Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Finishing Vacation

I took about a week and a half off for the Thanksgiving holiday and it was desperately needed. It's good to just disconnect from work like that once in a while. I was very productive with my time off.

I finished the wedding shrug and gave it to my friend. My learning experience from this is that not only do you need to swatch but you should also soak and dry the swatch for the final measurement, especially when working with a new yarn. This yarn grew quite a bit making it go from half sleeves to three-quarters. The end product was still good but I should be washing my swatches from now on. I'll put up some better pictures next month from the wedding since so many people have been asking about it.

Next I finished up a pair of socks for my Mom. This was a kit from my Shakespeare in Lace accessory club subscription. I loved the lace pattern and the heels were fun. I'm not sure on the name for this heel technique but it was surprisingly quick and fit my Mom well. She's getting these for Christmas since we're so close to the holiday.

Then I went on a spinning frenzy. I hadn't spun at all while knitting on the shrug so my hands were just itching to spin. The only way I can describe it like when you go on a diet and say no chocolate. Then when you finally give in you eat a ton of it. That was me and I got so much done.

On the wheel already was the deep purples spinning fibers from Spinner's Hill. It's not my normal color but I loved how saturated it was and how easy it was to spin up. It's no secret that they're my go to fiber at the Yarn Cupboard no matter what the color. This is destined to be a Christmas gift for my Mother-in-Law since she asked for some handspun yarn this year. (I really need to find a way to photograph my yarn better, it's not this hairy looking in person)

I tried to spin it thinker than normal but I still ended up with about 480 yards. It would make a nice scarf or loose cowl since it's so soft and the color variations turned out well.

Next on the wheel were two lots of fiber that my Father-in-Law purchased for me at the NYS Fair. In the future I will remember to direct him to a yarn shop or local festival instead. It's not that the fibers were bad, just not as nice as what I normally spin. First up was an ounce and a half of romney wool that was super scratchy but had nice blues and purples:

I ended up with 145 yarns of light fingering weight yarn. It did soften up a bit after a soak. I'm going to recommend soaking with a little hair conditioner if my Mother-in-Law thinks it's too scratchy for knitting (or she can just weave with it instead). There's some nubs and thick/thin sections in there, more that I would normally like but it does add character to the resulting yarn.

Then there is the natural Romney wool that he bought to be eventually dyed. It's hard to believe that it's from the same farm as the blue/purple fiber since it felt like a cloud. Not a cashmere cloud but a soft wool cloud. The label said 8 ounces but when I weighed it I got 7.35. I spun it up as thick as possible into 2 sport weight skeins. This is beautiful as it but should look even better when dyed:

I struggled with the twist on this yarn because it wouldn't wind onto the bobbin even with my little spring fully cranked. I had to really slow down and work at it but I love the resulting yarn. All of these will be going in their Christmas box to be mailed as soon as the last couple skeins are fully dried.

Once this came off the wheel I didn't have the itch to spin anymore. Well, there still is the itch but it's not as pressing as before. I'm fine now to start thinking about knitting projects again, even if I'm not actually starting any. I don't have any knitting on the needles for the first time in a long time. I truly have evolved from a knitter who likes to spin to now a spinner who likes to knit and that's ok with me.

This isn't even all I did on vacation. Next up: spindle spinning progress!

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