28 July, 2009 at 11:59 am (spinning)

I cannot even begin to explain in words how awesome this wheel is. So I won’t!

I’ve got a wobbly maiden that’ll need some fixing—it’s not terribly obvious in the video but the front one vibrates like nobody’s business. (I’ve also got a cat who keeps trying to grab my fiber supply; you should’ve seen my first video attempt. Spin, stop, rescue fiber, spin, stop, rescue fiber, repeat.)

selfstripingsingles (by jesh\)
(This is pretty much my new favorite picture.)

firstbobbin (by jesh\)
And look at that bobbin capacity! That’s maybe 1.3oz of fiber.

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26 July, 2009 at 6:38 pm (spinning)

You know how sometimes you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait for something, and all of that anticipation building up makes you really want the thing even more and so you paint this picture of the thing in your mind and it’s the most perfect thing in the world if only it would get here and then when it actually does get there it’s not nearly as awesome as you’d thought because nothing could be as good as what you’d pictured in your head?

wheel01 (by jesh\)
That is so not the case, this time. I love this wheel.

It still needs a good cleaning (the bobbin gave me a good freak out when I had to put some serious effort into getting un-stuck), but I had to put it together and show it off, since I know most of you have been waiting just as impatiently as I have. My favorite part at the moment is the flyer—
flyer (by jesh\)
the smooth, rounded whorls and neat, tiny hooks make me totally happy.

flyerbobbindetail (by jesh\)
And the pretty carved details are mirrored on the bobbin. I wasn’t expecting that at all! (I was expecting the little groove on the flyer from the yarn passing over it. Best thing ever.)

This is neat too:
uprightscrews (by jesh\)
Rather than retaining pegs or similar on the uprights to hold the wheel into place, the wheel is dropped down and then decorative wooden screws are put in above them.

Really I think the only problem with it is…
glitter (by jesh\)
the bright green glitter (!?) over most of the surfaces and stuck in a few places. Cleaning and use should make that fall right off, though.

(Actually, now that I’ve gone and actually cleaned and oiled it, the glitter isn’t a problem, but the absolute lack of takeup is. Sticky bobbin is sticky. Still, hopefully with some steel wool on the flyer shaft and a healthy dose of mineral oil, it’ll be spinning again shortly.)

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21 July, 2009 at 1:50 pm (food)

Sorry, I can’t knit or spin today, my hands are sticky from frosting. Tasty, delicious frosting.

Did you know that Betty Crocker now makes a gluten free line of mixes? I realize that to most of you, cake mix is no big deal. But for people (like me!) with food sensitivities, being able to walk into a store, grab a mix, go home, and whip up a tray of cupcakes in less than an hour is like a crazy, frosting coated dream come true. To have it taste good is even better. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of organic, all natural, health food type gluten free cake mixes that have come out in the past couple of years. Problem is, they can be hit or miss, taste and texture wise, and honestly, if I’m looking for something healthy and organic, I’d rather make it myself from scratch. Cake from a box is comfort food, pure and simple. So to be able to find a mix like this, which makes cupcakes that taste like cupcakes—moist, light and fluffy without crumbling or leaving a weird aftertaste—is pretty awesome.

So I don’t mind the loss of knitting time (although I did finish those sleeves), because these cupcakes are totally worth it. Although I don’t think I can eat the whole tray by myself. Anyone want a cupcake?

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Sleeve Island

19 July, 2009 at 1:04 pm (caturday, knitting)

There comes a time, in every sweater’s life, where one must… knit the sleeves.
honeybeesleeves (by jesh\)

Well, okay, that’s not entirely true. I suppose if you’re knitting a vest there is no sleeve knitting. And if you’re knitting a top down cap sleeved raglan you could probably just cast off the sleeve stitches once you reach that point and not actually knit sleeves. But with most sweaters, there are sleeves, and epic, endless sleeves at that. Even these little half sleeves feel like they’re dragging on and on and on and on and… you get the point.

I think some of it’s psychological; you knit up the whole sweater body and you think to yourself, well! Now that I’m through with that I’ve just got to do the sleeves and the finishing and I’m done! Fast and easy! Except sleeves usually make up about a third of the sweater, which means that however long you spent knitting the entire back, or lower half if you’re working in the round, is probably how long it’s going to take to knit the sleeves.

Of course knowing this doesn’t make it any easier to knit the damn things, does it. I’ve really got to teach Oolong to knit for me.
oolong071909 (by jesh\)

(Does the word ‘sleeve’ look funny to anyone else?)

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16 July, 2009 at 10:13 am (knitting, spinning)

Sweater body done.
honeybeebody2 (by jesh\)

Sleeves will be started shortly, but first I’m diving back into the Tour, because I really want to have some finished yarn by the end of it.
tdfday13 (by jesh\)

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11 July, 2009 at 6:48 am (caturday, knitting)

Yeah, I sucked it up and started over. And I’m really glad I did, ’cause uh,
honeybeerestart (by jesh\)
no way that top one would’ve fit me. Thanks to two nights of ceaseless knitting I’m now beyond where I stopped on the first incarnation, so I can move ahead without feeling quite as guilty about wasting all of that work.

A certain wool-loving kitten is also pleased with my progress:
oolongandthesweater (by jesh\)

If I can keep knitting at this speed (2-3″ per day), I should be done with the body in four or five days. Then I’ve just got to knit the sleeves! And the yoke. And the button bands, presumably. But that’s nothing so it’s almost like I’m done, right? I’ll just keep telling myself that. And I think I can get back to spinning, too, while I’m at it, which might provide a pleasant break.

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9 July, 2009 at 7:11 pm (knitting)

DSCN9289 (by jesh\)

So I set aside all spinning in favor of this test knit, so that I might have a chance of finishing it in three weeks. And I got through almost five inches in three days! That’s not terrible, right? Well, okay, it is, but it gets worse—after I stop and have a look I notice that it seems… awfully small. Sure enough, my gauge has changed. And I’m not talking the tiny shift of a quarter stitch per inch or something that might be fixed with a good blocking. I’m talking, well…

DSCN9291 (by jesh\)

See how neatly that pattern repeat fits into the 2″ window? That’s great! Except that the pattern repeat should be 2.75″.

As far as I can see I have two options at this point: option one is to soldier on and hope that blocking really does take care of it, which it might—I do remember my swatch expanding slightly after washing, and the pattern itself is pretty stretchy. Option two is to go out tomorrow morning and buy the next needle size up (because of course I don’t have the next needle size up already, that would be useful), rip out (sob) three days’ worth of work and start again. I suppose option three would be to go two needle sizes up (which I do have on hand), but I think that might be a bit too far. And still with the ripping.

Sigh. It’s been one of those weeks. (I won’t even get into the wheel drama. Yes, it’s coming. It may take longer than expected, however.)

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(De)Tour de Fleece: Day 4

7 July, 2009 at 4:39 am (knitting, spinning)

(I’m calling this day four, even though it’s only the third day I’ve been spinning, because I’ve gotten my schedule more twisty than a laceweight single and need to lose a day to get it set right.)

Today sees me with the first half of the tsock batt spun; just under 25g of cobweb weight goodness.
tdfday4 (by jesh\)
I’ve been going slower than I’d like, averaging just over 10g per day, if I spend most of the day spinning. I’d hoped that I could manage 15g without getting too burned out, but since I can’t at the moment, that’s my goal for the end of the tour. (There’s also an extremely sore shoulder to contend with, but I don’t want to talk about it.) So I’ll get the second half spun up, ply the two together, and then see what I’ve got.

Unfortunately, in the meantime, I do need to take a detour from my planned, uh, plans, for two reasons. One, test knitting:
honeybeehem (by jesh\)

Two, I totally did buy a wrench wheel.

Hopefully it’ll be here sometime next week.

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Tour de Fleece: Day 1

4 July, 2009 at 2:32 pm (caturday, spinning)

I have put together A Plan for the tour; I suspect I won’t really follow it all that much and there might just be a wrench wheel thrown into them at some point, but everyone else had gotten so organized that I felt kind of silly just saying “I’m going to spin! Um, a lot!” and leaving it at that.

tdfplannedprojects (by jesh\)

I think first-up is going to be the bottom right, a tsock batt with my .7oz polymer clay spindle. Two-ply, laceweight, should take me a week or so. I hope. We’ll see. For all that I can knit like lighting, my spinning speed seems very slow. Maybe I just need to spin more.

Oolong doesn’t want to be woken up until the madness is over.

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1 July, 2009 at 2:59 pm (knitting, spindles)

honeybeeswatch (by jesh\)

My fibery plans for this summer are starting to look awfully familiar. First I decided to take on an epic spinning project and now I’m planning a lace cardigan. Of course, me being me, I’ve upped the challenge a bit this year. I’m not just spinning and knitting up one skein of yarn in two weeks; I’m spending three weeks trying to work through the majority of my fiber stash. And I’m not just knitting a cropped, worsted weight cardigan from a tried and true pattern; I’m test knitting a full length lace cardigan in sock yarn. This should prove interesting. At the very least, it’ll provide me with plenty of blog fodder!

In other news! Have you taken a look at the shop lately? I’m almost back at full stock and with some new supplies coming in this week I should have some interesting new stuff to show you soon. In the meantime, Tour de Fleece participants get 15% off with a mention of their team name.

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