Monday, 25 June 2012

A learning experience

On Saturday I finished a spinning project. No, honestly, I did! Here's the evidence:
white massam 003
Massam, spun on my resin Wildcraft spindle and 3-plied on the wheel. 187yds, 97g. Not my favourite fiber ever, but I've learned a lot from working with it.

Thing the first - spindling in public is perfectly doable. Inspired by Weaving Friend, I took spindle and massam to an SCA event with me. I didn't spin on the pilgrimage part (had to finish those cabled socks, after all), but I did do rather a lot of wandering around at the event site with my spindle. I even spent some of that time teaching two small girls to use a spindle. Neither really has the patience yet, but it'll do them both good to watch and take in the principles.

Thing the second - the resin spindle can hold up to about 30g of fiber before it starts getting ornery.

Thing the third - I can ply on a spindle, but my elbow is sufficiently borked that there's really no point. The skeins I can produce without hurting myself are so small that they're inefficient.

Thing the fourth - it takes me about 4 yards of yarn to learn to do a new technique.

Thing the fifth - my default spinning and plying directions are the same on both spindle and wheel.

Thing the sixth - if one spends an hour a day spinning, projects actually get finished. Crazy, right? But it's totally true. I started taking spindling to work for my lunch break and could see progress from day to day.

Thing the seventh - my colleagues are awesome. Not one person has made a weird remark about the fact that I've been spinning in the break room. Several people have even correctly identified what I was doing and asked intelligent questions about spindles and wheels and made links to fairy tales!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Achievement unlocked - photograph black cables!

I finished these up yesterday, and I'm very pleased with them. Of course, I'm even more pleased with the fact that I managed to get a halfway decent photo of them.

Fischernetze 006

Pattern is Fischernetze, yarn is King Cole Zig-Zag, 2.5mm bamboo DPNs.

I cast on for these in December, while visiting my in-laws. I'd only brought one project with me for the whole weekend, and finished it halfway through Sunday. Fortunately I'd realized the day before that I was likely to do so, and I stopped in a local yarn store to pick up needles and yarn. The yarn's not great, to be honest. It's 50% nylon, so while it's very shiny and (presumably) will hold up in the wash, there's not a lot of bounce to it. I'm hoping the pull of the lace and cables will keep the cuffs in reasonably good shape.

I've been wanting a pair of handknit black socks for a while now. I prefer to wear only handknits, but there are occasions when scarlet Monkeys are just inappropriate. Now I've got one pair of smart black socks to keep for things like conferences and job interviews. I don't plan to wear this pair often - got to keep them nice for when they're needed!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A high-fiber diet

The Tour de Fleece is approaching alarmingly fast, so on Thursday I decided to go through all of my spinning fiber in order to figure out what I've got and what I want to spin. I'm still no closer to a goal, but I do have a much better idea of what's in there.

Dyed fiber:

Undyed fiber:

2kg of raw Gotland in various stages of prep:


So there we have it. Full disclosure.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Black Socks May

I had a pretty good month in May - finished three socks! Two of them were from a pair, even!

Cascade 220 bedsocks:

Black socks and bento 003

An excellent use of an entire ball of worsted yarn that had no purpose. And it meant that I had nice warm feet at the SCA event we went to last weekend.

Of course, I had to take some knitting with me to the event, so I made a push on my black cabled socks. I finished the cuff and heel before we left. I also made the decision not to continue the cable pattern down the foot, as I really wanted something plain to knit while I walked around Winchester. I finished knitting the gusset decreases as we went down on the train, and grafted the toe shut the evening we got back to London.

Black socks and bento 004

It's shockingly difficult to take pictures of cables and lace in a shiny black sock yarn. They look pretty good in person, though.

The second sock is going really well. I've never suffered from the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome. It's the first sock I always have issues with, because the first sock is the one where you have to make all the decisions and rip out mistakes. The second sock just has to match the first. I've nearly finished the cuff, and since I'm about to have a 4-day Bank Holiday weekend for the Queen's Jubilee, I have high hopes of getting the pair done by next weekend at the latest.