Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012

Do you know what today is? If you are a spinner (or if you read the title of this post) then you know today is the first day of the Tour de Fleece. Basically, the idea is to spin every day of the Tour de France and try to challenge yourself. This is the first year I'm participating and my goal is simply to spin every day. This is slightly more of a challenge than it sounds when you allow for the fact that I have a very, very, active four year old. 

Luckily, today being a Saturday, Daddy ran interference and took her to her swimming lesson this morning. So, between spinning some before everyone was awake and then some more while they were at the pool I managed to accomplish this... 
Spunky Eclectic Gotland "Robin Red Breast"
All told that was about two hours of spinning which used up 3 1/8 ounces of fiber. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to finish up the 4 ounces before the end of the Tour (making thicker yarn makes spinning go faster - noted). This is destined to become a felted singles yarn which is a technique I've never done before so I'm pretty excited (read: scared) to see how that goes.

In fact, I'm really trying to talk myself down from just trying to finish spinning it tonight. My muscles think that after twisting into awkward positions to paint our kitchen that it might be delightful to take a break this evening. Stupid muscles.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Flashback Friday: My First Knitting Project

I first learned to knit when I was in college. I took a beginners class at the Local Yarn Store. We made a few squares just to learn how to knit and purl. Then, for everyone's first project we made these...

Felted Slippers
While I'll be the first to admit they are not the most attractive slippers I have ever seen, they are surely some of the warmest. I think they are actually a genius project for beginners. Now I know some people right now are thinking, "Double pointed needles? In the round? And turning a heel? And this is a good beginners project how?" Stay with me.

You see the teacher explained that once we made these, we were fully prepared to make socks, a sweater - anything really. If we jumped in and made these in the beginning we would never have a chance to be intimidated by anything else. Of course, there is also the fact that it's a big, chunky yarn on big needles so it goes quickly and any holes or mistakes get hidden when you felt them (there were many and yes, they did get gloriously hidden). 

I can honestly say this method worked for me in a really big way. From that class onward, I've never looked at any project and thought, "Oh, that's way too complicated for me." or "I've never done this before and I'm too scared to try." I follow the directions, I make mistakes, I rip back, learn and try again. These ugly slippers are what I have to thank for that. They taught me not only how to knit and purl - but that on some level, no matter how complicated, that all knitting is just knit and purl. 

Sadly, these slippers are no more as, unattractive as they were, I loved them literally to pieces. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Row Gauge Can't Be That Big A Deal...

I like to always have some sort of mindless knitting project. Right now this is it.
Roxborough Dolman

 Miles and miles of stockinette make for good T.V. watching. Or is it T.V. watching that makes miles and miles of stockinette bearable? Anyway, like a Very Good Knitter I did a gauge swatch and everything checked out alright. Many hours of fingering weight stockinette later, I reach the point where I've finished doing the increases and need to check how much longer to make the body before dividing for the armholes. The pattern says I need to keep knitting until I reach 16 3/4". So out comes my trusty tape measure...
Ruh roh.
I've got 17 1/2 inches just to the final increase. Now the good news is that I'm somewhat tall with a longer torso so I'm telling myself that an extra inch in length isn't going to be a big deal. For just a second though, before my brain had a chance to kick in with the logic, it was panic city. Frankly, I still have a fear that instead of looking drape-y, fun, and easy this will instead look like a big yellow and gray sack. There is only one way to find out.
Knitting onward...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I've Been Doing for the Last Few Years

It has been a long, long while since I last posted. In all honesty I haven't been doing much in the way of sketching for quite a while. Fear not, my fingers haven't been sitting idle all of this time - they've just been busy creating in a medium that is much more friendly to picking up and putting down.

Any guesses?
Here I'll give you a hint...

Mmmmm. Yarn. I've been obsessed with yarn - touching it, knitting with it, wearing it, and recently, even making it. Now, I'm also going to be blogging about it.

I still have a few old sketches that haven't made their way onto this blog and they might slowly trickle their way here; but I have even more older fiber-y projects that will certainly be showing up. The plan is to have Flashback Fridays for a while to catch up with all that I've been doing.

Now back to that picture hint. This is actually yarn that I spun from this...
Spunky Eclectic 4oz. Corriedale Club Fiber "Abstract"
Into this...
470 yards of navajo-plied light fingering weight
I cannot completely explain the sense of supreme satisfaction this gives me. I just look at it and think, "I freaking MADE this." Which, incidentally, could be a perfect name for this blog if it didn't already have one. In any case, get ready, because it's about to get sheepy up in here.