Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Taking care of business

That's what I'm starting to feel like I need to do. I spent some time this morning deleting and filing email, which always makes me feel like I've got things more under control. I also am working to get dates and plans put into my calendar (my external brain; without it, my life would be even more chaotic than it already is!). I also have some business to catch up on here on the blog.

First, I have to share with you one of the things that came in a lovely holiday package from Stella (there were a number of fun things, but this one has captured my imagination).
Look at that gorgeous fiber! I can't wait to spin it up; my long-draw is finally starting to get marginally better, and merino this lovely just calls to be spun up into a light, warm, soft, fluffy yarn. I adore the colors. Stella was aiming at finally finding me the kestral-colored fiber I've been desiring; I think that what she got here are the California hills in the fall at sunset, which is perhaps even better. Thank you, Stella!

Stella also just posted about a lovely pattern that she wrote last year; I was lucky enough to get to test-knit it, with wonderful results.
It's a little ballet wrap (which can be knitted with beads and sleeves; you should go see her version - it's wonderful; she also has a contest going to name the pattern, and the winner gets two skeins of one of my favorite sock yarns ever, so maybe I shouldn't be telling you about this...). I love this so much, I am tempted to knit one for myself, using the largest size and heavier yarn (this is two laceweight yarns held together).
I highly recommend this pattern, if this is the sort of thing you, or a young dancer of your acquaintance, might like. What I particularly love about this wrap is the fact that it takes advantage of everything that knitting has to offer in the way of construction, everything that makes knitting unique relative to working with, say, woven fabric. The shape of this garment is constructed as it is knitted, in one piece, rather than being worked into it later with seams. It's clever, but not so clever that it's annoying; it uses the flexibility that is available through knitting, rather than doing odd things simply for the sake of doing them differently. It's what knitting should be, and I wish I could think of garments three-dimensionally like this myself. I may not be able to, but I certainly can appreciate the results when someone else does!
So, apparently, can Younger Daughter.
I knitted this last February; I don't have a project page for it on Ravelry yet, but I'll try to get to that soon (more business).

In other business, I've been wanting to be more consistent about my spinning time. I love spinning when I do spin, but it's not something that I do every day, or even every week. It's something I tend to save up for when I have a whole day, which is rather ridiculous. Janel Laidman (she of the sock club that I appear to have joined, oops; that makes two, since I also rejoined the Rockin' Sock club this year) has decided to do a spinning stash-down this year, based on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's self-imposed sock club idea. In Janel's version (all the rules are here), you make a monthly goal for spinning, post that goal somewhere (that would be here that I am posting it), then each month show the fiber and the spun yarn. I am making my monthly goals very small, mainly because while I do find the time to spin reasonable amounts of fiber in spurts (for example, spinning that big bump of BFL from Briar Rose that became a sweater), I don't spin consistenly, fifteen minutes here and fifteen minutes there, and I'd like to try to motivate myself to do that.

So my goal: to spin between 2-4 ounces each month, working my way through the smaller bits and bobs of fiber that I've picked up at various festivals.

My hope is both that this will make me spin more consistenly, and also that it'll help me to keep up with the spinning that I need to do if I'm going to feed Older Daughter's dyeing habit.

With that in mind, I sat down yesterday and spun the two ounces of silk/cashmere that I bought at the fiber festival in October.
I spun this fiber long-draw, both because I still want to get a better handle on the technique, and because at my spinning class in Ohio last spring, the teacher said something about the fact that the way one spins a fiber blend like this (a blend of short fibers like cashmere and long fibers like silk) can bring out the characteristics of one or the other fiber. I tend to spin something like this worsted, which brings out the characteristics of the silk (smooth, shiny, dense). This time, spinning woolen brought out the characteristics of the cashmere (light, fluffy, SOFT).

I ended up with about 230 yards of this loveliness.
I love the colors, and I can't wait to knit it up.
The plan is for it to become the Lune Shawl (the small version); I already have the pattern. And even though this means that I met my January goal, I'm going to haul out the two little packets of suri alpaca I also got at that festival, and put them near the wheel so I can keep going and aim for that four ounces.

On a final business note (because this post is FAR too long for me to start talking about New Year's thoughts and goals), I am experimenting with taking the word verification step out of the commenting process. I know that for some people, any typing at all is an exercise in endurance and discomfort, so adding to it doesn't help. I promptly got a spam comment this morning, but only one, so I'm going to see how it goes. I'd like to keep it off - one less step to commenting is great - so I'll keep my fingers crossed that the spam stays within reason (is any spam reasonable? a question for the ages). Happy New Year!


Unknown said...

love, love, love the colors in the merino from Stella, it looks just magical! And the ballet wrap and the idea of a stash spin down.


I have a friend who is an accountant. She says she gets most of her spinning done before April 15, because she comes home from work so stressed, that she spins for 20 minutes or so before she'll let anyone talk to her.

A little bit every day...

Jane said...

What beautiful colours, what a joy it will be to knit

Rachel said...

Stella's design is really beautiful. I love her sketches and the wrap looks to me like something I would like to knit just to see how it works! It seems like your version (which is adorable) makes your girl really happy which is the best outcome of any knitting project, no?

Good luck with your spinning goals.

Mary Lou said...

What a cute sweater. Off to check it out, thanks.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Oh I wanted that pretty pretty fibre when you bought it! I definitely want it now it's spun! So gorgeous!!!

twinsetellen said...

The sweater is sweet, the model sweeter. And that yarn just looks like it wants to float off the screen, it looks that airy and light. I am not ready to commit to particular spinning goals, but I am sure yours will inspire me.

Willow said...

I'm liking the idea of the fiber stash monthly spinning goals. (I wonder how I could add yet another goal into my already full schedule as I have an adundance of unspun fiber).

I do love that ballet wrap! I wish I knew a little girl...

scienceprincess said...

Your spinning makes me jealous. I have not even touched my spindle for a few months. It looks absolutely stunning . . . I like the little bit every day goal.

Also, the wrap looks like lots of fun. I think I'm doing a self made sock club this year, rather than joining any (although I did ask my husband for a 3 month one for my birthday . . . we'll see). But I could do with working the stash down a little bit.

Take care, and good luck with that business.

Anonymous said...

i'm the same way, jocelyn -- filing and organizing my email gives me such a great feeling of organization and accomplishment, which then helps me get other stuff done. i adore the beautiful yarn you spun; that color is gorgeous, and it'll make a beautiful shawl.

to the spam issue, some blogger blogs have the spam control dealie incorporated in some way so the whole thing is done in one step. there's still the little bit of extra typing, but it's all in one step so it's easier. i have no other information to offer. :)

your daughters are so beautiful.

AlisonH said...

A cute sweater on a beautiful person. Love love love it. And there is nothing in the world like knitting with a good handspun--except, maybe, spinning it.

Amanda said...

Very cute ballet wrap, and she looks SO happy to be wearing it!

Carrie#K said...

Your model is adorable! And so is her wrap.

A little bit every day is how I manage to get anything done at all. I'd like to do things in one big whack but it never works out like that.

I hope the word verification works out! One less step is helpful but I have to admit, when I'm on my iPhone, it's my email & blog addy that really stop me. They're so freaking long.

Nana Sadie said...

I haven't a problem at all with the hash word to type in, but I know it bugs some folks. I have it on my blog, and it has helped enormously...

LOVE the Shawl pattern and that cashmere/silk looks perfect for it! Dear Daughter is adorable in that top.

EGunn said...

I always get the business urge in January! (Haven't done much about it this year, though. Heh.)

I hadn't thought of spinning as a business topic before. That might make me even more excited about getting things done. That fiber is gorgeous, and the wrap looks great!

Helen said...

I'm in the market for ballet wraps just now so I'm off to check that one out. It and your daughter look lovely.

Bea said...

Really cute sweater and beautifully spun yarn!