Normalizing I

Oh blog, blog, blog, I have sorely missed you.

It’s been a weird week or so, out here in Absentia-Land. I’ve been in a relatively mild Pattern Purdah, but right in the middle of it I was struck down by The Cold From Hell. Its tenure was violent but brief, or maybe I mean brief but violent, and for two days it was almost completely incapacitating. In some areas. I was able to spin, and I was able to knit, and in a kind of grim surreal desperation I was able to get off my ass and do all sorts of domestic chores and errands that I normally shirk when I’m healthy (laundry! cat box!)… but I couldn’t focus on anything I was trying to write, not anything with substance. Could blather away on Ravelry and e-mail, but produce anything mission-critical, anything requiring analysis or synthesis? HA! Same sentence over and over, blur blur blur, numbers dancing randomly around my head.

So there’s that… and there’s the fact that the many things I really want to talk about here are so deeply and completely intertwined that trying to disentangle them into cohesive individual threads, or even find a starting point, is like trying to ply huge rat’s nests of ultra-kinked singles. It’s a scary state of affairs when you find yourself needing to normalize data before you can write a simple blog post! Then again, maybe there is no such thing as a simple blog post.

That said, here goes. I’m going to plunge in and grab an end at random and just see where it takes me. If I don’t emerge at the other end, send in the St. Bernards and/or the scissors.

OK, let’s see. Birthdays, and some patterny stuff thrown in.

It’s a poor soul whose birthday celebrations are limited to a single day - right? Jen and I were late in observing each other’s birthdays this year, not surprisingly given the Rhinebeck recovery period.

Jen sneakily got together with Jesh , and the two of them conspired to give me… this:

Jesh Spindle

Check out the lovely painted glass whorl:

Jesh Spindle Whorl

Hang on, Jesh’s picture is backlit and gives a better idea of the translucency:

Jesh Spindle Whorl

Check out also the pretty jewelry-finding bit around the hook - I love Jesh’s eye for detail:

Jesh Spindle Hook

And yes… it spins like a little demon. I haven’t actually weighed it, but I think it’s a little under an ounce.

By and large I’ve been leaning away from elaborate shafts lately, because I’ve discovered the convenience of sliding a whole copp right off the shaft. But these very finely tapered shafts? Totally an exception, because if you handle them close to the point you get absolutely amazing acceleration and longevity. (Think about ratios in a spinning wheel - or gears - and this will make perfect sense.)

Speaking of sliding the whole copp off the shaft? Lookie here what I found in Mardi’s birthday package:

Ken's Silk

The fiber isn’t from Mardi - it’s the tussah silk I bought from Ken at Rhinebeck - but the SPINDLE…

Spindlewood

… is this fabulous square Spindlewood Featherweight, olivewood on olivewood, 18 grams. Spins like another little demon, and has the smoothest polished shaft ever; a joy to handle.

Also in the same package:

FoxFire Cormo/Silk

- a bag of this wonderful FoxFire cormo/silk blend I had been coveting at Rhinebeck. Covet no longer, and this color is even more up my alley than the other ones I had seen! I’m thinking it may ply really nicely with Abby’s Cabernet Tussah - we shall see.

Also in the same package - some lovely chocolaty things that I can’t show you, because why? Because - all gone! - that’s why.

I iz teh lucky.

I also bought MYSELF some pretty cool presents, but I think I’ll hold off on those for now, because it will screw up the whole data normalization plan. Meanwhile - it’s just as blessed to give as to receive, right? and damn near as much fun. So in that vein…

… remember these?

Rose Mitts Finished

And… remember these?

West Elm Sock

Well, what I was in Purdah for was writing up the pattern for the first of those. It went out yesterday in PDF form as a gift to the Tsock Flock Club, whose members have been puzzling for some time over the fact that the Yarn Fairy sent them WAY more yarn than they needed for the “York and Lancaster” socks. (Club members please note: if you did not receive this, send me an e-mail!) And yes, it will eventually become available to the public, though at first in a slightly different form. To which end I refreshed my memory by making these -

Tree Mitts

- for Jennifer, whose birthday is just a few days after mine. Hmmm - I notice I seem to have gotten over my scruple about using Jennifer’s yarn to make Jennifer’s gift.

These are structured exactly the same as the originals. Same snug fit -

Tree Mitts

- same fully-fashioned thumb-gusset -

Tree Mitts

Tree Mitts

Tree Mitts

- and same inverted-V thumb shaping:

Tree Mitts

And the pattern includes suggestions for a number of variations in length and style.

As of now the rose intarsia panel is exclusive to the club, as with any other club design - but I’m planning to work up a more generic version for public sale. Don’t know for sure whether we’ll make a kit or just a PDF or both. Don’t know yet about the tree motif either - must get with Jennifer and Patrick and figure out what’s going to happen with that. But one way or another, the mitt’ll be out there soon. Promise. Srsly.

So… that’s one data skein disentangled, kinda. It’s a start!

A couple of other random items, which may or may not tie in later to other threads (you’ll notice that there’s a ‘I’ in the title of this post, suggesting that there is more normalization ahead).

I’m having a second honeymoon with the wheel, and this is one of the most prized amenities of the honeymoon suite:

Hurricane Singles

That is two bobins’ worth of singles from an Abby sock batt, colorway Hurricane, wound together and artfully nestled on the second batt. Obligatory dime close-up:

Hurricane Singles

I’m hoping to finish this today and 4-ply it up into sock yarn. After which I will have a LOT more to say about the orgasmic experience of spinning it.

Also… you may remember my mentioning Brewergnome and his Gnomespun yarns, in the booth at Rhinebeck? If you haven’t been following his new blog and watching his new website - do yourself a favor and catch up on both now. Go. Srsly. Run do not walk. I’ll wait here. Aside from a whole slew of fascinating esoteric ideas rendered as handspun yarns (myths, folklore, SO up my alley), the guy is doing amazing things with color in roving, AND… the Bona Fide Mad Scientist side of him explains in detail how and why the dyes work the way they do. If you’re at all interested in the dyeing of fiber - or if you’re at all interested in spinning or knitting with beautiful one-of-a-kind stuff that is already art before you even touch it - you can’t afford not to be watching this guy.

13 Responses to “Normalizing I”

  1. Marina Stern Says:

    Pretty, pretty on the yarn, and AMAZING engineering on the mitts. I’m not surprised.

    Glad you’re feeling better.

  2. Mardi Says:

    Me and long draw, we not friends.

  3. Mardi Says:

    PS - WANT tree mitt pattern.

    Pleez??

  4. Jesh Says:

    Oh, major lust on the tree mitts.

    I think the spindle is in the .7-.8oz range. Of course I also thought I sent that information along with the spindle, and apparently I did not, so I could just be making that number up. :)

  5. Dan - aka brewergnome Says:

    Tree mitts are *lurvely*

    Also… ::blush::

    Also, holy crap I better get to my wheel and dyepot.

    Also, how’s the silk? Curious to see what it does in other people’s hands.

  6. Astrid Bear Says:

    Those are some awesome tailored mitts, lady, and I can’t wait to get my . . . err . . . mitts on the pattern, with or without trees.

  7. Melissa Says:

    I’m so excited about the mitts, both of them! I can’t wait to buy them up!

  8. Laura S. Says:

    LOVING the tree mitts and the tree socks. Which yarn is that? Robin’s nest?

  9. RobinH Says:

    That red cormo/silk is lovely. And I can’t wait to see the blue sock yarn. Fabulous!

    And on a completely different note, I finally read the Nine Tailors. (I’ve actually gone through the whole series of novels and am halfway through the short stories. After which *sob* I’m out- no more Lord Peter left.) Very easy to see how you got sucked into the campanology! It’s marvelously atmospheric.

  10. Maggie Says:

    Oh man, I’m totally having lusties for those tree-motif mitts. Pattern, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?

  11. Sally Says:

    Mitts Lust Want! And you are so right about Dan. I started reading his blog just after your Rhinebeck post and what an interesting character!! His yarn is unspeakably wonderful. Once again, I am humbled by the talent of others (you and Dan!) — being able to produce such lovely yarns with such a short spinning history. Makes me want to burn my spindles, but I will persevere in the hope that I can someday produce something that actually looks and feels like sock yarn. Sigh.

  12. Marti J Says:

    The gussets on the mitts are breathtaking! I keep studying them to see how you did it to make them so perfect instead of the half-ass right & left angle thumbs I do. I hope the day comes when you’ll tell us mortals how to do them so perfectly.

  13. Carol Says:

    Wow. L O V E, L O V E, L O V E the tree mitts … hope we don’t have too long to wait for the pattern …?

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