Monday, November 04, 2019

Branching Out

Over the past year, I've noticed that long bouts of knitting can leave joints in my hands aching the next day. When I first noticed it, I thought it was because I had been driving toward finishing an adult-sized pullover in a rather short amount of time so I could wear it. Not only did I make my hands hurt, I also gave myself elbow tendinitis. I ended up not knitting at all for about six weeks to let things settle back down and heal.

In the last week or so, I have started having left hand pain, even when just knitting for an hour a day. Previously the hand pain had been primarily in my right hand. I suspect part of the left hand issue is due to propping my head on my hand while sitting at the computer or in meetings.

It occurs to me that I may be approaching the end of my knitting habit. It looks like I'll have to limit my knitting time to perhaps a couple hours a day, with generous breaks every 30-60 minutes. This means that my current list of works in progress will now take even longer to complete and that list of potential future projects, which was already impossibly long, is even moreso. It seems unlikely that I will be able to knit up my yarn stash and possibly not spin up my fiber stash. I think I'm ok with that.

What I don't know is what I'll do with my time. What other activity/activities will I take up instead? Would taking up cross-stitch again give me something to occupy my hands without aggravating them? What about drawing? I need to do something creative that generates something. Typing up a book or essays might do it, though it would be more satisfying if it was a physical object.

Naturally, I am coming up with all sorts of projects I want to knit now that I should meter my time.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Test Knitting

Several weeks ago, I noticed a test knitter request go out from Les Tricoteurs Volants, a yarn shop in Paris that I had visited a couple years ago. The sweater is a striped raglan cardigan with long sleeves, knit at 21 stitches and 28 rows per 4 inches.

By fluke I was able to purchase the same yarn used in the sample (different colors). I elected to knit my sweater in yellow and green. It reminds me of lemon-lime and early fall colors as the green starts to fade.

I intended to knit the XL, but the designer convinced me that it would have too much ease and likely look sloppy. I've gotten most of the body knit and when I ran out of one of the colors of yarn, I switched to knitting a sleeve in order to test the sleeve instructions. So far I haven't had any difficulty with the pattern. I look forward to getting it finished soon and wearing it. I'm even planning to knit another one, perhaps using Miss Babs Yowza. I'm curious how it would look in variegated and solid yarn combos.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Spinning vs. Knitting

This year I have been spinning a heck of a lot more than I have been knitting. As of early August, I have knit approximately 411 yards of yarn into completed projects. These have been small projects, like dish cloths, a hat, and a produce bag.

However, I've spun 5165 yards of singles, producing 2940 yards of finished yarn. I can spin a lot faster than I can knit. This is not helping me reduce my yarn stash at all.

I'm also working to finish sweater quantities from two of the batches of roving from Spinderella.
One is an Aran weight 2-ply from a Romney fleece. The fleece was one of the first that I bought off the internet. I got it from some 4-H kids, if I recall correctly.  The yarn is a light to medium gray color. I think it will make a nice shawl collared cardigan, perhaps with some cables in the body.
The second batch is a DK weight spun from the fleece of a Shetland sheep named Jocko. This was a Fleece Fair purchase. I spun up a sample skein and have decided to keep on making a DK weight, 2-ply yarn.

I did a couple of smaller spinning jobs to break up the monotony of the larger projects. I took my jar of fiber odds and ends, plus some commercially prepared wool, and made a nice batt that is predominantly a medium gray with bits of color streaking through it. It produced 64 yards of 2-ply worsted weight. It might make nice stripes in a hat. Or I can save it until I make the next spinning waste yarn.

The other small project was spinning a 4 ounce batch of yellow merino-nylon top from Hedgehog Fibers. It was on the sale table at Fibre Space last year and the colors (yellow with brown and magenta) reminded me a bit of Halloween. Spun up, it has retained an autumnal feel. Yellow leaves, red apples, gray rains. I have just over 500 yards of a light fingering. I could try to make socks with it but am not confident that it is spun or plied tightly enough to wear well. Instead I will look for a shawl or stole pattern. Perhaps I will find a mostly solid coordinating yarn. The dark brown shetland might make a suitable companion if I spin it to match. I'll have to swatch. The dark color might overpower the yellow blend.

I have also done a bit of additional spinning on two long neglected projects. One is dark chocolate brown Shetland that has been spun into a DK to worsted weight 2-ply yarn. This is a fleece I also picked up at the Fleece Fair. It's a fairly small batch of roving, only weighing 32 ounces. I spun most of it on my Ashford Traveller. The last skein was plied on my e-spinner. For consistency, I'll keep spinning it on my Traveller. I have a decent collection of skeins, most of which are of unknown length.

There is also a seemingly never-ending supply of Merino roving from the Amana Woolen Mill. I have, over the years, spun a sizeable quantity of a light worsted yarn. I should probably figure out how much yardage of it I actually have, then figured out if I want to just spin more of the same yarn or work to produce something different. I could use it to practice my ultra-fine spinning. It could make some lovely fine lace weight.