Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back to Basics

About eight months ago, I started a gluten-free, sugar-free diet, and today is my first birthday without cake.  The diet has not been easy since I'm a complete sugar-junkie (I used to eat Peeps.  Enough said), and I adore baking desserts of all kinds. I think I would be okay with the fact that I spent my birthday morning at the motor vehicle association getting my license renewed and the rest of the day working if the day had ended with cake.  But, alas, no cake for me.  Cue the sad violin music.  Okay, pity-party over--I fully understand that I am an  extremely lucky person if all I have to complain about is a lack of cake.  Besides, if I finish a marathon this Sunday, I'm totally blowing my diet.  Maybe I'll skip a celebration dinner and just have celebration cake...

So let's move past my personal cake-crisis to something more interesting--knitting!  My 2012 knitting projects so far are full of fail.  I finished a cowl a few days ago that is destined for the frog pond, and I'm halfway through a second cowl that I suspect will probably look just as stupid on me.  I will post these as soon as I can get past my annoyance, which is compounded by the fact that for both of these projects I'm using my own handspun.  Needless to say, I'm feeling somewhat discouraged, and I'm eager to finally have a finished handspun project that I'm happy with and that is not a blanket square.

Last month I tried to tackle spinning this beautiful batt that I bought at Maryland Sheep and Wool last year.

As much as I love the fiber, I didn't really know what to do with it.  No projects were jumping out at me, and with nothing in mind, I decided to spin the fiber as a single-ply light worsted weight yarn.

I was pretty lukewarm on the end result--sort of looks like blue mud, and with only 240 yards, project choices were limited.  But inspiration hit.  Years ago, I made Mike one of the immensely-popular Noro striped scarves.

It was absolutely no fun to knit, because really, is there anyone that enjoys knitting 1 x 1 ribbing for six feet?  But I love the finished scarf.  I admit, I'm still a little jealous that it's not mine, and so I got it into my head that the muddy blue handspun might make a nice scarf if I striped it with black yarn.

Fully prepared to be bored out of my mind, I cast on Saturday evening.  Less than 36 hours later I had about two feet of scarf.

I. Cannot. Put. It. Down.  I'm not sure if it's everything I had hoped.  I'm basically mixing a tightly plied smooth black yarn with a fuzzy single-ply handspun.  It's either a terrible combo or a perfect one, but I'm leaning toward the latter.  I am at least confident that I will not bind off this project only to find that it doesn't fit right or looks stupid on me.  This is the beauty of scarves.  Sometimes you just need to get back to the basics to be successful.  No fussy patterns, no uniquely shaped items, just 1 x1 ribbing for six feet.  I'm certain I will despise ribbing in a few days, but right now a finished handspun project that I'm happy with seems worth it.

Although I would trade it in a heartbeat for some cake.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Socks and String

I pretty much gave up on blogging in February. March isn’t exactly looking much better. Turns out marathon training can be sort of time-consuming. Long hours running I expected, but I did not count on needing to spend the rest of the day after a long run as a heap on the couch. Luckily for me, I can still sit on the couch and be a productive knitter. So while I have not been blogging, I have been knitting.

I finished the Sock Knitters Anonymous mystery socks in early February. It just took another four weeks for me to block and photograph them.

Pattern:  Blathnat (Ravelry download)
Yarn:  Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Lubber Grasshoppper

I'm lukewarm. The socks aren't quite my style. I suppose you take that risk with any mystery pattern, and I did really enjoy knitting them.  But...the fit is a little awkward for my foot and I think I made them a bit too short.  I was so looking forward to having my very own pair of Bugga! socks but these don’t have the same squishy softness as the Roger socks I made for Mike.  Looks like I’m going to have to find a nice textured pattern for myself and try again.

The pattern was well thought out and very clearly written, and since each clue had something new, it was a great mystery sock.  And hey, why am I complaining--I finished a pair of socks in a month and I can't even remember the last time that happened.  But all in all, the first finished project of 2012 is sort of a fail.  Bummer.  Moving on.

I was psyched about spinning some sock weight yarn last summer, so obviously finally winding the skein and casting on a sock was super exciting.  Despite choosing a very simple pattern that I thought would compliment the yarn, a few inches into the foot and I couldn’t deny that I liked the sole much more than the instep. After an impulsive decision in the waiting room of my dentist’s office, I pulled the needles out of the sock and ripped it back to the toe.  Plain stockinette it would be.  I’m about back up to where I was before I ripped.

These might take awhile due to my brilliant move to knit man-sized socks on size 0 needles.  The 2012 knitting is not exactly taking my breath away with success.

But where I am rocking out on the crafting front is on my spinning wheel. Despite tired legs and calves, I manged to keep treadling my wheel, and January and February were filled with spinning.

And more spinning.

And even more spinning.

I'm feeling too lazy to write out the details.  If you are interested in fiber, yardage, etc., all the skeins are on my handspun stash page on Ravelry. Now just to figure out what to do with all this pretty pretty yarn.