Friday Gauge Check: Monogamy Edition

My gauge is a little wonky this week.

Well, that’s not entirely true. In some areas of my life, my gauge is spot-on; in others, it’s all out of whack.

I had a stomach ache on Tuesday and a migraine on Wednesday that carried on as a low-level headache into Thursday, and I have that feeling that a headache might be triggered at any moment today. Does that happen to you? It’s like distant stormclouds, and I have no way of knowing whether they’re going to blow away or come in and provide another torrential headache.

My oldest rat, Peter, is sick, and apparently Malfoy decided that he was going to be incredibly aggressive (male rats will occasionally do that without warning or provocation) and seriously bit Peter in a couple of places, which isn’t helping his recovery process.  Neither is the fact that Peter is pushing three years old, which makes him quite a senior rat indeed. He has an appointment with the vet tomorrow afternoon. I’m very worried about him.

It seems like the entire state’s on fire, to the point where we were making jokes about someone summoning salamanders last night. It’s not just the huge wildfires, which we frequently get during the summers, particularly when a rainy winter is followed by a dry spring, but also house fires in the city here.

Everything just feels sort of…off.

Which is too bad, because I had a spectacularly good Saturday.  We went down to Tucson, to Grandma’s Spinning Wheel, a shop that I plan to write a review on, because it was an amazing experience.

One of the great things about the shop is that they keep an incredibly wide variety of wheels in stock, and when I said I was interested in one, she led me over to the wheels, grabbed me some fiber, and then let me play. I spent well over an hour trying out wheels, and she even brought over the wheel that she was spinning on to let me try it.

I spun on a double-treadle Lendrum, Ashford’s Traveler, Kromski’s Minstrel and Sonata, and Schacht’s Ladybug. I ended up really liking the Traveler (not really surprising, since I love the Joy), not caring for the Minstrel or the Ladybug, and developing an intense crush on the Lendrum. I couldn’t get the Sonata to behave, something I mentioned when she came over to check on me.  I was raving about the Lendrum, which made her happy, because apparently she has two of them, but she immediately went over to look at the Sonata. She wanted me to have an optimal testing experience, even though I was pretty sure I was sold.

I’m glad she did.

I’d tried the Sonata at TYF, and I’d liked it quite a bit, though not as much as the Joy. This Sonata, though, was an absolute pleasure to spin on. She was also finished, in the walnut stain, so she was a gorgeous dark color and looked quite elegant.

My experience of the Sonatas is that they’re slightly fussy. It’s a travel wheel, and the mother-of-all (the part where you actually make yarn?) lifts off, and the whole thing folds flat. It even comes with a padded bag, which most spinning wheel companies charge upwards of $100 extra for. But if the mother-of-all isn’t put on perfectly straight, the wheel complains a little. With that in mind, if you’re having any problems at all, the first thing to try is shifting the mother-of-all, and that’ll usually fix your issue. Anyway, once she got it set up, I was spinning away immediately.

When it came time to make the decision, I was still torn between the Sonata and the Lendrum.  There was a slight price difference, less than the price of a bag, but I was fairly convinced I could make a bag myself, or recruit one of my friends who sews to make one for me.  Or wrap it in a blanket when I travel.

Fate ended up making the decision for me – they didn’t have a Lendrum in stock. Or, rather, they had one in stock, but it was on layaway for someone. They didn’t have an additional Kromski in stock, but they gave me a nice discount on the floor model – the one I’d already spun on and loved – and let me take her home.

Alvida, the Kromski SonataMeet Princess Alvida the Pirate Queen.  She is named for a Swedish princess-turned-pirate-turned Queen of Denmark. (I couldn’t make this up.)

I’ve been spinning nearly every day, and have (thanks to the wonder of the internets) taught myself how to Navajo ply and to spin semi-woolen.  I’ve tried a couple of fibers, discovered that Corriedale is easier to spin than Merino, and that being able to sit down at my wheel for five or ten minutes at a stretch is calming in a way that not even knitting can touch.  (Knitting is close. But spinning is mediation.)

I did a little weaving, too, adding a few inches to the Neverending Gold Warp. Fortunately the wrong-size brown looks gorgeous, so working on it is at least not depressing.

Knitting is the reason this post is the “Monogamy Edition.”  This week, except for two rows on my December Little Shawl, which hardly count, I have been a totally monogamous knitter. The Nutkin Sock is eating my brain and all my knitting time. Today I finished the leg (eight pattern repeats) and got ready to start on the heel. I determined that I didn’t particularly care for the heel called for in the pattern (mostly because the number of stitches I had didn’t match the number of stitches the pattern talked about, because of that additional motif). I also didn’t like the heel in the sock book I had in my bag (don’t you carry a sock book in your bag all the time? Yeah, me neither) and I couldn’t get the numbers to work for the Knitmore Girls’ Plain Vanilla Sock Pattern. What I ended up doing was swinging by the library to (re-)borrow Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Knitting Rules! because her sock recipe (rather than pattern) was exactly what I was looking for. I’m now merrily knitting away at the heel flap.

I haven’t been a mentally monogamous knitter; I’ve been doing research for some gift knitting I’m planning, and I hunted up a mitten recipe with a gusseted thumb that I think I can work into the Celtic Moonrise Mittens, which really deserve to be finished.  When you knit all the way to the end of something, and discover that, while it may be pretty, it isn’t really designed to fit a human being, it’s admittedly very depressing. I think, however, that it’s sat in time-out long enough, and hopefully will behave now.  I even threw the yarn and needle into my bag so I could try it again… but then I didn’t, because all I wanted to work on was the Nutkin Sock.

I also stopped by TYF tonight and picked up some more fiber. Now that I have a wheel, I’m working through my (admittedly very small) fiber stash with distressing speed, and the Tour de Fleece is coming up.

So how’s your week been? Let me know in the comments, because I have to get back to work on the Nutkin Sock. Maybe if I finish it, it’ll let me work on something else.

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~ by Amber on June 17, 2011.

3 Responses to “Friday Gauge Check: Monogamy Edition”

  1. When I started expressing an interest in spinning, my mom showed me a column she read about how a person uses spinning for mediation, so it’s nice to see that it works for someone I actually know. I only have a drop spindle though and I think I’ll only have that for a long time. I’m not very good on it, but then again, I haven’t had the chance to practice.

    Oh, speaking of people traveling with their knitting, I saw my mom’s friend with her travel knitting (which is what she called it) when we went to pick up her van to help us move. 😄

    • Drop spindles are awesome. Did you know there are cultures out there who never developed wheels, who still use drop spindles for fiber production? There are also die-hard spinners out there who bring their drop spindles with them and spin in line/at restaurants/on the bus, the same way that I knit. 🙂 Have you read Abby Franquemont’s “Respect the Spindle?” It’s a great drop-spindle book. She’s also got a YouTube channel with some fantastic spindling videos.

      • I don’t have her book (though I would really like to get it), but my mom did buy her DVD with the same title when she bought me my drop spindle for my birthday. I haven’t gotten around to watching the DVD though since I haven’t had access to a DVD player for months and only got access to one this week. Which is why I would’ve preferred the book. I should look into getting the book – maybe I can persuade my mother to take me to the nearby fiber arts school and find the book in their shop. Actually, it was from their booth at the Alpaca show that I got my drop spindle and DVD from, so they should have the book.

        (Best part about the Alpaca show was that there were fiber arts demos and somehow the drop spindle one turned into the people there teaching how to do it. 😄 But there were only a few of us there for the demo anyways – like two or three including me).

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