Minor Productivity Report, mid-January

Oh, my poor poor productivity, such as it is this month! Last week it was ravaged by oral surgery, and today that continues as in about an hour I head out to have all my wisdom teeth removed. I’m afraid my family has also suffered, as I’ve been pretty cranky about stuff like my mouth stitches. They feel like when you have corn floss stuck in your teeth, only thicker, and they’re supposed to be there, and they’re in a wound. Sigh. But this should be pretty much the last of it all. Though I’ve got at least one filling and a cleanup of an old, old filling that I would like to have done before that tooth ends up needing a root canal and a crown. I think today’s wisdom teeth extractions will be the last thing I have done in January though. I’ve had enough; the weekly (or more) dentist trips have been going on since just after Thanksgiving. Of course, as my third world childhood reminds me every time I start going down the self-pity road, absent modern dental care I’d be missing 5 or 6 teeth by now.

While I’ve been relatively unproductive in terms of actual objects or yarn spun or new fibers put together, I have managed to get a fair amount of writing done, including a good number of drafts and outlines which I think can be very strong articles. For the second half of January, I need to focus on thinking about publication venues and query letters and that sort of thing. I don’t want to lose the momentum I’ve built up with respect to writing.

And I’ve added “make some videos” to the list, after digging up some old low-quality digital camera ones and throwing them on youtube, something I never had any intention of doing at all. You can find the full set of them here — more, higher quality videos will be coming in the near future, as I have invested in a digital camcorder. A sampling:

And those should clearly show why I invested in a digital camcorder.

I did finish the one 3-ply sock yarn designed for the autoknitter, also:

I really wish the sun would come out for photos of this one; it’s just… luminous. I’m delighted with how this yarn turned out, which is pretty much exactly how I planned for it to turn out, but I’m still very pleased about that! The yarn is composed of 2 plies which are spun from Ashland Bay 70/30 merino/tencel (lyocell) in “Desert,” and one ply spun from tussah silk seconds from my own dyepot. 5.25 ounces of merino, 2.25 ounces of tencel, and 2 ounces of silk comes out to being 55% merino, 24% tencel, and 21% tussah silk, in this 9.5 ounce skein of yarn. It’s three or four pairs of autoknitter socks, or 1225 yards; it would have been about 1240 but I just couldn’t get that last bit of 3-ply containing the last few yards of the silk, onto the bobbin; I pushed it and pushed it as it was, and not without consequence…

Several hundred yards had to be wound off, then wound back on. But lucky me, Chad pitched in, and I can get a Majacraft bobbin to stay on the tapered-shank bobbin winder that came with the Autoknitter. It could have been much worse.

One of the themes that seemed to crop up all week while I was reading lists and whatnot, is twist, and the premise of the balanced yarn. You can read one discussion about that here in the Livejournal community spinningfiber. And actually, this yarn, which I’ll call the Desert Sock Yarn, provided me with a great opportunity to take a few pictures to demonstrate my position about twist, which differs from a lot of what appears to be the conventional wisdom these days in that I go for higher-twist yarns than is typical now. So shortly, there’ll be another article here specifically dealing with twist, featuring this yarn, its specifications in detail, and so forth.

I did have some leftover merino/tencel when all was said and done — about a half-ounce split between two bobbins. So as to not leave bobbins tied up, naturally I plied these together into one fingering/laceweight yarn:

Shown, in case you can’t tell, unwashed and unweighted at top, and then in the bottom two photos, after washing, but unweighted. Consider it a pictorial quick summary of the upcoming twist article!

In other news, I was slow deciding I really needed more Victoria bobbins, and pretty much everyone seems to be out of them now, until March. But as so often seems to be the case, Susan had them. She’s great that way — odds are if you’re looking for it, you can find it at Susan’s Fiber Shop. I have been spinning a lot on the Victoria, even though it’s slower than I ideally like right now, because it’s also the easiest wheel to spin on while I’m sitting in my slothing chair, which is a rocking recliner with heat and massage. I’m not ashamed to admit that such considerations have been present during this month of dental woe.

I also decided that, no, I didn’t like the merino/merino-tencel yarn all that much. I mean, it’s pretty enough but the merino-tencel sheen is lost. So it’ll be a 3-ply merino sweater yarn, and I took the “clover” merino-tencel and used it for my example yarn for yet another upcoming article, a short pictorial demo on spinning cabled yarns. This one also provides me with fat yarn for a hat, as with dropping temperatures I’ve concluded that I need a new hat. Here’s one of the cable yarns, on the bobbin and unset…

Indeed, it is a fat yarn and a big needle project. I haven’t figured out what form the hat’ll take yet really, but this will be a nice cozy hat. And hopefully just in time (okay, a week or so late, given temperatures have been dropping).

Whoops, there were several more things I was going to say in this update before heading out for dental torture, but then I cleverly kicked the power button on my PC. And then I got a very cute cat picture on my phone… which caused the phone to reboot for some reason. On the bright side, I think this might just get a good bit of dumb mishap out of the way for the day, before the dentist, so that’s a good sign, I’m sure of it.

So, what’s coming up?

  • Cabled Yarn Tutorial
  • Sock Yarn Detail
  • Measuring Your Yarn ala Mabel Ross
  • Pontificating About Twist
  • Comments and Responses and Discourse, Oh My!
  • Yarn Tech: Plies
  • Works in Progress: an update
  • Spinning Videos

There should be lots of exciting new content here over the remainder of the week! Stay tuned!

7 thoughts on “Minor Productivity Report, mid-January

  1. I found your movies over the weekend and enjoyed watching them, especially with your spindle. This is not meant as a criticism, but when you get your high-tech camera, I’d love to see closer footage of how you use your hands with the spindle.

  2. I’m really looking forward to the videos! Since I won’t be able to take spinning classes in the immediate future and am not currently a member of a spinning group, videos will have to do for now. Could you do one on navajo plying? I want to try it, but of course reading about the technique is not the same as actually seeing it in practice.

  3. Abby!
    What a great blog, lots of fabulous information. Thanks for the link. Good to see such thoughtful fiber information online.

    Is the yarn your father’s silk? I have no idea how far he got with it; last I saw he was plying up a ball’s worth in 1997. After that, he learned to knit! It will be grand to complete the project.

    Keep up the good work,

  4. Abby,
    I’ve been reading your posts on some of the spinning lists (where I mostly lurk), and I’ve been overwhelmed by your generosity in sharing your expertise. As a newbie spinner, I really appreciate your thoughtful and informative posts. Thank you for all you do!


  5. Thanks, Abby. I just found these today… I’m also hoping for some close-up videos on both hand work with the spindle and the wheel. I’ve watched both several times, and am amazed, and feel I would glean more if I could see the details. I also am new and no one around here to spin with.

    Thanks for all you have shared.

    Loved those yarns!


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