Friday Gauge Check: Asking for Help

Overall, this week has been pretty good, if really frustrating on some levels.  I spent two hours spinning this afternoon, and at first, I couldn’t get the yarn to settle down.  Overtwisted, undertwisted – in the same section – and then it started snapping and I couldn’t get it to stop.  When I (finally, and near tears) gave up and asked for help, it turned out that the tension was WAY too high, and the wheel was trying to rip the fiber right out of my hands.  A little bit of tweaking, and I was back to smooth spinning again.

So today’s lesson?  Ask for help.  Don’t assume that if something’s wrong, that it’s something you’re doing wrong.  It could very well be the circumstances you’re working under.

Spinning is both easier and harder than I expected.  When it’s working, it’s beautiful, and when it’s not, it’s intensely frustrating.  I was working with my drop spindle yesterday – the one I got out at the Renaissance Festival last year, after wanting one for several years in a row, because apparently my desire to spin is older than my desire to knit – and I finally got it working.  Turns out it wobbles when it’s empty, but then it behaves itself much better once it has some fiber on it.  Everything was going beautifully, when I started snapping the yarn.  Couldn’t figure out why.  So I put it down, and I’ll probably pick it back up later.  Maybe tomorrow; we’re planning on going out to the Ren Faire tomorrow, and the idea of walking around with my spindle amuses me greatly.  The alternative would be to cast on a small, portable project specifically for working on while walking.

Speaking of small projects, the Silky Flamme yarn I originally planned to turn into a hat became a scarflette instead.  Turns out that maybe I should have bought those size 10 DPNs at AZ Knitting and Needlepoint last week, because I don’t have any DPNs big enough for bulky-weight yarn.  What I ended up making was a “scarf necklace,” which is sort of like a neckerchief, designed to be held on with a brooch – it basically turns a brooch into a piece of statement jewelry.  I’m not entirely happy with the way it looks on me, so I might be putting it up in my Etsy shop after February’s over.  It’s pretty, it’s soft, it will look lovely on someone who has a nice long neck, which – is not me.  So.  (Did I mention I’m bad at knitting things for myself?)

Since it was Valentine’s Day this week, I made a little amigurumi finch for Jack.  We’re not big on Valentine’s Day – we express our love for each other every day, so a commercialized day of expensive flowers isn’t very important.  I’m not that crazy about flowers, and I hate crowds, so we usually stay home.  I had my first spinning class instead, so I decided to make him a little present.

I can’t believe I was only turning the heel on the Simplicity Socks last week; that means I’ve knitted over 6″ on them this week.  I knitted the leg, added in some calf shaping, and all I have left is the ribbing and the bind-off, and they’ll be officially done.  Late for Valentine’s Day, but ah well.

I also started crocheting him a scarf.  He loves scarves, and I… don’t like making them.  Although having whipped through the scarflette, perhaps my prejudice against scarves is strictly rooted in the never-ending Argyle State University scarf, which is slow enough to give anybody fits.  The yarn he picked out is a lovely soft variegated grey/brown, and the pattern is the Crochargosy (although I really can’t stand the tendency to take ‘crochet’ and the name of the original knit pattern and create an ugly pairing smoosh), which is fun and challenging to do.

Jack is the best kind of enabler.  He loves to buy me yarn, volunteered to come up and hang out at TYF while I got some spinning done, and finds the entire process of fiber manipulation fascinating.  (Real conversation, in the car after I spent two hours spinning: Him:  “If I buy you a wheel, can I watch you spin on it?”  Me: “…Yes?”  My internal monologue went something like, If you buy me a wheel, I will do ANYTHING YOU WANT ME TO.)  He picked out  and paid for two ounces of firestar fiber, because it was shiny.  Guys, I don’t even know how to spin this.  I don’t even know what it IS, other than shiny.  BUT I WILL LEARN.  He loves to watch me knit, and he absolutely adores everything I’ve ever made him.  I’ve never had a partner this supportive of anything, and it just sends me into paroxysms of joy.  I feel so lucky.

I went to the library earlier in the week, and came home with a pile of books (most of which were actually NOT knitting-related!).  One knitting book that I did bring home was Cookie A’s Sock Innovation, which is fantastic.  She talks about sock design in exhaustive detail, and then presents a bunch of patterns which are delightful, fascinating, and not insanely feminine.  Jack, my dear man whose favorite socks are 2X2 rib, who I thought I was pushing with the Simplicity Socks (which are mostly 3X2 rib, with a slip stitch in the middle of every other row, for variety), fell in love with half the socks in the book.  I made the librarian go into the back to find it – it had been returned but not shelved – and I’m so glad I did.

I also figured out how to knit and read regular books, which mostly involves having books that area heavy enough to lie flat on my lap.  Trade paperbacks work well for this.

So, Monday I had my spinning class; Tuesday I went back to knitting group and had a very good time explaining the afterthought heel to someone; Wednesday I spun, went to the library, and went grocery shopping; Thursday I played with my drop spindle; and today I spun some more.  And yet I feel like I didn’t get nearly enough done!  This is a problem of mine, where I tend to forget that I’ve done all these things, and then I feel like I didn’t accomplish much.

Oh, I spent the weekend cuddling Bettina, and determined that she’s missing the presser foot.  I found it on eBay, and while I haven’t gotten it yet, I plan to.  I also ordered some yarn on Saturday from WEBS for a commission, and it hasn’t even shipped yet.  Dissatisfied customer is dissatisfied.

Goals from last week were about half met, but I’m fairly satisfied with them anyway.  I learned to spin, I figured out what Bettina was missing but I didn’t get it, I finished something instead of the red hat, I mailed off the test gloves, I didn’t touch the ASU scarf but I got the entire leg on the Simplicity Socks done.  This post makes two for the week, and I had a lot of fun.  Perhaps not with everything, but close enough.

So next week!  More spinning.  Learn to ply.  Get that part for Bettina.  Finish the Simplicity Socks and start another pair.  Three posts for next week.  Amigurumi testing.  Get back on the Argyle State scarf, because it’s sat for too long.  Relax!

Okay, that’s my week.  How was yours?

~ by Amber on February 18, 2011.

3 Responses to “Friday Gauge Check: Asking for Help”

  1. Well, my week went pretty well, on the whole.

    And then Thursday evening, we were going to trek down to the laundromat and I sprained my ankle. -_- So I’m on crutches now. Hooray.

  2. Blend the firestar with something. It won’t hold well on its own. 🙂

  3. My week was a week. I spent most of it with Xan sick (:c), frustrating myself with math, and crying in pedagogy. I desperately need to cut my hair, and I’m having a battle with the director that he’s not aware we’re having. (Basically, he says I can’t cut it and I’m about 3/4 of the way to CUTTING IT ANYWAY and dealing with the aftermath.)

    I haven’t been feeling well, physically, although I’m not sick.

    I’ve been playing a new video game (new in that I’ve never played it; I’ve owned it for months) and it’s all right, but not fantastic.

    I’m not so hot with the goals thing, so I…just figure if I get through the week at this point, it counts as a success.

    I’m glad to hear all your projects are going well! ❤

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