Thursday, January 28, 2010

Slowest Monkeys Ever

So I knit this pair of socks. They're called "Monkey Socks" and it's one of the most popular sock knitting patterns ever. I see the posts on Ravelry, and some people can knit a whole pair in a week or less! It makes no sense to me. I don't even have a job right now and it took me almost 2 months to finish this pair! Seriously... 3 days short of two months, that's how long it took me. I don't understand how other people do it.

You may notice the way that my feet are positioned. This is to hide the fact that they don't actually match. I used the same yarn for both socks. I even used the same needle. But somehow between the knitting of the heel of the 2nd sock and knitting the toes of the 2nd sock my gauge increased dramatically. I'm not really sure how it happened.

You see, I have a notoriously tight grip while I'm knitting. When I first started I would get cramps in my hand because I was holding the needle so freakin' tight. I even thought I was started to develop arthritis last year, but it turns out that I was still just holding the needle really tight. I even snapped one of my wooden needles! But somehow, in the middle of knitting the 2nd sock of this pair I must have actually relaxed a little... because around the foot of the 2nd sock the pattern gets totally HUGE!!! I couldn't even do the same amount of decreases to get the end of the foot fit. So the 2nd sock is square! Who has square feet? Actually, who has only one square foot? But my only other option was to rip half the thing out and find even smaller needles... or stop relaxing, which might have happened pretty easily if I had ended up ripping half the sock out.

So now I have a pair of socks that just don't quite match. And although they will, for the most part, be tucked inside my shoes I will still know that they don't match.
That's all. I'm not sure if I can get over it or not, but we'll see.

In other news, spinning class starts on Monday!!!! Except that my nephew's first birthday party is on Monday. And I would love to celebrate my nephew's first birthday, but I already paid for the spinning class... and it's non-refundable. He'll only be one year old, so I doubt that he will hold it against me since 1) he often cries when he sees me and 2) because he's one, he won't remember if I'm there or not.
It's his dad and grandma I'm worried about. But... but.... non-refundable.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sweet Dreams

So last night I had a dream. In my dream I was at a music shop and there was a used oboe for $80. Can you believe it?!?! An oboe for only $80!
I found a reed so I could try it out, and it turns out that in my dreams I'm a pretty darn good oboe player!

It would be pretty cool if I could play the oboe when I'm awake.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Moving Right Along

I haven't had loads of time to spin. I spend most of my time away from home, but am worried that moving the spinning wheel to my boyfriend's apartment could be considered an invasion of space. I've continued to spin on the spindle at the bf's place and come home a for a while every day to feed the birds, clean the cage, and spin on the wheel.

I was dinking around on ravelry for a while yesterday and another newbie spinner posted that she was ready for the yarn thwacking. Although I have six books on spinning at the moment, I haven't gotten far enough in any of them to know about the thwacking part yet. I took this as an opportunity to expand my spinning experience. I read the next few posts and decided that it was time I washed my yarn (especially since my first completed yarn had a sort of slimy, waxy feel to it) and give it a good thwack!
I'm not really sure if the thwacking made a lot of difference in the end product, but I have to admit that it was an enjoyable experience.

I also started spinning another bit of fiber. It's two ounces of corriedale roving from misty meadow designs. I bought this in September at the State Fair... before I had a wheel or a spindle. It's quite pretty; orange, red, and burgundy. I started with the orange bit first (naturally) and have gotten a bit into the red.
The color is a bit washed out since there is no sun today and I had to settle for flash photography. Here's the rest of it.
I think when all is done, this will be a hat... well, I at least hope it will be enough yarn for a hat. Because I think it would be a pretty cute hat.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Getting the hang of things

So, in addition to my first try at spinning I also had to give it a shot at plying. Plying is pretty much just twisting your single yarns together to make a new yarn that's a little bigger and a little stronger.
I decided to go for a navaho-ply, mostly due to the fact that I have a limited amount of spinning supplies at the moment.
I don't have a lazy kate. I actually only just learned about the existence of a lazy kate. If you don't know what it is, it's a thingy that holds the bobbins so they don't go rolling through the house while you're trying to ply your yarns.
So, having no lazy kate could be a problem. But I came up with a solution that so far is working fine.

I like to think that I'm rather clever, in a MacGyver kind of way.

So here's my first try at the navaho-ply.It's a bit... bad. I was having a hard time getting the wheel to do what I wanted it to do. I wasn't able to keep it spinning consistently and was getting pretty frustrated with the whole thing. So I gave up for a few days and decided to try again.
I think it's a bit difficult to tell from the photo, but the second attempt is significantly twistier. I'm not sure what I did the second time, but the wheel spun fine and the yarns didn't get caught.
in anything spinny.
I hope I don't learn too much before my class starts. Maybe I should just start with beginning spinning 2.

In other related news, I went back to the thrift store to see if that other wheel was still there (purple tags will be 50% on Monday). It's not there anymore.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

And the spinning begins

So today I decided that I should go to a fiber store. Because although I have ordered and received some really pretty fiber from a couple of sellers on etsy, I'm worried that since I don't actually know what I'm doing yet that it will be a big waste to use up the pretty fiber to make yucky yarn.
So yes, I stopped by The Fiber Studio (48th and Nicollet Ave in Minneapolis) to get some stuff to practice.
I walked into the store, and the lovely owner Pam asked if I had any questions. I replied, "Well, I've got tons of questions. I just got a wheel." (Yes, I love telling my wheel story, particularly to people who will actually appreciate hearing it). "And I've signed up for a class at the Textile Center... but it doesn't start until February and I want to start now! What's a good practice fiber?"
Pam's eyes lit up when she told me that I came on the right day, because there just happened to be a spinning group downstairs! Oh, but I didn't bring my wheel. sniff
No worries, Pam let me borrow one! We went in the basement and there were about 6 people with their spinning wheels and one fella with a spindle. I sat between two ladies with wheels, and the lady to my right (I think it was Celeste, but I'm terrible with names) gave me some pointers, I watched what she did, and I started spinning!
When I left for the fiber studio, I honestly thought I would only be there for 15-30 minutes, you know, just to pick out some stuff and head back home.
Three hours later I had this!Apparently it's pretty darn good for a first try. All the spinners said that their first yarn was thick and thin, not very consistent. I really can't figure why mine is so thin though. (Yes, I understand that if I let thicker bits of fiber through the yarn would have ended up thicker. But it just didn't feel right.)
I was also worried that maybe I wouldn't do as well on my wheel at home. So I spent a large portion of the evening practicing a bit more.
It's not too consistent in the thickness, but I'm pretty pleased about my first day of spinning. And I really wish it were February already. I want this class to start before I go ahead and learn too much on my own.