool is that?

Just so you don’t think I’ve been goofing off all week, I did clean my house…oh yeah, and I knit some more on the baby sweater. I actually had to start over, due to two really dumb mistakes. First, when I finished the back, I got all excited and cut the yarn before I read the last part of the directions: “Cast off two stitches at the beginning of the next two rows.” I didn’t have enough yarn to do two more rows, and taking two out and doing the cast off was going to screw up the length of the sweater. So I re-knit it. Second, remember I was showing off the cool cable I did on the left-front of the sweater the other day? Did anyone happen to notice that the cable was on the left side of the front piece? 

Let me give you a moment to think about it, maybe go back and look at the picture.

Yup, the cable is on the wrong side. As executed, the lovely cable would end up under the baby’s arm. Plus, to add insult to injury, the cable wasn’t as visible as I wanted it to be. So I re-knit that part too.

Here is the new left front.

The back is pretty boring, and looks much the same as it did earlier, but with two stitches missing on each end. I’ll leave that to your imagination.