Senior project: week one

I ought to be giving you a more complete run-down of what my project actually entails (and why I get to be at home for the next five weeks), but since it’s raining now and I kept forgetting last week to take pictures of the drum carder, I’ll do a bit of a slipshod job now and a more complete one later.

So what do I think I’m doing, not going to school? I’m working on my Senior Project, that’s what! At the end of Senior year, our school hands us seniors six weeks and says “Get out and do something useful.” Some kids go work in offices, with the mayor, or in a lab doing research, or with an animal hospital, or something. There are lots of things we’re doing this year. Me, I’m turning a sheep fleece into a sweater, all by hand.

In February, I got a fleece. I started washing it in my washing machine in early March. I took the fleece out to the back porch and picked all the crap and grass and stuff out of it (mostly).

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I separated it into sections and dumped it in the washing machine, which was full of hot water. I let it sit for half an hour or so, and came back and spun the water out. Then I refilled the machine tub and did it again. I washed each section about three times, some more, and then let it dry.

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Then I put all the washed fleece into a large tub and left it on my porch for a while.

Later, I started carding. I borrowed two sets of hand cards (and a spinning wheel) from a friend’s mother. I started to card my fleece by hand, which takes a long time. I had a few blocks off school, so I stayed home some mornings to card and watch my kitties run around in the back yard.

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Then I borrowed a drum carder! I was going to get a drum carder from the Weaver’s Guild of Greater Baltimore, but they were taking so freaking long to get that worked out that I went ahead and found someone else who had one. It needed a little bit of repair (primarily the drive band thing), but I fixed it and started carding as soon as I had all day to work.

So that brings me to last week. Last Tuesday I started to card on the drum carder. I spent the days carding from about 9 to around 11:30 when I’d get bored. Then I’d have lunch, and check my email, and then go for a walk (keeping me a little bit mobile in my highly sedentary project). Then I’d come home and spin for a couple of hours and watch a movie (or a couple of episodes of 21 Jump Street).

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It’s working out really well. This week will involve more spinning than carding (because I’m almost finished carding and I have a pile of fiber to spin. Both of the bags in the picture below are full, and there’s even a pile of fiber on top of the blue one. Gah.

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Plus, wonder of wonders, I only have one bobbin. If anyone has or knows where I could get some Louet bobbins, that’d be awesome, because I’m going to have to skein up every bobbin-full if I expect to ply any of it. Rawr. I just navajo plied this first bobbin, and it’s soaking in a tupperware in my bathtub now (water leak protection).

On Friday, I played with dyes some and tried to dye a gradient.

Gradient Teal

It didn’t totally work, but I think the inner yarn there is lighter than the outer. It’s not what I was hoping for, but it was lots of fun to play, and I’m pleased with the yarn anyway.

I’ve also been working on some knitting projects too (although how soon I will be sick of knitting is not assured). I started a pair of plain stockinette socks to keep me busy. The Drunken Bees I like a lot, but I need to carry the chart around, and I’m not interested in heavy chart knitting right now. So I’m knitting these toe-up socks on size 1s out of Scout’s Socktoberfest colorway in the merino sock. It’s knitting up nicely, and fairly fast.

Socktoberfest socks

The other thing that’s seen the most action is Icarus:
Icarus

It’s getting bigger: stretched now it reaches the length of my arm (center top to where the needle is). I’m going to finish the first section and then see if I want to add some more repeats of the branches, or start on the feathers (section one ends in the middle of the chart, so if I want I can just knit the rest of the chart and begin again). I love the color changes.

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FO: Caribbean Blue

Well, it’s not hat weather, but it is Caribbean weather.

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Today I had my last day at school, sort of. Yesterday was the “real” last day– today we showed up at 7:30 am and had a big crazy senior party. Our theme was “jail break,” and it was a bit silly, but it was fun. Last night, for part of our senior prank, I bought $25 worth of balloons and filled the (upper school) principal’s office with them. He’s one of my friends’s dad, so it was all good. I started blowing them up and people just kept coming to join me. I’ve wanted to do that all year.

(our last day, yesterday)

In the morning he said it was the most fun he’d had in a while, popping all those balloons (~400) to get into the office. My hand still smell like latex from picking up scraps afterwards. Hilarity.

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We had a fancy brunch and everyone but me apparently got some kind of female memo that said “wear your prettiest sundress,” so I ended up in torn jeans and this t-shirt I bummed from Leah once I realized that a black polo shirt was not going to appropriate (or any fun at all).

After brunch, which was lovely, I went back to school and waited for my sister, and finished this hat while I listened to Sense and Sensibility.

Start: March 25, 2008

Finish: April 18, 2008

Yarn: “Caribbean Blue” handspun (mine, squee!); 2-ply (superwash merino plied with BFL); original colorway was “Blue Pacific” by Lisa Souza, bought at 2007 Stitches East.

Needles: US 10, bamboo circulars

Pattern: None at all. I started at the top with 6 stitches and increased 6 times around every other row until I had 84 stitches, I think. I knit for a few inches until the hat fit over the tops of my ears, and then added 10 or so rows of ribbing. The gauge was such that a couple of rows went a long way, and it’s a very cute hat. I like it a lot.

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I’ll wear it when it gets cold again!

Wee Tiny Socks!

So I knit a wee tiny sock,
wee tiny sock
and sent it to Mrs. B of Knitters Uncensored. She posted about them here on her blog, and it is such a silly cute sock.

I knit it for the Wee Tiny Sock Swap, which was literally a swap over the weekend. On Friday we got our partners, and on Monday we mailed our socks.

My socks came from Ireland, from Fiadhnat, and they were so adorable!

wee tiny socks
The green one is my “Haverford Luck” sock. One side has a little purled H, and the other has a little purled four-leaf clover. I’m trying to keep them away from the kitties, but they do love their tiny socks to play with.

So there.

I’ve got a couple of other things going on, also.

I crunched the numbers for my sock yarn blanket and came up with a bit of insanity. I want it big enough to cover a double bed (my bed), so it has to be 12 squares wide and 15 squares long. This comes out to a total of 165 squares, and every five squares I knit is another 3% of the blanket finished. I’ve knit 15 squares, so I’ve knit 9% of the blanket so far. Yikes. Some of the squares are smaller, so actually I’ve knit more than 15 squares, but it’s about 9%.

Speaking of sock yarn, I’ve knit 19 pairs of socks.

That means my Drunken Bees socks are pair 20.

That means I’ll be having some kind of elaborate contest soon.

Stay tuned!

FO: Diagonal Rib Socks

I know, sheer insanity.

Diagonal Rib socks

Start: March 31, 2008
Finish: April 7, 2008
Yarn: Merino… dyed by me! I’ve been calling the colorway “Firebrand,” which I think is appropriate.
Needles: US 2s, knit on 2 circs. I was going to knit them at the same time, but I started the first sock on DPNs and didn’t feel like knitting the other one up to match. This came back to haunt me a little bit later.

Diagonal Rib socks

I went to see the Yarn Harlot in Annapolis last night. It was so fun! I convinced my mom to go with me, along with Erin and Terry, and we went and sat and had a lovely time.

Diagonal Rib heel

We sat and chatted with all sorts of people we didn’t know, and it was really delightful. Knitters are like that. Terry has pictures on her camera of us there, and me with Stephanie, and it was lots of fun.

Diagonal Rib detail

I realized I could finish these socks as she talked, and measured the second one against the first one. “Only 8 more rows!” I said, a bit foolishly, and continued to knit. I measured again and decided it was time to knit the toe. So away I went! I got so far as to graft the toe as Stephanie finished speaking, and put both socks on.

Diagonal Rib sock

Only to discover that second sock was 1/2 inch shorter than first sock. About four rows. Which I had not knit. Damn.

So after I got my books signed and had dinner and drove home, I ripped out the toe and tried to reknit it before I went to sleep (while simultaneously reading the new book I had just purchased and had signed). It didn’t really work, so technically I finished the socks today, but I’d like to continue thinking that I finished them yesterday as the very rockstar-famous Yarn Harlot spoke.

Diagonal Rib socks (and bothering the cat)

P.S. Cloverhill’s going to be at Sheep and Wool again this year, and they’ve got a Countdown Blog full of news and cool stuff. Click over and see what they’re up to!

FO: Seaflower Monkey

Look familiar?

Seaflower Monkey

Start: August ?, 2007
Finish: March 31, 2008
Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A.
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in “Deep Seaflower”
Needles: US #2 dpns

Seaflower Monkey

These are pictures of my own feet, but I decided to give these to Molly for her 18th birthday (which was on Saturday).

She loves them, and I am quite happy. She’s wearing them today, and it’s nice to have someone outside my family (and ex-family-in-love) wearing my socks. They are beautiful socks, but I think I needed to let them go after they had taken me so long to knit them. Some day, I will have my own pair of Monkey socks, but for now I’m happy.

Seaflower Monkey

Now I can move on!