I didn’t mean to, I swear. Frankly, I am lazy. Which isn’t to say I don’t like to get things done, I just don’t always OVER do them. Not when it comes to things like cooking a meal for a crowd or a holiday, that I can almost guaranty I’ll over-do and enjoy every minute of, but many other things, if there’s an easy way, I’m going to go for it. Like my favorite grocery store sells pre-chopped onion, celery, herbs, etc. I will ALWAYS pay extra to avoid the work. ALWAYS. Totally worth it.
But then there are the things things I enjoy doing. Like knitting my own socks. Or spinning my own yarn. I knit my socks toe up because it’s easier than grafting the toes shoe at the end or pick up stitches to knit a gusset. For me it’s the lazy girls route. Not that the task itself is lazy, it’s just easier than doing things the other way so it’s my default. If I can knit set in sleeves in the round instead of knitting them flat and seaming them into the body of the sweater, I will chose the more complicated process (Calculating the correct formula for the set in sleeve) instead of following the clear and concise directions to knit them and seam them in as called for.
Then there’s this spinning business. I took up spinning with a wheel just over a year ago. My first lesson was about the 15th of October, 2011. My second was the first weekend of November. It was at that lesson that I fell in love with and bought my Schacht Sidekick wheel. And I am just as happy today as I was that first day spinning on her. But I’ve gotten MUCH better at the spinning part. Honestly, the improvement still surprises the heck out of me.
Last night I wound my latest yarn off the bobbin so I could measure my final yardage. This is a project I have been working on as part of the House Cup. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about my Charms OWL before; a 2-3 month spinning project in which I endeavored to turn 4 ounces of wool roving into at least 800 yards of 2 ply lace weight yarn.
Spinning to a particular end goal is not something I’ve really succeeded at to date. I’ve achieved fingering weight which was definitely a goal, but it’s been a total crap shoot to actually get there. Starting with a target in mind for ounces of fiber, a set “wraps per inch (WPI)” goal AND a yardage goal was a big undertaking. And one which I was not sure I could manage in the time frame given. But that’s the fun of the Cup. Challenging myself to accomplish more than I think I can.
So back on September 1st, I submitted my proposal for my OWL work. And my examiner (The Cup is taken very seriously, you see- Examiners to review our proposals and finished work, professors to grade our class projects, a head mistress to keep tabs on all of it… BIG stuff!) asked me to tweak it a little, make sure I was prepared in the event of short yardage, etc, then approved my proposal. And shortly there after I started spinning. I figured I needed to spin about 10g of fiber a week to meet all goals in the project but still wasn’t sure how this would work out in terms of the yardage goal.
I started perfectly on target. Then we went to Maryland and I got a little behind. And I was working on my Tir Chonaill and several other projects so I got further behind. So I had to make myself sit down at the wheel and make a concerted effort to get back on track. And a couple of Sundays at home watching football helped. One of the requirements for the OWL project is setting a 50% mark and achieving that before the end of the 2nd month of the term. My 50% mark was to have 3/4 of my singles spun by October 31st. I met the goal with a week and a half to go.
Then I watched another football game. And the last presidential debate. And it turns out these two activities make me work faster than just about anything else when it comes to spinning. Because I was able to finish my singles AND ply my yarn before the end of October. Which actually creates a bit of an issue for me as I didn’t take the prescribed bit of time to complete the project. But I’ll get to that in a minute…
Monday I finished plying. And I still wasn’t sure what I was going to end up with yardage-wise. Would it be enough? No way to know until I wind it off on a niddy noddy and count up the strands. But because I am ahead of schedule I had to seek the advice of my examiner on how to proceed. Because I wasn’t technically finished, especially having no idea of my actual yardage, I wasn’t really outside of the rules of the project, but I was close enough that I wanted her advice on how to proceed. Her recommendation was to wind off to see what my yardage was since I have plenty of time to spin more if I hadn’t met the 800 yard goal and come up with a “celebration” project if I had, so that my OWL is still in the 2-3 month realm.
So I wound off. And I counted off as I did so. Then I counted again. Because I couldn’t believe I’d counted right. I completely missed the 800 yard mark. By 240 yards. In my favor!
That right there- that’s 1040 yards of 2 ply lace weight at 25WPI. Hands down the finest I’ve ever spun. And I think I had about 4 breaks in my singles during the plying process. Only one of which was because my single was too thin. The rest were drifts in one ply when I was trying to fix issues with the other.
I still can’t believe this! My consistency was about as good as I could have ever hoped for. My yardage is insane. Enough to knit a cardigan (Hannah Fetig’s Whisper Cardigan) I’ve had my eye on for months. Probably with some left over. And the yarn… Oh my! It has such a lovely sheen from the silk. It’s a Blue Faced Leicester/Silk blend and absolutely lovely stuff! Best part- since I more than met my goal for this project, I still have 4oz of the roving left! So I can spin it again! YAY!
Bit for now, I think I’m going to just keep staring at it in amazement. Because a year ago I made this:
And now I’m able to do this:
I have a proud.
I just have to figure out what I’m going to do to celebrate this proud and round out my OWL project. I have a 4oz bumb of Merino Silk I bought on my first trip to Susan’s Fiber Shop last fall that I’ve been saving until my skills improved. Maybe it’s time to spin that. Whaddaya think?