April 27, 2008

Happy birthday Mom!

She loved the socks, and wants armwarmers to match. How cool is that? *dance*

Also, my brother and I spent a few hours playing with the lathe, working on making a drop spindle, and that was a ton of fun. It was a bit of a surprise to realize I'd never used the lathe before. The house I grew up in has more shop equipment in it than the shop class room in either of the high schools I went to -- more than both combined, I think. I was comfortable with drill press, table saw, bandsaw, etcetera before I hit puberty. Shop class wasn't a learning experience for me, it was just an excuse to use power tools in the middle of the school day. But somehow I never managed to get trained in on the lathe. So I finally got to fill in that gap in my knowlege, and I'd have a new spindle to show for it if we hadn't run out of time. But I had to run out to get Rah at the airport, so I had to ditch the job before we were quite finished.

My bro was still working on it when I left, though, and knowing him, next time I go out there he'll have five different kinds of whorl made, he'll have invented a new type of shaft, and he'll have his mill programmed to cut intricate pearl inlays -- and he'll tell me he's not half done, because he'll still be experimenting with what kind of finish to use. That's the kind of family we are. :D

Mom wants her arm warmers made without thumbs or thumb holes. She says she just wants scrunchable sleeves. Anybody want to weigh in on what they prefer for arm/hand warmy things? Mitts with fingers and thumbs, thumb but no fingers, thumb hole flush with the rest, no hole at all? This isn't to say I'll immediately rush off and knit whatever gets the majority vote or anything, but I'm curious.

April 26, 2008


Just the other day it was almost 80 out; today it's snowing. Ah, Minnesota weather, how I love thee. Well, that just makes it a perfect day to stay in and play with string.

I'm almost done with the Mom socks:

Seebs says the line of eyelets looks like a mistake. I'm tempted to agree, but it's too late to change my mind. Her birthday's tomorrow. Can I finish it today, or will I 'give' it to her still on the needles? We shall see! But it doesn't take me long to knit five inches of sock. I'm optimistic. Perhaps unrealistically so.

Instead of working on the sock yesterday, I spun that wacky roving I dyed in my last post. Here's the roving when it was dry:

And here it is spun up nice and fine:

The colors are blued-out and dulled-down in that pic. No sunlight makes for weak photos. You'll just have to trust me that those intense plummy purples came through nice and clear. I'm not sure the color repeats are all long enough to withstand Navajo plying; I think I'll probably get a fair bit of marling. But some clear patches too, I reckon. We shall see. Not today, though, because socks.

Finally, here's a teaser for my Sooper Sekrit Project:

Is that a mitered square? Why yes it is! Is that my own special dye job? Why yes it is! Am I making a huge project out of sport-weight yarn?

...er. I never claimed to be sane. It has to be singles for the softness, see? And I can do garter stitch while watching videos, so it's almost like it won't take any time at all, and... look, flying monkeys!

Incidentally, did you know you can't make a mitered square in stockinette? It ends up sort of kite-shaped. Fortunately I knit a test square out of some scratchy, crunchy Dale of Norway and Noro that was lying around.

I can probably find a use for that tendency to go kite-shaped at some point. It probably would've been acceptably squarish if I'd started doing the decreases more frequently about halfway through, but who wants to dick with that when there's a time crunch? No, I can't tell you why there's a time crunch. It's a Sekrit, remember?

Mitered squares are, by the way, SO easy. So easy they're more of a technique than a pattern. Here's what you do:

  1. Cast on an even number of stitches, marking the middle.
  2. Do garter stitch (knit every row, no purling).
  3. Every other row, decrease on either side of the marker (one before and one after).
When you run out of stitches, you're done. It will be obvious you're done, because you're out of stitches. You see the appeal, right? There is no way I can screw this up.

Ohshit. Knock on wood, quick! I think I jinxed myself.

In other news, OMIGOD WOOLZ!!!

My order from Sheep Shed Studio came in. That's 5 pounds of white wool and a 10 pound grab bag. It is SO CHEAP, I kept waiting for the catch. But nope, no catch, they sent my order fast and in good shape, it's nice stuff, and they included a cute little gob of cinnamon-colored wool as a thank-you. It matches my hair, and is causing me to think faggy thoughts about accessorizing.

I never accessorize, nor care what matches my hair or 'brings out' my eyes (doesn't that sound kind of surgical?) or what are 'my' colors -- much to my mother's dismay, because she seems to think it a great injustice that a green-eyed redhead could possibly hate kelly green -- but that wool is causing me to care. I'm actually tempted to postpone my other projects so I can spin it up and superquick knit myself a neck warmer, get some use out of it before this crappy weather is over.

It'd make Mom's birthday present late, but she'd understand, right?

Me: "You can't have your present yet, but look, I made myself a neck warmer that totally matches my hair!"
Mom: *sniffle* "My little girl -- boy -- thing -- has finally realized that he -- she -- he -- has an appearance other people can respond to. Thank you, God!"

... Naaaw. The urge is already fading. Reckon I'll finish those socks. :D

April 22, 2008

White spots dye tutorial

See, I haven't forgotten. I just put it off for a few days due to gorgeous weather. I did yardwork, built a compost bin, barbecued twice, and did a spot of very important video-watching and some crucial slacking. But now I'm back, and I'm going to show you how to dye wool so that it has both deeply saturated color areas and white areas.

Now, this isn't the only way to do it. The more usual way is to spread your dampened wool out on cling wrap and squirt or paint the dye onto it. You definitely have a lot more control over where your color goes, doing it that way. But it often ends up streaky or pale, and it tends to run or bleed into your pale areas a fair bit, so you get wide transitional margins. The method I'm about to show you is one I came up with to avoid that. It doesn't give you as intense and sharp a color divide as surface-dyeing (which I'll show you another time) but the effect is still pretty neat.

So! We begin! Here are the things you'll need:

You need fiber, of course; here I'm using 100g (about 3.5 oz) of a really sweet merino top I got from Paradise Fibers. (Go there. Love them. They are wonderful.) This technique will work with pretty much anything as long as it's longer than it is wide and you have the appropriate dye. Dish detergent acts as a wetting agent, helping the dye penetrate the fiber. Some people buy stuff called 'synthropol' for the purpose; I've never used it, so I can't venture an opinion. Vinegar is the acid you need for acid dyes; citric acid works as well, and probably smells nicer, but it doesn't come in gallon jugs. The dye you see there is Wilton's icing dye; it comes in a little tub, in gel form, and I dilute it in mason jars to make a dye stock that's easy to measure. The spouty thing there has measure marks on it, but that's not important. A teapot would work too, or you could use a turkey baster, or just pour out of a pan or something and take your chances. Finally, you need a baking pan just a bit too small for your amount of fiber. If it's big enough for your fiber to spread out in, this method won't work!

You will also need some way to warm up the pan. I'm using an electric griddle set to 'warm'. You could use a radiator, a hot plate, really anything that will hot up your fiber without boiling or frying it. You could just set it in a window, or outside on a warm day, if you didn't mind this process being a matter of days rather than hours.

Now, allow me to show you why your pan needs to be a little on the small side:

You begin by laying out your fiber so that it has sticky-uppy bits. Little loops or nubbins that poke up above the rest. You want to have to cram it a bit; that will keep the loops sticking up. You don't want them to have room to flop. Nor make them too tall, for that way also lies flopping.

As you'll find out at the end of the tutorial, I didn't cram it quite close enough together to withstand the fancy thing I tried. Too many loops gave it too much slack. This will work just fine for leaving white areas, though. I just tried to get cute, like I always do.

Put a drop of dish detergent in your spouty thing. I overdid it here because I was taking the picture. Really, one single drop is enough. Also a splash of vinegar.

Again, it doesn't take much. Just a dollop. Fill your spouty with water

and add your dye.

Now, I'm going to pause here to explain something which, if you're new to dyeing, might bite you on the ass. Some dyes are made up of multiple pigments, and these pigments bind at different rates, which means they travel different distances within whatever you're dyeing. When that process becomes visible, the dye is said to 'break'. Wilton's 'violet' is especially prone to doing this. If you allow it to travel at different rates through a fiber, you'll get purple, sure -- but you'll also get fuschia, cobalt, and turquoise.

I happen to think that looks awesome, so I'm inducing it to break on purpose. If you use this process with this kind of dye, it will break like whoa. Be warned.

Back to the doing-stuff. You will pour about half your dye in amongst your fiber.

I like to dribble a little on top of some of the low-lying roving, because it makes cool pink streaks with this particular dye. You could hold the fiber aside and pour right on the baking pan, though, if you don't want that happening.

Behold, I am No Wrist Guy, the Guy What Has No Wrists. But seriously, I'm just showing you how the dye is down in the bottom of the pan. The fiber likes to float on top, so you don't want to fill it too full at this stage. The fiber that is on the bottom will get dyed nice and dark. Remember, you're only pouring in half.

Cover the pan with cling wrap and put it on your warmer.

Let it warm up a bit. How long this takes is so variable, I couldn't begin to tell you what to set your timer for. In this pan, with this dye, on this warmer, I give this stage fifteen minutes. Less heat, more water, it'll take longer. Anyway, what you're doing here is giving the heavier dye molecules a chance to bond to that fiber, while water begins to carry the lighter ones up the wool by capillary action.

When you've let the dye bond a bit, take the half measure of dye that remains in your spouty and top it up with water. Lift up a corner of the cling wrap and pour half of this more dilute dye in there.

... Or the whole thing, if you want to be done. Or you could add another color, or... this is a place where your creativity's the only limit. For instance, I did one where I started with a deep purply red, then did a dose of pure red, and then a dose of orange, and got a really neat fiery gradient.

The important thing here is that you gradually keep raising the water level, and that each color you add is lighter than the last. Whether that's because you keep diluting it -- which is what I did here, because I wanted the purple to break -- or you mix up fresh colors, or just add water to carry the remainder of the dye higher, it'll work fine as long as you go lighter with each step. (Just one note -- reds bond fast, blues bond slow. So if you started with a red, there might not be enough dye left to make a noticeable color in the later stages if all you do is add water.)

However you decide to do it, you keep adding more liquid every so often, letting each dose bond with the wool for a bit before adding the next dose, until the level's as high as you want it, keeping in mind that it will creep up the wool just a bit. Not as much as you might think, even if steam makes it wet, but a little. (If you'd started with wet wool, it'd creep a lot more, and in fact I did do that once to see how it worked. There wasn't much undyed left, but there was a little, and the gradient was neat.)

Then you leave it for long enough to fully set the dye. Hands off. Interlude with dawg:

Okay, what's our pan o' fluff look like?

Here you can see that the purple has broken. The camera turned it bluer than it really is; what I've actually got there is deep violet shading up into an almost greenish cyan, with areas of bright pink where I dribbled the dye and let it run off.

And if I'd stopped here, I might think this process was foolproof. Fortunately, this fool decided to continue to dick with it. I say fortunately, because it allows me to show you how you can fuck it up, so you can avoid it. Or do it on purpose if you like the result. I'm actually kinda happy with what happened, but it wasn't what I meant to do.

See, I wanted to add yellow dye

to the white areas. Note the pink-and-blue splotch on the paper towel; that's the purple, split into its constituent parts. The yellow doesn't split. That's a good test, actually. If you put a drop of dye on a paper towel and it spreads into multiple colors, it's likely to break.

I squirted yellow on the puffs that had remained white (doesn't it look like some bizarre egg dish?) and returned it to the warmer...

... where I forgot about it for an hour. It does not take an hour for yellow to set. It sets very quickly. That's why my 'Orchid' worked. The one I posted the other day? Yeah, this here was Orchid for probably fifteen or twenty minutes before it did this:

What. The. Fuck.

It's kinda cool, actually. I mean, it looks like some heinous refrigerator mold experiment, doesn't it? What happened here was that the sticky-uppy puffs collapsed under the weight of the yellow dye, the yellow mixed with the cyan element of the purple dye that was still unbonded in the water, and turned green. Almost everything that was blue turned green. It is no longer Orchid.

I can see a few possible reasons why it did that. First, I made more puffs this time than last, which left less fiber packed flat in the bottom to support the puffs. This made them prone to collapse when they got wet. Second, I put more yellow on them than before; that made them heavier, and so, again, prone to collapse. Third, I left the pan on the warmer too long -- it was kinda simmering when I came back to it. The heat and steam probably made the wool limper and wetter; ploosh! So I reckon I can avoid this next time around.

I'm open to serendipity, though. Green could be good. I took it off the warmer and let it cool down to room temperature, gently rinsed it in lukewarm water, and spread it out to dry:

You know, that doesn't look half bad. It's certainly worth spinning up. If it turns out to be a mistake, I'll just use it to make socks for me. I don't mind wearing my mistakes if they're soft and fuzzy merino mistakes.

I'll take more pics when it's dry, we'll see what it looks like then. Unless she gets to it...

April 19, 2008

Dude! Dude! Dude, dude, check this out!

I had a crazy crazy idea.

Which is not unusual. I'm always having crazy ideas. And I rush off in all directions, abandoning my current projects, until my crazy idea has run its course. Generally the end result is a fair bit different than what I'd visualized, but I learn a few things, and often get something nice out of it. Not what I was aiming for, but usable anyway.

Not this time, baby. This time it worked EXACTLY like I imagined it. It's PERFECT. I am doing dances and dances of joy. Look at this merino I dyed:

The camera washes out the colors. I took a couple close-ups, with flash and without, in the hope of giving you an idea what the colors are like:

But it's really more intense than that. Deep violet, fuschia, cyan, and gold. I'm beaming from ear to ear.

I'm gonna do another one tomorrow. I'll try to take pics so I can show you the process. In the meantime, have some kitties:

April 15, 2008


Having had a houseguest for the past few days, I haven't got much done in the way of knitting or spinning, and what I did get done, I either can't talk about (note to self: find out who in my family reads my blog -- had to forbid my mum after blabbing here about her socks, and she got a gleam in her eye...) or didn't take pictures of.

Or don't care about, I guess; I'm using up some old stash making a little rug for the dog to lie on so the upholstery on my beloved mission armchair doesn't get bleached any further from cleaning up his emanations. It's something I'm just throwing together in a hurry, and I wish I'd had the idea a couple months ago so it could've been on that chair during the Time of Mud. He's a good dog, but he doesn't wipe his feet. Anyway, it's just a whole lotta garter stitch, so progress shots would not enlighten anyone.

But that brings me to something I've been wanting to say to someone for a while. Now that I have a fiber blog, I can say it to the whole internet! And I think it's something that needs saying. Without further ado:

In Defense of Noob Knitting

Consider, if you will, the garter stitch scarf. The quintessential First Project. You learn three things doing it: how to cast on, how to make the knit stitch, and how to cast off. And maybe not even that; maybe someone casts on for you, and knits a few rows so you don't have to struggle to get the needle into those tight cast-on stitches. And maybe when it's long enough (or you run out of yarn) you bring it back to that person and he/she casts it off for you. So then you've only learned one thing: the knit stitch. Supposedly.

Supposedly? Well, yeah. Because you've actually learned a lot more than that. You've learned how to hold the yarn, how to hold the needles, what they feel like in your hands. Where you like to sit while you're knitting, how much light you need. Whether you like to chat or listen to music or watch TV while you knit. How long it takes, and how much you can speed up when your hands get used to it. You build up muscles in your hands and arms -- don't laugh, you do! Knitting uses different muscle sets from other hand-doings, and you get sore until you've developed those. Depending on developments, you might learn what a dropped stitch looks like, and maybe what to do about it. You might spot the wily and elusive accidental yarnover -- probably ten rows after you make it -- and find out whether you're the kind of knitter who rips back, or the kind who just knits two together to get rid of the extra stitch, or the kind who just leaves it. You might notice that your knitting starts out tight and then loosens up, then maybe gets tight again as you worry about it, then loose again as you forget to worry and just gogogo.

In short, you learned an amazing amount from that first project, and I bet you didn't give yourself credit for hardly any of it, did you? That's a lot to assimilate. One scarf is probably not nearly enough to really get it. You might need to knit another one; maybe learn to purl and do it in stockinette. Which curls unwearably, so then you've got to learn ribbing. Seed stitch. Fringe. Changing colors. Using different yarns, different needles. See how much you can learn from the humble scarf? Why do we refer to this as the 'scarf stage', as if we expect the new knitter to pupate or something? Scarves aren't a 'stage', they're a full-credit course in knitting skills!

Now, conventional wisdom tells you, after you 'graduate' from the 'scarf stage', you're supposed to go on to something trickier. And then something harder after that, and harder after that. And until you're churning out acres of lace and Fair Isle by the mile, some people will always treat you like a beginner.

I'm here to say pbpbptht to that!

There is nothing wrong with simple knitting. Nothing. In fact, I encourage anyone who enjoys knitting to work on things -- well, things they enjoy. Not things that reduce them to tears. I promise you, you'll still be learning a lot.

Let us imagine, for a moment, that you really love scarves. That's all you want to knit. So you knit a zillion of them. You knit them in different yarns, you knit stripes, you knit big and small and in-between. Cotton, wool, silk, acrylic. Sock yarn and ultra-bulky. Four-bucks-a-pound yarn from Wal-Mart and exquisite one-of-a-kind handspun. You knit them on wood needles, metal needles, plastic needles, circulars and straights. You knit a dozen scarves the same size and seam them into an afghan. You knit scarves for everyone you know, matching their styles, picking sizes and weights and colors and textures that will flatter them. You spend years knitting nothing but scarves.

You know what? After all that, you probably know more about the art and craft of knitting than I do.

Me, I'm the kinda guy who's hungry for challenges. Every skill I don't have is like a birthday present I'm not allowed to open yet. I can't help shaking it and smelling it and picking at the wrapping. While I'm learning lace stitches, I'm pausing every couple days to open my 'Knitter's Bible' to the entrelac page and drool on it. I also have a reasonable yarn budget and a high frustration tolerance, so I can afford to be that guy. But not everyone is, and that's cool.

Maybe you have a high-stress life and you knit to relax. You don't feel like spoiling your relax-time by trying to do something challenging. That's cool, it's your yarn, and you're the one holding the pointy sticks. Take it easy, have fun, enjoy it.

Maybe patterns drive you nuts, and reading them gives you a headache. You don't feel like attempting something that requires you to knit with a printout, a pencil, and a pad of graph paper beside you.

Maybe you have kids or busy roomies or a chatty spouse or a spaz of a dog who won't let you concentrate. I don't have kids, but on the rest of it, I'm right there with ya, and I won't attempt anything new in the middle of the day while everyone's running around. I only learn new stuff when everyone's settled in for the night; if you don't get that quiet time, nobody can blame you for giving the 16-row lace charts a miss.

Maybe you're a Zen master, and knitting the same stitch over and over is your way of being in the eternal empty Now. Well... if you're a Zen master, you're probably not the least bit bothered by other people's opinions, or much of anything really, so that's all right. :D

What I'm trying to say here is: challenge yourself as much as you want to be challenged, and you will still be learning even when you're not stressed out. If you like to pick a sweater out of a book and then learn all the techniques you'll need to know to knit it, good on yer. But if you like to master each step before moving on to the next, that's every bit as good. You will be the absolute boss of those steps, while the sprinters of the knitting world still stumble over some of the basics.

And when some self-congratulator at the yarn store raises an eyebrow at your 20th scarf while she's proudly dragging around a lace cardigan (which she's cried buckets of private tears over and ripped back nine times), just give her a humble smile and say, "I'm working on understanding the soul of Merino right now. I think I'm close to grasping its nature; here, touch." She will pet your scarf, try not to look impressed, and then go buy herself three skeins of the same yarn you're using. Betcha anything.

April 10, 2008

On a day like today...

It is a yucky, cold and rainy day. Just look at this.

What you can't see in the picture is how the rain is half slush, or how it's pouring down in buckets. Sideways. The wind is banging the porch door, the sleet is clattering on the windows, it's blarg. I was going to go to the bead store today and look for some gray pearl beads for Rah's shawl, maybe pick up some locally handmade lamp-glass beads and experiment with hemp cord jewelry (Check out this dude, he's brilliant, and I can buy his stuff just by strolling a few blocks!) but I am NOT going out in this crap.

Yeah, I know, I knit all this snuzzly warm merino stuff, and then I shy away from a little sleet. I'm a delicate fucking flower. Shaddap.

Besides, nobody is on form today. Even the notorious Team Rocket has declared naptime:

Pardon the blur. I didn't want to disturb them with the flash. They spend most of their time smacking each other senseless and bouncing off the walls, so I figure they've got like, three months of sleep to catch up on. I was tempted to go back to bed myself, but instead I brewed up a pot of the elixir of life

and put on some soothing music

and got started on my mom's socks. Socks are always relaxing. Well, they are once you know how to do them. My first sock was kind of a nail-biter, but trust me, you get comfy with it quick. In retrospect, I'm surprised it took me so long to dive into the Wide World of Footwear. It's that whole heel-turning thing that turned me off. All the resources I found said flap heels are easier, so I tried and tried, but they never made any sense to me. Picking up stitches, decreasing, blarg! But whenever I did short rows, I got holes, and lost count halfway and went backwards and eurgh. Then I found this sock worksheet at Knitty and my life was changed forever. Wrapping the turns makes all the difference; it prevents those big nasty holes, and it means I can freaking FIND my turns when I want to know where I am. I don't double-wrap them, though. I might try that if I'm knitting with dental floss on toothpicks, but on the soft squishy yarn I like, the small holes kinda fill themselves in, and double-wraps are too clunky.

So yeah, I'm a toe-up, short-row-heel zealot. I see flap heels and I think, "Oh honey. You're trying, and I respect that, but you're just not fabulous." I think this even when I see the Yarn Harlot's amazing sock skills. She's a goddess, but... flaps! And decrease toes! They are robot toes! Short rows are the One True Way!

Ahem. Scuse me. I get a little... excited sometimes. I'm all right now.

So. Mom's socks. This is where I get to use that Moss stuff I spun a while back. It is 100% merino. It's not superwash. My mom won't mind hand-washing her socks. She's the kind of lady who wears wool tweed slacks with a silk blouse just to lounge on the couch and read mystery novels. How she produced a delinquent like me, no one really knows.

Anyway, delinquent though I am, I do swatch. I always swatch. This is not so much because I'm emotional about gauge -- I don't count quarter-stitches, for instance, not even for a big sweater -- but because knitting is a really tactile, organic thing for me, and I need to know how the yarn feels. I need to feel it running between my fingers, feel how the needles interact with it, how the fabric feels and drapes, before I know how I want to knit with it.

I started with #2 (2.75mm) needles and did a few rows:

Sorry about the blurry. You probably can't see what I'm talking about, but the stitches are kinda crammed together. It would certainly suffice, and you do generally want a denser fabric for socks; if I were using hard-wearing wool and making winter boot socks, I'd go with this. But I want these socks to feel like utter luxury. A cloud of refinement. Socks you can best appreciate with a cup of tea, a plate of madelines, and a new mystery novel. So I switch to size 3 (3.25mm) needles.

That loosened things up a lot. Can you see how the yarn looks thicker in the new section? With a soft wool yarn, particularly handspun, it pays to give the stitches a little elbow room. The fibers will puff just a tiny bit, giving you a softer, warmer, more drapey fabric.

Also, conveniently, it gave me a gauge of precisely 6 stitches to the inch, which makes my math easy. You know what else makes the math easy? Discovering that if you type an equation into Google (such as the 6*9.5*.9 that will give me the number of stitches around my dear mum's foot), it will give you the answer as your search result. Handy!

And that's about the limit of my coherence for today. The internet is just chock full of sock tutorials, but I can ramble about my own habits later if you like. For now, I'm going to get myself another cup of Liquid Coherence and knit round and round in circles for a while. Aaaah, rainy days.

April 9, 2008


See that right there? You might have to biggerfy it to spot the telltale sign that Jesse Fucked Up. See the yarn coming off the bobbin? See how the purple abruptly gives way to red? Yeah; my armsock is too short.

But do I admit defeat? Sell it at a discount? Try to come up with a cute name for it and pretend I meant to do that? Frog it and make a headband? No! I am Napoleon!

I wind the remaining yarn (originally destined for the other of the pair) onto a handy marker so the purple end is out:

... and then attach it to the work in progress and keep knitting.

Result? An extra-long armsock which, while not the thing I originally meant to do, is quite long enough to keep your wrists warm. Well, wrist, singular.

Fortunately, I have more of that dye lot. The other half, in fact, of the strip I dyed as one piece, which I then split, then split one of the halves to get the yarn above. Confused yet? Unfortunately I'm thinking I split it unevenly, since that half was clearly underweight. So down to my cozy spinning corner I go:

You'll note that it is also the guitar corner, despite the lack of amps. Don't ask me. It also has gobs of fluff drying over the radiator:

Those are technical terms, you know. 'Gobs', I mean, and 'fluff'. A gob is about 50 grams or 2 ounces give or take, as much as you'd want to spin at a sitting. 'Fluff' is any fiber you'd voluntarily rub on your face. Merino is definitely fluff.

Anyway, when I put the rest of the rainbow on the scale, it weighs in at 21g. Apparently the whole thing was underweight. Hopefully the same amount underweight, so I end up with roughly matching armsocks. I split the fiber in half lengthwise (tried to take pics of the process, but the dog got curious and distracted me so none of them came out) to make two narrow strips, each of which has the full rainbow:

Then I spun them. Starting from a red end, I spun one of the strips all the way to its purple end, joined the purple end of the other strip, and kept going until allgone rainbow.

I'd show you a pic of the bobbin waiting to be knit up, but it looks exactly like the other one, so you may as well just scroll down a couple entries if you want to refresh your memory.

That was day before yesterday that I did that, by the way. I meant to blog it yesterday, but then yesterday snuck up and was suddenly lame at me. It was stealth suck. I woke up feeling okay, and discovered good news -- someone bought three of my yarns. Yay! I went straight off to mail them out. Once I got back, though, I started getting achey, and everyone was mopey and confused and loud, and then my back hurt like whoa, and it was gray and cold and almost-gonna-rain-but-never-quite-ish, which I hate. I just kinda gave up on the whole concept of Tuesday. I dicked around with Seebs's sweater a bit --

-- and then spent the rest of the day spinning laceweight on a slow bobbin.

Luka and the Captain kept me entertained.

The yarn came out nice, though. Lookit!

I understand now why so many people love spinning laceweight. It's just so restful. And it takes a loooong time, so you don't get that feeling of 'oh crap I'm going through my precious merino like it's fountain soda!' The problem, though... I don't knit lace. Never saw a need for it. You'd have to tuck a $20 in my waistband before I'd consent to wear a shawl. But it's been bothering me a bit, because it's a skill I don't have (it bugs me that those exist), and besides, it seems a bit mercenary to spin it just to sell it. If I had more knitting friends I'd make giftie, but all my friends are more like, "Is this yarn? Why is there yarn here?"

I was rambling disjointedly on that topic while spinning that laceweight up there, and Rah cautiously allowed as how she'd wear a lace shawl. You know, if there happened to be one going spare. If, for instance, I made one for practice and didn't want to keep it. And if it were, maybe, made out of precisely the sweet Antique Rose colored merino I was spinning at that very moment.

You know, just if it kinda happened that way.

So that stuff's spoken for. I'm working on another skein of the same weight and texture, though, which I dyed in a colorway I'm calling 'Painted Desert', and I reckon that one'll end up in the shop looking for a home. Now I need to learn how to knit lace.


This is gonna be interesting. :D

Oh, I didn't say anything about today, did I? That's because today sucked worse than yesterday. I didn't get pictures of anything. I feel like I got slung in a sack and beat with sticks. The only good things about today was spinning a few dozen yards of that Painted Desert stuff, and tater tots. There were tater tots. Those were good. I need a drink. Excuse me.