Living on the Edge

I agreed with Jen last night that this morning we would get up early and hit the bikes. Now, Jen and I both work full time and manage families – Jen gets extra points here because there are still two people in her house not old enough to make a sandwich or put their own pants on, but still – we’re both busy, busy women. That means that if we agree to ride on a weekday, it’s early. Super early. Early like, set your alarm for 5:30 and weep soft, warm tears into your coffee sort of early.  Still, we made a commitment to the rally, so there we were, two knitters who like wine, knitting and staying up late, opting for herbal tea, not knitting and an early bedtime.  You could smell the virtue a mile off. 

Fast forward (not that far forward) to this morning, when I got up, made coffee, pulled on my bike shorts and awaited the text from Jen that would tell me she was close enough for me to jump on my bike and go meet her.  Just after 6am, I got a text, but it was just a screenshot of the weather forecast.  It was at that moment (because I am a genius) that I decided to look outside. Pouring. Just pouring and none too warm either, and Jen and I might be committed to this cause, but we don’t need to be committed, so we called it off. 

I would have gone back to bed for an hour, but I’d already made coffee and the house was quiet and it hit me that I had just been given the gift of three hours of time. I did what any sane woman would. I knit booties. Or I sort of knit booties.  Let me explain.
I’m still on my search for the perfect angora/wool yarn. You’ll recall that those last booties, they were nice, but they weren’t what I was looking for.  I have a few lines in the water about some other choices but last night I decided to try an approach suggested to me on twitter – another way to get a 50/50 mix that hadn’t really occurred to me, although I don’t know why not, it’s dead simple.  Spin a single of angora, then one of wool, then ply.  The idea had merit. Last night I spun up a little, being careful not to make too much.  The last kick at the bootie can I had almost half of my yarn left over, and I wasn’t going to make that mistake again.  I washed it and left it to dry overnight, but this morning it wasn’t quite dry – so I put it in the dryer with the clothes I had on the go.  

I know, I know. I put yarn in the dryer! It’s shocking, and a risk,  but it was just a little bit, and I was anxious for it, and it was almost dry and I was totally prepared for it to be ruined, but it’s 50% angora, and so to my way of thinking, there was an excellent chance the tumble in the dryer would improve it, encourage the halo and help with that fuzz I’m hunting for. If it was a trainwreck, then I could always make more, and exercise a little more patience. In it went, and ten minutes later it was dry, fluffy and looking awfully lovely.

After taking its picture outside (under the patio umbrella) I plunked myself down and whipped off a bootie. 

Ok. It’s not quite a bootie, but it will be. That’s the sole on top, and the top part folds over and gets sewn down. Trust me. It’s a bootie.  It also has quite a bit of halo, and is charmingly marled in a way that I like a lot.  I won’t know until I sew them up and give them a bit of a swish, but I think I might have a winner yarn. 

Of course, nothing can be totally perfect. That bootie might have potential, but it’s singular. After taking great pains not to make too much yarn..

I don’t have enough. The bootie weighs 6g, and the leftovers, only 2.  I’ll spin more today, and have the verdict on the booties tomorrow, when they’re knit, washed and dried.  Tomorrow? Yeah. That fast, because I have been emboldened by the dryer success. I’m putting the next skein of yarn in, and the booties too.
I like to live on the edge. 

156 thoughts on “Living on the Edge

  1. After just finishing my first handspun, I more fully appreciate the work that goes into making just a few grams of lovely even yarn. Beautiful yarn that will definitely make beautiful booties!

  2. I see there are no comments to this post. I will admit to being a little speechless myself, but I hope you get just exactly what you want. I might try the dryer sometime if I ever get that carefree. Don’t hold your breath though.
    Jo in MN

  3. That dryer trick pretty much makes you the bravest woman I know. Is it weird that, though I am extremely impressed by the bike rally, putting handspun angora/wool blend in the dryer was the thing that made me almost drop my coffee in sheer amazement of your courage?

  4. But yarn trainwrecks are entertaining, aren’t they, from a suitable distance?
    (For me, ‘suitable’ is about 300 miles and an international border.)

  5. oh dear lord, that first paragraph made me laugh out loud and then snort. people in my office think i’m losing it.

  6. The first picture makes the yarn look so soft and fluffy. I hope the second one goes as well as the first.

  7. Good luck! I do that with my felt items to give them more of a halo/make them squishy soft.
    I hope that you can get back to your bike in the morrow!
    And have fun with the spinning and knitting. 🙂
    Katie =^..^=

  8. I’m going to take a bit more convincing before I’ll buy off on that eventually being a bootie. It looks more like a hippo bookmark to me.

  9. I really hope that the second run of yarn in the dryer turns out as lovely as the first! Well done! (and kudos to whomever it was who thought of making a 50/50 mix)

  10. All this is doing is making me want to
    a. learn to spin
    b. knit booties
    since a. is way less likely than b., I think I will have to find suitable bootie yarn soon. 🙂

  11. Esteemed Stephanie – Are these Cutest Booties? I thought that pattern was knitted in the round! Do you have a flat-knit bootie pattern you’ve been hiding from us?

  12. At first, I thought the bootie was part of a toy elephant. Elephant > Elefoot > Elefeet booties? Maybe I am the only person amused by this.

  13. are those the garter stitch booties from “Simple Knits for Cherished Babies”? i made those for a cousin’s baby in hand-dyed wool. they were incredibly well received, and ridiculously easy. even the seaming wasn’t that bad, because they’re SO SMALL. in any case, the bootee is lovely. hope it finds its mate soon.

  14. As yet another immature person on the internet I just want to say one thing. You said ‘bootie can’.

  15. Thought for SURE after you said “Let me explain.” that you were then going to say “No, let me sum up.”
    Gorgeous yarn, and supah-fluffay footwear-to-be!

  16. I’m another one who thought you had knitted an angora elephant. Intriguing pattern, can’t wait to see it made up!

  17. Now the yarn has the perfect amount of fluff. I’m actually a fan of less fluff rather than more fluff!

  18. I am not a spinner, just someone who likes to save time whenever possible. Is plying the two yarns necessary? Couldn’t you just knit the booties with the two yarns?

  19. Getting on a bike that is not a stationary one is too close to the edge for me. Count me among the wimps. But, you go, Harlot!

  20. “Jen and I might be committed to this cause, but we don’t need to be committed, so we called it off. ” HAHAHA! I think I should be committed every time my husband convinces me to get back on my bike. I think I have a similar falling off to staying seated ratio as you.

  21. …having heart palpitations here as I realise I might have been responsible for the 50/50 plied singles idea. I’m probably not the only one who thought it.
    Drying the yarn carefully and quickly sounds brilliant…yes, I have used the hair-dryer before too.
    Booties look scrumptious.
    Extra time is just exquisite.

  22. Drying the yarn in the dryer makes perfect sense to me. Its not going to felt, that needs water in addition to agitation. And what does shrinking mean for yarn? Does it get shorter? Skinnier? Could you even tell?
    Love the booties. I’m currently in the middle of end of school madness compounded by my oldest’s graduation, so there has been precious little knitting here. Haven’t developed a twitch…yet.

  23. To me it looked like a lion with a mane. No self respecting elephant trunk in sight. Rowrl! Smirk.

  24. Didn’t putting the angora in the dryer make it shed like a white cat on black corduroy slacks? I would have thought you’d end up with angora fluff stuck to everything and a felted wool single!
    But the yarn does look scrumptious. . .can’t wait to see the finished booties.

  25. What bootie pattern is this one?????? We all need to know because it is flat and the other one said it was knit in the round——I prefer a flat bootie pattern since I am an armpit knitter and I get all goofy when I have to knit in the round!!!
    DO tell PLEASE!!!

  26. OMG, you put beautiful hand spun yarn in the dryer. That’s like scrolling down your face book feed to find a pictur of a snake. I dropped my iPad with the horror of it!

  27. I’ve done the dryer trick too. Actually I like it so much I may sometimes use to too much. I have found that if the skein is loosely knotted about itself I get way less fulling and no felting.
    Also no other items in the dryer to cause more agitation.
    Is your angora from a plucked method (combing) or from shearing? That tends to make some halo difference too.
    Those are gonna be some mighty warm booties. Glad you are having success with them though.

  28. I am just smitten with these bootees. You can knit as many as you want, I will frantically try not to speak baby talk to my computer while gazing at them adoringly. I made some bootees with little owls on them, and spent way too much time photographing them on my thumbs and sending pictures to my longsuffering best friend 😛

  29. Fortunately, a flat supposedly-a-bootie doesn’t have quite the same effect as a pair of properly finished booties, so I feel safer this time around.
    Spinning makes so much more sense (at least for you, who are already quite familiar with spinning and not so much with carding). I await the day when I too can post photos of my own too-short handspun!

  30. Getting up before 5:30 a.m., we call it “stupid o’clock”! Again, I’m so glad you are up to all of this activity. Since I am from California, and don’t use the metric system, I clocked your bikeride. Seriously…40 miles??? How many miles do you cover spinning yarn? Yes, wine would have to be involved here as a motivator. I bet your shorts are fitting pretty loose now. Have fun though.

  31. There should be a Rorschach test for knitters–because I definitely see a male lion with a big full mane in the first picture!

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