Monday, July 19, 2010

Super Scientific

It took me a week to spin the first half of the shetland. This weekend, I decided that I didn't want to spend another week staring at that fiber and I spun the other half in, essentially, two sessions, on Saturday and Sunday. Mostly on Sunday, since I actually spent part Saturday finishing the first half.

I can see from putting the two bobbins side by side that my super-scientific method of folding the length of top in half and splitting it at the center point did not give me an even distribution of fiber across bobbins. It may be time to buy a larger scale. I have a really cheap one that is exactly big enough to fit a ball of yarn and nothing more. Not really effective for fiber measurements, so I pretty much eyeball everthing.

Tour de Fleece 2010 - 053

I'm actually pretty okay with these two being uneven, since I suspect the singles at the beginning of that first bobbin probably aren't that great anyway, since it took me a while to figure out they didn't have enough twist to hold together properly.
The second bobbin actually probably has a lot more twist than the first, because I was annoyed, and trying to spin quickly, which means I had to fight the urge to run the wheel like an exercise bike (sometimes...I didn't fight it).

I've continued knitting the Maia shawl every time I could come up with a reason not to be spinning (such as "My back hurts!" "I'm tired!" "I HATE THIS STUPID FIBER!").

Tour de Fleece 2010 - 051

The pattern directs to repeat chart E 5 times, and in this photo I had done exactly one row of the fifth repeat. I think I'm going to do two extra repeats. For one thing, I have a crap-ton of yarn - the pattern calls for something like 400 and I have somewhere around 700. Also, my yarn is slightly lighter than a normal fingering weight and I'm using a size 4 needle (the pattern directs a size 5) since that's what I used with this yarn last time and I was happy with the results (also, I could not find my size 5 needle tips).

As you can see (or not, since it gets a little blurry), the shawl currently measures about 7 inches down the center spine. Using my usual super-scientific methods, I dropped the tape measure down my back, pinched it at the spot I would like the shawl to reach, and checked and it was about 13 inches. I MIGHT get that kind of length out of it after blocking (keeping in mind there are two more charts to be worked after the last repeat of chart E), but I'd rather be sure. Two extra repeats, at slightly less than an inch per repeat, should give me some insurance. Plus, look at that ball. I've barely made a dent in the yarn.

That said, someone on the forum posted that she had finished the chart Es and she hadn't even touched her second ball of yarn, and did the last two charts really take up that much? The answer was I'm trying to keep that in mind.

Someone on the forum asked me to post my progress since she is a little behind me and also using a slightly lighter yarn (I believe she is using Schaefer Heather, which I covet greatly), so I did something out of character and weighed my yarn. I had 85.2 grams left at the time that picture was taken. Someone else asked me how many yards I had used. This stumped me for a little bit since I hadn't weighed the yarn beforehand. The label for Audrey says that it starts at 4 oz, which google informs me is equal to 113 grams. So I did the math and determined that I had 13 yards left to finish my project.

Okay, there was no possible way that could be right, so I e-mailed the SO and asked for help, and spent some time pouting about the fact that my teachers were right about the usefulness of all those stupid word problems. Happily, I figured out my mistake before he e-mailed me back, so I don't have to feel totally stupid, though I did wait for his answer to confirm my numbers before I posted, just in case. Unless we have both lost our minds, I have used 172.2 yards.

Of course, the odds of the skein being a perfect 113 grams and 700 yards are pretty low, I figure, so I'm expecting to find out I have actually used more than that. It's probably more accurate to say I have 528 yards left.

There have been glimpses of the third shawl in the series on Romi's blog regularly, and I am so eager for it. Having used Audrey for the first two shawls in the series, I am seriously thinking of using it for the third. I'm also contemplating getting some Schafer Heather. I've always wanted to try Heather for socks but none of the local shops carry it. Actually, that's not true, I think Knit Happens carries it, but frankly, it's a bit of a difficult area to find parking in, so I really dislike going out there. I may call and see if they have either yarn in stock in the Indigo colorway, since if you call ahead and tell them what you want, they will run it out to your car. Though, I'd really like to visit Fyber Space which is in the same area, and Bead Obsessions. That area is full of great shops. It's too bad it's also so full of people and cars, and so low on parking.

I'm really enjoying these small shawl knits and the e-book subscription. The only problem is, it distracts me from spinning.

One of the things I have learned from doing the Tour de Fleece, and I have learned much, is that knitting is still my first love. I enjoy spinning, I love making yarn, but if you give me the choice between the two - I'd rather be knitting. This doesn't mean I'm going to stop spinning at all by any means. I'm just going to try in the future not to torture myself with trying to do nothing but spin for weeks at a time!

Despite my difficulties with the Pomegranate fiber, I'm not too, TOO behind on my goals. Knowing myself and the demands of my job, I calculated what I thought I could do and then gave myself some leeway. The kicker will be the extra spinning I will have to do for the challenge day. I'm pretty sure I can finish my last bag of the four I wanted to get through, but finishing that challenge bag of merino may be more difficult.

Or not, who knows. Since I have so much trouble drafting merino, I'll probably spin it at a heavier weight than the easier wools, and if that's the case I may actually get through it faster. This is another thing I have learned - the finer you spin a yarn, the longer it takes to go through the same amount of fiber. Which explains why going through 2 oz in a sitting was a breeze when I first started out, and now it seems like 2 oz takes foooooreeeeevveeeerrrr.