Epic Failure

One of the downsides of posting your adventures on your blog is that you often have to admit failure.  Of course, I could just sweep this all under the rug and never mention it again, but in the interests of full disclosure I will confess.  For the Tour de Fleece my goal was to finish spinning the yarn for Ben's sweater.  I came pretty close with all but a few singles left to ply.  However, that was not my failure.  It only took another day or so to finish up and the skeins were washed, dried and ready for knitting.  This is where the failure comes in.  As I started my gauge swatch I realized that this was nowhere near the worsted weight I had thought I was spinning.  It is more like a bulky weight.  I figured out the numbers, cast on and it only took a few rows for me to realize that I hate knitting with bulky weight.  Not only will it not come out to the sweater I had envisioned, it is unpleasant to knit with and hurts my hands.   I am really disappointed.  The skeins are so beautiful:


All is not lost however.  Someone is going to love all this bulky weight yarn and I'm going to skein it up nicely and perhaps offer it at our guild's sale in November.  In the meantime, I have ordered some nice, predictable Cascade 220 for Ben's sweater.

I guess this has taught me that I really have a long way to go before I can expect to be successful at spinning a sweater's worth.  I'll stick to small projects for now..

I also decided that the vest I was making for myself out of handspun was not pleasing to me, so I have frogged that.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had 10 skeins of Silky Wool in my stash that I had forgotten about.  So Ylva has been resurrected in a more appropriate yarn.


I've gotten in a lot of knitting time this week because I've felt too crappy to do much else.  The antibiotic that did such a good job of knocking down the infected wisdom tooth also caused an allergic reaction.  I've spent the last few days broken out in an ugly rash.  The Benadryl that helps also makes me very groggy.  So far, I have to admit that turning 60 has certainly been a challenge.  I hope things stop breaking down!

On the bright side, a couple of weeks ago we had a lovely dinner out with Ben & Abby.  As a belated anniversary present they took us to Ivar's on the water at the Mulkiteo ferry dock.  It was an outstanding meal with wonderful company.  Kind of makes up for the rest!


D’oh! Not again!

I can't believe this is happening.  Remember back in April when I went through the dental nightmare?  It's happening again!  Actually, I don't think this time will be as bad.  Last time there was some confusion as they thought they had caught the problem and did a root canal on a bicuspid.  It turned out that I also had a molar that was abscessed, but since it was difficult to isolate the pain the dentist didn't realize I had two teeth involved.  This time there is only one, the pain is easy to isolate and the x-ray clearly shows the abscess.  After two days on antibiotic I've been able to go off the Vicodin, which absolutely wipes me out.  It's hard for me to understand that people actually like to take that stuff!  Since this is another third molar, I have an appointment on Monday for a consult with an oral surgeon to take it out.  So I'm hoping this won't drag out for three weeks like the last episode.

I have been spinning like a crazy woman for the Tour de Fleece.  My goal was to finish the yarn for Ben's sweater.  I finished spinning the singles this morning, but don't think I will get to the plying until Monday.  Ben, Abby and the girls are coming over today and tomorrow we have our annual Knitter's Picnic.  I was a little worried that I might miss it because of my dental woes, but since I'm feeling so much better because of the antibiotics, I should be able to make it.

I've been working away on my bag of dish cloth cottons and last night finally put a finish to it.  This type of knitting has filled the bill for me the past couple of weeks, but I am thoroughly tired of dish cloths now.  At least I have a nice stack for personal use and for gifts:


Next up is to finish a pair of Cookie A. Summer Socks.  These are a gift for a friend.  I'm using Cascade Heritage sock yarn and I absolutely love it!  It's so soft and it just seems to flow through your hands.  After I've knit enough out of my sock stash to justify buying more yarn, I will definitely be getting more of this.


As for the next spinning project, I'm not sure what fiber I will be using, but it will be a project aiming for a two-ply fingering weight for a challenge our guild is doing.  About once a year or so we do a challenge, with everyone knitting the same pattern.  This year they've chosen the Gaia shawl.  The original pattern calls for Noro sock yarn so you get the stripes.  I haven't decided yet if I'll try to spin for the stripes, but since I'm one of the few spinners in my group, I will probably be the only one spinning for the challenge.  Before I start, I need to install a new poly cord drive belt on my wheel.   I've been wanting one to fit my wheel and Ashford just came out with it.  The reviews are good – it's supposed to give more traction with less friction and make treadling easier.  Can't wait to try it out, but I need to finish Ben's sweater yarn first.  I don't want to install it now and risk messing up my tension and getting a whole 'nother kind of yarn.

I'm really itching to start another piece of lace.  I can't believe I don't have any lace on the needles.  Now that I am out of the dish cloth doldrums, I'm really tempted to start another Evenstar.  But I don't know if I want such a large project at this point.  I did break my yarn diet long enough to order a project for our road trip in September.  This seemed like a good deal with the extra skein of yarn and will give me plenty to keep me occupied for a month on the road.  Throw in enough for a few pairs of socks and I'll be set.

We had a great time with the girls today.  We continue to be amazed that we get to see them so often and what wonderful little girls they are!  Today's entertainment was lawn bowling.  We didn't have the appropriate equipment, so we were forced to use girls instead:


Busy, Busy, Busy

It's about time I posted and proved that I am indeed still here and blogging.  This summer is proving to be very, very busy.  Hubby's advice that I would find myself this busy in retirement has proven to be true!  In fact, I'm discovering that I really do need to be careful about over committing myself.  However, it does give me a lot to blog about.  Where to start?

Last weekend I went on a road trip to Sisters, Oregon with some ladies from our church.  Every year the town hosts a huge outdoor quilt show.  It grows from a sleepy little town of about 1700 to over 100,000 visitors in one day!!  Even with that it didn't seem to be too crowded, although it was plenty warm.  That didn't dampen our enthusiasm too much and we all had a great time.


I did most of the driving – about 18 hours total – and was exhausted at the end of it, but it was well worth it and the ladies seemed very appreciative.


No, that's not our car, but it is kind of cool!  Don't think I have that much time on my hands!

I did break my fiber diet a little – souvenir fiber doesn't count, right?  I found a shop that had a small spinning section and scored some beautiful blue Colonial top:


As soon as I finish spinning the yarn for Ben's sweater, this will be my next project for a shawl challenge that my knitting group is doing.  More on that later.  But, speaking of the sweater project – I'm making progress.  I finally caved and started plying, trying to mix up my bobbins as much as possible, although I do seem to be staying fairly consistent.  Four skeins down, ? to go:


Of course, there are always other temptations.  The last Mixed Blessings offering from Fat Cat was absolutely luscious – alpaca and silk.  And I was thrilled to discover that I won one of the random prizes – a beautiful braid of Falkland (alpaca/silk on left, Falkland on right):


And just to prove that I'm still finishing – two FO's.  First up, a blue shrug for Isobel.  As you might recall, she absolutely refused to wear the brown one I made for her.  I asked her if she would wear a blue one and she said yes, so Nana complied:


It seems to be a hit.  I also am working on mastering toe-up socks.  My goal is that they will be as intuitive to me as top down socks are now.  These are the Seashell Socks.  Pattern by Wendy Johnson, yarn is Regia Silk, size 0 needles:


Although I count these as a success, I don't highly recommend the pattern.  The stitch pattern biases terribly and is a little boring to do.  But I learned a lot about toe-up socks and will continue to explore, even though the next set on my needles is top down.  But they are for a gift and I want to finish them quickly.

Last but not least is a little project that taught me a lot about children and how we can go terribly wrong trying to impress them.  It seems that as adults we often think the big, expensive things are what make children happy.  We couldn't be more wrong.  When Mei-Mei was born I had made her a little Minkee dog that became her favorite "lovey".  She can't go to sleep without it.  They are a little reluctant to take "Bobo" in the car for fear of losing him.  Just before they got ready to leave here after their last visit, Ben asked if I could whip up something quickly for them to take in the car because they really wanted her to sleep on the way home.  I went in my sewing room and found a little square of Minkee.  I stuffed the head with some leftover cotton yarn, tied it around the neck and hubby drew on a face with marker.  The little ghost was promptly dubbed "Carbo".  All the way home Mei-Mei petted Carbo and told him how much she loved him – and then she fell asleep.  When she got home she had to take Carbo up to her room, introduce him to all her toys and have him give each one of them a kiss!  And just to prove Carbo is as simple as they come:


Sometimes we just try too hard!

Three Down

My marathon spinning has begun:


I have three bobbins down on the BFL for Ben's sweater.  I have seven bobbins, so the plan is to spin six bobbins of singles and then start to ply.  I should be able to mix them up enough to even out any spinning differences.  At least that's the plan.  I've joined the Tour de Fleece as a rookie and my goal is to have all the yarn spun for the sweater by the time the tour is over.  At least that's the plan.  But life may get in the way, so we'll see.

I won't be be able to spin for three days next week because I'm taking a road trip to the Sisters, Oregon Quilt Show.  Three elderly ladies from our church wanted to go and asked me to go along, so I will be the designated driver.  They are absolutely charming ladies and I think we're going to have a great time.  Bill and I went years ago and it's a beautiful show.  In the 20 or so years they've had the show it's only rained a couple of times and wouldn't you know – it rained the year we went.  I hope I don't bring bad luck this year.

In the FO department, I finished Damson:


This was knit from my own handspun, a merino/silk blend.  This was probably the nicest yarn I've spun so far and it made me ridiculously happy to knit with it.  It is so much more satisfying than knitting with commercial yarn.  I highly recommend the pattern as well.  It's quick and easy and I love the way it drapes around the shoulders and stays put.  No modeling shots until I manage to change into something besides a sweatshirt and jeans.  With our weather that may be a while.

I'm having to take a good, honest look at my sewing room and make some firm resolutions.  I've come to the conclusion that I have more than enough fabric, yarn, fiber and books to keep me occupied for many moons.  In fact, it's getting to the point where I'm running out of room to put everything.  So – you heard it here first.  I'm going on a fabric, yarn, fiber and book diet until I manage to use up some of what I have.  I'm not going to put an exact amount in, but I need to get things down to a more reasonable level.  The only exceptions will be supplies to finish projects already in the stash and the Fat Cat fiber club when she offers it again.  That one only runs for 3 months at a time and it's one I really don't want to pass up.  And speaking of the club – I think I may have won a prize!  On the Ravelry group she posted the names of the prize winners and one of them was Dorothy W.  There just aren't that many Dorothys around, so I'm hoping.  She won't confirm, so I just have to wait until my shipment arrives.  I'm hoping it will come today.

Anyway – one of the first things up on my stash utilization program is to dive into this bag of cotton:


I have loads of dishcloth patterns to try out and right now they're the perfect project for my brain, which seems to be incapable of attempting anything more challenging.  Two down and a third started:


Hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th.  Our plans are to have a barbecue here with the family tomorrow and maybe even take in the parade.  And of course, fresh strawberry shortcake from our local fields!  Yum!!