Saturday, July 7, 2012

Staycation Part II (The Fiber-y Part)

Fiber-y, as in wool and yarn, not as in beans and whole grain.

The first part of our staycation was crazy busy, but the second part has been more mellow.  We did take a drive up to Lake George yesterday to Martha's Dandee Creme for ice cream and shaved ice (I'm even more obsessed with shaved ice than I am with slushies - shaved ice is like a soft snow cone, where a slushie is more like an almost melted snow cone.  And I'm super excited because when we go out to a car race in Ohio in August, there is a shaved ice cart at the track.  All. Day.), but other than that we've been hanging out at home, picking away at "the list" and relaxing.

And I've been knitting and spinning on my spinning wheel.
SO.  First up is that I finished my Celes shawl to be entered in the fair:
OMG this sideways thing is so annoying...

It was 52" long and 11" wide when it came off the needles.  Then I blocked it (soaked it in water and wool wash, then pinned it out to dry using blocking wires):

I really had to stretch it to open up the lacework and get it to the finished dimensions of 74" long by 17" wide!  I. LOVE. IT.  Seriously.  So happy with how it came out.  It is now safely tucked away in a plastic bag, waiting to be brought to the fair.

And also, it is now the Tour de Fleece so I've been spinning at least a little bit every day (except yesterday, which I'm using as one of my two rest days because my hands hurt from knitting and spinning and plying so much).  Tour de Fleece goes along with the Tour de France (get it? because they are spinning their bike wheels?  and spinning wheels spin?) and the idea is to come up with a goal that involves spinning every day of the tour, with two rest days.  My goal is simply to spin a little every day to get better at it.  And a secondary goal will be to come up with a skein of yarn to submit for judging in the fair.

Here is what I've done:  First was to finish spinning some roving that I started spinning about a year and a half ago.
Spun and wound into balls, waiting to be plied together.
More just spun, waiting on a bobbin to be plied.
One strand from each ball above, plied (twisted) together.

Not plied (left) and plied (right).
After getting everything plied, I gave it a bath and hung it to dry.  The results?  My first crack at plying was BAD.  Really bad.  Totally underspun and loose.  Then I bought a book and read some tips on how to ply and my second crack at plying was MUCH BETTER!  Tighter twist and not as messy looking:
Bad ply on the left.  Good ply on the right.

A closer look.  Better on the right.  Right?

All skeined-up.  Good one on the left this time.
This was all part of my practice and getting back into spinning.  Now, I have to pick more roving (wool) that I can use to spin a skein for judging.  I can definitely say that I'm learning a lot and, really, it's just practice practice practice that makes you better.  Just like learning to play the piano.  When I was little, I begged and begged and begged for lessons and then hated hated hated practicing.  I wanted to be good right away and was very impatient with the practicing.  I've been pretty patient with learning to spin and actually, spinning is VERY relaxing.  I can sit down to spin and not even realize that a half hour or an hour has gone by.  Some people relate it to yoga.  Without the crazy pretzel poses.

What else?  Since I'm done with my shawl, I picked up the Tudor Henley again, and now I have picture for you (instead of just yarn balls):
Ready to knit from the armholes upward on the back.

Closeup of the pattern - more accurate color too!
That picture give you a good idea of the pattern I mentioned in an earlier post - it looks kind of like the waffle-y look of long underwear.  It's cruising along now, but I have a feeling it will derail a little bit once I get to the sleeves.  I should have done them first.  Sometimes I get a little impatient with sleeves.  They're long.

Two more things, then I'm done with Staycation posts.....

1) Our finished, grouted fireplace:
Love. It.

2) And this craziness:
These line-painting guys do this ALL THE TIME!  I just spent an hour looking for the last picture I took when they did this but I can't find it.  They must put the newbies on line-painting.


  1. The shawl is absolutely gorgeous--and the difference in the plying is very obvious--two beautiful projects!

  2. Lizzy, your shawl belongs in a museum of arts display - not want to use it, I'm sure!!!
    Really like your Tudor Henley color ... can't wait to see it finished
    Your spinning is terrific now! and, love love love the colors :)
    YES!!! rest those hands ... pace yourself kiddo :O)

  3. Love that shawl!


  4. The Celes is beautiful! Interesting to see the spinning/plying process.
    The fireplace project looks great.

  5. WOW so beautiful!! the shawl and everything else, the fireplace too... it looks so nice, now for some cold weather to use it, so neat that your doing the Tour de the colors, and I am wondering about the odd number on the ice cream tally....for some reason I was thinking it was always climbing upwards in even numbers....maybe I just haven't been paying attention
    LV K

    1. Thanks! The ice cream might have been going up by two's because I fon't always remember to update it (usually every other time)!

  6. oh! I forgot..... and the workers that painted the street....they are fired! that just messes up my brain waaaaay too much! they can contact me for details on getting fired. LV K

    PS> on previous posts I noticed that the cat is always sleeping on Mandy's I had this thought, if you get another doggie bed...the dog will rest assured that she gets to sleep on one of them...cause I'm thinking the cat won't be able to figure out how to sleep on both at the same time

    1. Ha ha! Why didn't I think of that???? I may just try it!