I’ve joined the Tour de Fleece (the Ravelry one, that is).
The challenge involves spinning every day that the Tour de France is riding. (We spin while they do. This is not my bad pun.)
I’ve been a little lacklustre about spinning lately, but am already feeling more excited. I’m spinning a lot more on my current project already.
For the challenge, I’ve decided that I’ll pull out three works in progress that I haven’t touched in months and do my best to finish all three. Then I will have more yarn and more space for more fiber!
We’re putting together a “team” from String Thing, which I think will be fun: we can egg each other on.
Here’s some pictures of the fiber that I’ll be finishing spinning for the Tour:
Some silk hankies I dyed last summer and started spinning last November. My hands were too dry to work with silk over the winter and then I never went back to them.
Some silk given to me by my Ravelry friend debolsillo blended with some Ashland Bay merino I bought from the Woolery. This one will be the challenge: I’m spinning it thick and even, and I’m better at thin and even.
Some handpainted Blue Faced Leicester top from Three Waters Farm, which is local to me. I don’t think I’ll be spinning the rest up the way I started, so this will kind of be a new project.
It figures. I get my sock pattern all written up and partially edited, when I discover that there might be a better way to do the most difficult part. I think it would not only improve the appearance but be easier to knit.
I’m working up a quarter-scale version of the sock, and it’s looking promising!
Fortunately, I can use the experience from writing up the first version to improve the write-up on the new one.
I still have hopes of getting this done by Sock Summit!
This last month has taught me that translating my designs into written patterns is hard work.
Fortunately, I have friends who are or will be acting as beta testers. One of them has gotten a good start on the whole thing, and has been doing a good job of knitting what I wrote, not what I meant to write. She’s also told me when my instructions are flat-out confusing. Very helpful!
I’m also glad that I will be taking a class on designing and writing sock patterns at Sock Summit–I hope it will help me learn the language.
Part of my problem is that I learned sock basics eight years ago, and haven’t used written patterns since. Furthermore, this particular sock has a very unusual construction, and so converting the abbreviated summary in my head (which partly uses a three-dimensional understanding of the structure, only not a visualization*, instead of verbal description) into something that someone else can follow is extra tricky.
I think I have a decent draft of the trickiest bit, but we’ll see what she makes of it!
*This is very hard to describe. When I “visualize” things, I often don’t “see” them in my mind. I have a kind of kinetic feel for spatial relationships instead.
Well, I finished one sock of this pair, and will be working on writing up the pattern in segments as I knit the second. I’m finding that the bottleneck with patterns is the actual writing. I’ve found some test knitters, and will be giving them instructions as each part is written; I hope this will make a difference in my actually finishing writing the pattern.
I also need to do the same with the Winter Solstice socks I posted about before.
I was just about to post that I was making really good progress on one of my sock designs and that I’d finished half a sock, when I realized that I had half again more stitches than I should on the instep. Then I realized why, sighed, and ripped back most of the way. Fortunately, I had used a lifeline right before the critical row, and so it wasn’t hard to pick up the stitches again.
A community project which has arisen from the planning for Sock Summit 2009 is the collection of Barn Raising Quilt squares to be sewn together and auctioned off. The fundraiser will benefit Doctors Without Borders, one of my favorite non-profits.
Since I inevitably have some leftover sock yarn, I’m going to knit some squares for the project. The pattern is temporarily available for free for charity knitting.
I’m now working on four different pairs of socks, which might be a mistake, or might not. We shall see. I’m also spinning up some lovely, dark brown Romney locks. I’m planning on making four-strand, cabled sock yarn.
All of a sudden I found myself doubting how this sock that I’m knitting will come out. I stopped and thought about the oddities involved, did some math, and still felt dubious.
Then I thought, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” and decided to forge ahead with my original plans. If I have to frog some knitting and start over a bit, well, that’s part of designing!
Each new design I knit seems to spark at least one new idea. I suppose this is a good sign, but it’s hard to keep up! (I’m making sketches so I don’t lose track of the brainstorms.)
I’m pleased to say that my designing enthusiasm is continuing – now if only I can actually get myself to write things up!
I’m about a third of the way through one full-size sock from one design and have knitted up most of a prototype of the second. (The prototype involves just knitting a small version of the portion of the sock that has the unusual construction.)
A while ago I also started to write up the pattern for some other finished socks, and I need to sit down and finish them. It’s very easy to see what the bottleneck is!
These are the socks that I’ve started writing up; it’s a more conventional pattern, which I call Winter Solstice: