Friday Gauge Check: Branching Out

For those of you who don’t know, Peter the Rat proved to have pneumonia, and the vet advised that we put him down.  So that was the beginning of my week, making the hardest decision a pet owner has to make.

The experience at the vet’s office was otherwise very nice.  The exotics vet was very kind, but also quite frank in her assessment, and she explained what had happened without making me feel like a terrible person or a bad pet parent.  The rest of the staff was also super nice, and everybody kept telling me that they were sorry for my loss, and…. Well, I hope I never have to, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go back with another pet.  Yesterday I even got a sympathy card from them, which I thought was a really  nice touch.

Let’s move on to happier things, shall we?

I finished the first Nutkin sock, and if I’d managed to keep all my knitting, I’d be halfway done with the second one too. Not only did I have to rip back the leg, as I talked about last week, I also had to do the heel twice, because I did something strange while picking up stitches and ended up with a lot more stitches than I should, and it was all very odd.  I ripped back and did the Eye of Partridge Heel instead, which looked phenomenal in the yarn I was using, and Jack was thrilled with it, so I’m actually very glad that I did it.  Lesson: the second time is probably better, anyway.  I improvised the toe, because the pattern called for coming to the end of a repeat and doing the toe in stockinette, and it wouldn’t have looked right on Jack’s foot, so I fiddled around with it and I’m very pleased with my results.

Nutkin is a very simple openwork pattern (it’s not lace, okay? because it’s for A MAN) made with one yarn over (which adds a stitch) and one SSK (slip, slip, knit – it turns two stitches into one) per row, so for the toe, I omitted the yarn overs and let the SSKs be the decreases, and when I came to the end of the pattern, I had three or four rows in stockinette, and it looks great.

I cast on the second one and I’ve done the cuff ribbing and one complete pattern repeat – no Second Sock Syndrome for me!  It helps that Jack is really excited about these socks, and can’t wait to wear them.

The yarn, too – guys, this yarn is great.  It’s just Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Canopy, it came with the Flash Dance sock kit I picked up.  The other Stroll I’d worked with the Hand Paint in Tree Fort, pooled quite a lot, and while Jack loved the way it worked up, I would’ve done something else if they were my socks.  But this stuff is really nice to work with – it’s very lofty for a fingering weight, and it’s incredibly soft for a superwash wool/nylon blend, with none of the scratchiness that I got working with, for example, Poems Sock.  It’s not particularly splitty, and when I do manage to split it, it goes back together very readily. Now, the Nutkin pattern specified that it was good for variegated yarn with subtle color changes, and it was absolutely right.  The striping is gorgeous.

Okay, enough about Nutkin. I do have another project to talk about, because I cast on something else last night!  The trouble is, I can’t really talk about it, because it’s a test knit.  It’s a shawlette, and my first major Serious Lace Project, and I’m having a ball.  I’m using a variegated yarn I picked up on sale at JoAnn’s (I know! But it’s actually a wool/nylon blend and it was really pretty), and I started out one needle size up from the pattern, as I always do, but I didn’t like the fabric I was getting, so I switched back to a size 6, and it’s just lovely.  I’m about ten rows in, and I found a mistake, so I’m probably just going to rip back and start over, but it’s bottom-up, so I’ve got maybe 30 stitches on the needles.  This is going to be a learning experience – I’ve never actually worked with a lace chart before, because I could never quite figure them out (lace charts are different from any other kind of chart), but she has both written and charted directions, so I was able to sit there with the chart and the written directions side-by-side last night, and figure out what the chart was doing until I could actually read the chart unaided.  I feel like I leveled up in knitting, there, and after this project is finished, it will definitely count as a major success.

I’ve been spinning for a few minutes pretty much every evening. I’m still working through my undyed Corriedale cross roving that I got from Webs, and it’s still very enjoyable. It’s spinning up light, lofty, and fuzzy, much bulkier than I normally get, but I also haven’t had any problems with breakage and very little issue with overspin.  I have a feeling that all the overspin will be taken care of when I ply, which is perfect.

Tour de Fleece is coming up very soon, and I’m excited!  Tour de Fleece is an activity on Ravelry that parallels the Tour de France, and you set spinning goals, and there are prizes.  I think my goal is going to be very simple – I’m committing to spinning every night during the Tour for fifteen minutes – but I’ve never had a spinning goal before, and it promises to be fun. I just need to finish working through my Corriedale bump before it starts, so I have two empty bobbins.

I reconnected with my oldest friend this week, and I’m actually going to pay her a visit this afternoon. She and I have been friends since childhood, and though we go long stretches without seeing each other, we can always pick back up as if no time had passed.

That’s about everything that’s worth talking about in my week. How’s everybody doing?

~ by Amber on June 24, 2011.

3 Responses to “Friday Gauge Check: Branching Out”

  1. I didn’t know that Ravelry also does things with spinning. I keep thinking I should get an account there, but I’m not sure if I should.

    And yay for feeling like you’ve leveled up in knitting!

    • I think virtually all fiber arts have some sort of representation on Ravelry, even if it’s just groups of people who do x activity, but spinning is very big. You totally should get an account!

  2. Hee you’re the second person I know doing tour de fleece!

    And I am also sorry for your loss.

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