Thursday, October 25, 2012


I totally lied in my last post.  Okay, not really lied, just avoided the whole truth.  Like the fact that in addition to the new scarf I cast on, I also spent most of last weekend knitting a new sock instead of Laika.  It would be one thing if I was taking time away to work on other WIPs on my list, but noooo, I'm casting on new projects.  I blame the handspun.  My desire to knit with my handspun clearly trumps my desire to finish WIPs.  Not to mention, I really need to start making a dent in my stash.

A couple of months ago, a nice fluffy package arrived filled with all sorts of fibery goodness.

Hey, when I'm lucky enough to get in on a Bee Mice Elf co-op, I'm going to make the most of it.  Mike had a good ol' time teasing me about the new fiber, and I admit, even the dogs are aware that the stash is starting to overflow.

In trying to defend my fiber acquisition, I reminded Mike that he picked out one of the braids for me to make him socks.  After I listened to how he suspected that he'd never see those socks, I marched straight to the wheel to start spinning his braid.  I suspect he might have been using a little reverse psychology. It worked.

Mike's chosen fiber (apparently Hartford Whalers' colors circa 1985):

The fiber is superwash BFL.  Soft, fluffy, drafts-like-butter BFL. I seriously loved every minute of spinning it, and not being able to tear myself from the wheel, it only took a couple of days.  I was aiming for yarn that would be around DK weight after I chain plied, and estimated that I should be able to get around 225 yards of yarn to use for An American in China socks.

Plan:  Good.  Execution: FAIL.

I divided the fiber evenly and spun 2 separate skeins. The thickness looked and measured about right, but then I checked the yardage.   Each skein was only about 80 yards for a total of 160.  It was about DK thickness but dense.  Really dense.  F*&^%^K!!

On the positive side, the yarn did come out super pretty, and there was only a 2 yard difference between my 2 skeins, so I think I'm getting better with the consistency thing.

Consistent or not, 160 yards was not nearly enough.  There went my pattern idea, and Mike nixed the idea of ankle socks. I thought about knitting him a hat instead.  Thought about begging Ravelers to sell me some more of the colorway.  Thought about ordering fiber to spin heel/toe yarn. In the end, I just chucked the yarn angrily into a bag.  Perfectly understandable.

But then I went to the LYS to buy needles for Laika, which gave me a good excuse to look for some coordinating yarn to use for heels, toes, and cuffs.  Superwash Cascade sportweight was the only yarn I could find in decent color, and since it's lighter weight than my handspun, I've had to knit the heel and toe on smaller size needles and then do some funky increasing and decreasing to get the size right.  There has been a good bit of ripping and making Mike try on the sock 500 times to make sure it fit.  Even with all that adjusting and ripping, socks with heavier weight yarn go FAST.

So they won't be tall socks.  But they will be finished, wearable, nice thick house socks for winter, which I can point to as tangible proof that packages of fiber tumbling into the house is a GOOD thing.

And see, Laika is right there with me and not being neglected at all.

Laika sleeve update: I'm almost finished with sleeve #1 and resisting the temptation to turn this into a sweater with 3/4 length sleeves.  Despite sock and scarf knitting, I have been working away on it every night this week. It occurred to me that I listed 3 sweaters I wanted to finish by the end of the year, and they all need full sleeves.  That's 5 more sleeves!  Groan.  I figure if I can finish Laika by the end of the month, I should be able to finish Low Tide in November, and can battle Vivian in December.  Yes, I'm back to my old tricks of knitting schedules and deadlines. It's who I am and I'm embracing it.  Or something.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Commitment Issues

Thanks for all the positive feedback on my last post.  It was definitely a fun one to write.  One of these days, I’ll get around to the “when to call it quits” post, but I'm still in denial about those projects, so not yet.

For weeks I've been in knitting bliss working on Laika.  I've ignored all my other projects, cancelled plans with a sock-in-progress, and a month flew by and I realized I've been knitting and not blogging.  I guess I should have realized the honeymoon had to end at some point. You know what will almost always kill a perfectly good knitting relationship?  Sleeves. 

I happily stuck with Laika through knitting the hood, and even put up with over 550 stitches crammed on my 32 inch circular to knit the garter edging.  Even after I cast off the edging and realized the bind off along the hem was a little tight and that my second row of buttonholes were not placed evenly with the first row, I stuck with this sweater.  I took apart the bind off and ripped back 4 rows and over 2,000 stitches to redo those buttonholes.  As I bound off 550+ stitches for the second time, I was sure I was going to stick with Laika until the end.  

I went into the sleeves with an open mind, even buying new 11 inch circulars so that I wouldn’t have to fuss with DPNs or magic loop.  But I’m bored.  Bored to tears.  Size 2 needles and full sleeves is a lot of knitting.  Boring knitting.  On itty bitty circs that are convenient but not exactly enjoyable to knit with.  By row 10, I knew the magic was gone, and I'm ashamed to say it, but my eye started to wander.

It started so innocently (don't these things always?) with a spin along on Ravelry and a gorgeous braid practically leaping out at me from the stash.  I rationalized that a new spinning project and taking time away from Laika wasn't cheating.  I mean spinning is a whole different craft. But it had to happen at some point.  The yarn is finished.  

Fiber from Bee Mice Elf.  BFL in "Heatwave". 420 yds, 2-ply fingering weight

I was weak.  The yarn was barely dry before I cast on a new project.

Lacy Baktus

It's just a break.  A short one.  I'll head back to Laika soon if for no other reason than the weather is finally starting to cool off, and I'm so close to having something new to wear.  I can't let pesky sleeves hinder wardrobe expansion.