Sunday, July 29, 2007

Today is a sad day for me. There are times in life when you face your mortality. This is one of those days. You know that time is passing by and something dearly cherished is gone.

Today is the last day of the 2007 Tour de France. Another year has passed. I must wait another year, and be another year older, to enjoy the tour again.

I'm not a big sports fan, but every year I eagerly anticipate the start of the penultimate bike race. Tivo is set up to record the longest broadcast every day. I don't get to watch it each and every day, so I scream "LA LA LA LA LA" if anyone starts to talk about what happened on a stage I haven't watched yet. And then, when I do get to watch, I curl up on the couch with both corgis and any kind of knitting I want to do. And I sit. And watch. Sometimes for 6 hours at a time. Pure joy.

This year, I elected to forego some knitting time to spin and joined Tour de Fleece. I set two spinning goals. Well, really three. First, to make a dent in my large fiber stash that had been sitting idle for months. Second, to spin every day. Third, to finally learn how to do chained singles (commonly called Navajo plying). I prefer a 3-ply yarn for knitting and I'm still trying to figure out how to best use the lovely hand painted fibers out there. Chained singles may or may not be the best way, but before I can decide, I have to know how.

I didn't really participate. I had the best of intentions to spin every day, but I got a late start because I was stuck in Chicago after attending Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp. And then I skipped a couple of days to just knit on my Pi Shawl. But I rallyed at the end--just like Contador.

Here's the results:

Souza3PlyClose First we have some 3-ply BFL from dyed fiber purchased from Lisa Souza. I love these colors.

TulipSkein This is my first attempt at chain plying. I'm actually very pleased with this skein, although the photo looks a bit messy. This is Tulip from Spunky Eclectic's fiber club. Lovely fiber. When I showed it to the folks at the yarn store, they tried to figure out where I bought it. Even though they know I'm learning to spin, they didn't recognize it as my imperfect handspun. Always a good sign that I'm making progress!

To show a bit more's another entry from the fiber club, Forecast.

First, the predrafted puffs:

ForecastPuffs2 then the singles: ForecastSingles which leads to this:ForecastChainedDime

Forecast is a merino. I ended up with a bit over 250 yards from the 4 ounces. I'm getting much smoother with my navajo plying! Unlike many beginning spinners, I tend to underspin. My singles aren't particularly consistent, but I'm ok with that. I love the results and I'll enjoy knitting this. Just don't ask me what I'm going to knit. Socks would be the obvious choice, but I've got some other ideas in mind. I'm imagining a cardigan. A cardigan made with 4 or 5 different hand-dyed yarns pulled together with a single neutral anchor yarn, maybe black or taupe.

I think I'm getting a bit cocky with my spinning since my yarn is all turning out about the same weight. I think I could actually spin enough consistent yarn to make a sweater. And since it is close to 90 degrees, my thoughts obviously turn to wool sweaters (!?!)

During the tour, a new fiber arrived. Wanna see it?


Celebration--the latest arrival from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club. This is shetland and I learned something very important about my knitting self. I love Shetland. I love knitting with Shetland. I love spinning Shetland. I'm about 1/4 of the way through the bobbin and it is going to be gorgeous. I instantly went back to Amy and ordered her Shetland sampler. (Umm...I guess ordering more fiber negates any progress I made in using up my fiber stash!)

You know, maybe I shouldn't think of the end of the Tour as sad. Maybe this new Shetland fiber is a sign. I should celebrate the passing of time. As time passes, I gain new skills and more wisdom. Yes, I get a few more gray hairs and lots more wrinkles. But each day is a new adventure and there is much yarn to knit before I'm done.


Linda said...

Almost enough to make me put my needles down and oil up the wheel...

Black Sheep Knitting Guild said...

Karen, I'm glad to see you're making progress on your spinning, it gives me hope for my own!

And you make me green with envy about Camp. . .someday!

Jenni said...

Your yarn is gorgeous! I really need a wheel. I have a spindle and it is fun, but it certainly is delayed gratification.