Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Got Over It

Well, I got over the snit I threw last weekend when the sleeve cap turned out too long. I also got over the cold, and after a few days got a new one, or a different version of the old one - I've progressed to drippy. At least I can think now.

Of course, once I was well enough to deal with the sleeve cap, it took all of an hour to rip it back to the armhole bindoffs and reknit the cap, decreasing one stitch at each end of every third row, rather than every fourth row as the pattern specifies.


Of course, it took me 5 days or so to get to that point, not because of my cold, but because I got distracted. Fancy that.

Distraction #1: I finished spinning the Spinner's Hill batt (which was part of my NaKniSweNo goal, you will remember). Lovely, lovely, 3-ply yarn - about 500 yards of bulky weight. Less yardage than I had hoped for, but I hit the right gauge.


Distraction #2: I cast on for a hat (or two, I hope) for Jean's hats for the homeless drive, which I came to by way of Kathy's blog. These are my handspun; the purple is BFL, the greener ball is merino.


Distraction #3: I finished spinning half of this hand-dyed Border Leicester top from Barb Parry. I took three wonderful classes from Barb at WEBS this summer and one of these bundles was part of our materials for a class. I bought a second one from Barb, figuring I could get sufficient two-ply to make a lace scarf. So, really, what I'm doing is just tidying up bobbins. Completely justified, to my mind.


I was watching my hands while I was spinning this, since there's been so much discussion lately about which hand should be nearest the orifice. I'm definitely right-handed, and I spin with my left hand nearest the orifice, which is, apparently, contrary to what Judith McKenzie McCuin recommends. She says that the forward hand is the one controlling the amount of fiber and twist getting into the yarn, so you should use your dominant hand as your forward hand. That makes perfect sense to me. However, when I watch my hands spinning this nicely prepared top into worsted, neither hand is moving very much. I'm not doing a short forward draw. I'm not doing a short backward draw. There is no twist between my hands; the forward hand is not allowing any twist behind it. Both hands are about two to three inches apart, and both are moving at the same speed (slowly) away from the orifice. The fibers are essentially drafting themselves between my hands, in the drafting triangle (and it is a triangle). The back hand is holding and loosely controlling the fiber supply - it's actually doing more than the forward hand. I can feel the fibers drafting themselves between my palm and my middle, ring, and pinky fingers. The thumb and forefinger of the back hand is flattening, gently, the fiber into the drafting triangle and controlling the amount of finer getting into the triangle. All the forward hand is doing is squeezing, tightly, the fiber at the point it becomes yarn. So I suppose it makes sense for my dominant hand to be my back hand.

However, when I was spinning the Spinner's Hill fiber, I was doing something different with my hands. Not consciously, but I was definitely doing something different. The Spinner's Hill batt is actually a "cloud," I'm told - it was a thick (maybe 2 inches) mat about 30 inches wide. There were layers within and paralleling the surface of the batt/cloud, but even the fibers within each layer were not nearly as aligned in parallel as what comes off the usual hobbyist drumcarder. I spun this in worsted fashion, left hand forward, no twist between my hands, but I was constantly pulling forward with my left and pulling back with my right, while moving both hands together away from the orifice. Because the fibers in the cloud were more entangled, I had to do more work wihile spinning to draft them down to the size I wanted for the single. This yarn ended up looking much more like a woolen spun, even though I spun it in worsted fashion, because of the relatively random arrangement of the fibers in the cloud.

In short, I may be too lazy to try switching my hands and I'm trying to justify that.

Distraction #4: I knit another couple inches on the back of Twist & Shout - I'm up past the armhole bindoffs.

Distraction #5: There seems to be a big bag full of Lopi in the living room that wasn't in the house a week ago. It may be turning itself into a felted rug, although not like the Mason-Dixon rug and not like what it looks like now, so no pics yet.

Frankly, it's amazing I finish anything around here. Clearly, it could be easy to finish at least one sweater for NaKniSweNo, but I get ...waylaid. I am so, so, SO very easily distracted.


Laurie said...

Wow, great description of your drafting. Why need an excuse? Just do what works for you.

I thought I was prepared for her to say that. I clearly wasn't. Maybe you are a better contrarian.

I love that stuff you are spinning. (And knitting.) How much SPinner's Hill did you start with?

gayle said...

Love that BL roving - the colors are fabulous.
Your yarn is beautiful - obviously whatever you are doing is the right way for you.

Bezzie said...

Um. You described exactly how I spin too. And I'm a righty who has her left closer to the orfice. I'm like you--the control comes from the back in the drafting...lefty is just up there to pinch and control the twist.

Do you golf left handed like me too? ;-)

judy said...

Thanks for that. My right is behind when wheel spinning, forward with a spindle. Though I can reverse if I need to, I don't seem to WANT to.

knottygnome said...

i'm also a righty that drafts with my left hand closest to the orifice on short draw. when i spin long draw i only use my right hand. lefty doesn't do anything.

*shrug* i say do whatever works for you and leave the experts to their own opinions.