Friday, October 26, 2007

I'b god a code

The kind that affects my head and throat, not cryptographers. It's not really that bad yet, but he had it last week so I know it WILL be. So I'm getting things done while I have the energy. I've done the shopping, stocked up on soup and the ingredients for soup, and stuff that will become a giant vat of stew so I can say "Never mind me, leave me to die here, there's stew in the refridgerator for your dinner". Nobly. You know :-)

There's also some knitting! First, Teyani was right (how could she not be, she dyed this stuff): the Chain of Fools 2-ply bloomed beautifully after washing and some serious whacking on the table. It's gorgeous.

It's soft and bouncy. And [blush] one of the senior Tuesday spinners looked at it wistfully and said she'd never been able to spin sock yarn like that, soft but with enough twist that it should wear well. I'm so proud! In my head my feet were dancing in my first pair of socks from my own handspun... then I realised he was actually looking at the finished yarn with more than interest. Intent, that's what it was. He's been showing interest all the way through, and I recognised the difference. "Do you want a pair of socks that look like this?" "Yes please". *sigh* Fortunately 8 oz of fibre yields a lot of 2-ply. I think there's enough for both of us. Thanks, Teyani!

But no more socks until these are finished (I'm on the ribbing). Here's a preview:

I love the back. I need to knit striped socks with garter stitch heels and toes.

And there's spinning. Never a dull moment, even when it's black and grey.

That's a UK 5p piece, which is about the same size as a US dime. And I'm sitting here grinning at that picture of my alpaca singles, just as I did when I started spinning the fibre. Which looks like this:
The mostly black with some grey/white is an alpaca batt (I think that's the right term) purchased
with the express intention of spinning lace at Woolfest from Norweft Alpacas. Lying on it is some hand-dyed silk top I fell for at Alexandra Palace. I saw it gleaming in the light and instantly thought of it glinting in the depths of the alpaca. It's interesting spinning, though: the strands are about 2' long and even after a lot of pre-drafting I couldn't persuade it to spin on the wheel, although the drop spindle deals with it easily. I have to evaluate my technique for this. Anyway. Here's the result of my experimentation:

Now, first of all I'm intrigued by the fact that this spinning lark has made me come over all scientific. On the card from left to right are freshly-spun singles, the singles plied back on itself, followed by the singles plied with the silk. Followed by notes on supplier and treadling during plying. I honestly didn't expect I'd have the patience for this sort of thing. I must want to be good at it :-) The mini-skein of the finished yarn IS soft; I was worried that I'd put too much twist into the singles, even though I had planned to run the entire contents of the bobbin counter-clockwise to another bobbin before plying, just to even the twist a bit, after watching the twist move on the yarn while taking a singles off a spindle. That's about 4m of the alpaca 2-ply entwined with 2m of the silk/alpaca blend, which seems about right: you may not be able to see it in the photo, but the silk catches the light occasionally, subtly. I was carrying the mini-skein around the house making excited noises when he asked what I was going to do with it. "Make lace" "Will you have enough?" I did some calculations. The 2-ply is about the same weight as Zephyr, perhaps a bit finer. I've got 250g of the alpaca. Yes, I'll have enough. I think I've got enough for about 5,000 yards of singles, 2,500 yds of 2-ply. Will I live that long? Who knows.

Lest you think he has no fun:
On Wednesday he collected his new bike (as in cycle). He's increasingly enthusiastic about cycling, clocking up 50+ miles per day on weekends and holidays in less than 3 hours, planning routes ever further afield. Our 10-speed tourers were good lightweight bikes when we bought them 25 years ago, but they're antiques now. Technology has moved on. For months I watched him poring over the specs of today's equivalents
or watching other cyclists. Eventually I pointed out that even an expensive road bike was a lot cheaper than most mid-life crises I'd read of: he should just buy one. I cherish the memory of his grin :-) The above was my attempt to preserve for posterity his first ride on his Scott CR1 Pro. He's too fast for the camera now!

So. I'm probably going to have a cold. I'll just have to make the best of it.
Which means sitting on the couch drinking hot liquid and knitting. Finish the Gairloch Socks, start the Chain of Fools for him. Play with New Pathways for Sock Knitters. And there's always Autumn Rose. I have the needles, the wool, the pattern; I just needed the time. I'm smiling again!

7 comments:

Mindie said...

Both the spinning and the socks look great. I can't believe how fine your singles have become. Mixing the alpaca and silk together is a great idea, it will just catch the light as you move; wonderful. Hope you feel better soon, or not if you plan to do that much knitting :)

Mrs J said...

Mr J has a cold too -hope he keeps it too himself! Trust your level of preparation will keep it at bay! I will keep taking the Echinacia!The spinning is awesome! Just going to check that cumberpatch hasn't sold out of Jaegar!

La Cabeza Grande said...

"Intent, that's what it was." - you are such a good she to your he! Making socks, encouraging his healthy mid-life crisis, knitting him handspun socks. Yes, a good she.

And he thanks you with a cold. :o)

Teyani said...

so glad that your sock yarn turned out perfectly :-)
great job - can't wait to see the socks from it.

Joanne said...

Wow! When I think about, way back when, how you were just thinking about spinning..what growth! Look at you! Amazing. Now, can you go back to spinning something, err...thicker? (Oh, and I'm not at all scientific. We all approach this different ways...)

In the meanwhile, I'm very impressed by your sock yarn and the new skills. I hope you feel better soon. I also hope that if you have to be sick, it will allow you to sit on the couch, knit, snooze, and really rest. Then at least you'll feel like you accomplished some knitting when you're better!

fleegle said...

The sock yarn is glorious!

And of course you need to test some gossamer-weight Colourmart!

The Ginger Darlings said...

Oh how we would love to tangle in the yarn and help to spin the finest threads for you! And walk the hills with heather all growing up the steep sides, and sit on the sofa, under your knitting and purr away your cold!