Saturday, March 21, 2009

Up and Down

First, the Up.

I participated in the March/April Spin-along in the All Spun Up Ravelry group. Kristin's fibres and colours are always gorgeous, but this time around was a particular favourite of mine -- lovely, soft BFL that looked like this:

Double Yum!
I don't very often knit with worsted weight, but for some reason I've had a goal of spinning it, two-ply. No, I don't know why, and no, it doesn't matter. Spindles generally want to spin thinner yarns, and since my first awkward attempts, I've just gone thinner and thinner. This time, though, I made it thick.

I find spinning thickly to be difficult, so it's fairly uneven, but it averages 12 wpi. Despite my throwing fibre into the twist as quickly as I could, it still came out fairly dense and only 160 yards, but I think it will make wonderfully warm pair of mittens. I love these colours.

I am also amazed at how quickly it went. One evening per ply, and one evening to ply -- a finished yarn in three evenings.

I had meant to take a picture of the yarn on the spindle, but it went so quickly that I kind of forgot, so here's one of the spindle I used. It's a Forrester Dervish. It weighs 1.77 oz. The top whorl is hickory, the bottom whorl is Caribbean walnut, and the shaft is maple. I originally thought it would spin very fast, but it didn't. It was quite steady, though. I only mention it here so that the next time I get a hankering to make worsted weight, I know which tool to use.

So, now for the Down.

I mentioned in my last post that I've been suffering from a lack of knitting mojo, particularly as it relates to socks. Given the amount of sock yarn I have, this is rather distressing. I joined Sock Madness III in the hopes that it would give me the kick in the pants that I need to get back at it. The first pattern came out this week, and I duly cast on. Unfortunately, I'm just not feeling it. I've got the leg three-quarters done but have absolutely no desire to finish it. The inspiration behind the pattern is quite clever -- a quilt block translated into knits and purls. The heel is innovative -- an afterthought heel, but with a flap and gusset. The problem is that I don't think the pattern is translating well and the 32 stitch repeat is too big to read visually. To my eye, the sock just looks .... wrinkled. I obviously haven't knit it yet, but I'm pretty sure the flap will end up too short for my foot, and the gusset is to be decreased over only four rounds so I'm pretty sure it won't fit properly on my high instep. I hate dissing on people who volunteer their time and effort to organize and participate in all these wonderful "alongs," because I do think they are a wonderful thing that help build the knitting community. That is not my intention here. Neither do I mean to denigrate any one particular pattern -- everyone has their own likes and dislikes, and it's a very personal thing. Really -- it's me, not you.

Confession time: I've already got nine "trouble" socks sitting here. Yes, nine - 9! You know, the ones that don't quite work out the way you thought they would, or the yarn didn't work with the pattern, or whatever. You put them aside to cogitate on them or to wait for the right pattern to pop up, start something else in the mean time, and there they sit. If it were one pair, I'd chuck it and call it good, but nine? I can't do that. I'm tired of doing this to myself. It's draining. I have to do something with these, finish them up and move on. With the Sock Madness sock, it feels like I'm just doing it again. Argggh. I also have three singleton socks that I'm quite happy with, but they all involve sitting in front of a chart. That's fine when you're in the mood for that, but when you're not, it's also ... arrrgh.

I'm dropping out of Sock Madness. I apologize if I took someone else's spot and they really wanted to get in. It looks like I was the second-last person out of 200 to sign up, so I don't think there was a waiting line, but just in case you were trying and didn't get in, I'm sorry. I won't do it again. I'll add the yarn from those socks to the pile of "what do I do with it now" stuff, and get back to plodding through the ugly socks I mentioned in my last post. I figured they were so ugly that no pattern would save them, so I'm just knitting them plain. Maybe I'll go rent a couple of movies so I don't have to look at them while I knit them.

Speaking of which, some people wanted proof that they really were ugly. Well, here you go:

See? Ug-ell-ee.

45 people had something to say:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful spinning.

I think we all have those sock issues from time to time. I'm sure you'll work through it. While not gorgeous, those aren't the worst socks I've ever seen.

Yarndude said...

Dave, your spinning is so beautiful! As for the socks, I say don't even bother finishing them if you don't like them. Seriously. You should spend whatever time you have to knit really enjoying it, because I'm sure it's one of the few times you get to relax, and there is nothing more annoying that having to do tedious work when you know you could be enjoying yourself. Just my two cents.

Katie K said...

The yarn is beautiful. I'm sure only us knitters wish the winter would last a little longer to accommodate our last minute cold weather projects. As for the socks, gee, I think they look kinda cool. There are some really neat new sock patterns coming out right now. Hope you get your mojo back.

Charity said...

The spinning is really lovely! I haven't been able to spin a nice, even worsted, and yours is beautiful.

I took a several month long break from socks, I just wasn't feeling it. I went ahead and committed myself to other projects, and now all I want to knit is socks! Sometimes, a break is all you need. Hang in there, I'm sure it will come back!

Unknown said...

Your spinning is impressive Dave. You'll be yearning for a wheel soon enough. The mittens will look great!

As for the socks, if you don't like them rip them out. Why have them staring you in the face if you know you will never finish them. I hadn't knit socks for forever and only a month ago (I think) finished a pair I started a year ago in Feb. I am slowly getting back into it but I do think that the knitting bug comes and goes (and that perhaps blogland creates a false environment of do'itis').

As a wise person said to me lately what is is. No apologies.

Monika said...

Your spindle spun yarn looks wonderful. I love the colors!
I think you should just rip out all those socks you don't want to knit, and put the yarn away for now. We all feel like that, and why torture yourself? I like Bea's new pattern, it looks nice and you don't have to work from chart, that's great for me right now.
Your ugly sock is not THAT ugly, have seen worse. Might be good for every day socks, one's you don't care if they get a hole or not. :o)

Anonymous said...

I'll second the Yarndude. If those 9 socks do nothing for you, toss them and move on to something fun! When you've done your life's knitting, do you think you will look back and wish you had knit more stuff that you hated? NO way!

Kay-From the Back Yard said...

I've got some not-so-beauteous socks going right now. Maybe House socks.

Love your handspun!

Päivi, Lankakomero said...

I don't like yellows and browns, but some odd reasons I like your ugly socks!

Anonymous said...

Great yarn! As for the socks, overdye them. I've said it before, I'll probably say it again. I'd do them in a medium brown myself.

fleegle said...

Poor Dave...

Nine ugly socks. That's really depressing. I suggest you take them off the needles and throw them in the trash. It's liberating! I've done that with several projects and never felt the least bit guilty. Life is short--knit what pleases you.

And yes, I am afraid I have to agree with you. Those socks are not pretty. But you can overdye them and make them pretty!

Speaking of pretty, your handspun is scrumptious!

sheep#100 said...

I don't think they look ugly at all. They'd go really well with tan khakis and a colorful polo shirt.


Carrie K said...

Those are not ugly, I love the colors.

The spinning is beautiful! I've heard that once you get good at spinning it's hard to spin thickly. Odd but evidently true.

As for the nine singletons, mix and match or if you can't bear that, put them in a small dark place until either you or them feels like reproducing. ;)

Virtuous said...

Yes beautiful spinning!! At least you got that going on during your sock knitting funk.

I understand about the KALs they don't always work for me either when I expect them too. I am sure things will turn back UP again soon!

*sending over my last ounce of knitting mojo for you* (b/c mine is zelch right now too! Haha)

turtlegirl76 said...

They aren't nearly as ugly as you seem to think they are. They're pretty cool looking actually! Like all the shag carpets from my parents home were put in a blender and spat out onto socks. Awesome.

Alwen said...

I'm not a brown fan and the poor ugly socks look brown on my monitor.

I had a long spell of lost knitting mojo, and finally remembered what cured it for me last time was boring dishcloth knitting.

So I did a bit of that, and next thing I knew I was joining a Niebling lace knit along. Which I finished last night, yay magic dishcloth!

EGunn said...

No wonder you're finding it hard to start...nine pairs! That's a lot of disappointments! Maybe it's time to just give yourself permission to knit something else (or nothing at all), and get back to those when you feel like it? I never knit well when I'm pressuring myself to finish something I don't love. I also tend to stick those projects in my knitting basket close to my favorite chair, and somehow I work on them despite myself.

(I don't think the ugly socks are that bad, by the way. They're not gorgeous, but I've seen socks look worse...)

Your spinning is beautiful. It is amazing how fast thick yarn spins up, isn't it? My wheel makes thick yarn almost inevitable, so I envy your thin spinning! The yarn looks great, and I love the colors!

Micki said...

Beautiful handspun, Dave!

(And apparently I lack taste, because I don't think your "ugly socks" are ugly at all.)

Unknown said...

I kind of like them, but if you're not happy with them, it's no use.

I know, I posted an ugly sock last week but no one else thought so. It's been ripped.

Anonymous said...

Your recently spun yarn is gorgeous!! The colours compliment each other beautifully. Very nicely done on the spinning too. I cannot spin a worsted weight iether.
As for your ugly socks...well...I like them. The colour contrasts are terrific, and with the pattern you're using each colour shows wonderfully.

Carole Knits said...

Your spinning is beautiful. I'm sorry the first pattern for SM3 wasn't one you loved. You'll still get the others as they are released, though, and maybe you'll like something else enough to jump start your sock mojo.

Anonymous said...

I had a brief stint of "knitter's block" a few weeks ago but now it's passed. Although it could be this disgustingly UNENDING winter we're having here ...

I love to see all your spinning, but I must admit in my mind I'm registering "blah blah blah twist, blah blah blah ply" because I know NOTHING about spinning, but then I see your finished product and I am 'OOOOOHH PRETTY COLOURS'. Lovely indeed!

Valerie Polichar said...

Evidence that taste varies... I love the socks. I saw the images before I read the text and thought "ooh, pretty, I'd wear those!" Figures :-)

Anonymous said...

I had a serious loss of knitting mojo a short time ago and was reluctant to admit it. You know, as soon as I did, it came back and I got in and finished a few things that were dragging along. Your spinning is gorgeous. Makes me want to learn. :) And I don't think those socks are really all that ugly. They could be pink. Now that would be awful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

your spinning looks great and BFL is my favourite spinning fiber (till now, I've not tested too much fibers yet).

With your 9 unfinished socks - just unravel them all to get your mind free of them. Otherwise you will always have them in mind as weight that draws you away from having fun in knitting.

The "ugly" socks - just overdye them when they are ready. Perhaps some tie-dye or so. Knot the two socks together and throw them into black colour.
Or take the two together, wrap rubber band around the two together and get them into blue colour. Blue will make all the browns and yellow brown to a different from now brown and match the colours together. Where the rubber band is, there will be a hint of the original colours shown up.
Or pull the socks over two similar bottles in a way that makes crinkles. Wrap these crinkles with yarn diagonally and dye them staying onto the bottles. You will not get two exactly similar socks this way, but it will create an interesting effect.
Just a few ideas what to do with them and maybe this makes you look forward for the day they are finished so that you will be able to play with colour :-)

Anonymous said...

Don't feel badly about Sock Madness. I did it last year, winding up with multiple pairs of socks that I will never wear.
I respect the designers and all their efforts but have decided that my knitting time will be limited to things that I like and really want to knit.
Beautiful yarn, and that spindle really tempts me.

jessie said...

Not ugly at all, really.

Your spinning looks great. Imagine how much you'll do when you get a wheel... (Remember if you go with Louet that I can get you a deal!)

Soo said...

As another non-spinner I know exactly what Terri means in her comment --- the "how's and why's" are all lost on me. But the finished yarn -- gorgeous!

I'm not much help on the ugly sock issue as I seem to have some sort of weird affliction (or perhaps superpower?) that means I don't ever think handknit socks are truly ugly.

auntiemichal said...

Overdying and/or using the "ugly" as utility socks (on the bottom layer in boots, in the garden, in the dark, etc) strike me, a thrifty knitter, as good moves. Another option might be to knit two strands of ugly yarns (or one ugly, one solid) together as Erika ( is doing for thicker socks.

Your spinning results are really nice; I recently found a little spinning group and am trying spindling again. So far, I'm a "frequent parker" but I'm told that whatever gets the job done is fine. LOL

Opal said...

your ASU is just gorgeous! let the spinning mojo have its way with you. the knitting mojo will return in time. try not to force it. :)

Unknown said...

Your yarn is gorgeous!! I'm trying to make time to practice my spinning, I'd love to be able to make yarn as beautiful as this.

I think that the socks are lovely, but I don't have to knit them. If having to knit them/wear them will take the joy out of the knitting then I'll 20th the "rip 'em out" sentiments expressed.

Sarah said...

This month's SAL fiber was my favorite so far, too. I love how yours spun up, and I'm excited to see your yarn knit up into some mittens!

Nana Sadie said...

I adore your yarn...the spinning is beautiful!

And I hate to say it, but the "ug-ly" yarn? (I like it...shhhhh...)

Marjorie said...

Your handspun yarn is wonderful. Perhaps a break for mitten knitting will get your sock mojo back. For me it is sweater bits that become UFOs.

I've signed up for a couple of KALs that I couldn't manage because the deadlines were too tight for me (alas, Project Spectrum turned out not to work for me) or I changed my mind about projects (no lace in time for Winter of Lace). I'm sure that the moderators of Sock Madness realize that not everyone will remain to the end.

Jean said...

Oh dear Dave, that sock really is most unattractive. The thick thin yarn you spun is beautiful, the colors are simply yummy. Just incase you change your mind on the mittens, this would make an incredible neck warmer as well. It sounds like you are a little overwhelmed, maybe you should stop looking at the big picture and focus on just one thing at a time, everything becomes so simple then. You really are a wonderful chap. Take Care.

JessaLu said...

Beautiful spinning!!

Sometimes the knitting just isn't working and you need to set it is what it is. ;o) You'll get your mojo back when it wants to come back. ;o)

sgeddes said...

The Allspunup turned out great! I'm planning a Navajo ply for mine. Your spindle is lovely too by the way.

Anonymous said...

Please send all ugly socks/half-finished socks/not started socks this way - I'll pay the postage! I have sons who love ugly socks (as long as they're hand knit) and I can't keep up!!

Natalie Servant said...

I think the socks are quite nice, actually. Your spinning is lovely.

Anonymous said...

Someone will most assuredly find something that you think ugly as beautiful. I completed the Sock Madness sock and personally think it ugly...but others have requested that I post the finished photo in a variety of places because they like the way the color plays or think it beautiful. Not to my eye...but then, they aren't going to be my socks anyway. Eye of the beholder...and thankfully, the recipient LOVES them!

Sigurborg Johannsdottir said...

Beautiful spindle you have there

Sooza said...

Hi Dave, love your hand-spun yarn. The colours are right up my alley. And I'm soooo not with Cynthia in her prediction that you'll soon own a wheel. I do own a wheel and like it just fine but for some strange reason I really seem to be a spindler. I find it much more relaxing, more flexible and collecting spindles is so much more fun than buying ONE wheel.

By the way, I find to spin a thicker yarn I need quite a heavy spindle (40 grams and more) that turns really slow. Otherwise I've got the same problem you've just described.

As for your socks, they are not ugly per se. The colours are probably just not your thing. I'm totally the summer type and find it really hard to knit colours like orange or light green or browns of any kind. And don't bother with all the other 9 sock projects from hell. If you don't feel the magic, just frog them. I know it's hard but all your knitting mojo is probably caught up in those socks. FREE it, I'd say :-)

Happy spinning and knitting.

Ted said...

I think if I had 9 problem children socks, I'd register for the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat, and bring all 9 of the socks and ask for advice.

Angeluna said...

Oh my dear, your spinning is lovely. I MUST pick up my spindles and master them. Your spindle is a nice one, steady is GOOD.

And poor socks, they really aren't ghastly. The colors are quite nice. Is it that the dyeing neither stripes nor breaks up, in fact it does a bit of both?

Taking a class with Lucy Neatby this afternoon on how to "mix-up" variegated yarns. Mainly, I'm excited to have a class with Neatby. In all honesty, I rather like my hand-dyes that stripe and zig-zag and pool totally beyond my control. And I frequently don't like the same yarns "broken-up". I'll report back later.

I've been on the same sort of loss of sock mojo for the last year. I finally found a pattern I love and am churning out a pair that will make me quite happy. Shur'tugal, originally a man's pattern. Looks complex but easy to memorize. Love the way it fits.

Already thinking I will do the Par 5 Socks next, although I may first scooch in Yarnissima's Kiila mystery pattern that comes out in a couple of days. Who can resist? And I hope she will be available to help solve the fit of the toe up for my heel/arch.

BTW, I bombed out of Sock Madness on that first pattern, too. Clever idea, but it just didn't "read" as a pattern, just wrinkled and bunchy. And I have the same long heel, high arch issues which I just couldn't solve with that pattern. And I didn't like my yarn with the pattern. Definitely frogging these back to the ribbing and may turn them into another pair of Zombies from last year's Sock Madness. I've worn the tail off those.

Anonymous said...

I think your socks are gorgeous. Sorry you think they are ugly. Beautiful work!