Sunday, March 16, 2008

Arrrrgh! spinning frustration

The last few weeks I've been limping around with a sore foot. Being that it's tax season and all and I couldn't take off from work to stay off it, I tried my best to stay off it when I was home. I followed every bit of advice people gave me...ice it, soak it, rub it, prop it up, use heat, wrap it, but the worst was don't spin. The thought was I should keep it elevated and not make it work. My foot was starting to feel better until a week ago we ran into a major computer problem that had me on my feet running from my workstation to the servers (which are located in the basement) for a whole day and then 3 days later another computer issue that had me standing for several hours. Needless to say, all my progress was negated and I was limping as bad as before. So I finally went to see the doctor. Thankfully, there's nothing major wrong. She feels it's either a touch of tendinitis or just an inflammation of the heel. It's just going to take a while to get better. She gave me some anti-inflammatory drugs and gave me stretches to do. I bought some inserts for my shoes that also seem to be helping. But, joy of joys! she told me I should be exercising my foot. Riding a bike is ideal she said since it moves the foot without putting much weight on it. You know what that means, right? SPINNING! Treadling certainly moves the foot very gently without bearing weight. So I'm back to spinning with a vengeance. I finished spinning and plying the rambouillet/columbia roving.Final statistics: 4 ounces, 271 yds. Even though I spun the singles fairly fine, the nature of the wool resulted in a very springy yarn, lots of loft. No plans for the yarn, as yet. Perhaps mittens or a hat.

I got this bit of excellence from Jen earlier this week.
It's 2 pounds of wool/mohair mill end rovings. I very much desire to spin this into a soft singles yarn (think Malabrigo type). So far, I'm not having much luck. After 2 months of trying to spin as fine as possible, it's really hard to spin thicker. It's like going back to day one of spinning. The thing is, the thinner the yarn, the more twist you need, so it IS actually easier to spin thin. You have more time to draft while the twist is entering the yarn. But thick yarn needs very little twist, so you've got to move much faster before the twist builds up. I seem to be having the best luck using park and draft. This means you treadle until you build up twist in the yarn then stop treadling and draft out the fiber letting the twist run up the yarn. Then you treadle to wind on and start over. But I find the starting and stopping tedious. This was my first attempt, splitting the roving in two strips.
It was EXTREMELY energized when I wound it off. I probably should have left it sit on the bobbin at least overnight, but I'm really impatient. I soaked it in warm water and hung it under tension to dry. It's still very tight and kinky, not the soft fluffiness I'm after. My next step is going to be splitting the roving in 4ths. Maybe if I start out with the roving closer to the finished size, so I don't have to draft as much, I'll have better luck. I've noticed this roving really sheds, I assume that's the mohair in it. I'll have to remember to drape a towel over my lap while I'm working with it.

I finished the handspun socks.
These were knit using Wendy Johnson's toe up sock pattern. The pattern is super easy, although I think they look a little weird laid out flat. They look much better on.They are a bit on the thick side, but super comfortable. Of course, now the weather is warming up so I probably won't get to wear them much until fall. So I'm left with 3 projects on the needles...the Jaywalker socks, which I seriously don't even want to look at; the chevron scarf, which doesn't thrill me either; and the v-neck shell which has been hibernating for months. I am going to make an effort to get the shell finished so maybe I can actually wear it this spring. I wish I could love cotton more. I love wearing cotton, but knitting with it really just grates with me. I'll probably cast on another pair of socks so I'll have on the go knitting, but I've got to try to finish at least one of these languishing projects.

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