Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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Thanks for the reassurances that things get easier sooner than 6 years from now. I needed to remember that last night. Over the last 2 weeks Baby Girl has gone from Easy Baby to "Fussy" Baby (which my sister reminds me is really Normal Baby). It's been a combination of gas / night light / overstimulation / overtiredness / heat. Boy, my troubleshooting skills really come into play here.

The night light we bought because the dark scared her, and she'd wake up and freak out. Turns out the night light meant poorer sleep (for all of us). She's been getting used to the dark and my reassurances, so it's become a non-issue.

The overstimulation was from too much fun. Now we know she can handle only so much playing before she is POOPED. (Lifting your head is hard work!)

The overtiredness was from being overstimulated! And when you're having fun, who thinks about sleep?? But then it hits you. And once overtired, man, it's tough to sleep. Now we keep an eagle eye out for signs of naptime.

Heat, well, not a lot we can do there. We're MELTing in this 90's heat. No A/C, either (casement windows). We always toughed it out before, but dealing with a baby in this weather is making us reconsider our options. Any suggestions on portable A/C's?

Gas, well, still working on that one. I've changed my burping technique and that helps. Also, a lot more belly massages and bicycling of legs going on. In fact, I spent a few hours doing that last night. And nursing. Between 11 pm and 3 am. Hence the need to remember that it does get easier!

Still, she's a relatively easy baby, and outside of those late night hours, I'd be quick to say it.

FBS

Much progress has been made on the Flower Basket Shawl:

FBS Redux - in progress

Ha! Bet you didn't expect to see it so grown!

The pattern uses a heavier weight yarn and only requires 6 repeats of the main chart. Naturally, as I neared the end of 6 repeats, I got kinda excited! Until I noticed the shawl was quite, well, tiny. When I checked my first FBS, I counted 12 repeats. 6 of 12 repeats put me at 30% complete. Ouch!

I've been chugging away, and while the rows feel quite long now (almost 300 stitches on the needles), I can feel the end is near. One more repeat and then an edging. Woohoo!

FBS Redux - in progress

Still loving the Sea Silk, but I'm worried the color will not suit my mom. I knit on anyway.

More Fleece Artist!

I needed mindless sock knitting, and I loved wearing my Summer Anklets, so I started another pair, this time in the Origin colorway:

Fleece Artist Sock yarn in Origin
Fleece Artist Merino Sock yarn in Origin

The color in the skein did not translate as expected when wound:

Fall Anklets - in progress

The contrasts between colors seems much sharper. And then the colors in the sock were unexpected as well. I definitely didn't expect striping, since Summer Anklet didn't much stripe:

Fall Anklets - in progress

However, the more I knit, the more I like it.

Sigh, I'm such a newb sock knitter, aren't I?

Spinning

The effort to empty bobbins has begun in earnest. The Spunky Eclectic merino/silk (Thunderstorm colorway) seemed the easiest to knock off. In a few days I spun the second 2 oz:

Spunky Eclectic merino/silk in Thunderstorm

and then plied:

Spunky Eclectic merino/silk in Thunderstorm - 2 ply

It needs a washing and whacking, but I am pleased with the results. 3.7 oz, 520 yards, enough for a small shawl. One bobbin freed!

This skein converted me to the treadle counting method of plying. I had always plied "by sight", meaning I'd watch the twist as I treadled and let it wind onto the bobbin when it "looked right". For bulkier and less barberpole-y yarn, this was not so bad. But for hard to see, endless yards laceweight, not so fun. Plus, I think the counting treadles method gives an overall more consistent yarn. I'm sold. (I still kept an eye on how it looked and adjusted my treadle count several times over the bobbin, though.)

Next up, the spun itsy bitsy Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca:

Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca

I will really like this yarn (or so I keep telling myself) but the spinning of it is making. me. nuts. Besides pulling out little neppies, the itsy bitsy-ness makes this 4 oz feel neverending. This second bobbin is taking me hours and hours and I still have this much left:

Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca

Which, granted, is not a lot, considering what I started with, but still, it probably represents another couple of hours of my life.

Scott said, Take a break, spin something else. But I'm persevering. If I don't finish it now, it may sit for many months more.

With Retro Rib Socks out of the way, I had to cast on for another pair of socks.

I know. I said I wasn't a sock person. I wasn't. But then, the belly thing happened, with attendant unpredictable sweater knitting. And before I knew it, I was in possession of beaucoup de sock yarn. Since then, even more sock yarn has found its way here. From Yarn4Socks.com:

Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sport
various Lorna's Laces

Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Ebony
Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Ebony

Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Ebony
in its full glory

That's some of it. I don't want you to hyperventilate or think me too insane. I'll spread out the photos...

The new socks-in-progress are Waving Lace Socks (also from IK's Favorite Socks):

Waving Lace Socks - started

and the yarn

Handdyed by Sheila of Wool2dye4

was dyed by Sheila of Wool2Dye4. Sheila was my Dye-O-Rama angel, since my pal went AWOL. I wasn't much of a sock knitter back then, so I was considering knitting a shawl, and waited for inspiration. I've been wanting to do something with this yarn all this time!

I wore my Flower Basket Shawl to my birthday sushi dinner, and it was all I could do to convince my mom she could not leave with it. Scott threatened to do a luggage check. She set out to tell me:

  • all the reasons why it was perfect for her (size, color, drape; you know, all the reasons I love it)
  • how much she really really really in-no-uncertain-terms liked it

If I weren't so attached to it, I would have waved bye-bye to it. Alas for my mom, I am. But, the only way I could:

  • convince her not to abduct it
  • feel okay about keeping my shawl

was to show her this skein of Sea Silk:

Handmaiden Sea Silk in Lily Pond

and promise to send her a like shawl in a few weeks. Because, you know, I have all this knitting time now. (Ha!)

I cast on this weekend:

FBS Redux - started

and as before, am enjoying the lusciousness that is Sea Silk. Good thing, because I happened to order some more in an, ahem, recent sale. Ahem.

(It seems that buying yarn is a replacement for knitting when you're time-poor. Don't tell me you don't know what I mean.)

This weekend I also made time for spinning! It's been a couple of months and I was definitely rusty. But, like riding a bicycle, it slowly came back to me. I'm not quite in my old groove yet, but I'm sure I'll get back there eventually. I've got almost 4 oz of Amy's superwash merino spun:

Spunky Eclectic Superwash Merino in Toronto
(see the fiber)

Soon we'll see what I remember of plying.