Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fiber Factory of One

It's a good week when I look at current projects and there's been some progress on most of them.

The Tour de Fleece continues, and to my great surprise I've managed so far to meet the challenge of doing something spinning-related every day. After the Corriedale was finished, I dove into the two almost-forgotten tubs of unspun fiber and came up with a bag of green-and-brown roving made from what must be superwash merino, because the little slip in the bag says "100% superwash merino." I have no idea who made it or where it came from. For all I know, it was already in the tub when I bought it.

The lucky thing for me is that the roving is already divided into three equal pieces–and my next challenge is to make my first three-ply. I've been spinning long draw still–not because I think it's necessarily the best way to spin this fiber, but because I am enjoying the sheer hell out of it.

There have been no pictures, because as any Tour de Fleece rider will tell you, pictures of gradually filling bobbins are of only moderate interest to the spinner and hold no thrills for the general public. However, I probably should show you the fiber, shouldn't it?

I just realized forgot to photograph it.

Damn. Next time.

The green merino (that sounds like a niche-market superhero, doesn't it?) is on hold anyhow, because after filling two bobbins I went in search of a third only to discover it was already full of something. I don't know what. Yet there it was, filled with worsted spun...something. Either I spun a bobbin and completely forgot about it or elves have been at work. And, with apologies to my Icelandic friends, I don't believe in elves.

I needed the bobbin, so I pressed pause on the green merino (a sheep who travels around the world preventing ecological disasters?) and decided to chain ply whatever it is just to get rid of it.


I am the first to confess that this is, to put it mildly, an indifferent job of chain plying. I tried and failed to welcome an unforeseen opportunity to brush up an old skill. I rushed, with half my attention on old episodes of Absolutely Fabulous, glancing back at the remainder on the lazy kate every few minutes and thinking, "Dang it, are you still here?"

Old boyfriends reading this will be reminded of the last two hours of any given date with me.

I Swatched a Yarn and I Liked It

Lorna's Laces sent me a nice supply of one of their new yarns, Haymarket, and I'm turning it into a baby sweater pattern/sample piece in aid of my Snip 'n' Zip (Steeks and Zippers) class.


Cannot say enough things about this yarn. It's knitting up very much like L√©ttlopi (which I used in my Icelandic sweater), but it's extremely soft and feels sweet as it runs through your fingers. The colors, as you would expect, are luscious. It doesn't seem to pill much–what you see above has been knit and raveled six times and carried around in a bag for months. It still looks new.

I've finished the trickiest part–designing the yoke pattern–after only four tries. Put out the flags.

Crotch Shot

And the Victorian bathing drawers for the Nautical Knitting cruise proceed apace. These are gonna be the talk of Belize.


Preliminary fittings indicate that the proportions in the original pattern are spot-on. That being said, the fit is startlingly revealing. That's in keeping with period images of this sort of swimwear, but it really hits home when I've got them on. One false step and HELLO EVERYBODY!

The things I do for art.


Sweet Camden Lass said...

You've just made me laugh. I love you.

Anonymous said...

Back in the olden days, the 50's, Children's Hospital in Boston made its helpless victims wear cotton bottoms that exact same shape with cotton strings on the sides. I can tell you right now - they were inadequate. Perhaps you could wear a shapely pair of tight bike shorts underneath?

RubyC said...

You just made a ton of us laugh too damn hard. Love you.

Anonymous said...

I was also going to suggest a pair of Speedos underneath to avoid a tip slip but then again that would not be historically accurate.

Jean said...

Can we have Snip 'n' Zip as a Craftsy class one day soon? Pretty please?

Beth V. said...

Although not historically accurate, I'm sure it would be simple enough to find a piece of synthetic bathing suit lining material and stitch a "Whoopsie Preventor" in place. I'm sure the Victorians would have done it if they had had the appropriate textiles at their disposal. The fabric is light enough that hand stitching a lining in place would not show from the front, and prevent unwanted photos from being splashed across the internet.

Pretty Knitty said...

You can always go back later and add more twist to the yarn that had the nerve to be occupying the third bobbin...really, what were those singles thinking? Shouldn't they have plied themselves when they saw you spinning?!? I am eager to see the green merino!

I am not eager to see anyone's "bits" (male or female) in the pool, I'll second the advice to line that beautiful crotch, or wear some briefs beneath it!

Lynne in Florida said...

It might be possible to needle-weave a strand or two of elastic thread around the leg openings, without sacrificing too much historical accuracy. If someone doesn't take a whole raft of pictures of you in those on the cruise, I'm going to be really, really angry!

Renee Anne said...

::sigh:: I haven't spun much since the disaster with my Louet corriedale fiber. Apparently I don't like corriedale and I like chain plying even less. My attempts at a lovely little skein of chain plied blue corriedale ended in disaster. I think I'll stick to my regular old way of plying and call it good for now. Someday I'll learn to do things properly or something. Right now, I'm going to take that crappy hank of corriedale and make something and felt the crap out of it!

Anonymous said...

Old boyfriends reading this will be reminded of the last two hours of any given date with me.

I live for these wonderful throw away comments of yours.

Lynne said...

Ha! I'll be taking your steeks and zippers class at Stitches AND I have two Ab Fab tattoos. This is the perfect post for me!

FiberQat said...

The colors of your drawers are wonderful! The suggestions for coverage given are good too. We don't need to see little Frank.

tollbaby said...

I think we girls are lucky sometimes that we can't be horribly embarrassed by bits of ourselves dropping out of drawers and such. I mean, yes, we can have boob mishaps, but those are just boobs. They're not quite as intimate as say, having your fella pop out of your trunks.

Linda Cannon said...

The problem with trunks like that is they don't leave you with much wiggle room. Maybe an inner crochet stitch to tighten up the leg openings? So noting wiggles out when you are not prepared.

kmkat said...

As always, you made me smile. In return I would be happy to help you "get rid of" that chain-plied yarn ;-)

Leigh Wheeler said...

I'm pretty sure that the Victorians would be horrified that you were wearing the swim drawers alone, and not under a whole swim costume of what looks like a tank top and shorts. So you can likely get away with a liner, unless you're planning on knitting up the out parts as well?

Second vote for the Craftsy Snip and Zip class!

I <3 you!!!

Franklin said...

Leigh Wheeler, no - the Victorians would not be horrified unless I wore this costume in a mixed bathing party. These drawers were for groups of men who were bathing in a setting which required some coverage, but didn't include ladies. And they were worn solo, not as an undergarment. The neck-to-knee suits you're thinking of came later and were for beaches or other areas where genders were in sight of one another.

I wouldn't mind snipping and zipping for Craftsy! Anybody who'd like to see that on the menu should drop an email to them, asking for it. They do listen :)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmn. Methinks a jock strap is in order, and given what I do know about English undergarments, unfortunate even to type that...would likely be historically appropriate. And golly, the laughs when my high school guy friends would query one another as to purchase of gym shorts "with" or "without"! O no... a knitted strap?! I must take a bath and go lie down.....

GUNTer said...

omg your writings on the knitted roos are just hilarious. thanks a lot.

Baileysgirl said...

Yeah, but Franklin, you're not going to be wearing them in a gentlemen-only bathing party. You are so going to be in sight of The Other Gender ;-)
But having pointed that out, I confess that I think you should stick to your original plan and wear them solo and, uh, unenhanced. After all, historical accuracy is has far greater potential comedy value. (Oh, how I envy all on that cruise - as others have insisted -PHOTOS!)

ozelote said...

Woop Woop! (It's a hard job but someone's gotta do it..)

BlueLoom said...

There is an item of gentlemen's wear called a "dance belt"--for ballet dancers. I bet even Nijinsky wore one, so it's not that far off the timeline for the Victorian Bathing Drawers.

Naycha said...

Ahahaha!!! Fruit bowl anyone?! Franklin, you are too funny.

Holly said...

You are a hoot !!!

Sarah P. said...

I loved your article in the Lion Brand newsletter re: travel knitting. You are so right - it's complicated to find the project that will work on a trip. I've learned my lesson to not enter O'Hare without knitting. (I am reading the blog today because I hate to say it, but it's too hot to knit in Chicago today. Huddled in the room with the AC with the cat.)

Su1282 (rav name) said...

Dang! All this talk of potential mishaps must have considerably lengthened the waiting list for a spot on said cruise.

Brenda said...

"Hello everybody" Thanks! I laughed right out loud in the office in the middle of the day (do not ask what I'm doing reading a blog at work - it's called a 5 Minute Mental Health Break and prevents the need for bail money when I whack someone).

Anonymous said...

This begins to explain why the Victorians were so concerned about "mixed bathing."

Sara said...

Frankin, couture double-sided tape, the kind used to keep actresses inside their skimpy red carpet gowns. Not period, but the concern for modesty is. Since you're a bit of a knit celeb, you know the knit paparazzi and Kinnear-ers will be there. You might want to wax a bit first, mind, before applying the tape.

Anonymous said...

First the Skacel badboy knitter pinup and now crotch shots with teasers of flashing the family jewels....what has woolly fame done to you?

Considering the Victorians were diligent in denying themselves anything healthy for fear of their long lost libido returning in a tidal wave, one could safely presume that said bathing costume was most likely considered...roomy.

Perhaps in your particular circumstance, given your unVictorian, 20th century Green Merino superhero physique, ..ahem...objects are larger than they appear at a distance ..and concessions must be made to prevent the boat from listing as a collective sigh and swoon sweeps the passengers when you reveal your..stash.

mvi said...

Once again, coffee spurting out my nose. Thanks.

Why don't you make a matching Men's Thong? You could start a new fashion trend...

run1knit1spin said...

Oh my. You make me laugh.

I've not been up to The Fold, but ought to check it out. And if you'd like another relatively local fiber-y shop to visit, please head straight west on I-88 to Esther's Place in Big Rock.

I took my spinning lessons there, and Natasha and her mother really are some of the kindest people on the planet.

Lots of local wools there, too.

And it's hard to get away without felting...something.

Deborah B. said...

I think you just need some Flash Swim Tape:

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Ann said...

Having read an entire web page of your blogs I have to say that I miss my spinning wheel and homespun! I live in Egypt and am waiting for my spinning wheel and stuff to arrive. I took my little spindle with me but by the time I have a spindle full of yarn it is also full of souk dust! Drives me nuts! But I have bought a couple of sheep to spin their coarse wool. On the underwear front I have crocheted a couple of jock straps for hubby which were a great success! But he wanted a 'back' on it so that was added later! Too draughty otherwise, he said! But your victorian drawers have inspired me! Many thanks for an uplifting read!

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I was also going to suggest a pair of Speedos underneath to avoid a tip slip but then again that would not be historically

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It might be possible to needle-weave a strand or two of elastic thread around the leg openings, without sacrificing too much historical accuracy. If someone doesn't take a whole raft of pictures of you in those on the cruise, I'm going to be really, really angry!

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