Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gone again

Last trip of the summer. I find that I'm ready to really be home for more than a week or two at a time, even though each of these trips has been (and I'm guessing this one will be) wonderful. But after we get home next weekend, we'll be staying. Of course, I'm not sure I'll get those lazy mornings on the front porch with my knitting that I'm hoping for, as we have to get Older Daughter ready for middle school, but I'm sure gonna try.

Yesterday, we drove up to the Bay Area, where we'll be this whole week. The main goal is to be able to visit with Rick's grandmom each day in small doses, which appears to be what she can handle best. We'd talked about renting a place up here so we could bring the dogs and go hiking in all of our favorite places, without imposing the pups on Rick's uncle and aunt, but they kindly said that we could use their house while they take a bit of a vacation out of town, which they (also kindly) said they felt better about doing knowing that we were here to see Grandmom. So that works out for everyone.

I plied a bobbin full of yarn on Friday night, and am fairly pleased with the results. I'm getting more even in my singles, which means that the two-ply yarn is looking more even as well. I'm considering spinning my next roving onto three bobbins and taking a shot at (gasp) a three-ply yarn (!!), which I have heard evens out the appearance even more. I ended up with about 120 yards of yarn, at 12 wpi, and I still have almost that much more to ply, so I'm guessing that this will make a nice pair of mitts or mittens for someone, or maybe a hat.
Here's the close-up shot.
I worked really hard to get lots of twist in the singles, so I could put more twist in the plied yarn than I've been able to do so far, and that seemed to work nicely. If anything, my plied yarn was a bit underspun, suggesting that I could have added more. I'm at about five twists per inch with this. You can see a few places there where the singles got overspun and thin, but I'm getting better at controlling that, too. And meanwhile, I'm having fun, which is what matters here.

I brought quite a bit of knitting up here with me, as I forbore to pack the wheel (I seriously considered it, as the Pipy is fairly small and comes apart into its major pieces relatively easily). I decided last week that I wanted to knit a summer top, something I've never done, so I popped by my favorite LYS, which was having a great big sale. I'd been avoiding it all week, figuring that I did not need to do any kind of random stash enhancement; however, having a specific project in mind meant that getting the yarn for it on sale suddenly became smart, rather than a form of spree shopping. I picked up eight balls of a lovely cotton/rayon blend (60% off) for $25, which seems like a reasonable price for a shell. I cast on yesterday in the car after knitting a gauge swatch, and I'm fairly happy with the way it's knitting up. Pictures in a day or so, when there's something to show. The color is a bit bright (think flamingo meets salmon), which I'm fretting a bit about, but hey, life's short.

The shell that I'm knitting is a tank top from last summer's IK, the Lutea Lace-Shoulder Shell. The plan at this point is to pick up stitches around the armholes to add small sleeves, as I'm much less likely to wear a tank top to work, and I'm hoping that this will be a work top. The yarn I'm working with has a slightly different gauge than that in the pattern, but I didn't want to knit it any looser (can you say see-through? and wearing a tank top under it would rather defeat the purpose), so I decided to try knitting it in a different size to account for the difference. I calculated how many stitches I would need to cast on at my stitch/inch count to get the number of inches I want out of the pattern, and then chose the size that had a starting stitch count that matched my calculation. Does that make sense? Has anyone out there done that when they didn't want to mess with the needle size? (Once again, I'm sure I'm reinventing the wheel, but I felt very clever when I did it.)

I also brought yarn to start a shawl, but we'll see if that happens this week. It's the lovely icelandic laceweight that my friend Jill brought for me. I finally bought a digital scale so that I could figure out how many yards I have. I wound off 80 yards onto my niddy-noddy, and weighed that, then I weighed all the yarn I have and did some math to figure out the total. At 1300 or so yards, I think I'm good to go.

We're off to get the dogs out for a run. More later.


Anne said...

Have a lovely week! It sounds like one of those trips you'll always be glad to have made.

twinsetellen said...

I love knitting shells - they are something that gets worn and they don't have long sleeves to knit. Little cap sleeves are nice and don't take long at all.

I, too, have used the knit another size strategy for gauge differences and it works quite nicely, as long as you like the fabric. And I think it is perfectly reasonable for us both to feel clever about it. I'm equally impressed by gliding snakes and flying squirrels, even though I'm pretty sure they came up with the behavior independently. (Please take no offence at being compared to a snake - I love 'em!)

Marianne said...

I agree with Anne and Ellen on all counts.
I've been wishing I had a cap sleeve shell's worth of cotton... :^)
and yes, I've done the same thing knitting the difference size to get where I want..
(I love those snakes too :^)

Have a great time, a mindful time,eh?

Mary Lou said...

I've been doing the family trips this summer, too, and am glad to be home for a bit. Even when you don't really want to go, you are always glad you did when it's the aging relative.

Anonymous said...

Have a good time on the trip. It sounds worthwhile.

I too have been contemplating a summer tank top . . . I am thinking about one from Big Girl Knits as my chest is too substantial for lots of ordinary tank tops. Let me know how yours goes.

Take care.

Bea said...

Well since I know nothing about spinning I can't see any imperfections in your yarn. I think it looks wonderful!

Have a great week! Its good for the girls to see and spend time with their grandmother.

Stell said...

3 ply is fun, takes ages to get 3 bobbins then a nice fat round yarn. the 2 ply looks good, very good. Scales are on my shopping list as well, down to .1 of a gram methinks. the grandma visits sound good, healthy for all, and the loan of a house makes it easier all round. Take care - happy knitting.

KnitNana said...

Have a wonderful time!

the boogeyman's wife said...

trips are fun unless they're all in a row. sounds like everything came together for a good trip though. that resizing trick is great, especially since i never buy the super expensive yarns most patterns recommend. and even though i read it somewhere, i still feel smart every time i do it too!

Carrie K said...

It's really nice to have your own space while you're visiting. Sounds lovely.

The spinning looks gorgeous. I always do some little trick to my knits as I'm congenitally unable to just follow instructions

twinsetjan said...

Oy!! Jocelyn, you are evil! That lovely yarn of yours only adds to that growing urge to pick up a spindle! I am only saved at the moment because I'm on the road right now myself -- and will be again next week. Perhaps the urge will pass before I too get to spend some time at home

EGunn said...

The handspun is beautiful! I've also been working to balance out my plying and my singles twist; it seems like one or the other always has too much (usually the singles, for me). Someday it will be perfect, but for now fun is ok with me. =)