Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Crochet and Spinning Update

I'm pretty proud of myself for this, but for the last two months or so, since the TDF on Ravelry, I've been managing to spin and/or crochet at least a little bit nearly every day. I think I ended up missing only one day so far. This is a track record I want to keep going indefinitely.

It hasn't reduced the number of projects I have on the go at all though. As usual, I'm better at starting a project than I am at finishing it, although I did finish one small project, and one of the longer-running projects I've mentioned here before is nearing completion. I'm hoping to get it done this month.

In terms of spinning, I've added one project, with a new spindle: the fibre is something of a mystery, but I have four ounces in three roving strips, all different colors, and I'm spinning it as finely as I can on my new(ish) Snyder Mini-Turk. In the photo the colors are showing as more blue than they actually are. In reality, one strip of roving is purple, one is turquoise, and the third is striped in black, blue and purple. I've torn the roving into small patches, and I'm spinning them in order: turquoise, purple and then the multi-color. Right now, it's on the multicolor and I guess it is fairly blueish in tone.

I'm trying a new technique as well: Ply-On-The-Fly, so all of the spun fiber on the spindle is finished. The process is to spin a length in one direction, wind it off on your hand and then chain ply that section before winding the finished length (now quite a bit shorter) onto the spindle. The other neat thing with a turkish spindle is the way the cop ends up being a work of art in and of itself - if you're careful.

The downside to this method, especially with my effort at keeping the cop neat, is just how slowly it progresses. Of course, I have to admit that part of that is because I'm not doing too much of it at any one time.

The other spinning projects I'm focused on are:
1. A merino-silk blend I have on my wheel in shades of blue. There's 200 grams of this fiber, and I'm about half-way through spinning it. Eventually, my plan is to chain-ply it as well.

2. Alpaca fiber on my supported Ghstworks spindle. This is a one ounce sample that I got from the Spin-Off kit. I'm maybe a third of the way through it. Again, it's slow going.

3. Multi-colored sprinkle-dyed merino fiber on a plain drop spindle. I'm finally seeing the end of this spinning project after three or four years now. Enough is enough, but it's my fault because I bought four or five 100gram bags of it. This one's being spun into singles on the spindle, but I have a bobbin on the go on my wheel that I'm using to chain-ply the singles.

Going over to crochet, the list of projects is about the same length, perhaps longer, and definitely longer if you include photos.

1. The Elise Shawl. This is a project that's gotten a lot larger than it was intended to be when I started it back in May. Back then, it was a one-skein shawlette, but I decided that it would be too small for my tastes, so I'm expanding it. Thankfully, I chose to use undyed Madtosh yarn, so matching colors and dye-lots wasn't a problem. I also decided to add beads to the shawl, using a second crochet hook. As I've said a few times since, "why did I think that would be a good idea?". I'll be glad when this project is done with, but I've got two more skeins of yarn to cake and add, so I'm not even half-way at the moment.

2.  The Goldberry Shawl. No photos for this one right now, but I'm about seven rows from finishing, so I'd like to get it done by the 22nd of the month - Frodo and Bilbo's birthday. The rows have gotten long though - one of the stumbling blocks of this shawl, I'm finding.

3. Another Bernat Mosaic Shawl in the Optimistic colorway. I like to have these to work on in the summer, though maybe I should have picked another color. It's a bit boring, because I just finished one of these a couple of months ago. Still, they work up pretty fast. The other advantage of these is the yarn isn't expensive, so I don't worry about taking one of these to the beach or camping.

4. The Triumph crocheted sock pattern. This one shouldn't really be on the list as I'm not working on it at all. I'd have to say that the socks triumphed over me. The one sock I mentioned last year fit perfectly, but I really screwed up on the second sock. It's way too small, so I now have to unpick the whole thing and start again. I haven't been able to gather the will-power together for it yet.

5. My first attempt at a carry-bag. It's from the same magazine as the basket I did earlier in the year. I'm not entirely sure what I think of the result though. The bag turned out to be a bit smaller than I though it would be for the medium size based on the picture in the magazine. Some of that might be the yarn I used being less stretchy than the yarn the pattern called for. On the other hand, I haven't actually tried filling the bag with anything as a test yet.

 I made one change of my own as well, adding a couple of extra rows to the handle to make it a bit wider. I was afraid the handle as it's written in the pattern would be narrow enough that it would cut into my hand or shoulder too easily.

6. The Bristleberry scarf pattern from the Crochet One Skein Wonders book. The most recent addition to my in-progress list. Not that I needed to start another project with all the ones I have on the go right now, but I couldn't resist buying a skein of  Madtosh Lace yarn when I saw it in the store.

This is going to take a while because the yarn is so fine that each row doesn't add very much to the project on it's own. Then, after a few rows, you look at it again, and all of a sudden you can see the difference.

I love the way it's working up. The pattern is simple enough that I'm not too likely to make any mistakes, at least if I'm careful, but just different enough to keep my attention. And the colors are absolutely spectacular!
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