Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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December 2006 - Posts

New Year's came early! (My family celebrates New Year's, not Christmas.)

I saw a great deal on a barely used Ashford Joy Woolee Winder and jumped at the opportunity. It arrived quickly! Of course I had to spin something up. First I finished some white superwash for a 3 color 3-ply that I've been working on, off and on, for months. And plied it. (More on that soon.)

Then I started on some blue faced leicester Calico Cat that I had dyed up a while back:

Woolee Winder Woolee Winder

I agree with my original impression that it looks more camo than calico.

The WW screws into the Joy, replacing the entire flyer/bobbin assembly. It's not a tight fit, however. There is some wriggle room. At Rhinebeck, when Anne and I were spinning on our Joys, I noticed a difference between her flyer and mine. Mine seemed to be just a hair longer, or shorter, I forget which, so we weren't able to interchange our flyers (we were troubleshooting some wobbling on hers, I think).

That the WW doesn't fit my Joy in exactly the same way is not so surprising. I think there were some changes made between when her Joy was made and when mine was made. Or, if I'm making that up, maybe mine is just off. Either way, I hear the WW folks are helpful, so I'll give them a shout and see what's what.

Meanwhile, I cut out the centers of some flat cork pieces to temporarily make the bobbin flush. Of course, I don't have a picture to show you.

Now that I'm writing this, I'm sure I'm not being all that clear.

Calico Cat 2, bobbin 1
a bit faded but shows the color variation

Do you see how the singles are winding more on one end than the other? That's because the hole where the flyer screws in is a little shallower than the WW flyer is made for. So, there's room for the bobbin to move. Consequently, the bobbin doesn't wind evenly.

Well, I tried. It's late. I don't think I can explain it any better. :P

Calico Cat 2 is spinning up differently than the original. Both are BFL, I think, but I like the other BFL better. I think this one will still have an interesting tweedy thing going on when plied. This photo is darker, but I think the colors are more accurate:

Calico Cat 2, bobbin 1

What do I think of it? The WW, I mean?

It's different. I don't have quite the same "humming classical music" feeling that I used to get with the Joy. It did take some adjusting.

The bobbins are larger and pack more tightly so I can fit 4 oz on a bobbin, vs 2 oz, which is a HUGE plus.

Not having to change hooks is AWESOME. But it also means I have to consciously stop to take a break. I'm not used to that.

The WW really ROCKS when it comes to plying. Not having to change hooks while plying and being able to fit a lot more onto a bobbin makes a TREMENDOUS difference. Not losing the plying rhythm is NICE!!!

I miss the "humming classical music" feeling. I don't know if I'll get it back with time. But I really like the uninterrupted spinning. It's a trade off.

I'm contemplating getting one for my Schacht. I'll see how it goes. I wouldn't use it for laceweight, but for other weights, it might come in handy. And for plying. Especially if the bobbins are larger than the Schacht's already larger bobbins.

Do any of you Schacht owners have a WW? What do you think?

Do any of you Schacht owners have a WW for another wheel but not the Schacht? Why?


PS: The Guernsey Dress pattern is from Cotton Knits for All Seasons.

Thanks for the nice comments on the handspun scarf! If you do end up knitting one yourself, do send me a photo or link, I'd love to see your version.

I have not been much of a blogger lately. I have plenty of stuff to talk about: dyeing, spinning, new fiber acquisitions. I've even been taking photos at lunch when the sun deigns to shine. However, the blogging just hasn't been happening.

The main culprit: Scott's first semester of college classes is coming to an end, and we've been ramping up to tackle research papers and exams. The last 2 weeks have been exhausting for him, tiring for me. I don't like MLA so much. Let's just say, we'll both be glad when classes end tomorrow!

I've been sick, too. Caught a cold last week. I coulda used some cold medicine. Just sayin'. Still have a nagging tickle in my throat, but otherwise back to normal.


The Project is complete, sent, and in the hands of the recipient, so I can actually talk details! This was tough to keep quiet, as evidenced by my vague and nonsensical posts. The FO is just so cute and perty, it's hard not to want to share.

Guernsey Dress

Guernsey Dress
Finished: 12/5/06
Pattern: Guernsey Dress by Debbie Bliss from Cotton Knits for All Seasons
Yarn: 5 skeins Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton in pink (#125600)
Needles: #2, 3
Notes: This was knitted at a smaller gauge than I'm used to, and the lower dress portion felt like it went on a while; once I got to the decreases and patterning section, it went much more quickly.

Guernsey Dress - detail

Erin mentioned that only a friend would knit bobbles, and she's right. I'll admit, when I first settled on the pattern I did consider omitting them. I'm just not a bobble fan! But they're few and really do add to the charm.

The front design is repeated on the back, no shortcuts there. The sleeves are simpler, but still very patterned. The seed stitch / cable combo makes for a denser knit; they softened somewhat in the wash, but they did feel sturdier to me than the body. I hope it looks fine on the baby.

Scott picked out the buttons. Despite being colorblind, he's my go-to guy for advice/opinions on color and buttons.

Guernsey Dress - buttons

I've mentioned before that it's a fussier knit than I'm used to. In fact, I would say (with a blush) that I wouldn't knit something so complicated for my own child! I don't knit such patterned things for myself, either. I guess I'm a lazy knitter, through and through (albeit with high standards). This one was definitely worth the effort, though, and I kept thinking about Erin's baby girl wearing it as I knit.

The only thing I would change in the future (not that I'll knit this particular dress again) is how I did the neck decreases. Hindsight being 20/20, I figured out a better way to do it after the front was already done. Ah well. Next time.

(Beth left a comment on Erin's post wondering how I parted with the dress. I did want to keep it to gaze upon its cuteness. Debbie Bliss knits will do that to you. But, besides knitting it expressly for Erin, the wool content sealed the deal. I shall try to stand firm on the "no wool knits for baby" rule for as long as I can.)

I put a rush on starting and finishing this scarf so I could post the pattern:

Handspun Scarf in 2-ply Finn

And the flip side for the colors:

Handspun Scarf in 2-ply Finn

Handspun Scarf
Finished: 12/13/06
Pattern: my own, link below
Yarn: 195 yards handspun 2-ply Finn in Strawberry Fields
Needles: #8
Notes: This was a quick knit, from just 195 yards of handspun. The original scarf was my 2006 Knitting Olympics project:


and I really wanted to test knit it in handspun again to make sure it passed the, uh, non-cashmere test. Oh yeah, and the non-solid color test. I think it works.

Download Pattern


12/16/06: In the written directions, Row 2 should read: "Row 2 and even rows". Thanks, Windyridge! The current PDF has been corrected.

Ironically, the winner of the contest voted girl because she was using reverse logic because she really thought it was a boy. I think. :)

TextileJunkie Michelle guessed:

uh boy, but I'm another one that has been 0-3 on my own, so if I'm saying boy that means it will be a girl. So if I say girl, that means it will most likely be a boy allowing me to be correct for once. So I'm going to say girl - which means boy :-)

This was also one of my favorite guesses.

Congratulations, Michelle! Let me know if you want the Sunfires superwash or the mystery yarn prize.

I was surprised by a few things. First, of 92 guesses, they were evenly split, 46-46, for girl and boy.

  • 5 people put a lot of weight on intuition, and 3 on the dream I had.
  • 3 people thought boy because of how I'm carrying.
  • 3 people saw a trend of girls and voted girl; 4 were seeing too many girls and voted boy for balance.
  • 2 people used statistics.
  • 2 people, including Michelle, used reverse logic.
  • And, 1 voted based on a 'best 2 out of 3' coin toss.

Fascinating stuff.

To Karen - thank you for the shawl compliment!

For Kim ("You did however get a blue button, so I am going to say a boy") - the blue buttons were used here:

The Project - buttons

on pink! But, it's a gift.

And for J a r e d ("i guess a boy. preferrably one who knits") - you can be sure that, girl or boy, this kid will be up to their ears in fiber, knitting, spinning, dyeing and whatever else I pick up along the way.

In the works

I'm reknitting Buttercup in a different yarn and with modifications so that I can write up the pattern:

Buttercup in red, in progress

Though I like the yarn (Cascade 220), I'm not sure I like the yarn in this pattern. The pattern worked really well in the original cashmere. Perhaps I'll dig around to find another yarn.

After that, I'll write up a quick pattern for the spin-dye-knit-a-scarf pattern.

Both are easy knits for the holidays.


The night after the ultrasound, I could really feel her moving around. Scott said he felt her move twice! Last night I felt a definite kick when I was lying in bed.

The first trimester was not so fun, between morning sickness, exhaustion, hormones and dealing with body issues and rapid changes. The latter was hardest.

I've always been about my size, about my weight. From high school to now (20 years), I've stayed within a 10 pound range. Not from dieting or conscious effort, but because... well, I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I'd rather have an extra helping of mashed potatoes than eat dessert. I'll buy sweets or snacks, but have them sit around the house because I don't think to eat them. I can't eat more than a bite or two of milk chocolate before the sweetness overwhelms me. And if I do eat a bunch of sweets, I get painful bumps on my tongue that take days to go away. I guess my body naturally regulates and I try to pay attention.

(And, yes, I choose 12 grain instead of white bread. I have to believe that helps, too.)

Suddenly gaining weight spun my concept of me. Even knowing it was from the pregnancy (or hoping it was), I freaked out.

Do you know, in Japan, when I visit my relatives, one of the first things they will do and say when they see me, is to touch my cheeks and tell me, smiling, futtota. I don't know if something is lost in translation, but futoru means to get fat or to gain weight. Futtota is past tense. You've gained weight. You've gotten fatter. Me. Futtota. Yeah. Right. A tough body image to carry.

And don't get me started on the boobs! I got over my disappointment years ago at having, shall we say, modest boobs. Not only that, but I've enjoyed, over the years, not having to wear a bra or sports bra all the time. Boy, did the new boobs take getting used to. Looking like a woman, and not the girl I've gotten used to seeing. And, having to have some kind of support for them, all the time, cuz damn they're heavy.

And the exhaustion. No fun. Period.

But as the second trimester kicked in, the exhaustion abated; I got used to the new body and mourned the loss of the old one, and began to focus on the reason behind all these changes. The ultimate goal. A little goober. A little girl goober. Perspective. And letting go.

And now, after seeing the ultrasound and seeing her move, and with movement I can feel, both inside and out, it's exciting! And fun! Connection.

In my dream, she was holding my finger. Tiny fingers, reaching through my belly to hold my finger. And I knew she was a girl. That's what it's about, isn't it? A little life, holding on to yours, learning and growing and teaching you something about yourself.

What a fun contest! I enjoyed reading the entries, from pure guesses, intuition and wishful thinking, to logic, half-logic, and half-baked-logic -- I loved them all!

When I was a kid in Toronto there was a jump rope song we sang; I don't remember most of it, but the title refers to:

"Purl, purl, it's a girl and daddy's going cra-zy"

Of course, I'm sure they didn't mean "purl". ;)

It's a she! And she's healthy and checks out fine.

The ultrasound was wicked cool. We could see all four chambers of the heart, beating; bones, fingers (5 and 5!), brain, spine, feet, femurs, tibias, the works. I was lying back so my view was not the greatest, but Scott insisted she had my nose, and he had the doctor go back to show me. I think he's right. Isn't it amazing that you can tell such things at 20 weeks?

She's active, she's healthy, she's a girl. And we couldn't be happier.

We've been running around to 3 different libraries gathering materials for Scott's research paper so the contest results will wait 'til tomorrow. Thanks everyone for playing and for entertaining me throughout the day!

Tomorrow is our ultrasound. Can't wait!

For kicks, let's have a little contest. Let me know if you think it's a girl or a boy. I'll draw a winner randomly from those that are right! Prize will be 4 oz superwash merino in my Sunfires colorway if you're a spinner, or some yet to be determined yarn if you haven't caught the bug yet.

Contest closes Dec 7 at 6 pm. It's not that much time, so your chances are fabulous! I'll likely be at BASD tomorrow night so I won't be able to post until Thursday.

Should I tell you I've had 2 dreams that it's a girl? Would that sway your opinion?

Have my dreams been prophetic in the past? Well, since we don't see giant soda can monsters roaming cities and wreaking havoc, I'm going with no. I've also not been shot in the ear, and have yet to fly through department stores with a jet pack strapped to my back (boy, was that fun!). So, you'll have to interpret it as you will.

Buttons: Check!

The Project, button

The Project is buttoned, washed and laying flat to dry. Yay!

I'm really happy with how it came out. More work than expected, and a bit fiddly, but definitely worth the effort. Look how cute:

The Project, detail

Please dry soon!

And, Pink Panther sock one is done:

Pink Panther socks, first sock done!

I turned the heel 3 times and knit the top cuff twice. I'm pleased with the results. The striping, though I'd prefer it to straddle the heel, is not broken; and the top 2x2 rib is hidden since I started it after the first full black row. I used extra black that I cut from the heel so there's only a few yards left over. Sock 2 is already in progress. Unbelievable!