Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Fits and starts

There's not much going on here at Chez Seedless Grape this week. I have much more time to knit these days, but I have very little to show for it because I'm currently trying to knit up my small but burgeoning handspun stash, which means that I'm ripping as much as I'm knitting. Seriously: I've ripped and reknit the Burning Bush AND Plum Blossom yarns at least five times each in separate projects. With the Plum Blossom yarn, this was partly because my spinning was uneven and my gauge at one end of the yarn was significantly different from my gauge towards the middle and other end of the yarn, which made for a very wonky Zeebee on the first attempt. With the Burning Bush yarn, I'm trying to eke out an adult-sized hat with the limited yardage I have, and after multiple tries with different needles and patterns, I'm developing the sinking feeling I don't have enough. Sigh.

But, setting all that aside, I still have a bit to blog about, because the Noro log cabin blocks continue apace:

I have 15 so far and I'm almost finished with the 16th. This weekend I'm going to try to cobble another block or two from the remnants I have, because I've run out of new balls. I'll see how far I can get with the remnants before I stock up on some more Kureyon (because yes, Noro has amazing colorways, but it's a bit spendy, no?).

Friday, April 04, 2008

A quick spinning run-down

There was a bit of spinning and a bit of knitting over the past Month o' Work, but I didn't really have time to take photos or blog about it. As a result, my knitting FOs--two Utopia hats--have gone on to their recipients without being blogged about, and my WIPs have been ripped and reknit multiple times and no one's the wiser except for me.

I did manage to get a couple documentary photos of my latest spinning endeavors, though. This is mostly because I haven't figured out what to knit with these spinning FOs, so they're marinating in the stash and are still in my possession to be photographed.

Above is 4 oz. of merino fiber that I got at the Boerne Fiber Festival last year. My goal in spinning this stuff up was to spin as thin as I could manage to see if I could make sock-weight yarn. The finished yarn is slightly heavier than most sock yarn, but it's not so thick I'd call it sportweight or DK. I was pretty pleased with it as a first attempt at sock yarn. I can't remember the yardage (I really should write these things down), but it should be enough to make at least a pair of ankle socks. Either that, or I'm going to use it as a liner for some mittens, because it's nice and soft. But I'll have to see if I can find some coordinating yarn/fiber for the outside of the mittens.

And . . . I also got into the Hello Yarn February-April Fiber Club earlier this year. I'm a biiiig Hello Yarn fan; I really love Adrian's sense of color. Here is the February fiber--5 oz. of BFL in the "Insect Wings" colorway:

I loved this fiber; the colors are so nice and saturated, and the finished yarn turned out nice and soft. I managed to get about 140 yards of heavy worsted weight yarn and I think I'll try to get a hat or two out of it.

I can't wait to see how it knits up because I tried to fractal-spin it (at least, I tried to do what I understand to be fractal spinning). I took the entire length of roving and split it in half lengthwise. I pre-drafted one half and spun that on to one bobbin. I took the other half and split that in half lengthwise to get fourths; then I pre-drafted the fourths and spun them on to another bobbin, one after the other, trying to start each length of roving from the same end to keep the color repeats in order. Then I plied the singles off the two bobbins together.

I'm not sure if my efforts at fractal spinning will result in anything special, especially since I'm not perfectly sure that the color repeats are in the correct order (I'll admit I was careless). But I'm sure the finished fabric will be fun and soft, anyway; the color and the fiber really do most of the work!

I'm going to try to get better photos of the Insect Wings yarn this weekend--it's just too gorgeous not to try. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I got through the tunnel, and wow, it's bright out here!

Where are my sunglasses?!?!? I'm blinded!

It's April 1, and it's only fitting that I finally get to post after three of the most exhausting weeks I've experienced in a long while. Wow, it's nice to be back!

As I've mentioned before, I'm currently clerking for a federal judge in Houston. Since federal judges have a pretty sweet deal--life tenure with guaranteed pay--the federal judiciary uses something colloquially called "the six-month list" to make sure judges are processing their cases at a reasonable rate. Basically, every six months a list of shame gets published, listing all the motions that have been pending before each judge for more than six months. Most judges, like mine, try to keep the number of motions on that list down as a matter of pride.

The six months tick off every March 31st and September 30th. In an ideal world, someone working under a six-month deadline would be able to budget her time efficiently and spread out the work so that the last few weeks before the deadline aren't crammed. In the real world, though, people file TRO applications, there are trials, there are emergency motions, etc.: there are a million extra little things that demand attention right away and mess up even the best-laid plans.

To make a long story short: The six-month list is why I sort of dropped into a hole and didn't emerge for three weeks. I have been knitting and spinning here and there, and I have lots of blogging to catch up on, but mostly my life in March was consumed with work. It was sort of awful, and really exhausting, but it's over now (yay!) and "regular" life, with knitting, spinning, cooking, and blogging, should return soon.

And guess what I have to look forward to?

YES! One of the highly coveted Fiddlehead Mitten Kits from Adrian of Hello Yarn. Eee! I'm so excited. I had a really, really frustrating day about a week and a half ago, and to take a break from work, I surfed on over to the Hello Yarn website and saw this kit for sale. I didn't have to think twice: I immediately clicked "buy," whipped out my credit card, and forked over my money.

The yarn is BEAUTIFUL. I love, love, love the colors. I almost don't want to knit up the kit because I think the little skeins of yarn are so cute!

Anyway: regular blogging should return soon. Hope everyone has been doing well!