Beginning


I might as well have joined Tour de Fleece officially, because there has been a lot of spinning happening this month.

“Mud Season” from Spunky Club’s March fiber
100% merino wool, 4 oz.
fingering weight, approx. 470 yards

This was a long project, after I finished the first 2 oz I took a break from it for awhile. But as I got used to the fiber, and my spinning improved, I got a bit faster and the second half flew by. Spinning merino gives a very satisfying result – a soft, bouncy, squishy skein of yarn. The colors in this go so well together. Right now I’m thinking it will be the Palette scarf from Knitty.

“Franny” from A Verb for Keeping Warm
100% Bluefaced Leicester, 2 oz.
DK weight, unknown yardage

After hoarding AVFKW roving for months, I finally pulled some out to spin. I think this was my first time spinning BFL…I can’t believe I waited this long! It drafts wonderfully, it’s got a little crimp, and a little sheen, and it plies all bouncy and gorgeous. I love it. See?

Oh, and the red-orange-salmon colors of this naturally dyed fiber spun up so gorgeous too. It’s going to be even harder to resist buying more roving from her now.

Finally, in an effort to fill up my already-scarce free time even more, I’ve started dyeing fiber. Nuttnbunny tipped me off to a Fiber Swap Club on Ravelry. The swap lasts for three months; we were put into groups of four, and each month we send 4 oz. of fiber to one other person in the group. I joined and have used it as an excuse to start dyeing, which is something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile. I just mailed my first swap package yesterday, so I can show what’s inside of it yet (lest I ruin the element of surprise), but here are some dye experiments on alpaca.

2 oz. of combed alpaca top, kettle dyed
I call this one “Northern Lights”.

1 oz. of combed alpaca top, handpainted & steamed
“Mermaid”
The colors in this got a little more blended than I intended, but that’s why it’s an “experiment”. I think I should have steamed it in something a little flatter – I used a cheap colander that I bought at Salvation Army, but I think a lot of the dye pooled down and mixed. Luckily the colors blend well. I spun this up the other night to see what it looks like. The mini-skein is drying now. More details soon!

My alpaca top is some natural gray fiber I bought at Piedmont Yarn. It’s called “Handspinner’s Dream” from Alpaca With a Twist. It’s really lovely stuff, and it comes in a whole range of natural alpaca fleece colors. It takes the color wonderfully…and it is making me seriously consider doing something crazy like adopting an alpaca.

While I don’t spin as often as I would like, I finally have something to show!  My first two plied yarns have been photographed, and I’ve also got plenty of pretty roving coming in to keep me busy.

This is some natural tan wool I bought for *practice* a few months ago.  I think I have the sheep breed somewhere, but I don’t know if I’ll ever find it, so it’s “mystery wool”.  This is about 3oz.  I haven’t checked the yardage or the wpi yet.  I think it came out pretty well for my first time plying (with only my third round of singles).

I was somewhat unhappy during the plying process, because on a spindle one can closely inspect every inch of yarn that goes by.  I constantly saw all the imperfections of the single, and the plied sections that were less-than-balanced.  However, once I got it off the spindle, it started looking a little better (for a first attempt, anyway).

This is Harvest Haze, the August fiber (and my first!) from Spunky Eclectic‘s fiber club.  It’s 4oz. of Lincoln longwool, which has a staple length of 8-12 inches.  At first I was nervous about spinning it, but it was actually pretty easy!  I wish now that I had added more twist to the singles.  I liked the singles better than the plied yarn, but it’s not so bad.

I didn’t predraft or anything, I just broke the long strip of fiber in half and spun directly from it.  This kept the color progressions very long, though they overlap randomly now that they are plied together.  Some sections are the same color on both singles, and others are mixed.   As you can see, this fiber came out very hairy, which probably has more to do with my amateur abilities than anything else.

I’d like to knit the Harvest Haze into something, but it’s a very rough wool, so nothing wearable will work.  I’m considering a table mat, in a simple lace design, maybe knitted in a circle from the center out.  Though I’ll probably be spinning more before I get around to that!

Also, NaKniSweMo starts today.  I’ve decided on Purl Bee‘s Treeline Striped Cardigan.  I have had some Cascade 220 and ArtFibers Tsuki intended for it forever, and I finally swatched a few nights ago.  I am so in love with my Mrs. Darcy cardigan that I want another wonderfully warm and wooly cardigan immediately.  But I know that NaKniSweMo is the only hope I have for getting it done anytime soon.  I’m casting on tonight!

Life has been busy since I started my new job.  I like it so far; it’s not the most thrilling work in the world (lots of menial clerk-type tasks…I am an inventory clerk after all), but it’s nice to be doing something other than answering phones at a front desk.  It’s also nice to know I won’t be leaving in a few weeks.  I’m working there just 4 days a week right now, so I have still been trying to figure out ways to make enough money without killing myself.  A coffee shop/roaster in Oakland, who first called me over 3 weeks ago, is still pursuing me even after we failed to have an interview and we end up playing phone tag most of the time.  I finally have an interview set up for this Saturday, so I’m pretty excited about that.  My German class also started last night.  I’m going to have a lot going on this fall.

I don’t mind, though.  I’ve still had time for knitting!  I haven’t really had time for taking pictures, though.  The other day I finally got around to briefly photographing my mom’s Wyvern socks, since she was in town and they were leaving my house.

Wyvern Socks
Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, 2 skeins
Color: Laquer Red
Needles: 2.5mm KP dpns

I discussed earlier my issues with the short rows and the sherman heel solution.  The second sock went pretty quickly after I sorted all that out and decided how I wanted to do the cuff.  I didn’t like the look of simple 2×2 ribbing flowing up from the back, so I switched to plain stockinette for 12 rows and did an EZ sewn bind off.  The cuff rolls down if you like, and it stretches enough when worn that the cuff can be unrolled and stay flat, if desired.  I like it better.  My mom was thrilled with them.

Also, for the record, Panda Cotton stands up beautifully to machine washing and drying.  The failed sock got thrown in with my boyfriend’s laundry, so I don’t know if it was washed on hot or cold, but it came out looking perfect (aside from the ugly knitting).  The yarn is very splitty, but I would definitely make socks with it again.

I have since finished one 9 to 5 sock in Knit Picks Essential, but the pictures I took came out blurry.  I also felt motivated enough to start a new sweater.  It’s Mrs. Darcy, and I’m *this close* to finishing the back.  I’m using my Beaverslide Fisherman’s Weight wool in Mountain Mahogany that I initially bought for a second Ester.  This is my first seamed sweater, and I’m pretty excited about it.  This is a quick knit because of the larger gauge, and I sort of like the idea of “finishing” a piece; smaller accomplishments on the way to the final one.  Hopefully I can keep motivated on this cardigan because it will be just perfect for fall.  Maybe next time I’ll have some pictures.

I have a permanent job!  Last Monday, one of my interviews called me back and offered me the job as wine inventory clerk.  Of the two interviews I had, this is the one I was feeling better about and hoping I would get.  I won’t be starting until the 13th so I can finish out my Berkeley job.  It’s only 30 hours/week, and the pay is nothing spectacular, so as soon as I have my schedule set I’m going to be finding something else part time.  I’m really excited though; I’ll be getting paid to become a wine expert.  It’s definitely the kind of thing that could develop into a career, or at least help me down the road to do something else.

MS3: I took a little break after finishing Clue 3 (completed above), but I finally got myself going on Clue 4 on Thursday.  I was nowhere near to finishing before Clue 5 (and the theme!) were released, but that’s ok.  Clue 4 is long, but repetitive, so it should go quickly as long as I keep at it.  I’m not really concerned about “catching up” before the end, but the releasing of the clues does keep me motivated to keep plugging away at it.  I’ve loving the purple I picked and the pattern is so beautiful.  Melanie also designed the Hanami Stole which has been in my queue for awhile, and I think that will be my next big lace project.

I also took a break on the Wyvern socks after I completed the good one, but on Thursday I cast on for the second (aka third).  The first (failed) one is being used as a machine-washing test sock.  I don’t even want to bother trying to unweave the ends and all that to use the yarn for something else.   I have enough for a complete pair anyway.  I’m anxious to get these done so I can start a new pair.  Next up is probably the 9 to 5 socks with some KP Essential. And for the record, I like heel flaps WAY better than short row heels.  A big thanks to JessaLu, however.  She pointed me to the Sherman technique for short rows, which worked better than anything else I tried for that ribbed short row heel.  It looks pretty good on the heel, and absolutely fabulous on the toe.  It’s amazingly simple and makes wrapped short rows seem ridiculous.  Maybe I will even created a photo tutorial at some point.  I like it THAT much.

let’s be honest. it’s not just a knitting blog. sure, that’s my main content, but i don’t like feeling constrained. i like other things too! lots of other things. and sometimes, i post about them. i want this to be a space where there’s no such thing as “off-topic”. i might trend toward certain categories from time to time, but i’d like this to be a space where i document what i do with my time, in how ever much detail i desire. a lot of it will still be knitting-related. some of it will be related to my other hobbies. i hope that it will all be interesting.

the title of the blog is my online identity. it’s been in the url, but the “yarn owl” title, while i liked it, really never fused with me. “if time exists” is my own, unique persona, and i like it. as a phrase, it questions something most of us take for granted. as a name, it reinforces my concern and fascination with such a question. as a title for a blog, i think it speaks to the multifaceted nature of my interests (will there ever be enough time to truly explore them all?), which i document and discuss here. and it makes my little corner of the internet just that more complete.

in other news, i got my ravelry invite! finally! i had all but given up hope. if you’re on it, it shouldn’t be hard to guess my username. and even if it is, there are links to my projects and queue over on the sidebar. for someone who likes to keep things organized and connected to each other, ravelry is pretty much the best thing ever. they have done a really good job so far of keeping everything connected and easy to find. i love that blog entries link to projects which link to everyone else doing the pattern or using the yarn and then you can go see the pictures and find a user’s flickr and their blog. it’s beautiful.

i am ridiculously close to finishing hot lava, ester is nearing completion, i frogged my half of an endpaper mitt, and i’ve got all kinds of things i can’t wait to start. my house is somewhat more organized. i saw sand sculptures. i also made yarn and started taking a yoga class. all these things, and more, to come.

i finally created my own del.icio.us account. i just finished retagging all my imported bookmarks. i am obsessed with hierarchies and organization and this is going to be so much better than my current bookmarks. i always have to add more folders and categories and there were way to many things simply under “miscellaneous”. my favorite thing about the 21st century is rethinking how we organize information. i love tags.

i’ve moved again.

opera was making me tired. it required a lot of work to make things look nice, and even then they didn’t look all that nice. the photo hosting was nice, but seeing as how i have a flickr account, that’s not really so important. i’ve spent the past few hours customizing and importing, and i’ve gotta say, THIS IS AWESOME!

my old blogger posts i was able to import in about five seconds, which was especially great because i was never able to postdate them in opera. i had to manually move all the opera posts because it’s not supported here, but even that didn’t take too long. and it would have been even faster if the formatting hadn’t been all fucked up when pasting code. however, halfway through i realized i could just paste the finished entry, picture and all, into the visual edit box here, and voila! instant gratification.

being able to customize the sidebar is the real treat here. dragging and dropping whatever i like, and then discovering text widgets? it’s amazing. it took me about 40 minutes to set that all up, and the longest part was inputting my blogroll. i didn’t even have one of those on the old blog. i always wondered how everyone got theirs.

now my blog is beautiful and streamlined with flickr and i’m happy. hopefully i won’t be moving for a long while.

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