Friday, May 29, 2009

Catching up with life

It's what I do whenever a semester ends. I'll have exams, then a slow wind-down afterwards including piles and piles of grading, painstaking entering of grades, and then responding to student emails for about 10 days. Only half of that time will be spent in the office, so I get to indulge myself by knitting during grading breaks, but mostly my free time is taken up with activities like laundry, seeing the dentist, cleaning the apartment, and in general doing all those things I've put off during the last month.

Today is different. All grades are in, the student email rate has reduced to a trickle, and I am caught up on random chores. I have enough energy and free time this morning to make myself some tasty scrambled eggs for breakfast, throw on a podcast, and reflect on my knitting and spinning over the last month or so. Let's get the un-updated updates out of the way first, then move on to the meatier stuff.

1. Brie gloves are still languishing. I need to re-read the directions for the thumb, and I don't feel like doing so.

2. I got some more Soak woolwash, and washed a bunch of handspun. Three of the skeins felt stringy rather than squishy, and I wasn't in love with them until they dried after the wash. I must remember this: washing your yarn is a good thing.

3. Spinning progresses apace. I finished two big spinning projects, which I will save for another post later.

4. The Halcyon Sweater is also chugging along. I'm almost done with the front, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the knitting goddesses are going to toy with me by allowing me to finish this sweater with only a small amount of yarn short. We'll see. I was interested to find that I am able to memorize the 12-row and 16-row cable repeats, but not the 24-row main cable. I don't need to grab the book as I can read the pattern from the previously worked repeats, but I can't hold the whole thing in my head. Did my brain hit a saturation point, or just a plateau? I guess I should wait and see if I have the thing memorized by the time I finish the back of the sweater as well.

5. I was lucky enough to be part of Verb's fabulous Keep the Fleece event two weekends ago. It was a day of many firsts. In addition to being the first Verb Keep the Fleece event, it was also the first time I've been around that many spinners all spinning at once, my first sheep-to-anything event (we did a scarf), and my first time being on video talking about knitting, spinning, crafting, and blogging. I sat next to the fabulous Aija and we chatted about getting connected to other crafters through the internet for a very charming gentleman (whose name escapes me at the moment) who is making a documentary film about knitters. I also introduced another knitter to the joys of handspun yarn for the first time. There was good food, good company, and good conversation, all for a good cause!

We started with fabulous Verb naturally-colored and naturally-dyed fiber:
Keep the Fleece 2009
The whole shebang

Keep the Fleece 2009
Delicious dyed BFL

Yummy Shetland locks

We were given partners, one spinner and one knitter per team. We had creative license over color choices, with the restriction that one ply of the yarn be Black BFL, and that we spin for a DK-weight 2-ply yarn. For an hilarious picture of me choosing colors, go take a look at my knitting partner's flickr photo. I think my claw hand is too funny! I look like a storybook witch cackling over which plump little child she's going to bake in the oven first. For the record, I am actually trying to decide on a purple colorway or a red-orange colorway for the second ply of our yarn.

Next, we handed our freshly spun yarn to the knitting halves, who churned out squares:
Keep the Fleece 2009

and then we combined the squares into an awesome scarf:

It was a great day, and I managed to not get sunburned! Living in Fog City has turned me into a total lizard, and I have very little self-control where direct sunshine is concerned. Luckily we had a little room to spin in, so we were all in the shade during the hottest part of the day. It was such an overall awesome event, I hope I get to be involved in something like that again. I've never been one for competition, so I'm not looking to join a sheep-to-shawl team, but it was very exciting to be around so much creative energy all packed into one day. I can't wait until next year!

Okay, I better stop there because this is getting kinda long. I'll tell you about my handspun projects soon (hopefully tomorrow morning, cross your fingers!). On Saturday I will be tooling around Maker Faire and I am expecting to run into all manner of crafty/DIY friends. I've never had a bad time at Maker Faire, and it's especially awesome because it's one of those events that is really exciting for me, the significant other, and just about all of our friends. Between the tech geek displays, the man-sized mousetrap, power tool drag races, and Bazaar Bizarre, there's something for everyone to see. I always leave tired, but I always learn new things there. Alright. Commercial over. I must go clean up after my scrambled eggs.

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