fiber diva

This is the chronicle of one woman's forays into knitting, crocheting, spinning, embroidery, papercrafts, and whatever else catches my fancy at any given time. Oh, and I talk about my cats a lot, too.

Monday, July 30, 2007

spider barf and the perils of knitting lace

One of the projects that I've been working on lately ( of those ;-) has been the mystery stole knit-along. I've been working in a Skacel merino laceweight in black, from my stash. (clue 1 finished---even unblocked, I think it's nice)

I honestly can't remember why I bought black laceweight, almost cobweb weight, in the first place, since 1) black isn't my color and 2) it's hard to see in such a fine yarn.
All things considered, though, I think it's coming out nicely. (a little more detail---this isn't blocked, just stretched out a bit with my fingers)

Or it was, until I took it on a trip with me to Atlantic City. I'm afraid it didn't respond well to the sea air---or maybe I really need to avoid staying up till 2 am playing penny slots and then trying to knit the next day! Although the first several days included days of relaxed knitting, by the end, the stole spent the ride home in time out.

While responding to a joke from my sister, I managed to jerk my hand and pull the needle out of a whole 10-stitches of the stole. (If you were anywhere near NJ, you may have heard my sharp intake of breath from where ever you were at the time.)

Worse, I ended up losing 8 to 10 rows of that section before I could get anything back on the needles. Even worse---I have not been using lifelines (I don't need no stinking lifelines.....I'm an idiot!)
I can't put in lifelines after the fact (perhaps it's possible, but I can't do it), and I'm not ripping out all that work! So, I try to "fix" it. That's not too bad, right? "So the hole is a little the yarn is wadded up a bit around the hole. That's not too bad," I tell myself.
So, I decide to move on, even though I can see it's not really right. "It's a long stole," I say to myself. "What's a little spider barf among friends?" I say.

Sigh....fine. It's not right. I can't leave it like that.
So I decide to just ladder back on that one little 10-stitch section. I get out my little crochet hook, I circle the bad section on the chart so I can try to work out the pattern. I gently place a spare needle into the stitches that are ok, just below "the problem," and I ever so carefully work the pattern back up (complicated by the fact that I've never laddered back up in a lace pattern and have, basically, no idea what I'm doing---but I do it). And I get:
(hmmm. Well, it's not spider barf anymore...but it's definitely not the pattern.)
But it's better than it was, right? And I'm still not ripping out all that work. So I did a row....and I stretched it out to see how bad the "funky" section was....and I lied to myself about how noticeable it was....and then I purled back a row, and streched it out again and asked myself again, "who's going to notice that once I'm wearing it? And the rest of it is so pretty!"
Come on---Who's going to notice one little unpatterned section among all those little flowers? And the anwer is---Me! Me---It's me! I will! I'm the problem! I will notice that @*&)#&%section every single time I work on the stole, touch it, or wear it, and I'm liable to notice it in my head if I even just think about it! Sigh.....sometimes it's not easy being an*l-retentive!

So of course I ended up tinking (my black Skacel merino practically blinkin' cobweb-weight and did I mention it's *black* yarn) slowly and painstakingly (and I do mean *pain*stakingly) back (the now *12* rows) to get to where the pattern was correct. Sigh....again!
Ok, I should have just tinked back in the first place. Ok, I wasted time.
(unblocked again, but you can see how it's coming out)
But at least I have no sections of spider barf.
(Sigh) I'm not sure which of us (the stole or me) is grounded, but I'm pretty sure that one of us is!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Spinning my wheels, and spinning my wheel

Speaking of wheels, the new car (still running well, by the way, and getting quite the summer workout) is not the only "set of wheels" I’ve bought recently. I’m also the proud owner of a Majacraft Little Gem spinning wheel.
(here investigated by Charlotte and Emma)
I picked the Little Gem for a couple of reasons, maybe not the reasons you'd expect. First, because it’s so cute and small, it won’t take up a lot of space in my little house. Second, because the wheel doesn't have any spindles or holes, I thought it was a little safer for kitty paws. Kitty paws are, naturally, attracted to holes, spaces, and gaps, especially when they are going in a circle, really fast. And I didn't want anyone to get hurt trying to "catch" the spinning spaces.

Course, I will still need to be careful of the kitty paws and the belts…..and the bobbins….and the roving ….sigh….. (Charlotte really likes the leader)

Finally, I did look at other features, such as portability and versatility, since, again with the small space, I’m not going to be collect different wheels for different projects, as I’m a bit likely to do with my spindles! (It is pretty, isn't it?)

Buying a spinning wheel and a car in such close spacing to each other, it was natural to compare the processes somewhat. So for anyone interested in the which purchase was more fun, I give you a matched set of Top 5 lists:

Top 5 Reasons Buying a Car Is Better than Buying a Spinning Wheel:
5) I didn’t have to wait for 3 weeks after paying for it for the car to arrive from New Zealand.
4) You can’t store extra stash in a spinning wheel.
3) No “special ankle action” is needed to make the car’s pedals work.
2) It’s impossible to find a spinning wheel with a sunroof.
And the number 1 reason buying a car is more fun than buying a spinning wheel:
1) At no time after the car purchase did I have to take out 2 sets of instructions and a screwdriver and say to the dear friends who were helping me,” what do you mean there isn’t a diagram---this part has to go somewhere!”

Top 5 Reasons Buying a Spinning Wheel Is Better than Buying a Car:
5) The spinning wheel won’t take the next 3 years to pay off.
4) No matter how delusional I am, even I can’t pretend that spinning the car’s wheels counts as aerobic exercise. (Does making lace-weight yarn burn off more calories than bulky yarn, or vice versa?)
3) At no time while researching, testing, or ordering a spinning wheel did I have to sit across from a sales manage and repeat, “no, seriously, I am NOT going to buy the wheel today.” (And that’s true even if when I wasn’t going to buy that wheel that day.)
2) You can go as slow as you want without anyone honking, or as fast as you want without getting a ticket!
And the number 1 reason buying a spinning wheel is more fun than buying a car:
1) I don’t care how tight the turning radius is, you can’t make yarn with a car!