Monday, February 10, 2014

Ravellenic Games 2014 Report: Day 1

I was going to wait to post this until I received my medals, but it looks like that may take a while so I'll just add them later.

The Games got off to a great start. I mentioned I cast on the rainbow cowl during the opening ceremonies.
Well the next day, I knit and knit (and knit) while I watched and I got my first project done!
That means medals in Cross Cowling, Cable Cross-Country, Nordic Colourwork Combined, and Stash Skeleton.
I blocked it after I took the picture and stretched it sideways so it would be sure to be wide enough, not too tall and to fill in the gaps between the long stitch crosses. I wore it today (Monday) and it was soft and warm and yummy.

Back to Saturday...after I finished the cowl and took care of some too-long ignored household tasks, I thought about what I should tackle next. And much to my surprise, I pulled out...
this fiber I had wanted to spin. What? I was as shocked as any of you. I watched a couple of youtube videos (this one and then this one) to refresh my vague impressions of how it was done and then dived in.
I did a lot of the "park and draft" as a beginner. So instead of just dropping the spindle and letting it spin while you draft the fiber and control the newly spun yarn all at once. I would spin, "park" the spindle between my knees, draft the fiber, then release the twist into the yarn. One thing at a time. At first it felt like cheating, but then I realized that was silly. Beginners use training wheels. Not only allowed to, but should until they know what's going on.

In not too long a time I had this:
By the end of two hours, my little spindle was completely full and I had to break it off and spin the remaining fiber separately. (Oh how I hated to do so until I realized I could easily join them up again later.)

By the end of three hours, I had spun up the 50 grams of fiber into a aran weight single. That means medals in Flying Camel Spin and Stash Skeleton.
I got all of 32 meters. As far as I can tell, that's about half the yardage that many bulky weights would get, which tells me I spun too much fiber at once and too tightly. Since then I have done a little more reading on preparing a braid and I will fluff it up a lot more next time in an attempt to introduce more air and "loft" into the yarn. Now I realize my braid had become quite compacted through the dyeing and/or handling process and from being in storage so long.

But for a first effort, not bad. There were many times I wasn't happy with how a certain section came out, and it was amazing how easy it was to simply "unspin" it and try again.

Here I let a piece of the yarn twist back on itself to see how it would look plied:
But I decided to leave it a single. 32 meters of aran weight will do me (slightly) more good than 16 meters of super bulky! :)

Once the weaving was done, I soaked it and then let it dry overnight on my niddy noddy in order to set the twist.

I can not emphasize enough how surprised (and pleased) I was to get this done. I feel like a competitor who barely qualifies for the finals but then has the day of their life and wins bronze!

And what will I do with 32 yards of aran weight wool? I haven't quite decided yet. Obviously it not enough for much, but I have a collection of different yarns I have put together for a as-yet-undecided project and this colour goes will them. So it will likely become part of that project.

Games Update:
1. Rainbow Cowl DONE!
2. Rainbow Hat (cast on and half done)
3. & 4. Ravel Sweater 1 and Sweater 2
5. Dye Green Yarn (researched Koolaid packs needed)
6. Spinning DONE!
7. Woven Band
8. Baby Bib (shower now postponed until Mar 2 from Feb 15, so not quite as urgent)

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