The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Monday, April 20, 2009

There Has Been No Knitting

But there has been the finishing of the handspun.

After about 6 hours of plying, spread out over four evenings last week, I skeined up the Romance yarn. As the yarn loaded onto the bobbin, and I saw how the colors in the two plys were blending, I got really impatient to see the finished yarn. Each ply was on it's own bobbin, and once it was all plied there was only a few feet of singles left over on one bobbin. I wound it up on the niddy noddy and then, with some trepidation, tied up the skein in about 8 places and slipped it off. As expected, the skein immediately shriveled up into a mass of crinkly spaghetti.

Thank goodness for the forums and discussion groups on Ravelry! I read up on finishing techniques and on Sunday I gave the yarn several ten minute soaks: hot/cold/hot/cold.

Then I spun it in the washing machine and wacked it around against the shower wall. It straightened out beautifully and bloomed a good bit. I slipped it over a coat hanger and put it outside to dry. The skein was perfectly balanced; I was dutifully amazed at the magical transformation. Several hours later, in the warm, dry 80 degree heat, the yarn was perfectly dry and ready to be photographed.

It's not perfect; there's plenty of "character". There are thick spots and thin spots, but most of it is pretty uniform. My plying definitely improved over the course of the six hours. I came out with about 430 yards, weighing 4.6 ounces. It seems to be a heavy fingering weight overall, or perhaps a light sport weight. It's not quite as soft as I would like; it seems comparable to Cascade 220. But I am inordinately pleased with this. No, let's be honest; I have been freaking estactic over this skein of yarn and would like to run around showing it to everyone I know.

Actually, I am showing it to you all...

No sooner had I cuddled the finished skein than I found myself anxious to start another spinning project. Probably later today another roving will begin it's journey to yarndom. And this skein of Romance? Socks or a scarf...or perhaps even to be incorporated into a future, multicolored shawl? Oh, the possibilities. Oh, the fun of it all!

You don't think I've fallen into the dark side, do you?


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

12 Rows and a Milestone

I've been working away on the Maplewing Shawl. I'm currently on Row 12; those 600 stitch rows take a while! Now, thought, I've got enough of the pattern in to start seeing how the stitches and yarn overs work together. I'm getting even more anxious to see the pattern as it develops. And the yarn is fantastic! This is a beautiful blend of color that I really get into. Note the second lifeline. As much as I'm enjoying knitting this, I really don't want to have to rip back multiple rows of 600 stitches! And while I'm not going to use a lifeline on every row, I am going to use one every ten rows or so. Maybe less. It's all a matter of what I'm willing to redo, if it becomes necessary.

A milestone has been reached! I have finally finished spinning the singles of Sugar Bunny Boulevard roving in "Romance" that I started so long ago. Actually, almost two years ago to the day. I didn't realize it had been that long; shame on me. But possibly tomorrow I will start plying it. I have two bobbins of singles and I intend to do a two ply yarn with it. Then we will see what will become of it. Socks? Scarf? Cowl? Maybe mitts? Whatever it is, it will be the first project knit with my own handspun.

Milestone it may be, but Little Cat is still thoroughly bored.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

I'm Still Looking for that Rabbit

The one who left this little bucket of goodies for my mom. Have you seen him? I need a new playmate.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

600 Stitches

The Great Patio Redo is moving along. This is what it looks like now. Tomorrow the roof is scheduled to go on. I think we are going to be very happy with this.

I've finished the first Express Lane sock. Well, to be exact, I've left the cuff stitches on two spare DPN's until I finish the second sock, so that I can make sure the two socks match length wise. So I started the second sock, struggling again with the toe-up cast on, only to find that I had forgotten to cast on with the smaller needles I used for the foot. There's a lot of toe-up cast on practise going on around here, in case you haven't noticed. The second sock should go faster (if I remember to follow my own notes) than the first, since I've worked out the details now.

Then again, it may be a while before I spend a lot of time on the sock. I've succumbed to the lure of Knitspot's Maplewing shawl. I just kept gravitating back to it time and again and finally went over the edge. I ordered the Merino Laceweight from The Woolen Rabbit, in the same New England Red that the original shawl was knit with. I was so eager to start, I wound it up on Sunday and cast on immediately.

I had everything perfectly planned out. I cast on with a US 8 circular, so I could have the cast on nice and loose before shifting to the US 5 circular. I had plenty of stitch markers for the cast on, placing one every fifty stitches to keep track of the 600 (!) stitches I would be needing. Once cast on, I had plenty more stitch markers to mark each pattern repeat. I was taking my time and congratulating myself on how well the attention to detail was making this a piece of cake.

Except that I couldn't finish the first pattern row. I'd started row 1 after casting on 500 stitches instead of 600. Nothing like a little humility.

So far I've finished four pattern rows. I've already run a lifeline. There's no way I want to cast on 600 stitches again.

This is the most complex pattern I will have ever knitted. There is patternwork on every row. I'm feeling pretty confident, though (watch out!), since the Knitspot group on Ravelry should help me if I get stuck anywhere. Too bad they can't count stitches for me, though!

And if I need a break from lace, this came in the mail today. There simply isn't time to knit all the patterns I want to jump right in on.

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