July 14, 2008
In which I am all over it
Moments after I typed "I can do it" on Friday, I felt a wicked sense of foreboding. You know that feeling where you look at a friend and say "I'm sure he'll show up" or "There's no way that could happen" or "I know I've covered all the bases" ... that feeling where as soon as those confident words are out of your mouth, you know that sure as anything you've just about guaranteed that you're about to get a face plant into a pool of muddy humility - assuming you dodge the immediate lightning strike?
Usually for me, I feel that feeling and then the planet takes a look at me and my cocky self assurance and says "Listen, I can't let you carry on thinking that you know what's going on here. Your perception that if you get it together you'll have it together is wildly wrong. I'm in charge here, and I'm a fickle, unsteady, mercurial planet, who mixes things up for no other reason than it's Wednesday, that oil spill has me seriously pissed off and you're getting a little big for your britches. I'm flooding your basement. Have a great day Little Miss I-can-do-it"
I had that feeling. I said "I can catch up, just give me the weekend" and I felt a shiver go down my spine. The basement window did leak during the last storm... it was cocky to think I could get back on board with two days... but dudes: Behold the power of positive thinking.
1. The Baby Mine sweater is moving right along, after only two rips back, both in the very embryonic stages.
This part is now working perfectly, and I know that there is no way that this will take a total rip back at this point. Sure, the yoke and I might get into an unseemly wrestling match, but this part? Licked.
2. I finished spinning this pretty, pretty fibre from Clouds of Fiber. (I'm pretty sure this is her website here... but my note taking at the time of acquisition has clearly failed me. Let this be a lesson. Do not think that fibre is so memorable that you will remember from whence it sprang. You will forget. No matter how lovely it is, no matter how stellar the day.... you will forget.)
Similarly, I'm not sure what sort of fibre it is. Clearly a down breed, maybe merino... something really springy and cushie for sure. What it is now is 140g of a nice, soft, thick two ply, perfect for a hat or mittens for the winter. My original spinning teacher told me that part of being a good spinner is being able to spin what you want - and that all spinners have a tendency to spin thinner and thinner with experience. She advocated spinning a thicker yarn from time to time, lest you lose the knack. It was clearly good advice, since it's way harder for me to spin thick than thin these days.
3. More. This is a pretty batt from Spinderella, one of her mixes that I love called "thrums".
Now it's a gorgeously sparkly skein of three ply yarn. These thrums are mixes of tons of stuff. Wool, sparkle, nylon, silk, bunny, silk.... bits of cut up yarn. They're deliciously fun to spin, though the mix means that they resist all urges to spin them as a very even single. You're spinning along and you hit a snip of yarn or a clump of silk and that's it. You've got a thicker spot and there's nothing you can do about it.
What I did was rely on the magic of three ply, the way that any handspun single looks smoother, rounder and more perfect when paired with two of its friends. I navajo (or "chain") plied this. It's a tiny skein, only about 90m and 60g, but I love it.
4. That fun led to going back into the stash and pulling out another of her "thrum" creations. This one has wool, mohair, alpaca, nylon, soy silk and "other"....
which turned out to be wee snips of navy, marine blue and cream yarn. Big fun. Seriously big fun.
Churned out 160 metres (120g) of three ply, which despite its clearly non-Stephanie stuff (namely the sparkles, which usually move me not) is a yarn that I adore and makes me think of things like the Ice Queen or cool sparkling brook water, spilling over rocks.
This latest push in the Tour De Fleece means that I've spun a total of 580g, with 14 days to go, meaning I still need to spin 65 g a day to meet my goal, but I think I can do it.
(Note the careful use of the word "think". I'm not pushing my luck with any more absolute statements.)
Posted by Stephanie at July 14, 2008 12:25 PM
Ye olde Yiddish saying: "Man makes his plans; God laughs."
Yummy yarn!!! Wish I was a spinner...sigh...
The best part for me about your Tour de Fleece is realizing my handspun yarn looks a lot like yours--as a self-taught spinner, I keep thinking of myself as a beginner, but maybe, I'm at least an advanced beginner.
Now how do you do that!? You make me want to try spinning AND you give me ideas of working with wool and other fuzzy, warm fibers. I live in south Texas, for heaven's sake! How practical would that be? Seriously, always love to see what you're doing. Thanks for sharing with all of us!
Oh well, s*** happens, what can you do?
Like when you find out on the same morning that: your brother is not going to help paint your apartment, even though you have already moved the furniture AND the toilet has come loose so you do the funny fanny dance every time you sit there and then it leaks, and ... not going to elaborate on this...
What you do? You get a case of "finishitis" for once, and knit all through the weekend in the only spot left in the house where you can fit... Denial is my bestest frind. HA
(Only your fibery things look so much nicer than mine)
Haha! I have the opportunity to post something sooner than 80th and I'm taking it! Check out Mrs. #15!! -- http://northxeast.com/general/nxe%E2%80%99s-fifty-most-influential-female-bloggers/#more-204 -- Congratulations Stephanie!
Beautiful spinning--I'm not a sparkly yarn fan either but those yarns are tempting.
Dear Steph: I am so glad you are taking some down time from writing (at least I think you are). I was afraid you would get in the "repeating theme" groove that some writers get into when they forget to take some time for themselves. So, even though I will miss the upcoming books, stop writing. Knit, spin, go to knit nights, argue with your daughters, giggle with Joe, and recharge your batteries so we will benefit from your new insights on life and knitting.
Pattie in SF (no, not your mom)
Harlotta, that is the shizknit. I wish I could conquer the spinning deficits in my world. Maybe it is time to go visit Bob with the drop spindle and beg for some help.
I have only seen navajo plying once and it did NOT look this good. You may send me back to my wheel to try that again. It all looks wonderful. How did you hold off the cleaning, kids demands, and all other to get this much done?
I still think of myself as a beginner spinner although I've been spinning off and on for nearly 20 years. Recently I've been spinning a lot and I realised how much difference practice makes when I look at yarn I span years ago. I've just been knitting up some yarn I span more than a decade ago & then left in drawer. I was so new to spinning that I hadn't scoured it properly & it's yellow & greasy. But I'm making something that's going to be felted so that should take care of the yellowing and the uneven texture of the yarn and I can't bring myself to compost yarn, no matter how bad it is. I'm pleased to say that it has made me realise that I am getting better at spinning, even on days when I seem to have two left hands and three left feet.
I love the first "thrums" yarn. Lovely color. I just might have to take up spinning again.
oh i am drooling at that sparkly yarn. it is SO pretty. not that the other things are not pretty, but sparkles catch my attention with a vengance.
as for the spinning goals... you can do it! of course. :)
Love the spinning. The Navajo ply is beautiful! And that baby sweater is exquisite.
Sometimes it works out to ignore the universe's muttering, eh?
All of it thoroughly pettable looking from here. Very nice. Does Lance Armstrong know you're gaining on him?
Oh that yarn is so pretty it makes me want to take up spinning. But no, seriously no. (er... because I'm so in charge of my life I can make those sweeping statements... except that I'm going to go duck and cover now...)
Keep your eye on the prize. Exceed 65 g a day and earn and extra bottle of brew. That should keep you motivated.
I am in total awe of your progress. Both with the spinning and with the knitting.
I've also noticed that I want to spin thinner and thinner as I practice more, and how it is harder for me to spin thick yarn. Must practice the "thick" stuff more.
To Alison M at 12:44--I adore that you use "span" as the past tense of spin! It's an archaic word but I've always felt it sounded better than "I spun that." From now on, tomorrow I will spin, yesterday I span, in the past I have spun. (You got me on my two favorite obsessions--fiber and grammar.)
Oh and Stephanie--fabulous work on all fronts!
Wow! I'm impressed!
I thought that first photo of thrums looked good. The yarn from that looked even better.
The second photo of thrums looked even better than that (I tend to like blues a lot) and the yarn you made from it is amazing!
Thanks for letting us know where to get all this fibery goodness!
I also love the baby stuff you're knitting.
So that's where you were all weekend. Well done. For someone who states her disdain for "sparkly stuff" as frequently as you do, it sure does turn up in your stash often enough. Perhaps you need to re-evaluate your sparkle factor.....
Getting yarn envy. Must learn to spin.
Lovely, lovely knitting.
Lovlier, lovlier spinning.
Lovliest, lovliest blog.
Hope there was nothing important damaged in the basement flood.
Your spinning is lovely! What a great challenge this tour de fleece is. I wish I could have prepared for it myself. My challenge was getting the wheel out of the bag this summer...:)
Ah, how the best laid plans so often go awry. But good luck with your goal, because whether you succeed or not, half the fun is getting there! Yummy fleece.
And totally off-topic, but I am assuming you do know about the pattern from Knitter's for the wool pig socks???
You are really "spinning along!" Nice stuff there!
(and thanks for the reassurance that I'm not crazy. Yet anyway.)
Your basement flooded? Poor Steph!
The sparkly skeins are adorable.
That sure is Purty.
What are you going to make with 'em? I'm asking because I have small bits of wool like that but have no clue of what to do with them to do them justice.
That sure is pretty though.
"All spinners tend to spin thinner with experience" -- so *that* explains why my TDF challenge is to spin 162g of merino into laceweight. Yes, I know 162g is pretty pathetic, but, I maintain, not if it's laceweight. And my last big spinning project plied into worsted, so there.
(I may at some point enter a frame of mine wherein I can tolerate spinning slubs without picking the yarn apart, but not today.)
Yeah, the universe tends to take those statements as taunts.
Oooooooooooooh! Pretty yarn! From the pictures, it doesn't look too sparkly. :)
You sound more cheerful. I'm betting you have beer.
I am impressed with the spinning. YOu are improving with each gram of fiber, even if you don't think so. Not able to participate in the tour de fleece, but wonder if I could do a mt. everest sort of climb of my fleece. I sent about 10 pounds of fiber to be blended with some alpaca. It will be ready in September for spinning. I shall have to spend some serious spinning time on it. Wonder what on the needles will suffer. Keep up the great works.
Oooo, very pretty. I think you can do it too!
Now I am curious...no stash got harmed in the leaking of the window...right?!!?
I understand the part about pissing off the Gods. I jinxed our wedding with the phrase,"...and the weather is usually really mild that weekend". It was 103(f) that year. Best of luck with the spinning. The baby sweater is beautiful!
Very pretty. I am not usually that keen on the sparkles...but I love that one you did. It looks so soft and sproigy as well. I'm just learning to spin and I love love love to navajo ply. It really does do wonders for evening out the yarn!
About 20 years ago my mother and I were having a tough time of it. We as a mother/daughter were good, but things around us were going horribly wrong every time we turned around and we were beginning to look for that handbasket.
I looked at her one day and said "Look at it this way...things can't possibly get any worse."
That night, that VERY NIGHT, our car was stolen out of our driveway.
I've never used those words or any form of those words in that way ever again.
Well, Stephanie, obviously someone else dealt with the flood in your basement so you could knit and spin - lucky you! I can't wait to see what you do with the "thrums" yarn and that gorgeous peacock blue (at least that's how it looks on my monitor).
I get that feeling every time I say "But the baby's not due for 3 more weeks..."
Me ""thinks "" I'll just buy yarn and not spin at all. I admire those that do though and holy smoly what beautiful yarn you make and you get to say "'I spun this yarn AND knit it. Hmmmm I'll put "think " on hold if I see a spinning class offered here I betcha. Dare I say that the two words one should be VERY careful to use are --think and never. Keep spinning. Good Luck
Really, very lovely spinning. And I can't wait to see the pattern (BIG hint) for the Baby Mine sweaters. They are darling!
Your spinning is lovely-it's so fun to see what you turn out every day. I went to a spinning demo at my local shop yesterday and got to have a turn behind the wheel for a few minutes! I did quite well with the treadle, and what I spun turned out ok, but I had major issues with letting the twist get behind my finger no matter how hard I pinched it, so then the wool was hard to draw. Still, I had fun and I think I would enjoy spinning if I ever took some proper classes and learned how to do it.
I cannot begin to tell you how completely smitten I am with the Baby Mine sweater.
Dang, you do spin purty stuff.
I'm humming the Rocky theme for you. Like maybe it'll help. Well, that and beer. You know, I spend the week with my dad, and he even bought be a 6 pack of my favorite, Killian's, and guess how many I drank?
One. I think I was still reeling from what my dear sweet mother in law did for me in Denver. Wool fumes do help. Speaking of Denver, did you get to make it over to the Lamb Shoppe? Do not go there, unless you're prepared to come out with many $ less than you went in with. That is a very enabling shop. There's a picture on my blog of what came out with me. Just sayin.
Your spinning looks great. (As does the Baby Mine.)
I seem to have entered spinning a bit backwards; I'm a new spinner, but my hands want to make laceweight. I'm currently trying to master the art of spinning thicker yarns.
Lovely yarn - especially the sparkly one - any idea what you are going to knit with that one?
Really wish I had a wheel so I could learn to spin.
And here I was just happy knitting, now seeing your spinning I want yummy stuff to make into yarn too.
Now this is the second post I've seen today about navajo plying, and my will has been broken! I've added learning to navajo ply to my list of goals for TdF. Thanks for the inspiration!
Wow. You are doing such a great job. It all looks fabulous. I spun some Wensleydale yesterday (mixes of purple and orange). Very long fibers and soft. My first time for that... OH - and I think I'm still in the "getting thinner and thinner with experience" stage. I can't get mine thin enough! Thanks for sharing!
Dude, can anyone say YARN LUST?!?!?!? Serious GUHage over in South Central Pennsylvania!!!!
Wow love the Baby Mine knitting. beautiful. OH the spinning is pettable! Ha I just saw the post that say YARN LUST very funny and I concur.
you are adorable
so sorry to hear about the basement flood. ours did a few years ago, because SOMEONE unplugged the sump pump!
the spinning DOES look pettable.
Baby Mine sweater looks so sweet... I'm sure it will be lovely.
Your pictures (which are great) of the roving becoming yarn are making me think of learning to spin... (do I need another thing to do with yarn?)
But you said "licked". ;) Purty! Knock on wood it all goes well. Old saying - we make plans - God laughs.
You know, I get the feeling that sometimes you and I fall into the whole trap of, "I'll get it done over the weekend," and then something huge happens: ie your basement floods or a really really cute boy calls. =D
Is that like Miss USA saying she wouldn't trip like last year's Miss USA-and then promptly tripped on her gown during the pageant? Never tempt the Gods. The sweater looks lovely.
Gorgeous knitting, amazing spinning, great writing. Everything looks normal. Except I am all weirded out--your blog looks different! Not like a blog. Where are all the little sidebar link thingies?
Never mind me. I found them. Carry on now.
You are definitely trying for the FibreWoman of the year (with a handspun, handknit cape)! Amazing work!
Lovely, all. dude, I can even see the little sparkles.
rats on the basement flooding.
Those are just lovely and I think you can do it to. You're a madwoman when it comes to wooly things - MAD I tell you! But, then again, this is why we love you so dearly. I'm halfway through my spinning goal, I move on Saturday, and I've got a little over a month to get ready for my trip to Peru (meaning that I've got to get crackin' on the bug butt pictures). ACK! I *think* I can do it.
More important than doing it, I can hear your inner Yarn Harlot batteries recharging with the hum of the imaginary spinning wheel... at last, the yarn harlot in her natural environment: Yarn:-)
Hey Stephanie....what inspiration! Not only does your knitting inspire me, but now your spinning does, too! And you're right, once you spin thin, it's hard to go back to thick.
I love the yarn that you spun! The sparkles go great with the smokey color. And I'm impressed with the baby sweater. So cute!
Well, if you don't want it you can send it my way... Love the yarn, the sweaters, the works! Good luck!
Everything looks great!!!!!
Now you're thinking that you've dodged a bullet, right? That nothing has gone catastrophically wrong so far so everything is going to be fine, yes?
You DO know the Knitting Gods are just toying with you, don't you?
You know when you watch an action film and the building explodes 15 minutes before the end and our hero says "Oh, the baddie must have been killed in the blast, nobody could have survived that and we are all safe now..."
This is going to be good...
Your plying looks so much tighter. Hooray!
I love the sparkly stuff. It's gorgeous.
@Melinda: love the word "shizknit!"
As for you, Steph, congratulations on ... award? Designation? Either way, #15 most influential female blogger, despite all those qualifiers, is a great place to be.
hey... not a bit of that looks under-spun. did you solve the problem?
It's a good time to practice thick spinning; it weighs more! Ü
I absolutely Love that first sparkley "thrum" one. Why can't I find anything like that in the local yarn shop? Oh well, I wouldn't be able to afford it anyway.
You keep racing ahead on the Tour de Fleece like this and the Tour officials are going to be at your door with a cup for you to pee in.
Ooh ooh ooh, the yarn in #3 is so beautiful to me. If ever there was a yarn that embodied Fairy Dust, that'd be it. It's lovely.
I am LOVING the spinning. It's all gorgeous.
I have to keep reminding myself that 1) I don't have the time, the space, or the money to take up spinning. 2) I can hardly make a dent in my stash as it is. And 3) I don't have the money. I shall just have to "spin vicariously" through your blog.
My Calendar came today! I am full of SQUEEEE!!
Great balance! A bit of spin, a bit of sweater! More spin, a bit of sweater (okay, it's a baby sweater and a lot of spinning).
I so love watching the piles of fluff turn into skeins of yarn.
(Where is this baby sweater pattern?)
You and those knitting gods! Is it about balance? I think there's some smiling on that Baby Mine sweater.
All this is making me want to spin too! You go!
I have a spindle and a bit of fleece waiting in a basket for me to get the nerve to give it a try.
I can do this! Thanks!
I bow to your superior spinning dedication. How do you sit in one place long enough to do all that spinning without your back seizing up or your hands cramping? Honestly, an hour, maybe an hour and a half, is my limit. But maybe it's time for another one...
Are you spinning by colours? Seems you're going through the blues (not necessarily emotionally, though). I'm enjoying how yo're going with this challenge and also just the fun of watching a heap of unspun magically turn into skeins of spun. Can you tell I'm not a spinner?
You are making me want to spin. Stop it at once. I do not spin, I knit. No spinny! (sparkles......)
You go, girl! You can do it. The results so far are gorgeous and I can't wait to see the next spinning photos. Love the baby mine sweater too.
I'll venture to guess that it was the "clean house" part that loosed the vengeance. But you can spin, churn out that beautiful fiber goodness.
is any thing perking in your mind
about your next big project
i enjoy sparkle in my yarn
do you not have a pretty
beaded jacket to wear in
i do not spin but knit
the yarns are lovely
perhaps a lovely cashmere
do you spin silk perhaps
something soft to work
with and easy on the fingers
You are a funny, funny, funny lady.
My Tour de Fleece totals, so far: One small, overspun, underplyed, spindle-spun skein of two-ply, plus half a copful. Trying to learn something new (spinning on a spindle) for the Tour is a way bigger challenge for me than spinning for quantity. This week, I'm adding learning to spin woolen, as I've only ever spun semi-worsted. My brain is exhausted.
Dude I think that sometime in the near future I will have to learn how to spin. So far I have tought myself how to crochet and knit (in that order I am afraid) but I think spinning may need a teacher and more equipment. you guys make it look like soo much fun though! Keep up the good work!
that is some seriously inspiring yarn. i think as the follow up to the tour de fleece, you need to have a "stephanie knits with tour de fleece spun yarns" gig, because this stuff is way too pretty to languish in stash.
I love Spinderella's stuff. I have a couple of pounds of her thrums in my stash (am pretty sure I have the sparkly pink). But today it's got to be either cutting up carpet or stripping a dresser. No spinning today. I have 3 knitting projects with deadlines to work on, too. Will be working on those out at the Lake, where we're going as a reward for either cutting up carpet or stripping a dresser.
Time to get moving
So I'm in St.-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, at an antique store last week, and there's a beautiful, handmade 18th century spinning wheel, all folk-arty and gorgeous. I fondle it for a bit, wipe away the drool, and walk away. Then my husband, seemingly prompted by the Universe, says, "I think it would be cool if you took up spinning." I'm still resisting, though, because then he said "Wouldn't that make knitting cheaper?"
Your stuff is beautiful! I hope the basement window got fixed without too much hassle.
WE BELIEVE IN YOU!!!!
Also- baby sweaters are cute enought to re-grow my fallopian tubes.....I swear, I feel them stretching and trying to reconnect....Creeeeeeeeek.....
Where can we get this pattern????
You are my heroine as a knitter. Thanks for the inspirational blogs.
Of Course you can do it! It's not like you have kids or a husband or a job or a blog or anything to distract your from your task, right? ;)
I LOVE your history of spinning. I sent it to many people who know me so that they could understand a little more the appeal all things fiber has for me. I feel so connected to women (and it's mostly women spinning!) throughout time when I am spinning. I don't even care what yarn comes out. I just like spinning!!