Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Puzzlement

Last night, I bought both my boys fedoras and flip flops at their request. My almost 15 year-old son just walked out the door dressed in athletic pants, a t-shirt, flip flops and his fedora. No doubt he's quite pleased with his look but it's a puzzlement to me.

In the interests of teen-aged dignity, there are no photos at this time. Perhaps after they've had a chance to break in the new duds.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Much to Learn

One of the things I'm enjoying so much about spinning is the challenge it presents to me. There's so much to learn. To help with that, I bought a couple of Judith McKenzie videos at Interweave's Hurt Book sale.

I just got them transferred to my iPad today. I had a technology fail when I was trying to figure out how to get them on the iPad. It took a week for it to finally occur to me that I could add the videos to my iTunes video library and then sync the iPad to download them. Duh. Too simple perhaps?

I like what I've seen so far of Judith's videos, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot, but I have one criticism. Like a lot of experts, Judith tends to gloss over the very simple steps that are a bewilderment to the newbie. For example, she's using a Lendrum in the video and she mentions that you can wrap the yarn around the guide to slow down the uptake when spinning lace. Now I knew about the slowdown trick, but I couldn't see in the video where she hooked the yarn and I have the exact same wheel. I would have really liked to have seen that!

Anyway, here's a parade of yarns coming off my wheel these days:

The first two are two-ply and the last, dark one is a three ply. I'm sorry I forgot to take a picture of the fiber. I don't have the technical expertise to supply more details about my spinning than that I'm afraid.  So much to learn!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Finished in Time

Yes! My father's socks were done well in advance of Father's day (thank you for asking).

I was right and the second yarn was thinner than the first, but I knit the second sock with the same needles and the same stitch count the result being that one sock is lighter than the other. Dad tried them on and they both fit about the same. I bet they'll wear different.

My mom forgot to bring her knitting, so while she was visiting I put her to work on my first pair of handspun socks and she finished up the cuff for me. 

One of these socks was spun too tightly, and the other was spun looser, but knit too tightly. The result: they both are stiff and tough to pull on. Now I've relearned the lesson about the trade off between durability and comfort. You know the one, you can knit a durable sock at a really tight gauge, but will you enjoy knitting it and will the owner enjoy wearing it? Turns out the same thing applies to spinning. Who knew?

Finally, I captured a magical, musical moment in digital space forever (or as near as we can get). Please enjoy the musical stylings of Alex, my trumpet player:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To all the dads: ever notice how on Mother's day, you get to take the kids to the park to "give mom a break" and then on Father's day, you get to take the kids to the park to "spend time enjoying your children". Quite the racket we mom's have going on, eh?

Jim and I chuckle over this every Father's day. We were like this back when the kids were very little. I was a stay at home mom for 5 years and Jim was our sole provider. It must have been a very difficult time for him. I recall that he was always tired and would spend the better part of the weekend sleeping. I think if he had been spending more time with the children, we wouldn't have fallen for the racket.

This Father's day Jim has enjoyed breakfast cooked by his eldest son (we nudged each other under the table, but said not a word of critique out loud) and this afternoon we will be hosting my parents for a BBQ dinner in the lovely June sunshine during which youngest son shall be serenading us with his trumpet. He has a lovely mature tone to his playing even if he only hits the right note 90% of the time.

Jim was explaining to a childless friend what it means to be a father. "It's the contrasts. Within the same hour I've been absolutely furious with them and then so proud my heart hurt."

So here's to the dads who never complain when the have to mow around the swing set and the yard toys, to the dads playing endless rounds of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the dad's who smile as they chew their dry slice of fried ham, and the ones who accept their children with all their flaws. Gosh we love em!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Workin it

So Louise got me worried that I might not have time to spin and knit socks for my dad.  Brenda reassured me, but still, life does happen doesn't it? It wouldn't hurt for me to bump these socks to the top of the queue.  There's already a quadrillion projects on the needles, all lovely things, but abandoned for various good reasons. What's one more?

So I finished up the first skein of yarn and started in on my sock.  The first incarnation was beautiful, though in this picture the color is washed out.

I loved how the cables popped in my yarn. What a thrill to see my handspun making really nice cables!  But the sock was too big, and I was worried about my yarn supply.  So I ripped it. boo.

So I switched to a toe up, with no cables, and here's the second version of the sock all knit up:
I don't think the pattern does my yarn justice, it's a simple beaded rib, but I now have some yarn to spare.  It just looks like a dad sock, doesn't it? The color, and the simple ribs are classic for dads and granddads.

And on Sunday, I finished the second skein of yarn.
I was freakin out on Sunday morning when I was plying this thinking I'd made a noticeably thinner yarn. I was so upset, but I figured, I'd just knit a sock with the same rib pattern, only more stitches. It bugged me though.  But after washing and drying, no, it's the same weight.  All that self-flagellation for nothing!

I'm very pleased with my spinning progress. The yarn is squooshy, mostly even, and a delight to work with. I don't care if it doesn't wear well, because truth to tell, I think my dad will love these socks so much he'll hardly wear them.