Monday, March 2, 2009

Busy Butterfly

I say butterfly, instead of bee, because bees do not spin and butterflies do. I have spun my little heart out - well, really, I've spun my little BACK out. I think I need a lower chair for spinning. I don't have nearly as much difficulty at my Monday night spinning class as I do at home. It may be that I'm spending longer on the wheel at a stretch at home, I'm not sure. I haven't timed myself. Anyway, I'm going to take a couple of days off spinning at any rate (even though Tuesdays are for spinning) because I really overdid it a bit and my back is pretty sore.

What all did I do? Why, I did this!

And this!

And this!

Yeah, you're computer's not broken. There's no picture there. I took pics and didn't get them off the camera again. So, the written word will have to suffice.

I have recklessly abandonned all the stuff I was in the midst of spinning. The purple batt and the wine red corriedale are sitting off to one side. For one thing, I had homework for spinning class. I had to spin two full bobbins of singles to take so that I could learn to ply at the next class. I dutifully spun my two bobbins, and I came back with two bobbins worth of 2-ply yarn. Washing and setting will be the next class.

Meanwhile, I got a nice big box in the mail. KGD (formerly known as SOMom) expressed an interested in some handspun because she likes textured yarn, and I thought, I know just the thing!

Back when the Yarn Harlot did the Tour de Fleece, she posted about Spinderella thrum mixes, and how it's impossible to spin an even single from them, so you just kind of have to relax and let it go. I thought, that might be a really great source fiber to make a nice, textured yarn and it sounded like fun, so I ordered it, and I started spinning it. Unfortunately, life interfered a bit, so I only got four skeins spun, plied, and set before the birthday dinner. But, I got what I wanted out of it - it's very textured, and all four skeins seem to be well balanced, so I felt pretty good.

Except for the color, which was not at all what I expected. I am actually wondering a little bit if the wrong thing got put in the box. But, KGD liked it so no big deal. And, to make the whole experience even better, when I opened the box there was a SECOND bag of fiber in a different colorway, and a note on the invoice that she couldn't find a smaller box so she just stuffed some extra fiber in there. Then it said, "Sorry!" and I just laughed. It's not a small amount of fiber, either!

I also got my Spunky Eclectic shipment for the month. This time it was 4 oz of Corriedale with yellows, orangey reds, and a littel bit of brown. I haven't touched my January fiber yet, since my last experience with merino made me a little gun-shy. I'm kind of holding off on it until I can draft a little better (or until I have time to really thoroughly pre-draft). But, I thought to myself - Corriedale I can do! And I did. I spent most of Saturday spinning it. At first, I thought I would try to keep the colors in order - not by Navajo plying or anything complicated like that, but just by predrafting and then splitting the predrafted roving down the middle.

It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be (I really can't imagine why I thought it would be easy, because if it were, why would people learn to chain ply? clearly I am not as smart as I think I am). I had some trouble drafting the fiber, because it didn't occur to me to open the fiber up a little bit after unrolling it from the bump, even though it was clearly still twisted and the whole premise of spinning is that twist keeps the fibers from moving. Duh. Once I figured that one out (dumbass) I had a much easier time, but I don't have enough control yet to keep the thing from falling apart, so of course I had thin spots and when I went to tear the pieces in half they didn't want to cooperate and it was just kind of a mess.

I persevered through the first half of the fiber, but - I really didn't care for the results, so I just spun the second bobbin in no particular order. I let the bobbins rest overnight and then plied them on Sunday afternoon.

I don't think my color is really a success. I had a boyfriend in high school that would mix all his condiments together on his plate and dip his french fries in them, and that's what my end result reminded me of. I think I need to get a book on how to deal with color in spinning. I clearly do not have a clue.

But, but, but! The end result is clearly the best spinning I have done to date. It still varies quite a bit in thickness, but overall it is much thinner and there are places where it acutally looks kind of a little like commercial yarn. This tickles me to no end. I don't necessarily want to spin something that I could just go buy off the shelf - I just want to be ABLE to spin something that I could just go buy off the shelf. At the very least, I want to spin something that could generally be classed as worsted or sport as opposed to, you know, super bulky huge. I'm making progress.

I have also made progress on the Caribbean sock (note to self - do not name projects things you cannot spell). I got through the heel turn and gusset decreases, and now I'm headed down the foot. I don't know how I feel about the yarn; it doesn't seem to bounce back the way wool does when I put them on (it's a wool-bamboo blend), but that really doesn't matter once the sock is made - it should (hopefully) return to its shape when I wash it. It's only a nuisance now because I keep putting the sock on to see how much farther I have to go.

I also worked on my sweater, but I'm still not quite where I was at the restart. I plan to get back on the exercise bike this week, though, and I may be able to add some more length onto it during my exercise time, as long as I can find a way to keep it off my legs/lap.

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