Rhinebeck Sweater: Admitting Defeat

With the wool festival occurring this weekend and the crazy stressful time we’ve been having over at the Morandi house, I’m finally admitting defeat: I will not finish my Rhinebeck sweater in time.

Rhinebeck Sweater: Admitting Defeat | Woolen Diversions

Progress to date.

If I were someone without a full time job, it might have been possible to finish, as there are just the right and left fronts, right and left sleeves, giant ribbed collar, and seaming left to do (hah!) but that’s just not going to happen in the next 5 days and I’m not even tempted to try. I will, however, aim to finish it shortly after the festival, as it will be wonderful to wear in the coming months.

I’m admitting defeat with Spinzilla this year, too. Between my Polwarth sock yarn and Louet merino/silk, I didn’t even fill one whole bobbin! Based on my yards per pound calculations, I spun a paltry 3.2 oz and 380 yards, but it’s not nothing, and the spinning was soothing.

Check out my interview with Subway Knits!

I’ve also had to give up on my plan to vend at the pre-Rhinebeck IndieUntangled Trunk Show this Friday as Nana’s funeral is scheduled for sometime on Friday, and I need to stay home and be with my family. However, Cheryl and Jenn of June Pryce Fiber Arts  have generously and graciously agreed to bring some of my items up with them and man my booth for me. So if you were hoping to sniff some Sweet Sheep scents in person, it will still be possible thanks to those two wonderful ladies (and you should check out their lovely fiber, yarn and notions while you’re at it)! I’m sad that I won’t be there in person myself, but you can hear me chat about my business with Maria over at Subway Knits in her Road to Rhinebeck podcast series. (I haven’t even had the chance to listen to it yet, fingers crossed that I don’t sound like a weirdo!)

Rhinebeck Sweater: Admitting Defeat | Woolen Diversions

My new Rhinebeck goal.

In more uplifting news, I am still going to attend Rhinebeck, as my dear Fiasco reminded me that after all of the stress lately, I could really use a vacation. So I will be heading up sometime Saturday and since it wouldn’t be Rhinebeck without a lofty knitting goal, my new challenge will be to attempt to finish my Kelp-y Kelpie shawl in time to wear to the festival. This shawl has been hibernating since May of 2014 because I used the wrong color yarn to pick up the border stitches and then I just abandoned it. I resurrected it last night, fixed my mistake, and have gotten into the rhythm of the border now. I have 43 more border rows to complete, in addition to the bind-off, and some fiddly bind-off business along the top. All this needs to be completed in 4 evenings, if I want time to block the thing. Challenge accepted!

WIPWed #69: Post-Spinzilla 2014

The weekend was a whirlwind of preparing lotions for the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show (this Friday! Go to it!) and sneaking in one final spin for #Spinzilla. My final yardage was (drumroll please….):

Woolen Diversions

Woohoo!

I did not quite meet my (random) goal of spinning twice the weight I spun last year (22 oz… I spun up about 17 oz) but I’m really excited that I spun up over a mile (1 mile = 1,760 yards) of yarn in one week!

Woolen Diversions

3-ply Louet Jacob

I spoke about the Perendale (2-ply, 176 yards, 528 towards Spinzilla) last week and the Inglenook batts on my spindle last Friday (11 g spun at 3000 yards per pound = 73 yards for Spinzilla). Above you see my finished 3-ply Louet Jacob skein that come sin at 8 oz and 120 yards (480 for Spinzilla). I’ll write more about this skein in a future post when I do a review of the fiber.

Woolen Diversions

Bee Mice Elf Green Gradient 2-ply

Of everything I spun last week, this gorgeous gradient skein is the most happy-making for me. If you spin and are unfamiliar with Bee Mice Elf, you should get to know her stuff quick, because you are missing out on some amazing colorways! (Laurs also writes great “Mixed Up Mondays” posts where she talks about dyeing particular colors, like Tiffany Blue.) Anyway, this braid had all my colors (lime green through baby blue to teal and forest green) and was on Wensleydale fiber, which I hadn’t spun in any great amount before, so I had to have it. Guys, I love Wensleydale.

Woolen Diversions

Photo from winddanceranch.com

And not just because the sheep look like adorable muppets! The fiber is an extremely silky and lustrous longwool that is very easy to spin. It drafts beautifully and creates a really drapey finished yarn. That skein (236 yards, 708 for Spinzilla) is going to become some sort of lacy scarf or cowl, I’m thinking. I split it in two and spun each half in order, which meant during plying I had to break out some sections from one single or the other that did not match up correctly, so I had some leftover bits (10 g at 2600 yards per pound = 57 yards), but overall I’m super happy with this yarn.

Woolen Diversions

Silky Pond Clapotis, click for project page.

After all that spinning, I was inspired to start a project with a skein of handspun I’ve been itching to knit for some time now. I swatched for a drop stitch scarf but hated it and realized the yarn would shine better in a smooth stockinette fabric. I might be the last knitter on earth to start a Clapotis, but here it is!
What have you all been up to this week? Do you have a favorite pattern for handspun?

FOFri #33: Need An Extra Foot?

Somehow, even though I knit and blocked and measured a gauge swatch, and calculated an approximate length I wanted my cowl to be and cast on the appropriate number of stitches, I ended up with a cowl nearly a foot longer than I had intended.

Pre-work, dusty mirror selfie is all you get.

It’s a wee bit large: 63″ circumference, 8″ tall. I don’t hate it, though I’ll never wear it long like that. I’m currently wearing it doubled up around my neck and it has a comfortably loose drape. I can also wear it tripled for increased warmth.

My ‘almost being choked by knitwear’ face.

My blocked swatch had a gauge of 5.5 sts/inch, so I cast on 285 sts to arrive at hopeful finished length of 52″. My swatch was small, which might have had something to do with it, and while I did knit it in the round, I did so on bamboo DPNs, rather than on the KnitPicks harmony wood circulars I ended up using for the cowl. I suppose those changes could have resulted in a project gauge of 4.5 sts/inch (285 sts / 63 inches). Let this be a lesson in the dramatic difference one stitch per inch can make!

Inglenook Fibers batt spinning.

I am still spinning for #Spinzilla, but sadly had no time at the wheel last night. I’ve been piling up the singles on my Russian spindle, though! All of that is the result of just one of the eight little batt poofs (batt balls? batt sections? batt muffins?) from Inglenook. I’ve yet to spin a large project on my supported spindles, so far I’ve only just sampled and then andean plied the yarn off the spindle into a 2-ply. Does anyone have tips for singles management when you only have one supported spindle? How to you spin and organize your singles for plying for an entire project?  I need to figure something out, since promptly after shooting that photo, Darwin ran off with my spindle and tragically separated the cop from its rightful place on the shaft (bad kitty!). The single appears to have maintained its shape so I’m hoping it won’t be a total mess to wind up later.

What was your worst ever gauge miscalculation fail?

Spinzilla Year 2!

Spinzilla has been on my mental to-do list for months, but even though I knew it was coming, I am feeling woefully underprepared. I didn’t finish clearing my bobbins, my spindles are all busy, and  I didn’t begin thinking about what I wanted to spin until… last night. A late night plying session helped the situation out some, but my bobbins are still far more occupied than I would’ve liked at this point. The two on the right will likely stay that way (I want to preserve the color progression I’m spinning), but the two in the middle I can clear with my Bobbins Up storage bobbins.

Woolen Diversions

Unfortunately occupied bobbins.

Last year, I spun 11 oz of fiber into 1,270 yards of singles. I’m sure 11 oz seems like nothing to the people who spin up pounds and pounds on a regular basis, but that was the most I’d ever spun in one week and I’m looking forward to attempting to surpass that amount. Hopefully I won’t hold back #TeamLouet too badly, the team did extremely well last year with more than one member spinning over 11,000 yards of yarn! (Yeah, 10 x what I did. Yikes!) But this is neither the time nor the place to feel intimidated. IT’S SPINZILLA TIME! So here’s my (rather hasty) plan of attack.

Since I’m spinning for #TeamLouet, I figured this would be a great time to work through some of the awesome Canterbury Prize Wools fiber that Louet sent me a while ago.

Woolen Diversions

Lovely longwools from Louet.

If you remember back in April, I reviewed their Perendale fiber. It was an airy, carded longwool that spun up easily. Thankfully, I have 4 oz left, plus 16 oz of Shetland sliver and 16 oz of Jacob sliver to work through! Carded preparations and longwool fibers are great choices for speedy spinning, so I’m hopeful that spinning these fibers will help my yardage out.

And just in case 36 oz of wool isn’t enough (ha!) I have some additional options stashed that I think will be nice and speedy (and a good bit more colorful):

Woolen Diversions

BFL, Wensleydale, llama, and batts!

Pictured above are 21 additional oz of fiber (clockwise from back left): llama down (5 oz), BMFA Rockin’ Whorl Club BFL (5 oz), Bee Mice Elf Wensleydale (4 oz), Countess Ablaze BFL (3.5 oz), and Inglenook Fibers batts (3.5 oz). With the exception of the llama and the batts, all are longwools and are likely to draft easily and quickly. I’m thinking of using the batts on one of my supported spindles so that I can keep spinning on nights when I want to curl up on the couch instead of sit at the wheel, or if I need to try to spin in the car. And the llama I threw in there because alpaca usually goes quickly for me, and they should be similar enough (plus it’s one of my long-ignored Spin The Bin goals).

Are you participating in #Spinzilla? Do you tend to set yourself lofty goals that you have no hope of achieving? How do you motivate yourself for challenges? If you haven’t already read the Spinzilla blog tour, check it out, there are some great tips in those posts!