Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend bind-off

Yesterday I actually bound off the mohair sweater! I tried it on, too, and was very happy with the fit. Now all I need to do is add the neckband, sew up the armhole seams, weave in a few ends, block it, and it'll be done! Excellent!

Mohair sweater bound off

I also acquired some new yarn to work with that I'm excited by for two different reasons.

peaches n creme yarn Malabrigo yarn

The dishcloth yarn excites me because it's dishcloth yarn in pretty colors, and was inexpensive. The Malabrigo on the right, there, well, that's my first ever Malabrigo purchase, and I can't wait to start using it! The color is just gorgeous, "indigo." I'm hoping it'll work out gauge-wise for the Tailored Scallops sweater, but I think it might be a hair too thin. We'll see. As soon as I get that mohair sweater blocking, I'm going to turn to the Malabrigo Scallops!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Day Dishcloth

Well, folks, I'm behind, as usual. Behind, that is, on the dishcloth craze. Right about when dishcloths came "in" a couple of years back (remember the Mason-Dixon Ball Band dishcloths[Ravelry-only link], anyone?), I ignored them. After all, I'd recently switched to sponges, and all dishcloths did was get smelly in the sink, just like they'd done when I was a kid. (Yes, they did get washed, but the smell left a stronger mental impression!)

But a couple of days ago, Earth Day caught up with me and I thought to myself, I should really get back in the habit of using dishcloths, rather than so many paper towels! I mean, I'm not that bad; I do try to use the sponge, but sometimes I just want the convenience of a paper towel... but still, I should try, shouldn't I?

Yes, we recycle and watch the temperature of our house and buy cars that get good gas mileage - but couldn't I be better about this one little item? Maybe if I had my own handmade dishcloths I'd use them, I thought, so out came the cotton and the needles...

Brand new dishcloth

...with this result. 

Coffeeboy swore he wouldn't use it, that he couldn't subject anything I'd knit with to such treatment as scrubbing dirty sinks and counters. Besides, he'd grown up with sponges, not "those cloths" as he used to call them back when I was using cloths, not sponges, so I expect there was some resistance to the dishcloth funk. But knit one I did, use it to wipe the counter I did, and now, boy doesn't our sink look too pretty for its own good?

Dutiful dishcloth

There are other ideas I'm finding equally inspiring - many of them, to give honor where it's due - mentioned on Zarzuela's Earth Day post. There I was introduced to the Greencraft group on Ravelry - if you're on Ravelry, you should definitely check this group out! It's fascinating what people are doing, the little ways they are getting back in touch with the world!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yarnovers and Passovers

I bet you thought that I was preparing last week for an actual Passover seder, not passing yarn through itself? Well, in the end we had a little of both:

seder 2008

Also this weekend, a visiting friend was winding some yarn on my swift. I noticed she was taking a really long time to wind yarn, which, granted, takes a while when you bring several skeins, but still... I went upstairs and found scenes that looked a bit like this:

cat's yarn cradle crazy CTH

It was like a game of cat's cradle sprung into existence on the swift. Twice every turn, the yarn caught in a loop and we had to thread the growing ball of yarn through the loop, or the loops, as the case may be. Sometimes things got really, really messy. Eventually we finished, and miraculously the yarn eventually also stopped being caught in its own loops, but wow, was that not one of the more messed-up skeins I've ever encountered!

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to getting back to the wheel and to the mohair sweater, for which I'm rapidly running out of cool days to wear it!

Mohair raglan WIP

I haven't blogged this one yet because it's all stockinette. However, now that it's starting to look like a sweater, I decided to take a picture. I'm hopeful that I can control the roll on the bottom there. Silly me. Rolled hems and mohair sweaters do seem to go together in my mind, but who was I not to do something to stop the roll? Oops! Oh well, I will just have to hope that the powers of the iron are enough!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Navajo ply!

Last night I needed to clear a few singles off a bobbin. A few weeks ago, I'd spun up a little bit of this juicy merino fiber from Lorna's Laces that I got for the holidays. I thought I'd give reputedly slippery merino a test-run. As I recall, it wasn't too bad. It was, however, a while ago.

Summer berry singles

Then I was left with very little on the bobbin, but I didn't want to spin the rest of it then. So I set it aside, and last night, I navajo plied it. See?

First attempt to Navajo Ply

This new type of plying was a bit tricky. Since I'm a lefty, I tried doing it with my left hand, but I kept needing to use my right to help pull the single through the loop. Eventually I was getting my left index finger to take care of the pulling through the loop, while the right did something with the twist. I saw what hadn't been clear on the on-line video, that somehow the creation of the loops gives you a three-ply. Pretty cool! I'm not an engineer, I can't explain how it works, just that it did!

What I got was something like this:

Navajo plied yarn

I have a few questions about navajo plying for you more experienced spinners: Do you see that purple strand on top, on the right side? Right there you can see where the two loops interlock. Why is that? Is that normal for navajo plying, to see where the loops are?

I had another question, which is how the heck do you finish it? When I was done I had an awkward floppy loop that didn't quite twist and ply up nicely.

Also, why is it called "navajo" plying?

Here is the little skein-let, only a few yards long, all twisted up.

Navajo ply mini-skein

I think it looks pretty good for a first attempt. Of course, that's probably half the dye job on the fiber - hard to go wrong with such gorgeous colors!! They remind me of summer berries. I don't remember what the official colorway name is, but these sure do speak to me of berries.

Last week I went to a conference at my home institution, a conference I've been planning for the last year or so. It went really well - great papers, interesting people, good networking. The conference involved people working on topics very similar to my dissertation, so it provided a lot of excellent food for thought and really has me actually thinking about the diss with excitement for the first time in about a month. I came home and scanned 16 pages of notes so I'd have electronic copies of what I wrote down. I've never actually scanned in notes before, but it seemed to make a certain amount of sense. Add them to the e-file for the conference, and I'll always be able to find them. The paper notes - who knows?

Of course, I can't really capitalize on that excitement because now that I'm home, I'm preparing the house for Passover & the arrival of guests this weekend! (Granted, since the Judaism represented here is Reform, the housecleaning isn't as, um, thorough, as it could be, but there's still plenty to do!) I'm going to try to put in some time on the diss this afternoon and tomorrow, but I still have to clean the house and go grocery shopping, so it's looking like the diss will have to wait till next week!