Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Spinning update

I spent the first week of the tour working on the lamb's wool (Cotswald) in natural brown shade. Very nice to spin, I felt like I was able to get pretty even singles with a minimum of effort. Here's the first week's work (I'm pretty slow at this):
Now I'm into the lamb/alpaca blend. Oh, what a mess I am making of this lovely fiber. It is super soft - like petting a well-groomed persian cat. Very long staple (and I am struggling with keeping my hands far enough apart while drafting). Yet, when I try to divide the roving to pre-draft, it changes from a fairly hefting roll of fiber to a loose collection of super-fine threads, which then fall apart as I try to wrap it around my wrist. I need a lot more practice with this slippery stuff. I may put it aside for a while and try the wool/silk blend. Maybe the silk will be "stickier"?

Nearly done with the shawl - just a few rows to go! But I will put is aside for a few days to finish up the socks for my secret pal's son, because I want to get that sent out at the end of next week.

Then what? More socks? Hmmmmm.....choices.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mmmm, roving

I'm still on the seat - spinning wise! Each day since Le Tour started, I have done some spinning-related activity. Last night was plying and skeining - I only have one spindle, so no spinning could occur until the spindle was nekkid ;-)

Here's this week's progress on the blue:

That's 1.25 oz of thick-and-thin (mostly thin) yarn! Very wiry and scratchy feeling though - not as soft as the roving would suggest. I think I am spinning too tight, and although the skein is well balanced, I think that might just mean I plied it just as tightly in the opposite direction. After giving it a dunk in the sink, the fibers really jumped out of the yarn and stuck in all directions. I need to work on that.

My new roving arrived today :

Squee! It's yummy! From left to right: Cotswald lamb/silk blend in "September Glow", Cotswald lamb/alpaca blend in "Whipped Cream" and natural color fine wool lamb combed top in "Maple Walnut". All from Nistock Farms. Great service! I ordered online (they take Paypal) on Saturday morning, and my box was in the mail, USPS Priority on Monday. I got it today, Thursday.

I'm starting with the pure lamb tonight - very sproingy! and trying hard to spin a little looser and heavier gauge than my previous attempts. I hope this will help it keep it's sproinginess after plying, and it will still be soft after washing. It has a very long staple - I really lucked out here. I've not yet attempted anything short staple like Merino.

Knitting: The shawl is chugging along - row 173 completed last night (out of 189), nearly done with the last lace section! Woot! I may get to wear this soon.

And a new WIP (I know, I said I was going to be monagomous): socks. Secret socks for a secret pal! Actually for the secret pal's child, who has been bugging her for handknit socks - kid has good taste :-) They should knit up very quickly - I got halfway to the heel (toe-up) between yesterday's lunch break and today.

And finally, a sad Zoey update.

She pulled throught the surgery very well, and after about 6 - 7 days, is eating and drinking enthusiastically again. But only a week after the stitches were removed (3 weeks post-op), the tumors have re-appeared with a vengeance. The vet confirmed that the lumps and ulcerated mass in her mouth were indeed a recurrence, and due to it's inclusion into the jaw bone, and the speed with which it came back, there is nothing left to do but wait until it prevents her from eating comfortably. If we're lucky, she make it through the summer. My poor little kitty. This is the saddest part of being a pet mommy.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

And we're off!

Off my rocker that is...

I have signed up for the 2007 Tour de Fleece - a 3-week long spinning event to spin along with the riders of the Tour de France. The goals are self imposed: my goal is to spin a little every day ( a big challenge for me - I tend to ignore my spindle for weeks at a time), and to spin 3 new kinds of fiber during the 3 weeks. Prior to this, I have only spun a soft, long-staple fiber I bought from the woman I took a few lessons from. Back in January, and I'm still working through the 4 oz. I bought at my second lesson. Ahem.

So, spinning along with the rest of the tour should be a good motivation for me to keep up! I don't have any yardage goals, just a consistency goal.

I just ordered a few ounces of 3 different fibers from Nistock Farms, hopefully they will be here before the end of next week. Until then, I will be riding "warm up" with my blue fiber (I think it's Corriedale).

Knitting - I won't abandon the shawl, not when it's so close to being finished! Lookie!
See that tiny little nubbin of yarn next to the left needle? That's all that is left of ball 1, and I was on row 160. I joined ball 2 in row 161, and am cruising (plodding) through the last lace chart to row 178. Then a few finishing rows of eyelet and garter stitch, and I'm done! The lace goes very slowly for me - about 2 rows per night, but I can knit up to 4 rows per night in the garter areas. Yay! I may get to wear this during the summer still!

Other -
Hazy hot and humid here, a real summer day with temps near 90. My next-door neighbor has invited us (Audrey and I) for a swimming play-date with her girls after naptime. Can't wait!

I'll try to post more regularly during the Tour - I hope to get into the swing of things spinning so it isn't such a production to spin up a hunk of roving during this time.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summer FO

I have finally finished Audrey's summer sweater! After too many failed attempts at sleeves to match the bottom band, I decided on a simple top-down, garter-edged sleeve. When July 1st came around, I realized the number of weeks left in the year for wearing short sleeves was quickly dwindling, and wrapped up this project ASAP.

Here it is:
And modeled:
The details:
Audrey's Summer Sweater, 2007
Pattern: my own
Yarn: KnitPicks Shine Sport, Cherry, 4 skeins
Needles: US3
Began-Finished: 5/14/07 - 7/3/07

The notes and lessons learned: plan ahead for armscyes and sleeves earlier in the project. Much time lost in this section. Neck a little snug going over the noggin. Length - good.