The Week August 21-27

Last week:

    • Start chewing soft food.
      I ate Triscuits, my current food obsession, so I’m pretty much back to all-normal food. Hurray!
    • Get Ethan, middle son, ready to go to his first year of college 8/23.
      He’s not ready, physically packing-wise or mentally. We should have let him take a gap year – he’s not even 18 (his birthday is early September). But the show must go on, tuition has been paid.
    • Continue working on the summer top.
      I’m really unhappy with how it’s turning out and have put it in time out for the moment. I used the Flinders Sweater Vest pattern because a tank top is basically a vest and a vest is basically a tank top, but the neckline is way, way too low on me and four rows of 2×2 ribbing aren’t going to fix that. I don’t want to rip it all the way back to near the beginning again, but I also don’t want to continue with it, nor do I have another pattern I’d like to use. So into timeout it goes.

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  • Start spinning something new.
    Nope. I spent potential spinning time on social media attempting to debate with people about what’s going on regarding Charlottesville, white nationalists, the state of the Presidency, etc. I don’t think I made a difference. I did use Resistbot every day to make my views known to my Senator, signed some petitions, and persuaded 2 friends that their viewpoint was wrong-headed because they hadn’t considered all the information. I don’t get out much, so social media is my social outlet a lot of the time. I also happen to live in one of the richest counties in the US, so even when I do get out, I’m very insulated from the problems.I did stumble upon something small that could help make a difference; Hearts for Cville is a project started by an LYS in Charlottesville to hang knit and crochet hearts around town to promote healing in the wake of the rallies and deaths that occurred on August 12. I think it’s a sweet idea, so I’ve already knit two hearts using leftover sock yarn. I also posted about it on FB and in my knitting groups offering to be a collection point for hearts if anyone wants to join in. I’d do the same for all of you except it makes more sense for you to send them directly to the LYS. All the details are in the About section of the Hearts for Cville FB page (linked above), including pattern & labeling suggestions.
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My first, slightly wonky, stuffed heart for #HeartsforCville

This week:

  • Take Henry to load his locker on Tuesday, get him ready for the 1st day of school Thursday.
  • Help Ethan pack and move him in to JMU on Wednesday.
  • Work on Aranami/Imanara.
  • Make more hearts for Charlottesville.
  • Wrap & send Steph’s baby gifts. (Potential blog post.)
  • Write a post about my Knit Together Square and send it off to Melissa.
  • Set up lunch with Cecily & Rachelle. (Putting it here so I don’t forget.)

The Week August 14-20

Last week:

  • Saturday morning I have an appointment to have a cracked tooth pulled and an implant started. This is my first extraction since having my wisdom teeth out years ago and I’m a little nervous, but I’m looking forward to not having a tooth that complains about cool breezes, much less hot or cold foods.
    Done – it wasn’t as bad as tooth-pulling nightmares, but it also wasn’t the most pleasant experience. I’m still not able to chew.
  • Brandon, my oldest, goes back to school on Friday, a day early because he volunteered to help the university/other students with move-in day. I think my husband is taking him & helping him move in, so I will have a day of quiet at home instead of spending 6 hours in the car.
    Done – we took care of all the last minute stuff and he’s all settled in.
  • Continue working on the summer top and/or Aranami.
    I ripped the summer top back to just below the bust so I can put waist shaping in and stretch the amount of yarn that I’ve got. I may still have to use another yarn for the ribbing in the collar, arms, and hem. Worked a little bit on Aranami.

Aranami

  • Start spinning something new.
    Nope. This week, maybe.
  • Decide on a yarn for my Knit Together project square and start. I’ve pretty much decided on a stitch pattern and square construction, and I’m sure I’ll write about that, but I’m not sure that it’s going to be this week.
    Done.
  • Continue with the new embroidery project during the day when the light is good.
    Finished. Here it is:

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  • Go to TKD Tuesday & Thursday.
    Done.
  • Start strength training again, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
    Kind of done.

This week:

  • Start chewing soft food.
  • Get Ethan, middle son, ready to go to his first year of college 8/23.
  • Continue working on the summer top.
  • Start spinning something new.

The Week August 7-13

Last week:

  • Carry on with Aranami.
    Done, though only a little.
  • Embroidery: finish the top half of the fox pillow design.
    Done: I finished the whole thing and bought a pillow form to fill the case!
Finished fox pillow
Finished fox pillow!
  • Spinning: carry on.
    I finished spinning and finishing (washing & whacking) all the in-progress stuff, counted yardage and weighed everything and put it all in my stash on Ravelry. I even wrote about it all here yesterday!
  • Go to TKD at least once to practice before testing, go Thurs or Fri to test. Practice form right before test to warm up.
    Done. I went Monday and practiced at home Thursday and Friday before the test. I had Henry (my 13 year old 2nd degree black belt who recently started teaching) check my form right before the test. Ethan, my middle kid who’s leaving for college soon, helped administer the test. I was shaky during my form, forgot to kiap (shout) while sparring, but broke the board with a side kick on the first try.
  • Go to the gallery. Take Ky or Becky, but go.
    Nope. I’m going to have to take this off the list.
  • Decide on next step for gallery/artist thing and stuff down all that doubt.
    I finished the fox embroidery so I feel free to do other stuff now, namely my own embroidery and other fiber projects that would be for a gallery type setting, stuff that doesn’t really fit anywhere else except maybe my etsy shop. I even started a new piece using fabric from a felted sweater and handspun singles! Anyway: the plan is to do a handful of more pieces and noodle through my goals and (maybe) an artist statement.

I also started another summer top using free-to-me yarn that one of the knitter’s in my Wednesday group brought to share/donate. It’s Garnstudio’s Bombul/Lin (Cotton/Linen). Details will be on Ravelry here once I settle on what I’m doing with it; I already ripped it out once because it was way too small.

I got a package from Melissa of Knitting the Stash fame with DPNs and instructions for a really cool group project. You can read all about it on Melissa’s blog, but I’ll definitely be posting more about it. I started thinking about what I want to do with my square and which yarn to use.

And I lucked into/bought/donated money for a print of a new mural that’s a public art project in my town. I just started following the town’s public art organization on twitter and to pay for a new fabulous mural on a building, they were offering prints of the mural for a donation. I really like the color and style of the mural so I jumped on it, and even bought a frame, cut it (carefully using my rotary cutter!) to size, and hung it in my kitchen yesterday. You can see a pic of the mural on the building here.

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The new print hanging over my pantry doors

This week:

  • Saturday morning I have an appointment to have a cracked tooth pulled and an implant started. This is my first extraction since having my wisdom teeth out years ago and I’m a little nervous, but I’m looking forward to not having a tooth that complains about cool breezes, much less hot or cold foods.
  • Brandon, my oldest, goes back to school on Friday, a day early because he volunteered to help the university/other students with move-in day. I think my husband is taking him & helping him move in, so I will have a day of quiet at home instead of spending 6 hours in the car.
  • Continue working on the summer top and/or Aranami.
  • Start spinning something new.
  • Decide on a yarn for my Knit Together project square and start. I’ve pretty much decided on a stitch pattern and square construction, and I’m sure I’ll write about that, but I’m not sure that it’s going to be this week.
  • Continue with the new embroidery project during the day when the light is good.
  • Go to TKD Tuesday & Thursday.
  • Start strength training again, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – I worked out just before sitting down to write this, so I’ve begun. I hate starting over, but it has to be done instead of just thinking how great it would be if I did start lifting again.

This list is getting a little out of hand again, but I think I can do it all. That’s how it always starts but maybe, just maybe it’s a busy week and not me having unreasonable expectations.

Addendum to Tour of My Tour de Fleece

It’s already been too long since TdF ended and I got my projects mixed up in my last post. I did just finish spinning a batt of merino naturally dyed with indigo and butterfly bush, but I started that after TdF. I forget about two other yarns that I spun between the last part of my TdF and the blue-green batt: two batts that I got last spring as part of a fiber exchange.

The first batt had my favorite colors: blue and green. The maker also included brown, and lots of different fibers and textures that were quite an adventure to spin. I started spinning the batt on my wheel from the brown side in May and then paused, taking it back up at the end of the tour. During Tdf, I split the batt into roving (not dizzed, just torn/split) roughly along color lines, brown to green to blue, to make it easier to spin and to preserve the striping in the final yarn, which I chain plied. Regrets: not taking a picture before spinning (I promise, it was a beautiful batt), not weighing it. The finishing yarn is 46g and 90yds.

The second batt was brown and very obviously hand processed by the maker from a specific sheep breed. What was the breed? Did she really prepare it, taking it from fleece to batt? I don’t know – she hasn’t been on Facebook since I posted in the group about my finished yarns. I was hoping she would remember the breed and maybe have pictures of the batts, but alas, it’s ultimately my bad for waiting so long to spin them and not keeping her letter with them. You may think my memory is really bad (it probably is) but she also sent chocolates and I still remember how delicious those were.

So the second batt I also split lengthwise into a continuous strip of roving-like wool. I also chain plied it to use up all the singles at once, and ended up with 30g, 66 yards yards of fingering weight yarn. It seems I can only spin fingering; I need to try spinning larger, which is at odds with my deep-seated desire to get the most out of the fiber by spinning it thick enough for the singles not to break easily but thin enough for me to feel like I’m stretching it.

last of the TdF yarn
The Real TdF yarn (left) and it’s buddy

Well. I can’t let that inaccurate information in my last post stand, so feel free to check out the new updated version (probably with lots of strike through) if you haven’t already.

Belated Tour of My Tour de Fleece 2017

Before we get much further into August, I thought I’d write post about Tour de Fleece before I forget everything. I’m pretending the Tour just ended along with July for as long as I can before my middle son heads to college and my oldest returns to college. Anyway…

I joined a sort of familiar team on Ravelry, Team Fibernate and Solitude Wool. I’ve known the Solitude Wool women for a few years and I knew a few of the team members, like The Fiberists, but I wasn’t familiar with Fibernate. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend all of the in-person meet-ups and missed out on the neat passport system the team started – attend an event, get a stamp, and at the end of the TdF, the people with the most stamps are entered into a prize drawing. Next year, next year – the events all looked fun and interesting and online encouragement & camaraderie are great, but nothing beats both in person. But I didn’t participate in TdF at all in 2016, so I’m just happy I spun this year and had a team to keep up with in terms of pretty yarn making pictures.

I didn’t have any specific goals in mind this year other than to spin each day, which was easy until I got the Wonder Woman Shawl commission. I began the Tour spinning a braid of Spunky Eclectic BFL on my spindles since I was out of town that first weekend. I initially just split the braid in half and started, but I decided I didn’t want to do a 2 ply or chain ply it – I wanted to break the colors up more and try fractal spinning. So when I got home, I guestimated how much I’d already spun (not much) and split the remaining fiber into thirds. I continued to spin the first third as it was dyed, with the color sequence pink, teal, pink, teal, pink (or something like that). The second third I broke in half, then in half again so I had 4 thin strips of roving: (pink, teal, pink, teal, pink) x 4. And the last third, I broke into 8 even thinner strips of (pink,teal, pink,teal, pink). In theory, this breaks the color up enough so that when plied the resulting yarn is less likely to be a solid color.

Spunky Eclectic BFL in Ballroom Dancing
Starting Braid – Spunky Eclectic BFL in Ballroom Dancing

The yarn I ended up with is mostly the classic barber pole look that results from a fractal spin, but I think a fractal spin is more suited to 3 or more colors because there were a few spots where I ended up with a solid strand, though some of the plies varied tonally.

The other thing that I didn’t even think about was the visual blending of the colors – the resulting skein is much more purple than what I anticipated. When the braid was dyed, the pink and teal mixed in a few places to make purple (or perhaps Amy dabbed some purple in a few spots), but I didn’t think the final skein would have the overall purple tone it does – it’s kind of magical. Caveat: color theory is a weak point for me. I did take a color theory class at one of my local yarn stores with an indie dyer who shall remain nameless because instead of starting with the color wheel and jumping into actual theory, she started and ended with colors in nature, which is more color inspiration than theory. I know there are resources online for studying color theory, I just haven’t gotten around to using them after than expensive and deflating experience.

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Final yarn: 254yds 3 ply fingering, 49 yds 2 ply light fingering, 24yds single ply laceweight

Technique-wise, I spun all of the singles on spindles, winding off the finished singles into a plying ball, my first time using one. I used my center pull winder to make a 2 ply ball and then made a 3 ply ball using that and the singles right off a spindle. I didn’t account for the difference in tension between two plies coming from a ball and one being pulled from a spindle, so my plying ball was kind of doomed from the start to be wonky. The final 3 ply yarn shows this in spots where I was unable to correct the mismatch in ply length that resulted from the tension problems while winding. I think it’ll be a while before I try another plying ball.

When I finished the Spunky Eclectic braid, I decided to spin the batts detailed in the Addendum to this post. Do blog posts have addendums? Well, this one does. After I spun those batts, I started in on:

A batt of merino (not cormo – whoops) that I dyed all the way back in 2011 using indigo and butterfly bush. The batt was 1.8 oz (53g) and semi-felted in places. I decided to chain ply the final yarn (no more plying balls, thanks!) and began spinning straight from the batt, which was semi-felted in places. Rather than stopping and running the whole thing back through my drum carder, which would make more neps than what I was already encountering, I just tore the batt into one continuous strip 1-2″ wide.

ForestBattGreenBlue52g
Forest merino batt; mordanted with alum, partially dyed with butterfly bush, overdyed with indigo

I didn’t finish spinning this batt until yesterday, long after the tour ended. I chain plied it on the porch in the afternoon since it was so nice out (in the upper 70s, low 80s), and then washed and whacked it and this morning it’s dry. It did turn out a little more neppy than I thought it would; I ended each spinning sessions with neps that I had picked out surrounding me on the floor and thought I got them all, but the final yarn shows more. Anyway, I’m happy with it and I think I’ll continue to spin down my fiber stash even though Tour de Fleece is over. In the spirit of my Monday lists, Done!

Forest green merino (not cormo)
Forest green merino, which is a bit less vibrant in person; 240 yds

The Week July 31-August 6

Last week:

  • Carry on with Aranami.
    Done. I even tried doing the last row pattern, which is short rows, on one wedge to make sure it will work with the stripes I’m doing. I’m either on the next to last row or I’ve got this row + 5 more to do – I haven’t decided yet.
  • Consider casting on for another summer top using the yarn I adopted from Vanessa at Wednesday knitting.
    Yes, I considered it and decided that now isn’t the right time. I decided to focus more on spinning & embroidery, with Aranami as my faithful knitting project.
  • Carry on with daytime embroidery; my lighting isn’t bright enough to do it enjoyably at night.
    I started the greens & blues in the design, the last remaining colors. I really wish this was done already so I could move on to doing my own freehand stuff. I did order 6″ and 8″ wooden embroidery hoops in anticipation of the fox pillow being done and being free to do what I like.
  • Finish spinning the last batt for TdF.
    Done. I also started on a blue green cormo batt that was in my etsy shop and am already more than halfway through it. The two TdF batts were less than an ounce each, but the blue green was over 3 ounces, so it seems like it’s taking forever.
last of the TdF yarn
My last Tour de Fleece skein (left)
with a bonus skein (right). Both are under 1 oz of fingering weight that will probably become a hat.
  • Go to TKD.
    Once, but I passed my orange belt pre-test. Testing is this Thursday-Friday.
  • In my quest to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life now that the boys are older and 2/3 of them are partially out of the nest, look into what Loudoun Arts Council requires to apply to be in the Arts in the Village Gallery and actually visit the gallery to see what it’s like & if any of my stuff would fit in.
    I’d have to join LAC ($35/year), submit an application (with Artist Statement, something I hadn’t considered) & fee ($25). So there, I did most of this – I did talk with someone at my Wednesday knitting group who’s been to the gallery; she was very encouraging and excited at the prospect of me doing this.

Also, the woman who commissioned the Wonder Woman Wrap received it and absolutely loves it! She was sweet and gave me/The Yarn Office a boost on social media also. I’m so glad she likes it! What a relief!

This week:

    • Carry on with Aranami.
    • Embroidery: finish the top half of the fox pillow design.
Fox Embroidery
The fox pillow embroidery project, design by Sublime Stitching
  • Spinning: carry on.
  • Go to TKD at least once to practice before testing, go Thurs or Fri to test. Practice form right before test to warm up.
  • Go to the gallery. Take Ky or Becky, but go.
  • Decide on next step for gallery/artist thing and stuff down all that doubt.