Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Yarn by the year

I can't recall if I've done this break down on my blog already but you know what? I don't care. typetypitytypetype. I am ignoring "generic" entries because really those are timeless.

2010: I have one skein remaining from this time period. It's bright-red laceweight and I'm turning it into Estonian Lace but it's very very slow going.

2011: Most of what I have left from this year is souvenir yarn from when I traveled the Europes (I worked in Denmark for 6 months and hopped 'round to a bunch of different places).

Precious Hoard: 3 skeins of wollmeise, a skein of a bazillion yards of white laceweight merino, and 2 skeins of perfect Handmaiden Casbah in Morgana that I am saving for The Perfect Pattern

This leaves 1 entry left to be knitted up: 4 balls of brown linen I got in Spain that I half-turned into a shawl and then abandoned. I'd still like to make something out of it.

2012: 5 entries. My first or second really decent handspun; 2/3 of a skein of sparkly black-and-blue sky-colored stuff that must have The Perfect Pattern; 1/2 of a skein of white Cascade Eco+ that I want to turn into thrummed mittens; some Van Gogh sock yarn that I don't know what I want to make but I might finally have talked myself around to socks; and 2 skeins of laceweight destined for a shawl for a friend but see the entry for 2010 if you wonder why I still have it.

2013: 20 entries. Four are destined for socks This Year if the Great Sock Plan 2016 succeeds. Three individual entries are intended to be stripey mitts; one souvenir yarn from Ireland from Bill is going to turn into Thuja socks, but not as part of the great sock plan. There's a skein of green acrylic from KP in there that I intend to do something Baby related with, and a big entry that's going to finally turn into a sweater eventually, and three skeins of handspun. But that leaves 7 entries unplanned. Oh, I guess 4 of them are "nice" yarns that fall into the "generic shawl" category, and 2 of them I am thinking, generically, "mitts". But they are not even on the radar for projects right now.

2014: The year I went to yarn festivals, and started swapping (13 or 14 entries remain from swaps). Sooo much stash. Let's see... 44 entries. yeeeeesh. And only three of them are handspun. Most of these are on my radar, though. 2-3 sweater quantities (if I can scrape a sweater or tank or something out of the third one. but we'll see if we don't turn it into a Large Shawl instead). 15 pairs of socks (2 started, though, already this year, as part of GSP2016). 5 small shawls of various types (one started last night!). Mostly this year is where my collection of awesome worsted/dk weight yarn came from: 12 or 13 of those. 3 entries of cotton that I intend to turn into washcloths someday.

Precious Hoard: I acquired a skein of Sanguine Gryphon in Dragonfly. also many of the dk weight yarns fall into my precious category. Xmas gift of Wild Hare Fiber stripey yarns <3. A skein of lovely subtle Malabrigo sock.

2015: 44 entries again! my first year of cold-sheeping, and my second (and busiest) year of swapping (21 entries remain that came from swaps that year. Woosh!). Also my busiest spinning year yet: 7 entries (and I think I actually finished 8 or 9 things but one I swapped away and the other I decided to ply instead of keep as a single so it's sitting around waiting)! But that 44 is not counting the christmas gifts (they all got entered in 2016 anyway) and a new generic entry (handspun, mostly leftovers/early bits that are less than 50 yards). Let's see, most of this is socks: 13 skeins. There's a little bit of random I-acquired-this-to-knit-baby-stuff: 5 skeins. The workings for 4 shawls, and 3 skeins acquired for colorwork (wut why?). Also two entries for gifts, both in progress (but one needs to be frogged and turned into something else)

Precious Hoard: a skein of wollmeise added. 6 skeins of String Theory Colorworks, one of my huge loves that I had never before indulged in. A skein of Sanguine Gryphon.

2016: 15 entries and it's not even through the month of March -.- My second year cold-sheeping. So far it's going better--I only fell down once, and that was on fiber. I am trying to stop swapping and have not participated in swaps for nearly a month, although I do have 4 entries from swaps already added. Also, to be fair, of those 11 remaining entries, 9 were gifts for Xmas and one is a handspin that I finished! oh, the last one is a swap that came from an earlier year but I hadn't found it and entered it until 2016. So, 5 swaps, 9 gifts, and a handspun--no purchasing! yay!

Precious Hoard: Mushishi, to add to my Mushishi collection. Rainbow striping sock yarn. TWF gorgeous blue-green fingering oooh that must become a shawl. And another skein of Sanguine Gryphon.

as for fiber, well, that's a different story. For the holidays I got gifted 13 braids of fiber, and for my birthday I bought 3 more braids, so 2016's a busy year on its own already. I spin a bit faster now that I have the wheel, but mostly I just spin more frequently with it than with the spindle (except when I leave it in the car for hours). I am indeed cold-sheeping fiber. I think I want to get my fiber entries down to 25 or fewer. It's less urgent because I don't feel so much the need to make objects--I just spin when I feel like playing with fiber and color. BUT it's more urgent because it's harder to store fiber!

ps: I forgot about stuff I am willing to get rid of. One gift, one random ball of cotton, one swap, one handspun (boy is that ugly I should just throw that out), one thing from a festival that I suppose I could turn into something but I am just not feeling the love on it I mean really; one sweater quantity and one generic ball of black acrylic that I don't know what to do with.

Friday, March 4, 2016

slow

It's been a spectacularly unproductive year. Not for lack of work, of course, but every time I get near the end of something I seem to skip to the next thing that needs a lot of work.

I did re-submit my paper on LIRGs with some edits, so that's feeling good. and gave a successful presentation on some dissertation work (hmm, next up I need those graphs that are dependent on theta or r). I have a new goal of turning that presentation/work into a viable paper draft by the end of the month. March is going to be busy

As for the crafting side of things, it's the same. Lots of stuff started and worked on.  Only one thing got finished, and that's a pair of socks I started at least a year ago. It doesn't help that it's dark and catching un-sucky pictures of things once I get home from work is a big challenge.

Oh, wait, I did do some spinning! and I finished a project, 8oz/2 braids 2plied together.


here's the first braid, before it was spun. Finn fiber from Three Waters Farm in the colorway Child's Play. The yellow light of the house does not capture the colors perfectly well; that is a lighter pink, not screaming neon pinkorange, and the teal is a bit stronger, but overall it's pretty accurate.

I plied that with this stuff to the right. This is Targhee from Three Waters Farm in the Cheerful Disposition colorway. Again, it's yellowed out, but this pic is pretty accurate. The blues and purple are a little bit bluer, but that bright orange/yellow is in there and the teal and that blue-brown. They're not perfectly matched, but there's some decent overlap in the colors, and I thought the gray in the above fiber would work well with the dark blue/brown in this fiber.
and here's the finished product below! skein 1, flurfy and pretty nice!


and skein 2, sorry for the blurry pic. There's more contrast in this skein, including a big section of bright orange and dark blue that I don't like. 


They are both, however, pretty dreadfully underplied. I definitely did what I thought the wheel and fiber wanted to do, but now that they are done I can tell the wheel was pulling the plied yarn in too quickly compared to how much ply-twist I was putting in. In order to fix this I should've loosened the knob that controls the tension, or had a better ratio between my bobbin and my whorl. Now that I think about it, though, I think my friend pointed out that I was using the "high speed" end of my bobbin to tension. Normally this is better for spinning, I think, skinnier yarns. So it should be easier to put the right amount of twist in next time when I turn the bobbin round so the small-diameter groove is not the one I am using to tension it. 

Next on the wheel (already on the wheel!) is a braid of lilac corriedale yarn from Highland Handmades. I am going to ply two plies of that with a ply of a BFL/silk from Frabjous Fibers and try making socks! so far the corriedale is spinning up super skinny (...26/28 wpi? I used my friend's measuring tool but it's been 2 weeks), so that is good. 

What's on the needles, though? SOCKS. Lots of socks! I am pursuing major sock goals for 2016. Earlier I'd posted that my goal was to start a pair of socks/using a skein of sock yarn every month of the year and at least put 5-10 hours into them. February was a hit-or-miss month--I started the socks on time but only put about 6 hours into them. But January's socks were great, and I'm almost done with the second one (I need maybe 3 or 4 inches of the foot and to kitchener both toes and I'll be done). I spent most of the month knitting on other, non-february socks in fact. I finished one of the pairs I'd had on the needles at the beginning of the year, and I'm churning along nicely on the second of those (5 stripes and a heel left).

It's the 4th, so I shall have to start a new pair of socks soon! the next month's pair are for my twin <3 and I think she will like them. Probably I should do them cuff-down because those seem to fit better. I've picked out a simple stitch pattern too.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I need some longer shirts

not just t-shirts, but worky sort of shirts. Right now I have... 3? plus a collection of tank tops that aren't too bad if you pretend I can wear a tank top at work--so really what I need is something I can layer with those tank tops.

I could knit a nice long sweater (and there's one on my list--the Iced Cardigan, I even have the yarn for it). But I am also looking into buying some shirts that are longer and that I could wear out and about for work.

I should also probably get rid of my stockpile of clothes that are-not-long-enough and/or are-too-tight-now.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Spin the Bin 2016

This is one of my favorite yearly activities, because it's a chance to (you guessed it) set goals, make a list, and update myself and you on it. Plus I get to play with my fiber!

So, here's a quick picture of the stuff I definitely want to spin up this year.



In the back, the pile of dark brown is ~4.5 oz of brown corriedale. I'm going to spin it pretty skinny and ply it with my Tiger's Eye loop gradient that I spun up last year



to make a nice 2ply gradient of decent yardage. The corriedale matches the inner brown of the tiger's eye, so that is helpful.

In the back on the left you might see a small bag of purple and gold. This is 100% silk brick from FiberArtemis and I've decided to finally try to spin it up. I hope I can do it justice without turning it into froghair.

Counterclockwise, then, is FatCatKnits BFL in the Day's End colorway; 2 mystery skeins of probably corriedale; a braid of Spinnerettas Studio mixed BFL in Swampy; 1 skein of Frabjous Fibers BFL and silk in Lupine and 2 skeins of Highland Handmade's Corriedale in Lilac; and a bag. The bag is 2 braids from my new favorite dyer, Three Waters Farm--one of Cheerful Disposition in Targhee and one of Child's Play in Finn.

Those last two I am going to spin and ply together, aiming for a DK weight of great beauty in the manner of the Fat Squirrel.

The Frabjous Fibers and the Highland Handmades I want to turn into many skeins of 3 ply. I was hoping for sock-weight but I am betting it'll be tough to get a 3ply sock yarn and I'm not that skinny of a spinner, so it'll probably be more like a DK weight. 12 oz is going to be a fair bit, though, so I'm kind of excited thinking about what I can make out of it.

The other braids I intend to spin up and ply with themselves, rather than mixing them.

Now I just want to bust out the wheel and get going! but there's work to be done :P

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Wrapping up year 2015

2015 was a pretty good year for me. I spun 1.5 miles of yarn and knit up 6 miles of yarn.

I am just about finished with the third of five cowls--I need to do the bind-off. I am going to try E. Zimmerman's sewn bind-off, also known as the casting-on cast-off. It is supposed to have a nice neat edge and of course it matches the cast on edge, which I think is perfect. But it requires a tapestry needle and I left all of mine in MN. oops? Oh well, I needed a new Chibi-set of tapestry needles anyway (to carry around with me) so I'll swing by Michael's sometime this week to pick one up.

This was the year I learned to love the hat once more. I made 8 or 9 of them over the course of the year and started planning a bunch more with the stash I have, formerly designated only for shawls or socks.

I had intended to be a selfish knitter this year, only making 6 gifts for others (that was my goal). I had blown by that by the end of April and I finished the year with 18 gifts for others completed, 2 on the needles, 2 hibernating, and 2 that need to be reconsidered. Some of these were fairly small--there's three baby hats and four other wee things-- but still. I do not appear to be good at keeping to this goal. I was much lighter on the knitting for the holidays, just because the end of the year was SO BUSY and I hadn't done sufficient holiday work ahead of time. Good thing the family is understanding.

This was also a great year for spinning. I purchased a Ladybug spinning wheel from a friend and blew through some of my stash fiber. I competed in SpinTheBin2015, finishing in the end >27 oz of fiber for some beautiful spinning projects for that alone. I did another 21 oz outside of that competition, giving me a total of 48 oz or 3 lbs of spinning (wow. dang, go me).

Once again, cold-sheeping has not been 100% successful for me. It's still a goal of mine, to use what I have and love. I have more than 40 pairs of socks that I want to make from stash; more than 20 shawls; four or five sweaters; and tons of toys and other things. I have however begun to notice a trend in my buying habits--I am always compromising on what I really want by looking for something that's "just as good" at a better price point. The result is a stash that has a lot of "and this is gonna be a sweater, except this yarn pills horribly or I don't quite have enough of it so I'll have to shorten it and make it sleeveless or they had this other stuff on sale but not enough skeins so I'm gonna make it stripey." I'm going to work in 2016 towards really only acquiring the things I do love, not the stuff that's "good enough" that in the long run makes me sad or doesn't work.

That brings me smack into 2016's goals:

1) change shopping habits as described above whilst trying to have a net negative stash yardage for this year (not counting handspun)

2) a year of socks. I have lots of sock yarn and it needs some love. I am going to start a pair of socks (or on one or two occasions, a shawl) by the 5th of each month (except Jan, where I'll be running late due to travel) and work on that project for at least 10 hours that month. I don't intend to have 12 completely finished objects but I'd like to make a good start on all of them and really get into that sock yarn stash :)

3) only very precise gifts. I don't care who else decides to produce offspring. I have family and one friend who are truly knitworthy and I can always buy some baby clothes for other people, they'll still feel loved. That means if I feel like casting on a hat in that bulky yarn just to get it out of stash and intend to give it away to Anyone Who Cares Seriously Take It Agh I should take a moment, reconsider, and cast on something I actually want to spend my time knitting on. like that shawl out of 100% silk that I've been promising myself for years, or another pair of socks for my sisters, or I could work on that blasted poncho for mom that's been linger.

4) spin the bin 2016 (see a later post, this'll be its own planning thing, so excited)

5) deal with 3 hibernating projects by the end of the year. This was a good idea this past year, and I finished something, ripped something out, and just randomly bound something off and sent it to someone else by the end of 2015 so this year I'll do the same

6) give up swapping.

Swapping has been a lot of fun but I've reached the point where there's not much I want to leave my stash, and what I wouldn't mind going out no one is interested in. And I wouldn't mind saving the money on postage and the time (usually it takes a full morning, 9-12, to do the post-office run) and stress (2 week turn around is not hard, but I'm so bloody busy I can't seem to hit it). So it's time to call a halt to my 2 year swap-venture, at least for now.

Friday, December 4, 2015

COWL NUMBER THREE

almost a third done with the third cowl by the third of the month!

cowl 2 is done, need to block it and then make sure the cast-off edge is not too loose or too tight (cast-off edges are tricky for me, sometimes.)

I may finish it before January but most of my time is going to go into finishing other things. I did polish off a pair of mittens, but they're weirdly lumpy in an area and i think I shall have to rip them out. I need to do 3 more mitten pairs, a poncho, and a pile of spinning. in like a week.

oh, and 8 job applications and 2 papers.

WOO WORKIN BUSY

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Already planning ahead

It's not yet December, and I'm already planning for next year (wait. again. yeah, again). I think 12 sock-yarn projects, started on the beginning of each month, is a pretty good idea.

For December, my main goals are to finish 3-5 pairs of mittens, start mum's cowl, and finish the loop batt that I'm slowly, slowly spinning.