Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Disaster theory

My darling husband teaches society and environment, and he tells me that everytime it comes time to teach a section on man made or natural disasters, one happens. For instance, he's teaching about earthquakes today, and last night there was one in Los Angeles. I think its a coincidence, but maybe not.

Sunday I had my own personal disaster, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Friday night before work, I decided to pull out the spinning wheel and give the new spinning book I bought in Bendigo a chance to teach me something. I had gotten a couple of rovings from a friend at work, and had spun up a bobbin full of the grey. I got out the other color, a sort of brownish orangy color, and spun it up as well. It went fairly well, and for awhile at least, I felt like the spinning wheel and I were working with one another, rather than working against one another as it's often felt in the past. I went to work and took up the spinning again when I got home Saturday morning. I finished an entire bobbin of the stuff, but the book says to let the bobbin "set" overnight to allow the yarn to relax before plying. So I did.

Sunday morning, feeling I needed to keep going while the "spinning mojo" was still with me, I began to ply. Chris had stayed up late to watch the Tour De France, so he was sleeping in and the house was nice and quiet. Plying did not go as well as spinning had done. I kept getting the threads tangled. Every time I needed to change the yarn to a different hook (which is often when plying), I had removed tension on the two singles and kinks and tangles ensued. A couple of times I forgot and let go of the twist all together, which of course meant it ran almost all the way up to the bobbin and 15 minutes of untangling was required.

Finally, after much trial and error, a bobbin full of plyed yarn resulted. And dammit, it looked pretty good.

I was immensely proud of myself, took pictures, and went to brag on Ravelry of my success. I also wanted to look and see if the yarn once again needed to "relax" or it I could skein it more or less immediately. Now that it looked like I was getting somewhere, I was anxious to have some finished product. I also had the idea that, lacking a Niddy Noddy, I could just skein the stuff on my skein winder.

The rest of the story I am now borrowing from a post I made the next day on Ravelry to some encouraging friends. It tells the story well enough, and given the sad nature of the affair, I don't want to retype the trajedy here:

I could find nothing saying I should wait before skeining my yarn, and I couldn’t figure out any reason why I couldn’t use my skein holder for this purpose, so I decided to jump right in with both feet. I brought my Lazy Kate into the study where the umbrella type skein holder is, postitioned them properly, and began winding the yarn on. I noticed right away there were a good many kinks in the yarn, so I held the yarn taught, as I had read somewhere that I should, pulling the kinks out, and kept winding. What I DIDNT notice was that my “umbrella” was closing ever so gradually…probably due to the tension I was putting on the yarn and the tension of the thousands of kinks trying to re-kink themselves…until of course, kinks started showing up in the first part that I had wound on. Of course, they had been wound on when the skein holder was fully open, but now at half mast, they didn’t have any tension on them anymore. I tried to push the umbrella back open, but of course the last few dozen rounds of yarn had been wound when it was smaller, so it wouldn’t go up. Ok, so I try and wind them back off, but then the kinks just started getting out of control, and suddenly everything was a tangled mess. After giving up, untangling and winding the rest at the smaller circumferance, I took my lopsided “skein” off, and all I can really say is that it bore a striking resembalance to a blue and brown unclipped poodle! I’m too embarrassed at the moment to include a picture, but I might start seeing more humour and less mortification in the business in the next few days and put one up on my blog.

I’m thinking I might need to patiently sit down and rewind it all on the bobbin, then reskein using my old arm…then do the wash thing and hang…oh I don’t know…my car maybe…on it to straighten the kinks out. Here’s hoping. As it is, it won’t even do as novelty yarn!

So that's the whole sordid story, and today, finally, I felt brave enough to take a picture of my "yarn poodle".

I had thought to sort and and wind it back on the bobbin today, but I had way more stuff to do, and not the heart to sit thru all those tangles. So, I suppose the poodle will have to "relax" and wait for another day when I feel more courageous.

On a more positive note, yesterday I finished those heel turns on the "Socks Ahoy" project. The Widdershins heels are a cross between the old fashioned heel flap and the short row heel. I searched thru Ravelry forums and found a post that directed me to this blog entry by K2Knits called Revisiting the Widdershins Heel. It literally saved my bacon. The pattern itself is only in one size, and unlike short row heels, there isn't just this easy "knit to the last wrap" thing going on that will adjust to any size. So for my fat feet, I needed adjustments, and the worksheet on her blog was indespensible, given my arithmatic retardation.

Even armed with the numbers, I still procrastinated about a week, rereading things in my spare time to try and get the idea of how it was done in my head. But yesterday, the first day of my two whole days in a row off, I was determined to get into it. The first one went slowly, both because I was being cautious and because I had two socks on the one needle, and I had trouble keeping the sock I wasn't working on out of my way.

So I knit the first sock off onto my new bamboo knit picks needles, and boy did they work a treat. I had never knit socks on bamboo before, and I know some don't like it, but I loved the way the bamboo held on to the slippery sock yarn. I could knit closer to the ends of my needles without worrying as much about dropping a stitch, and all it all it at least "seemed" faster. And the cords seem much more flexible than the Addi's. I'm going to order me some more, in a longer length. The ones I got in Bendigo are 80cm, which is big enough to magic loop a sock, but not two socks at once, which is how I'd much rather do the thing.

So the heel is done, on both socks. I finished them both yesterday, though I admit I didn't get much else done at all. But I'm very very happy with this heel, and I think I will use it again and again. No holes or gaps AT ALL. It's really a nice, clean, good looking heel, and not that hard once you have the tools to resize it and have knit it through to figure out how it works. In fact, I may never use another type of heel ever again! (Ok, I probably will...but it IS a nice heel).

Now, I'm ready to start working on the leg.

Meanwhile, I'm still knitting on the "Peace in the Hood" (CPH) hoodie, but I haven't gotten much done past the last post, so no picture is really necessary. I am working on that now, though, as I'm almost finished with the ribbing on the first sleeve, and would like to establish the pattern so it will be ready to "travel" when I'm back to work again.

Ok folks, that about catches things up. Off to knit now.

1 comment:

K2Karen said...

Hey there, KnitWit! Glad you found the widdershin heel calcs useful. Like you, I find this the nicest fitting, nicest looking heel for a toe-up sock. Cat Bohrdi's Architecture book uses a similar heel and also includes numbers if you ever want to try something different, but I still like the Widdershin heel better.