I know that from the outside looking in, I probably appear to be a pretty structured person, but the truth is that I’m always right on the edge of slipping into total chaos over here, and only the rigorous controls I impose on myself keep me from a life of wearing stretchy pants while bra-less, eating chips and watching the entirety of Grey’s Anatomy more or less beginning to end while churning out socks that don’t fit anyone, you feel me?
Lucky for me, I’m usually pretty darned busy, and that keeps me on the straight and narrow. Unluckily for me, that means that being holed up unemployed and family-less in a pandemic has let things start to degrade a bit, if by degrade you understand that I mean that Dr Callie Torres is still my favourite and Kepner just gets on my nerves and always has.
In attempt to at least fill up my time and start giving me some structure to a day (I will eventually have to solve the job thing, I cannot believe that the career I started after SARS ended my last one has just been this badly upended by a second *&^%$ing virus) I’ve made some rules. Mostly they have to do with sitting at my desk (hi!), but I’m also trying to talk to one person who isn’t Joe once a day, and clean one thing every day, and not watch the news so much because it’s really stressing me out and things honestly are (unfortunately) not changing fast enough to justify that sort of vigilance, but I’ve also made some fibre arts rules to try and shake things up a bit and inject an element of fun and surprise into my own life. (I know. It sounds bananas but I really am just trying to cope here. It’s going to be at least another month. Work with me.)
We can talk about the other rules another time but the first one I made was that if it rains, I’m going to spin. I have always hated rain and loved spinning, so my thinking was that maybe this would be a way to…make rain fun? (I told you I am really trying.) So.. 10 days ago, it rained and I went to the stash and chose something great.
It’s a batt from Upstream Alpaca’s called Black Rainbow, 80% natural baby alpaca (that’s the black) and 20% silk, dyed in all the colours of the rainbow. I got it from Christine at one of the retreats at Port Ludlow, and it felt like a nice way to connect.
I decided I’d like to make it a gradient- and I supposed the easiest thing to do would have been to start at one end of the batt and start spinning, working my way to the other end, and bingo, done. I am not such a huge fan of single yarn though, so instead I split the batt lengthwise so I could make a two-ply.
There’s a risk in this I know – the possibility that I wouldn’t spit the batt evenly, or that I wouldn’t be consistent in my spinning from one half to the other and then things wouldn’t match up when I ply, but I had a good feeling and what the hell there’s a pandemic on, let’s live on the edge.
For a few days there, I sat at the wheel when I had time (which was sort of a lot of the time) and it was pretty captivating stuff. I admit, the most exciting thing that had happened around here since Meg, Alex and Elliot went home was that I painted a door, so I get the feeling I was particularly easy to amuse.
I didn’t worry too much about integrating the silk and alpaca, just let them do their own thing, so the singles ran back and forth, sometimes silk and alpaca together, sometimes just alpaca, sometimes just the silk. I was lovely and freeing to just let it happen.
The fun didn’t stop when I plied it and received no punishment whatsoever for my recklessness. None. I didn’t even take the small step of weighing both halves to see if they were the same before I spun or plied, and do you know, it still worked out – I had one metre left over on one of the bobbins, and that was it. (I know someone will ask, so my Kate (I flatly refuse to refer to it as Lazy) is from Clemes & Clemes and is the nicest one I’ve ever owned.)
It was like a miracle.
When all was said and done, I had just about 400m of a pretty nice fingering-ish weight yarn, and decided to apply another rule I’ve recently invented which is something like “use your damn handspun” and so as soon as it was dry and wound, I started. A little investigation (and suggestions on instagram, thanks for that) and I had Wavedeck on the needles.
Wavedeck is perfect for this mission – I wanted something that would use up all of the yarn, so I wanted a pattern a little flexible, one where stopping a little early or going on for a little longer wouldn’t matter. Kate’s pattern also thoughtfully includes an estimate of how much yarn it will take to do the lower border so when I started to get in the neighbourhood of done, I went to the end of my ball and counted out how much I need, and marked that spot with a pin. Now I could happily go back to knitting without thinking too much, and simply start the lower border when I got to the pin…
Which is now. I’ll be blocking tonight, I think.
And there’s rain in the forecast for Sunday.
(PS The shelf paper I ordered finally turned up so it is non-stop excitement around here.)