Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lacunae

I know, I'm a loser. I post a teaser like that, and then I leave everyone hanging, and don't even email back to everyone who commented. Mea culpa.

We've had candidates on campus this week, which means whole days, including meals, spent doing interview-type business. This is the first break I've had since that heady moment when I won the eBay auction and had to share with all of you right away. (This should tell you something; I posted the news within about five minutes of winning the auction, long before telling anyone who was actually in the house with me at the time.)

I'm still waiting to hear from the seller that she's received my payment, which makes me a bit nervous, and a bit cranky -- I want my wheel now, dammit! But I'm trying to be a grown up about it (no snorting from the peanut gallery, if you please).

As you know, I'd been planning to wait a bit before buying a wheel, but circumstances came together in an interesting way and it seemed to me that the time had come. Here's the story. I'd signed up to go to the Lace in the Woods retreat in Big Sur this June (no, I hadn't posted about it yet; I was waiting for something, I don't know what -- maybe I sensed doom?). But the retreat had to be cancelled. This was a huge disappointment, although I completely understand why it worked out that way. But I mean, really! I was going to spend a week, in Big Sur, taking classes with all kinds of nifty people (including Anne), and I was going to meet other people whom I've only gotten to know online. It was very exciting. And now, not so much.

However, there is a silver lining to my disappointment. I'd made a deposit to hold my spot in the camp (do you see where I'm going with this?). No camp, no need for a deposit, and a check came merrily winging back my way. A check that just happened to be more or less the amount that some used Ashford wheels sell for on eBay. Coincidence? I think not. I see the hand of Fate at work here (OK, I realize that this is probably just me making excuses, but it sounds so much better to say that I bought the wheel because the Universe made me). So I went for it.

The wheel I bought is an Ashford Traditional. I can't get the pictures off eBay, but it's in excellent condition, hardly used. In fact, the seller says that it's only been used once. It's even finished. While it has a distaff, it (oddly) does not have a lazy kate, so I'll have to be on the lookout for one. It's a single drive, which is a bit of a change from the other wheels I've tried, but I don't think that's going to be a problem (years of playing the pedal on a piano actually means that I'm more used to one foot being active while my hands are doing something than both). I love the way it looks, and I'm very excited to have it arrive (now!!). So that's the scoop on the wheel. What do you all think? (Here's a picture and the specs online.)

Meanwhile, knitting time has been scarce, but I finished Tess' socks last night (the violets rising pattern). I'll put full info in a post with pictures this weekend, I promise. She promptly put them on, and then wore them to school today (I don't think that there is anyone more appreciative of my knitting than the girls; there's something delightful about having the recipient of knitting put the garment on instantaneously, whether it looks dorky with what they're wearing or not, and refuse to take it off). I need to cast on for Rick's second sock, and then I'll have no more singles running around, which will make me happy.

Meanwhile, though, I'm casting about (get it, get it?)(I'm so bad at puns that I'm always quite charmed with myself when I make one) for a new project to start. Socks would be easy, but I'm not sure I am in the mood. I am holding off to start Irtfa'a until the perfect yarn comes through, so that's not it. I have some yarn in a linen/cotton blend (Maggie's, I believe) that I've been thinking of knitting a sweater with, or maybe a skirt, so I decided to swatch it last night. I knitted up a square, but even on smaller needles (size 6 instead of the suggested size 8), the fabric is far too loose to be a skirt. So I'll wash the swatch to see how it comes up, but I don't think that it will turn into what I need for the flippy, kicky skirt I want. This is a pity, as I thought a linen/cotton blend would be light enough to really have some swing to it. I'm starting to think that I'll just have to get some Rowan denim and play with that to see how it turns out.

I've considered knitting the skirt that was in IK last summer (I'll find the name and a picture for everyone), but now I'm considering trying to design something myself. Something very simple, with eyelets at the waistband for a drawstring, and a sort of gored shape. I'm just not sure that I have the knowledge or ability to make something myself from scratch with no pattern whatsoever. On the other hand, how will I know whether I can or not until I try, right? And after all, it's all knitting...

18 comments:

twinsetellen said...

How delightful that your daughters love your knitting. And delightful that you are expecting a wheel (I said it was like being a little pregnant, didn't I?!).

It is always interesting to be in that space where you aren't sure what to knit next. Sometimes I have 3 or 4 things on my urgently must knit them now queue, and sometimes it is absolutely barren. A good time to clean up the stash and needles, but one does start to fret without something active on the needles. Usually right after that something wonderful jumps up, so I bet that is what will happen to you.

PHD Knitter said...

Congrats on the wheel! No need to explain to me the way the Universe compels us to work :) Enjoy your time casting about for a new project. I flirt with the idea of designing my own every once in a while, but still haven't really seized the opportunity. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the wheel. And welcome to the darkside, just kidding. I hope it comes soon. I love my traddie.

Catherine

Bea said...

I am so excited for you about your wheel. I know exactly how you feel about it getting here NOW. I'm still waiting for my swift!

On the skirt issue I think you should try designing something. If it doesn't work out then you can find a pattern. But why not try to make it exactly what you want??

Alisha said...

I love how that wheel came your way....gotta love it....talk about fate!!

Lynne said...

Returned deposit + some disappointment = spinning wheel; makes perfectly good sense to me [like you, I'm an English teacher!! LOL]

Anne said...

Have you seen the elderflower skirt pattern on Rav? It might give you some starting ideas ... The deposit coming back in a way is like finding money on the street--a perfect rationale for buying a wheel!

Gina said...

"Found" money = a wheel, makes perfect sense, just wish I had a source of found money right now!! Congratulations and I hope that it arrives soon.

Marianne said...

Make perfect sense to me, and it IS the Universe in charge of these things... :^) Congrats on your wheel!

Elderflower skirt? I think I'll go check that one out.

NTK said...

Beaucoup points for good use of the word lacunae. I love digraphs. You're definitely not a loser.

I love to try to knit something from an idea and some notes, but it's definitely scary the first time. And sometimes it means you get an okay first mitten and a much better second mitten. :) (Just finished mine list night.)

Rachael said...

Congrats on the wheel!

I believe barbara walker talks about designing skirts in her top down knitting book if you have access to that it would be a good jumping off point.

Willow said...

Oh my! Wonderful News! I think I have wanted a traditional spinning wheel my WHOLE life, since the first time I had Sleeping Beaut read to me. I'm sure you'll spin up quickly :)

fiberjoy said...

Congratulations on winning the wheel! Hope the seller has communicated, and sent, the wheel by now.

One of my favorite all time skirts is a cotton/linen blend. (I've had it mmummbl) years and still dearly love it) Have you checked Anne's skirt patterns?

Margaret said...

Congratulations! And I totally understand your wanting the wheel to hurry up and get there. The Traditional will be a good versatile first wheel - I got to borrow one of my classmate's at Campbell and it was very easy to spin. There's a double treadle kit for the Traditional BTW. But esp on a saxony wheel, with a single treadle you can use either foot, and you can turn your whole body toward the orifice rather than twisting toward it. For the back, twisting is bad.

Tracy said...

I hope your spinning wheel comes soon. I know the frustration of dealing with slow eBay sellers--you win an auction, and you want it NOW! And good luck finding a new project. What a great time of possibilities!

Stell said...

have you got a shipping date yet, have you, have you, have you? Can you tell I'm almost as exited by your new wheel as you sound? I've admired the traddies in the ashfords shop in ashburton (right next to the ashfords factory), they look just 'like a spinning wheel' in a story book.

You are right, the universe (fiber-verse?) 'wants you to have this wheel' - right down to winning the auction, you are right, it does.

EGunn said...

I love the between projects pensive stage. Lots of time to look and feel and think, just waiting for the next perfect thing to come along. It's one of my favorite knitting seasons, as long as it doesn't last too long.

I was so tempted to go to the Lace in the Woods...I have to admit to being almost relieved when it was cancelled (I'm sorry to all those who were disappointed, I know it's selfish to have been relieved), because I'm not really ready to spend that kind of money on a knitting retreat, but if it had stayed open another week I think I'd have been compelled to go. I mean really...who can resist a weekend of lace designing with Anne and other knitters? I'm sorry that we didn't end up meeting in Big Sur, and it's sad that the retreat isn't happening, but at least you got a wheel out of the deal. =)

kim said...

Have you looked at Anne's Sangria skirt??? I made that and it was a lot of fun!!! It was my first lace project.....