Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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I finally finished spinning the neverending cormo/alpaca! That little bit in the photo ended up taking closer to 6-8 hours to spin, rather than the "couple of hours" I had guessed. Oy vey. I plied a sample and am looking forward to seeing the rest of it plied up:

Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca 2 ply sample

I can't guess how many yards it will be total, but it will be many hundreds. I've already spent 2 1/2 hours plying the main batch, with at least as much to go. I'm trying not to let it get to me, but I tell you, I'm getting really good at counting to 7.

Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca 2 ply sample

This little bit is 35 yards and weighs... very little (my regular scale does not do well on the low end):

Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca 2 ply sample

I think it will be nice stuff! Naturally, it will (eventually) become something lacy.

With the spinning done, I got the itch to start something else. All that birthday fiber I showed you? I didn't touch it. I wanted to practice spinning worsted weight, so I pulled out this merino I traded with Natasha back in January:

Luxe Merino in Earth and Sea
1 lb Luxe Fibre merino in Earth and Sea

I split it into 8 sections and then tore those into strips and arranged them to get good color distribution:

Luxe Merino in Earth and Sea

The last several months I've been very into fibers combining blues and browns. Something very organic/earthy about it. Then again, lately I've had a few cravings to spin hot pink, too...

I spun a sample and quickly realized that it's been a LONG time since I've spun anything heavier than sport weight. This will take some practice.

I'm pretty sure I'm suffering from startitis because after plying the sample, I promptly stopped and dug around for something else. This is Montadale roving from Christopher Hall that I purchased at last November's The Gathering:

Christopher Hall Montadale roving

I'm not used to spinning roving. Mostly I spin dyed top using a short forward or backward draw. With the Montadale I tried a longer point of contact draw; it was nice to play with a different (and faster) spinning style. This would make good social spinning.

Of course, after a while I got bored and wanted to spin something else. I don't know if I'm having that too-many-choices indecision (so many things I want to spin!), or if I'm having that post-major-project lull after the cormo/alpaca (though it still needs to be plied). I imagine that's more common with knitting. Have you felt it with spinning?

More happy news

I won a skein of Vesper Sock Yarn in Tandem!

Vesper Sock Yarn in Tandem

If you recognize it then you likely contributed to Claudia's MS Ride. Besides being a good cause, I won something last year, so I knew I would be contributing again. Woohoo!

Fall Anklets

Fall Anklets

Fall Anklets
Started:
6/23/07
Finished: 7/4/07
Pattern: basic toe up, same as the Summer Anklets
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino Sock in Origin (less than half a skein)
Needles: 2.5mm Addis
Notes: Me loves the Fleece Artist Merino Sock. Squishy soft, feels so good. Me loves quick anklets. Knit knit knit done!

Me slightly surprised by longer striping sequence in sock #2:

Fall Anklets

Me feet happy.

Fall Anklets

Beaucoup

I mentioned my burgening stash of beaucoup de sock yarn. More evidence:

Fleece Artist Merino Sock

Me loves the Fleece Artist Merino Sock! Origin, used in the anklets, is in the middle. Next pair, already started, uses Jester, second from left. Plain vanilla socks, good for mindless knitting.

How fast she grows!

For Bea:

IMG_4242
My Lily Bear

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.