Thursday, July 26, 2012

Closure for longtime projects

With my July spinning-fest behind me, I took some time this week to get all the plied balls of yarn I'd made into skeins so I could wash and dry and cake them for use.  Just before the 'wash' part, they looked like this:

Spinning effort number one, easy superwash merino from Twisted Fiber Art:

Spinning effort number two, slower romney/mohair in a two-ply from Stoddart Family Farm:

Spinning effort number three, the same romney/mohair but in a different colour and a three ply:

Gotta say: three ply is amazing.  That was really my goal for this year's Tour de Fleece, spinning something (anything) fine enough to be able to get away with three ply, so even though I didn't spin every day or get through my whole stash of spinnable fiber, I am still pretty happy.

(after all, I still haven't knit very much of what I spun last year, so what's the rush?)

 * * * * *

While these new yarns were drying I went through all my other project bags to revisit what I was working on when the whole Studying For Tests thing hit in May.  I went through two months of blog posts to figure out when I started them all, approximately, and then I updated my Ravelry project page.

It is so great to be able to keep track of, easily and prettily, all the projects you've done, don't you find?  Gives you a sense of accomplishment even on days when you realize you've done nothing but wander the house starting things and not finishing them, and it's 3pm and you're still in your PJs.  (mind you, I find those days usually turn around by 8pm, when I'm suddenly inspired and get a huge thing done in an hour I'd expected to spend all day on.)

Not keeping up with my Ravelry page has been weighing on me a little, because I know being too busy has cost me that simple source of delight; getting all those socks up and the pictures in place felt fantastic.  Of course since then I've gone through more little bags and discovered other neglected projects to load up, but it's a start.

* * * * *

Since I'll be starting some twined mitts on Friday for Olympics-watching, I also hunted for needles, empty project bags, and backup yarn in case the stuff I spun for the job (effort number three) doesn't work out.  Guess what?  It probably won't.  I'm supposed to be getting nine stitches per inch for the pattern I chose, and I get seven on the needles I want to use with yarn slightly thinner than the homespun yarn.  Not looking good.

* * * * *

What did look good was assessing what I still have on needles that I shouldn't have on needles.  

Like a hat that got almost up to the crown when I suddenly decided I couldn't decide yet how long the hat should be before the crown.  I looked it over, pulled out a ruler, and came to the conclusion the crown should start right now.  So I started it, and made a note.  If it goes on sitting, at least I'll know right away where I left off when I have time to pick it up again.  

Also: Bob's socks, which are on needles I want for my twined mitts (I think) but on which I will also have to work during the Olympics, because I am seeing Bob this weekend and it would be really good if I could fit the socks to his actual feet.  As I recall from trying Robert's socks on Bob last year, I may need to have more stitches in the foot than I do in the leg, or at least a much larger gusset then normal, for these things to be comfortable and, consequently, worn.  Which is mostly the point of knitting socks for Bob.

(needle solution: I put the shorter of Bob's socks-in-progress on a holder, and confiscated that set of needles for the first mitt, then put the Red Hot Blues socks onto holders so I can use those needles for the second mitt.  I know if I don't knit them concurrently, they won't match.  Bob's socks on the other hand can happen one at a time, at least as long as I'm getting over the heel/gusset complication.)

(benefit of needle solution: I can totally justify buying even more sets of square double-points now.  I mean honestly, who wants to have to do all that choreography more than once or, worse, finish projects before starting new ones?)

* * * * *

Late in the day the three-ply skeins were dry enough to wind into cakes, and while I did that I noticed some very loose fiber that never really got any twist in it, at one of the ends.  I also noticed a small section I'd overspun which is kinked up on itself and has no give.  Mostly though, the yarn came out soft and relaxed with just enough tension.

I wish I'd been able to take a picture of those three conditions to illustrate the thought that occurred to me, but hello, indoor lighting + un-energetic camera?

So I will just tell you about something very interesting that somebody said to me a couple of weeks ago and that stayed.

When we're faced with a difficult thing, the natural instinct for some people is to protect themselves against it, by limiting exposure or relieving their stress before it builds up.  For others, it's simply to walk in, unguarded, and explore it - thereby leaving themselves open to a world of pain.  I know that there is a third group too who steel themselves so completely against the difficulty that they never really see it, or its outcome, or how to recover from it - and as a result they lose functional capacity without ever knowing it, or knowing why some things are harder for them.

Looking at those three parts of my yarn, that message really hit home.  We all need to have enough 'fight or flight' in us to stand up to the strain of life; too much and we can't do a good job, too little and we could break apart.

* * * * *

And with that my friends, I am ready to face some new projects - something for the Olympics, something for Bob, something for fun, maybe, if there seems to be time.  I'm ready to graft some sock toes shut, and I'm ready to accept that it's time to put away some fabric and yarns I know I won't get to for a very long time, if ever.  I'm just ready to be ready.  Because life keeps coming at us, doesn't it, and I want to be on the middle ground.  

Hope you're there too, and I hope I see you tomorrow!


Stephanie @ SKWestDesigns said...

What do you think of spinning? I was thinking to learning to spin my own yarn too.

Mary Keenan said...

You know what, I love spinning. It's very restful and at the same time addictive - it's exciting to see what is coming next, even if you're spinning a solid colour. Also: fascinating to experience different types of fiber in a very bare-bones way. I started with an $18 Ashford spindle which, frankly, performs just as well as or better than the more expensive and prettier ones I bought later - with that and a second Ashford (equally cheap) at double the weight for plying I could have gone on forever except that I'm impatient, hence the purchase of a wheel. But overall: very affordable and satisfying extension of fiber love :^)