Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Friday, October 31, 2008

another one rides the bus

I’m a transit knitter, always working on a sock. I carry my little sock bag (courtesy of Messie Craftie) inside my purse and pull it out once I get situated and knit until I’m almost downtown. The first thing I saw when I got on the bus today was another knitter, also working on a sock.
Instead of falling over in excitement, I smiled and tried not to geek out too much. I got out my sock and quipped that they’d have to rename this bus the knitting bus, haha, feeling like a total dork. I asked what she was working on and what the yarn was. She said it was a sock, and I was like, “I know, I have a sock too, hahahaha”. (it was “Online” self patterning in a plain stockinette pattern on DPNs, looked like size 1s.) She wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic as I was about seeing another sock knitter on the same bus, so I shut up and just knitted the rest of the way into town. It was pretty awkward.
Really, it’s very tough for me to talk to strangers especially since my appearance is so bizarre lately what with the crutch and the being a fat lady who dresses for comfort (not for speed, hahaha) and the comfy shoes with the bright hand-knitted socks. When I got off the bus, I said good bye and happy knitting, and tried not to be too embarrassed that I’d even said anything in the first place.
It’d be different if there were as many knitters on the bus as, say, MP3 listeners or phone-talkers or readers but this is literally the first time I’ve ever seen anyone knitting on a bus in Pittsburgh besides me and it was really, really cool. So, anonymous sock-knitting lady, I’m sorry if I alarmed you or made you uncomfortable, I was just happy to see someone else knitting a sock!

Here's some photos of my awesome sock bag-it's reversible, very simple, no fancy pockets or anything inside or outside but it was inexpensive, it's washable, and it won't break my heart six ways if something were to happen to it. It does the job.
Blue side...

And flowery side.

My current travel sock is “daughtersocks Mark II”, the red Beaded Rib. I’m using a suspected Trekking Handart (got in a destash very cheaply with no ballband). It was advertised as XXL but the colors match a Handart colorway called Feuerland. It feels a lot like the Handart I used to make my Hederas so I’m about 90% sure that’s what it is.
I don’t know why I can’t seem to make myself finish the damned Koi socks. I did get the heel done and worked a repeat down the foot when we went to the OTB for the Breeders Cup Races last week but I haven’t picked it up since. Got about another two repeats on the Woodland Shawl done too and nothing further. The wheel takes all my attention lately.

In other crafty news, I’ve finished the first braid of London Fog merino. 350 yards of a heavy fingering/light sport. It needs to be washed and hung out to dry before I get a WPI but it looks pretty good. I’m trying to make this into matching skeins to make Bob and I matching socks. It’s my first attempt at double-drive on the Kromski and I have to say, the yarn is very consistent. I also got into the chapter in Alden Amos about plying, which is really making me rethink the amount of thought I give to the process. To me it’s always been plyplyply as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the frenzy-ply wo-man! Well, plying this one, I slowed down, gave more distance between kate and me, and between me and wheel, and am being more mindful. It’s frustrating, but it’s going to be well worth the effort as the yarn is a lot more consistent and no snarls or overspun bits. This skein is the best yarn I've spun yet, except for the end bits that I chain-plied and I just don't like the way that looks but I didn't know what else to do with the leftovers. But the attention to plying paid off in a big way overall. Dammit, Alden, why must you make so much sense?! I’m actually trying to figure out a way to make a bobbin-winder and invest in some storage bobbins, which only cost a buck each or something.
Here's some photos of THAT.
The freshly-plied yarn on the Babe. The outer layers are chain-plied leftovers so you're not getting a very good look at the yarn itself here.
Here it is hanked up with the roving for the other skein and a partial kitty who would NOT move.
And here it is all by itself.


I have to admit, I'm a little bit in love with this yarn.

I bit on another Ravelry destash too. I’ve been wanting to try spinning some cotton for a while and now I have a wheel that can actually do that. (Dunno if I can do it, but the wheel should be capable.) I got three cotton roving braids for five bucks each, plus some bamboo fiber to play with, and a gorgeous set of mixed-fiber batts. The destasher was also sweet enough to enclose an extra mini-batt that looks like that ribbon candy-it’s totally adorable and all of the batts look like they’ll be fabulous spinning. I’ll try to get pictures of the new fiber up soon. Hopefully I won’t be lamenting my inability to spin cotton. The bamboo shouldn’t be an issue; it has a similar staple to silk and doesn’t need the speed that cotton does. I doubt I’ll be getting much bamboo fiber, though, because the process to make it is rather resource-intensive and perhaps not so environmentally wise. Cotton is also resource-intensive and damaging to the environment unless it’s organic cotton and I don’t think this stuff I got is organic, but I’m rationalizing that I didn’t buy it from a vendor, I got it from someone who is destashing so it won’t increase demand. Plus, this way I can see if I can and will spin cotton on a regular basis before spending more money on organic cotton fiber which is quite a bit more expensive. I can rationalize anything, then go on in the next paragraph to whine about money. It’s a problem, I know.

Anyway, I spun up the first ply of one of the cotton braids. Took a while to get the hang of it, as it is a very different feel with the short staple length but once I got going it wasn't too bad. Mostly it just feels weird and tiring on the hands. I think the trick is drafting short and fast and keeping the spin consistent with very little uptake. I did have to go back to scotch tension to control the pull-in, I could not get that figured out with the double-drive. Hmm. Must give that some thought and do some research.
Here's the first of it.
Obviously I need practice but all in all it's satisfactory.

I’ve been doing nothing but spinning, much to my shame. Well, not really. I got a new tool, of course I’m going to use it. But the dread holiday gift-giving season doth approach, and I have a minimum of 2.5 more pairs of socks to make, plus a wine-bottle cozy for one aunt/uncle set, plus something for another aunt/uncle set and another aunt. Plus I have to come up with a gift for my mother and the girls, but probably not all crafted except for the socks. I have ideas for the kids, but not sure where the money’s going to come from. I should get something small for elder daughter’s boyfriend, he looks like he’s going to be a keeper. (after two years) My mom, I have no idea. I guess it depends on how well she takes to spindling. I’d love to get her a nice spindle and give her a pack of fiber samples to try. I think I’m going to talk to Bob about maybe us not getting each other anything major this year. It’s silly. We don’t have the money. Maybe we can just fill up each other’s stockings and call it good. STRESS. ARGH.

A bit of good news, I sold my very first sock pattern. Some kind soul on Ravelry bought a copy of Cucumber Falls. I was unreasonably excited. I also managed to get all of my free patterns converted to PDF and uploaded to Ravelry for download as well, so if you’re over there, feel free to stop by my shop and get a copy.

I’m actually penning this (pixeling this?) at work on an 18 – minute break, of which I get two daily. And now it’s time to go back to work, so I’m going to close and maybe get some actual work done today at some point.
ETA-Now with added pictures!


Simbelmyne said...

that gray yarn is beautiful and inviting. I'm not at all surprised you're in love with it.

I'm wondering if this Kumihimo thing I'm going to try would work with your yarn...

I need to make sure I can do it with embroidery floss first

Jamie Fritz said...

I don't see why not. Braiding is braiding, you can do it with hair (though not to that intricacy of course) so why not with yarn? People knit and crochet with fine thread, you can embroider with yarn, so I think the opposite should translate too. Of course I guess it would depend a lot on the equipment, if the yarn fits in it. I don't know anything about it beyond that it's an intricate woven braiding craft.

Anonymous said...

I used to crochet on my subway ride but quit some time ago -- it's hard to keep white crochet thread (and the project) clean while on public transit.