Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm not wasting my recovery time

I have felt pretty good the past week. I still get tired in the afternoons if I have a very busy morning (and since morning is when I'm normally the most energetic anyway, that's when I tend to over do it.

But most of my activities have been within the realm of permissible and not self-injurious.

First and foremost, I've been working on the green sweater.

This is a simple pull over, top-down yoked sweater that is using the Zimmerman percentage system. The yoke seems to be taking forever. Including the neck, it's 8 inches but I have to get it to 12 inches then start the sleeves. Now that it's 300 stitches around (to accomodate "the girls" and my ample ass), the progression in length has slowed considerably. But I do like the mindlessness the stockinette going round and round and I find it to be an excellent take-along project at this point.

The purple socks continue to progress at the rate of about 2 to 6 rows a day. But I'm at the point where the one sock is almost done. I'm probably going to go another inch or so on the leg then bind it off. The other sock has reached the point of the heel and I plan to start that this afternoon... or perhaps this evening or tomorrow morning.

I ripped out the entire Secret of the Stole I. I bogged down in the middle of clue 1 and never got out of the muck. I have all the clues, but I got frustrated with it and that's no way to feel about your lace.

So I started Icarus Shawl out of the book The Best of Interweave Knits. I'm on the second round of the first chart. This may not survive my annoyance levels either, but at least I'm trying. Over all, I'm finding that the lace thing is a little less difficult than I thought and my knitting skills are improving so I'm determined to get something done.

The putty-colored "fishnet" stole in cotton continues. Here it is on the 11th. I'm about 3/4s of the way done now. Errors...? Oh yeah, I made a bunch of screwed up moves including getting the whole thing backwards for the second half of it (I'm keeping it and calling it a design element) and several rows where I did one too many straight knits or one too few. But I am content that it will serve the purpose of working as a light scarf or head covering or even a dancing shawl. I do think I am going to dye it another color as the tedium of the yarn is really dreadful and something darker would hide many of my errors.

In spinning I'm making the most progress as I've been spinning every day and I just cannot tell you how nice that is.

I have finished all the dark brown bulky weight yarn. I ended up with just 690 yards which is really not enough to do anything substantial... but I may find a nice fiber that will make a nice contrast or complementary color and spin up enough to make a vest with a neat bold stripe in the middle.

I have started blending the grey Lincoln (Mo's wool) of which I have a pound with the remaining 1/2 pound of grey alpaca and 1/2 pound of black diamond bamboo. I'm doing that 0.6 ounces at a time because that is how much will fit on my drum carder. I did the first batt and Ken was there because I needed his help to lift the bin that was holding the bamboo. He hung around out of curiosity after doing this small chore and watched. The resulting batt made me go, "oohhh" and I held it out for him to feel.

"I like that shade of grey," he said. It's the first time he has even hinted that he liked something I was making with fiber.

"Do you like it enough that if I made you a sweater you would wear it?" I asked.

He reminded me that he doesn't wear sweaters but I noticed that as the night chill winds blew in that evening, he did pull on a jacket. I pointed out that a nice cozy sweater (like a wool/alpaca blend) would be really warm. He just shook his head and rolled his eyes.

But the next day he came in and helped me crank out a few more of those grey batts. Hmmmm.

Anyway, I am using lunch sacks to make sure my proportions stay on track. I weigh out .4 ounces of the grey lincoln (trying to get roughly 50/50 of light to dark) and stuff it in a lunch sack. Then I weigh .2 ounces of the bamboo and .2 ounces of the alpaca. These fibers also go into the sack.

Over at the drum carder, I hand fluff, pluck, pick the locks of wool. I put down a nice thin layer on the intake shoot of the carder. Then I lay over that a bit of the bamboo topped the a very thin "net" of wool, then put a bit of the alpaca on the fluff and finally top with another thin layer of wool. This goes into the carder and onto the drum. It takes about four of these "sandwiches" to make a batt. I pull the whole thing off. Strip it into four length wise, inspecting for neps, trash or vm, and pull them out thin width wise and crank back into the carder. I card each batt this way three times then I pull it off. I pull the whole thing length wise into a bit of roving about 4 or 5 feet long and wind it up and weigh it to make sure I didn't lose too much to the carder. Here is a batt after one pass through the carder and before I break it down to go through a second time.

So far, I have about 6 ounces prepped and I can hardly wait to spin it!

In the mean time, I'm spinning up the churro navajo/silk batts that I made from the churro navajo that I dyed this fall with the goldenrod and the poke berries. I'm spinning the singles nice and thin and a bit hard and as smooth as I can get them -- plucking out neps as I go along. It is coming out to be the prettiest stuff and I'm hoping to get a decent lace yarn from it.

This is closer to the real color the other was in the sun.

And I washed half of the tan and white alpaca fiber. I will probably wash the other half on Sunday. I do wish the staple was longer and the many, many second cuts are a real problem, but the stuff is so soft... well, I've ordered a pound of white corridale roving. I think I will have to just pay the alpaca lady for the fiber and be done with it for trying to spin it straight just isn't going to work. It's just too short. I'm hoping that blended with the corridale I will end up with something similar to a nice angora yarn.

I've decided I'm going to take the white cria fiber and blend it with merino and call it a day. I'll be broke once I pay the alpaca lady for it as I'm offering her twice what it actually worth but my conscious will be quieted and I won't be obligated to an impossible task.


sue said...

Looking at all the carding makes me want to haul out my carder and do some . I have been using roving I have dyed and just hand cards lately to combine fibers.

KC said...

Hi Cate! You sure have not been idle! I want to let you know that you won the November comment drawing at Knittin' Cacher! Please email me with your address so that I can send out your yarn!
kcqqltr at comcast dot net.
Congrats! Kathy

sophie said...

Cate, Thanks for visiting my blog. Wow, you are some prolific knitter/spinner!! I'll be following along so I can see all these projects when their all done ;-)

Elysbeth said...

Those batts are lovely. Great singles.

Knitman said...

The purple is stunning. I love purple. Neat socks. I must get some purple....