Thursday, July 31, 2008

Also ran

I got so close. So very close to my goal. I only had little dribs and drabs of fiber, bits of it I had stashed with my spindles, chunks I had removed from the rovings in order to add decorative touches to a felted project, just tidbits really, that's all that was left. Yet tufts of brown, green and orange merino were suddenly peeking at me from all the corners of my apartment. I gathered them together and realized, at 10 pm, that there was no way I would finish. I had started knitting the vest instead of spinning and I paid for it. So there's a red jersey for me....and the start of this:
I'm calling her Andalusia Celtica. She was inspired by my trip to Andalusia (we leave on Monday!!!), she's covered with celtic knotwork in the central panel--totally ripped off from the Fall 07 Dickinson Pullover by Kathy Zimmerman--but worked in the round in stockinette except for the front panel, and made up into a v-neck vest rather than a long-sleeved pullover. Most of all she makes me think of my favorite band: Salsa Celtica...tweedy, sunny, complex, happy. Like sangria in Dublin maybe...or Strongbow in Cadiz. Maybe it's just my Sevilla state of mind. She's my first big cabled project and my hands are paying for it. But I think she's worth every ache. Now keep your fingers crossed that I spun up enough for her...
I will be posting all of my trip photos on this blog, so stay will totally depend on my ability to get internet access over there. Hasta luego mis amigos!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tour de Fleece update

Finished the second skein of the merino for the Tour. I only have a little bit of the rovings left. I WILL make it. I'm much happier with this skein. It looks like merino should.
I have also frogged the cardi....and this was the result. I'm estimating it's about 600 yards or so of worsted weight.
It will (I think) become this, or something close to it. I haven't swatched yet. I also managed to finish the February in June sweater. I was quite pleased with it, until I saw a photograph of myself wearing said sweater. It.was.not.good. Far, far from good in fact. I deleted all evidence and shot this version instead. Not pretty, but functional. I really, really hope I look better in it than the camera tells me I do. I want to love this sweater. It ate a month of my life. I deserve for it to look better than it does. oh well, you judge for yourselves:I rest my case. Now, back to our regularly scheduled spinning.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

oh that's what yarnbarf looks like!

This has been a challenging week for me. We put my niece on a plane headed back for Arkansas yesterday. In the short week since my last post I completely reversed my rather bitchy opinion on her behavior. I LOVE this kid. I didn't want to give her up. Even though it would mean totally re-organizing our lives, changing our (incredibly) selfish spending habits, and otherwise behaving as if there were people besides ourselves on the planet, I would completely welcome this kid into our home. I adore her. The second week of her stay was a lot quieter than the first. I feel like we really got to know her a bit. She opened up. It was beautiful to see. I wanted to hug her every time she smiled, mostly because she's 13, so it doesn't happen that often. I realized that my complaining was the worst sort of silliness because she was really quite considerate and careful as a houseguest. It could have been a LOT worse. I thank her parents for letting her come to visit, her friends for sharing her with us. I know it was a trial for everyone...except us. She can come back any day as far as I'm concerned. Because I was so focused on spending time with her after work, I didn't get as much spinning and knitting done as I normally would. But I do have progress (of sorts) on both the Tour de Fleece and the February Lady. First, the tour: I have one skein done and all I can say is I HATE THIS WOOL. I know, I know, only a bad spinner blames the fiber, but it really wasn't fun to spin at all. I also misjudged grist and spun it too fine to match the rest of the sweater. I was only thinking about stretching the fiber as far as it could go (pun intended) to get extra yardage. BAD idea. It looks terrible. And I had more trouble than I expected with consistency. Normally I'm a pretty consistent spinner. Not with this wool baby. Thick and thin, blobs everywhere, in both the singles and in plying. I swear I spun Witness:
Yeah, I know. I think so too. But the second skein will be better. A bit thicker. And hopefully more consistent. I promise. The first bobbin is almost full. But that brings me to hairpin curve #2 in this little tale of fiber woe: I'm not going to have enough. Yep. I only have maybe a couple of ounces of roving left. I will, if I'm lucky, get another 150 yards or so out of this. I'll finish the Tour, but with a distinct lack of necessary yardage. Not nearly enough for the cardi. Which leaves me with two choices: frog the cardi or make it stripy on the bottom half. I hate both options. I'm praying that Isis, Athena, Amaterasu and Frigg take pity on me and a miracle occurs. Because otherwise it's a trip to the frog pond. And no one likes to see a grown knitter crying into her yarn.
On the knitted object/crazy joiner front, I'm making sloooow progress on February in June. Observe:
I had cast-off the hem and picked up the stitches for the first sleeve while sitting in the airport waiting for her plane to board. Naturally it was the emotion of the moment that made me completely screw up a pattern I've had memorized for weeks. There's nothing like frogging in public to remind you how ridiculous you can look. I was sitting in an uncomfortable airport chair, covered in kelly green yarnbarf, trying not to cry. For the kid, not the sweater. I swear. I finally fixed it and am moving along nicely now. I think I'll have just enough yarn and may actually be done in time for Spain. Also, this will NOT make me look pregnant. I refuse to allow such an injustice. Refuse I say!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Art, Lies and Truth-or what I did this weekend

Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”-Pablo Picasso

While I'm not a huge Picasso fan, I definitely appreciate his vision. Making us see things from different perspectives is necessary. Forcing us to see several perspectives at once: genius. I do not find this particular brand of genius aesthetically pleasing, but since when are aesthetics a prerequisite here? I mention this for several reasons. First, our house guest. We have a young visitor with us for the next couple of weeks. This weekend we took her to see some of the "highlights" of our region. Among them: the new silver show at Winterthur, the Philadelphia Zoo, and Dolphin watching at Cape May, NJ. She is 13 going on 2
5 and thinks she is brazilliant in all things. In some areas I don't disagree. The kid's damn skippy smart. But she's also a nascent teenager and prone to those fits and starts of teenage angst that (I'm quite sure) make otherwise well-balanced, sane parents everywhere want to rip their hair out and throw things. I spent hours and hours touring her all over Winterthur, inside and out, trying to show her why I do what I do and why I think it deserves the years of my life I have devoted to it. What was her response: "kewel, but I liked the Enchanted Woods best. "Now, don't get me wrong, when I was 13 I would have said exactly the same thing. exactly. I would have resented all attempts to push me out of my carefully chosen and well-polished shell. At least something connected, right? But it made me want to scream. She went through the silver exhibit and the period rooms so fast it made my head spin. meh. But she saw the magic in the woods, so I really can't argue too much. It's all in your point of view. We went to the zoo, spent umpty-ump dollars to wander around and peer through cages at poor, pacing creatures who deserve so much more than flash bulbs exploding in their sensitive faces, saw gorgeous birds, pro-simians, frolicking river otters, and what does she like best? the vampire bats feeding. yep. teenage angst in bucket loads. In all fairness, the bats were pretty cool. I can't post my pics here because I didn't get permission from the zoo to do so, but I did get a fabulous shot of a bat, snout raised from it's petrie dish of blood, baring its wee fangs at me. I won't even discuss the day at Cape May because I'm already sick of myself whining about this. I LOVE this kid. She's creative, smart, funny and full of it. I'm so happy she's out here with us for awhile, but is it so very much to ask for just one little "thank you?" My rational self is now screaming "but the look on her face IS that thank you, you idiot!" and rational self is right. It is. We had a great fourth of july weekend, watched dolphins peer up at us from a steel grey ocean as pale poufs of jellyfish burbled by, sat in the evenmist as the sky flamed orange, gold and green, and gorged on pizza while playing Harry Potter trivia. I hope you and yours had half as much fun. Alter the gaze, bend your mind, accept and enjoy; these were my mantras this weekend. Thanks Picasso! Oh, and there was spinning: my first day of the Tour de Fleece. Sorry about the graininess, I'm blogging at midnight. Hard to get natural light at this time of day. *snorg* I have no idea what the wpi is on this. I spun it long draw and was gauging it by feel. Alden Amos would be so very mad at me. I'm not sure it will match what I already have. I sure hope so. From what I remember about this fiber (I really need to start keeping a spinning journal..oh, wait, that's why I started the blog. right.) it fluffs a great deal with a good whacking. Half a bobbin that reminded me why I put this roving down again and again. My hands hurt. Merino shouldn't make yer paws ache, my friends. But I'm reasonably pleased with the consistency. Reasonably. I really wish I could go to SOAR this autumn and take Abby Franquemont's workshop. *drool* That woman is a master. Just looking at her yarn makes me want to weep. Especially when I then examine what's sitting on my own bobbin. I'll try to re-orient my thinking: this is inspiration! Soak in the genius. Soak it I say! In this case, I think her yarn begs to differ with Picasso. Silk that fine is truth and art, my dear woolly friends. There's simply no way to hide a lie in good spinning. At least not that I've been able to find. And now, sweet readers, good night.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tour de Fleece 2008

In lieu of posting knitting progress, I give you my Tour de Fleece 2008 challenge: finishing the spinning (and maybe the knitting) of my top-down raglan cardi. The wool is 100% mernio in heathered brown. 2-ply worsted-weight. Easy spinning but here's the challenge: the prep on this fiber wasn't that great, so I'm constantly having to stop, pick out vm, etc. I don't enjoy spinning this wool, even though I pre-draft. But I love the finished yarn and I want to wear this sweater! So I'm using this opportunity to make myself finish, rather than spinning fun things like the silk/merino blend from Louet for my elm leaf smoke ring (pattern later).
So here's the cardi as she now stands:
And here's the remaining wool, ready to be spun:
Is that not the most unappealing pile of...wool (yes, we'll call it that for now)...that you've ever seen? But it really does make pretty yarn, I promise.
I WILL wear that yellow jersey!