A quick one from me to show you the plied yarn from yesterday. Then I’m off to do “something” about the house, which has slipped into a chaos that’s beginning to feel permanent.  I feel like that “something” is going to be cleaning, but am hoping to discover an alternative. (Over the last few days I have tried knitting, spinning, having brunch with my daughter, snuggling a baby, drinking coffee, going for a walk, napping, drinking wine and ignoring it. No dice, and the fridge still smells funny, but will keep you posted.)  Last night I plied up the two bobbins of yarn I had, and the end result, while quite pretty, isn’t quite what I wanted – although I think that next time I try it, I’ll get something that’s more like what I intended.  If you recall – I had two colours of fibre. One reddish-orange, and one brown. I split the reddish-orange into thirds, and spun 1/3 onto one bobbin, then finished with brown, then spun the other 2/3 onto another bobbin, and finished that with brown.  In theory, when I plied those two bad boys against each other, I should have gotten a skein that was 1/3 red/red, 1/3 red/brown, and 1/3 brown/brown.

onniddy 2015-08-11

In reality, what I ended up with was a skein that’s goes red/red, a tiny bit of red/brown, and then brown/brown.  That middle third isn’t as big as I would have liked. Knit up, there will still be a transition, but it won’t be the third I thought would happen.

yarnstrand 2015-08-11

In retrospect (like the funny smell in the fridge after 2 weeks of ignoring it)  this really shouldn’t be a total surprise. I think where I went wrong was when I eyeballed the amount of brown. A smarter spinner, the one that I will be when I try again… a smarter spinner would have done something clever, like weigh the brown and divide it up that way, instead of what I did do, which was guess. Badly – apparently.

yarnskein1 2015-08-11

I think it would have worked better too, if I started with the brown on the wheel, and then the red. I ended up with an unequal amount left on the bobbins – one ran out before the other did, and I think that threw off the calculations – if you can call making a wild guess a calculation, which it turns out you can’t.

yarnball1 2015-08-11

Still, for all the work it is a pretty little ball of yarn, and not a total disaster, and it’s encouraged me to go back up to the stash and try and find another two fibres to try it with.  You know. After I clean. I’m going to start with the fridge, then vacuum the cat hair of of the…. everything, and then it’s back to the wheel.  Anyone have a better way to come up with what I want?

89 thoughts on “Quickie

  1. Elves. Cultivate a good relationship with local elves. Leave out a bowl of milk — and maybe one of beer, too, just to be safe — and voilà! Everything done!

  2. It’s never a total loss. Experience is a great teacher.
    I don’t care what anyone else says – I like your brown & red cake of handspun! Bravo!

  3. I think you want bobbin 1 to be 1/3 brown and 2/3 red and the other one to be 2/3 brown and 1/3 red. So the first third of each bobbin will be brown, the second third will be red on bobbin 1 and brown on bobbin 2, and the last third will be red on both bobbins Does that make sense?

    Even if it didn’t come out as planned, it’s still a pretty skein!

  4. You could always do a two-yarn slipped-stitch pattern with it. It’s pretty, whatever project it ends up in.

    Been doing some of that housework stuff myself today, in time for the plumber to have room to work in.

  5. Like some fashion models, beautiful skeins of yarn are to be loved and admired, but not put to work doing anything more than being beautiful.

    If you must put this beauty to work, alternate knitting from both ends and see if that’s her calling.

    • JudyO what an excellent idea! I love the Turn A Square pattern and it would be so cool to see how your suggestion would turn out…

  6. If the elves don’t turn up (I am still waiting for mine), I think you should seriously consider the deleterious effect that cleaning might have on your still tender and sensitive hands ….surely that’s good for a couple more weeks? And it might be quite a good guilt-inducing argument for the rest of the family??? I have to admit that I’m not sure it would work on mine ….

  7. Love the yarn! That said, you can perhaps get a result more close to what you intended, if you layout in advance what you intend to spin on each bobbin in the correct color progression. Eyeballing it that way trends to be a tad more accurate then when part of the fiber is already spun 😉

  8. My fridge smells funny too but I decided to make baby hats instead of chasing it down. The stairs and floor are crunchy and full of cat hair but I decided to take the kids swimming. Summer doesn’t last long and I can vacuum later. But sometimes you have just got do it. Congrats on the ride.

  9. Honestly, I think the house should wait. You need to use the momentum from the last spin to get you going on the next. Don’t waste it!

  10. Get outside…swim, hike with your camera, go sailing and take your knitting or a drop spindle (flicking the whorl’s great therapy for “carping tunnels”). Canadian Winter will return all too soon. The refrigerator can wait. That funky smell will be easier to locate once it’s grown a bright green and purple fuzz.

  11. I am so relieved other people end up with refrigerators that smell funny. Even if it is only you and me, we are not alone (and I bet there are others). I always feel guilty about not keeping on top of it, but I also feel like why should it be my job and why can’t I eat food fast enough. Thank you for letting me share in having strange fridge odors.

  12. I’m a firm believer in moderation. Set yourself a timer – 45 minutes – and clean for that duration. When the timer is done, so are you! Then you can get back to doing joyful things like spinning.

  13. As a beginning spinner, I have a new appreciation for all of the work that goes into handspun. This is beautiful, even if it’s not what you intended!

    And anyway, housework is overrated.

  14. If you still have the extra red on that bobbin AND additional brown, spin more brown to ply with the red, splicing the resulting red/brown yarn into your skein or straight into the knitting. When I try this trick, I’ll hope to follow the smarter spinner path rather than the pretty-fiber-let’s-spin-all-the-things path!

    • I often ask myself, WWJD? (What would Judith do?) If memory serves, I suspect she would recommend spinning each color separately on different bobbins and then adding the color you want when you want it while plying. But I could be wrong.

  15. For some strange reason, I keep hearing a spider chuckling about your spinning not turning out the way you planned. I do think it turned into a very pretty skein of home spun and will make a lovely fall themed something, hat or shawl or maybe a cowl in a nice brioche stitch. With my sons away I’ve let the fridge get empty. This makes it easier to pinpoint the funny smell. I do like the timer idea, though!

  16. If what you want is a clean house and a fresher smell, then hire someone to come in and take care of it, while you spin. My fridge smells fine, but my living room, currently filled with an additional three (large) sets of shelves that are supposed to be elsewhere in the house, is a problem that I am currently trying to ignore.

  17. If you wait long enough the funny smell will go away. (as Sgt. Schultz would say, “I know nothing.”) Cleaning is for muggles anyway.

    Spinning or any creative endeavor is way more important than housekeeping. Think of your hands and mind!

    • Can someone explain the term “muggles”? I see it here regularly and suspect it means non-knitters, but where did it originate?

          • Probably not … there was a fairly largish group of conservative protestants in the USofA that saw “witch”, equated it with “Satan”, and decided the books were evil. In a few places, they even BURNED them! Anyway, they cheated themselves out of a delicious read.

          • No! My husband didn’t, even though I and all 4 of our children did. He considers it a point of pride

  18. Housecleaning is a lot like eating an 800-lb. elephant. You can only do it one bite at a time. Treat yourself to a one-time cleaning service and let them deal with the pesky pachyderm while you spin!

  19. I agree with others here – housework should wait at least until your hands feel better. This is said from someone surrounded by black lab hair dust bunnies and happily knitting away at a pair of socks. No one on their deathbed says “I wish I cleaned more.” Just saying…

    • Labs should come with a warning label: “I’m an adorable goofball, but I’ve got a double coat” (I write surrounded by chocolate lab dust buffalos)

      • I’ve had two at a time since my first one was 10 years old (currently on numbers 4 and 5), and the amount of fur they generate is not to be believed. I have been known to comment that I have enough fur to build me another dog! But I wouldn’t trade my furballs for anything!

  20. Your theory about the spinning is perfect, the execution could just involve weighing rather than eyeballing. That said, your result is very pretty!

    I would happily continue to ignore the state of my house (which is dreadful) except that my parents are coming, probably Thursday. Is it wrong to resent parents coming when I really want to nurse a migraine and get back to knitting? If only I were going to them instead, I could do both.

  21. Dealing with the fridge doesn’t have to be difficult. Throw out anything that is getting furry as well as any milk that is turning into cottage cheese. Then put in another box of baking soda.

    Now the hard part is getting the cat to run the vacuum. . .

  22. Honestly? I feel better and less stressed when my house is somewhat clean. Clutter and funny fridge smells kind of stress me out. Living in 900sq feet with a family of four means I have to loosen up though, so I would say just take a morning to get it done, starting with whatever bugs you the most, and reward yourself with lots of tea and spinning when you’re done. Hope I don’t get a lot of hate replies for that one!

    • No hate mail from here. Although I’m not a great housekeeper, I also prefer things somewhat neat and orderly. Of course, piles of paper can be orderly or messy. A messy house seems “loud” to me, but I must confess that other peoples’ messes in the house are louder than my own.

    • I couldn’t agree more, it’s why I end up cleaning every time! Small houses are terrible messy. Distracting, and stressful. It’s better now that it’s only Joe and I messing it up, but not by much.

  23. I have been spinning gradients the same way I dye them: mixing in more and more of the next color as you go and blending along the way.

    so: tear fibers into strips of (mostly) equal size – guessing here will be ok, because it will be spread over a much larger sample, and because it’s easier for us to eyeball smaller amounts to similar, since even 1g changes are more drastic, being a greater percentage of the total – then group the strips as you’ve described you want the gradient to flow (if forty strips each fiber, 20 A, 10/10 A/B, 20 B)…followed by carding, if you’d like, or holding two strips together and drafting/blending on-the-fly, then either divvying to two equal piles (10, 5/5, 10) spinning two plies, etc…or by spinning one really long single and chain-plying off the bobbin, which will give you the greatest control over the rate of the color change.

    have given it a lot of thought over the last year. 🙂

    • When I say more control over the rate of the color change, I mean that when chain-plying, you will have the option to decide how long the secondary transitions are…in the example given above, the transitions between 20A and 10A/10B and 20B (strips of fiber) – I like to make them gradual, which will help prevent a distinct striping effect to achieve more of a gradient overall.

      • holy cow, I cannot math after a day of qRT-PCR analysis. I typed “thirty” then second guessed and edited to “forty”…without ever checking. it’s thirty. sigh.

  24. I’m sorry the yarn isn’t what you wanted but it’s still very pretty. Your spinning just keeps getting better and better.

  25. Gosh, those colors are pure Stephanie, beautiful. Well, don’t mess up your hands, elbows, shoulders etc.,..tends to happen when trying to not hurt or strain one part – another gets into the game.

  26. It’s a very pretty ball of yarn, and you will make something lovely with it, I’m sure. I always do my spinning “by guess and by golly” – more for the surprise than the science of it. I’ll let other, more skilled people be perfect, because I’m not capable of it. 🙂

  27. I’m moving this week and I’m in a wheelchair. So,… I hired my nephew to help out. He has done a great job while I knit and tell hm “keep that” and “toss that”. Best move I ever did. After 27 years in this house, the stash is huge. He has it all boxed up. Gotta love it. Do you have any spare younger relatives who need a little money? Might be worth it. Let your hands heal…
    Julie in San Diego, where it is just lovely right now.

  28. I’m not a doc, and don’t even play one on TV, but I am a voice of experience. I had similar numbness in both hands, with fingers swelled to resemble sausage links — caused by too much computer use, with a wrong-sized mouse and a keyboard that required too-long reaches for multi-key functions.
    After two months of heat packs, at-home traction and other tortures, I finally got a steroid shot in just one wrist (“to make sure it works”). In 48 hours, that hand was back to normal. I had to wait a long, miserable month for the doctor to inject the other wrist. (I also had to keep working — sole support of self, two kids, a dog and a cat.)
    The non-medical thing that helped with a less-severe attack, was swimming — not freestyle, but dog-paddling. It looked and felt silly, but it warded off the symptoms.
    My nonprofessional advice: outsource the housework, do limited two-finger typing and keep on being careful with the knitting and spinning. Or if your computer has voice recognition, dictate blog entries and ignore the silly homophone errors — The Blog will totally understand!

  29. Well I have no idea how to accomplish what you wanted, but I say that is some lovely yarn. Knowing as little as I do about spinning, I think it’s quite magical to end up with anything like that!

  30. I have 2 lbs of fiber that is nearly that orange… What I did with about 1/2 a lb of it is make a felted rug. I started with an old wool blanket my husband washed and dried (thus felting) and cut it into the size rug I wanted, then kettle-dyed it, then did that orange, some red, some yellow and some green maple leaves, then sewed it on a piece of heavy canvas I had and put on a non skid backing. It’s in my bedroom and looks really cool. I’m not sure it would hold up to living room traffic, but it works fine in a low traffic area.

  31. Ugh! All this talk about housework has made me feel guilty enough about my messy house to actually do something about it today instead of knit or garden or read a good book. Sigh. I like the idea of setting a timer and cleaning for only that amount of time. I think I’ll try it and see how much I can accomplish. Then I will reward myself with some knitting on the lovely sweater I am making for myself! (gotta get it done so I can jump on those Christmas gifts I need to knit!)

  32. For the smelly fridge. If it doesn’t improving after getting rid of everything that might be old or gone bad. Check the little bowl which is normally on the back of the fridge and collects dripping water or kind of that. If this bowl isn’t emptied once in a while it starts smelling funny to odd. This did the trick here.

  33. I have a much better idea… cleaning lady. I owe mine the entire sanity of my messy family. And she says nice things about my children and my knitting which I’m always grateful to hear.

  34. Hydrogen Peroxide! Used it on the funky boat refrigerator (children used the boat) and it was like an easy miracle. Just give it time to work.

  35. Ya know, I’ve weighed the fiber as you are contemplating, and being an imperfect spinner, have ended up with unequal bobbins too. I just don’t think my spinning gauge is exact enough to accomplish equality. And I’m okay with that. I’m not going for perfect, but enjoying the process.

    What would have happened if you blended the fiber before spinning, getting the gradation you wanted, and then Navajo plied the singles?

    • That would give her the color distribution she was looking for but the resulting yarn would be 3-ply rather than two. Not bad unless you have a project in mind for the 2-ply weight rather than three. For myself, my singles are uneven – thin, just right, a bit thick. This ‘uniqueness’ is magnified by Navajo plying and less pronounced in multi-strand plying.

      • I’ve always found just the opposite: the chain-plying affords me the opportunity to align the thick parts with the thin parts during the chaining part, so when I ply, the result is more even overall. 🙂

  36. Were you trying to get equal amounts of red/red, red/brown, and brown/brown? I’ve done that before, with this method: spin all the red and all the brown (of course, you’d want to weigh them to make sure you had the same amounts). Wind them into center-pull balls. Ply from both ends of one ball until 1/3 remains. Join one end the other ball and ply until the first ball is gone. Then join the other end of the second ball and ply both ends together ’till they’re gone. The end result when I did that (with five colors instead of two) was still more striped than gradient, and the amounts weren’t totally even, but I liked it! I wrote about it here: http://osbornfiber.com/2014/02/21/golden-bronze/

  37. Although my time away wasn’t as philanthropic as yours, my 10 days at our county fair supporting our local 4H and FFA kids plus my week at a business conference has my home in a serious state of disrepair as well. I keep thinking I need to clean ______. So far, I’ve washed two dishwasher loads of dishes, done 4 loads of laundry and have thought about cleaning up the fur where our husky pup decided to blow his undercoat. White undercoat really shows up on dark furniture. I’ll just keep working on bits and pieces until I get it all together again. (hear how I made it sound like my house is ever in a state of acceptability? Laughter is allowed here.) Tonight is Knit Night and I haven’t seen these wonderful people in a month, so it’s off to Knit Night!

  38. My mum traveled much and had similar abode hygiene standards to yours.
    Dad , did not. It’s a chromosomal thing. He would call me, attempting to lure me out to the house with a crisp hundred dollar bill, “to make the house nice for your Mom”.
    I told him it cost more than that to rent a front end loader OR raise the floor, building over the chaos, mess and general uck.
    I negotiated, warned and hired a friend, took Dad to dinner 40 miles away and told him he had to sleep in the car until Mom got home as the Mess/Marriage Salvage Team was at the house & a locksmith friend changed the locks.
    He hired my friend on a permanent basis 🙂

  39. Several years ago I treated myself to a housecleaning service once a month and never looked back! I obviously still take care of the daily chores (dishes, etc.) but it has relieved me of a task I hated. Also, it forces me to get organized at least once a month: go through all the papers collecting on the dining room table, put things back where they belong, etc. Then let someone else deal with vacuuming, floor washing, etc. It’s just me and the cats so the place doesn’t get too bad. And it feels wonderful coming home to a clean house. Highly recommend treating yourself!

  40. 2 ply yarn, right?

    On piece of paper (I know: ancient technology) draw a long skinny U shape. That’s your 2 ply yarn on paper: each upright of the U is one of the singles. (I’m sure there’s a fancy name for the 2 ascending lines of the U.)

    Alongside the U on the paper write the names of the colours where you want them –this would be so much easier to show you with a diagram; email me if you want it– so that if you plied the arms of the U, you get the yarn you want in terms of colour combination. Figure out the distribution of fibre, weigh it into sections. Then start at the top of one arm of the U and spin the sequence of colours down around the bottom of the U, and up the other arm. You will have spun a bobbin of singles.

    Wind this into a centre-pull ball, and ply using both ends.

    Before inserting ply twist, I’d wind the thing into a plying ball, as Abby Franquemont would do, because it’s just so much simpler (and faster, in my experience: YMMV) to separate the yarn management of the singles from the twist insertion, than having to manage the singles coming out and off the ball while inserting twist.

    It’s also easier to ply (or wind) from a centre ball ball if you work with it on its side, with one end going right and the other left, meeting up in your hand. If you put the ball on its end, the outer end keeps wrapping around the inner end, and it’s a helluva mess to deal with. But again, YMMV.

    Very pleased to see your wonderful success in the Rally.


  41. Steph, I’m actually answering your tweet (since I’m not on Twitter) re the name of the Quince and Co. Cardi with
    flecks on the yoke — there’s one that fits that description called “Kaye’s Cardigan.” Hope this helps —

  42. You know there is a meme goind around in Facebook saying something like “I do not mind to much about the prince, but I am really pissed that the fairy tales lied about elves shoing up and doing my housework”… at the moment I would gladly trade spinning for hours in a row for all the housework needs to be done around here, but because of the amount of work that descended on me in the last two month neither gets any attention (after struggling for years and years about work and money, however I do not mind the work…which is BTW the Iloveit kind)… as for the yarn? It might not be what you wanted, but it is pretty anyhow.

  43. Make something triangular, a shawl comes to mind, beginning with the end of the skein that has the shortest colorway. That way as the item widens as it progresses the overall balance of the colorways is more or less looking planned that way.

  44. Instead of a two-ply, do a three. AAA, AAB, ABB, BBB.

    If you have access to a carder, blend the mixes on the carder. Card the single colors so that you have the same prep. Voila! Gradient!

    I can see your yarn being something with a border, the brown being the border of the red body.

  45. I tried a similar method to the Schacht one, mentioned above, earlier this year. Morgaine Wilder helped me work it out, and it worked beautifully. I tweaked Morgaine’s method to smooth the gradient even more, and the result was a very gradual omber gradient, no striping. It was a pretty anal-retentive process. I’m good at that. I detailed the method and posted fluff and finished scarf pics : https://curvylouise.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/victory-she-is-mine/
    Love the combo on red/browns; beautiful colors. Glad you had some spinning time!

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