Yarn at Last

It's great to be home again, after my adventures on the road last week.  Over the weekend I taught at Village Yarn and Tea in Lake Forest Park, WA, where the knitters are sassy, and so are their Selbuvotter.  Big Fun.

Strangely, I seem to have fatigued my wrists and elbows.  Maybe I did something weird using my drop spindle while I was teaching?  Maybe I was in too big a hurry to finish the Rare Gems cardigan?  I did, by the way, finish it, in time to wear it to class, just as I had hoped.  Where it was (naturally) much too hot with a dozen people crammed into a tiny airless room to actually wear it.  

It's a bit of all right, though, no?  I like the elbow sleeves.  Which is good, since I ran out of yarn and had no chance of making them longer.

Anyway, since my knitting parts hurt, I realized that they are probably long overdue for a rest.  I think my last official day off from knitting was in June of 2008.  I view knitting restriction as a punishment, not a vacation, so it's not a decision I make lightly.

I made the mistake of mentioning to my family that I was going to try not to knit for a while.  They all looked like deer in the headlights.  Then Campbell snickered.  Lindsay giggled.  Then Phillip (on brief parole from the garage) openly guffawed.  I have the sense they don't think I can do it.

Just to show them that I don't have to knit, I spun.  I finally filled the 5th bobbin:

I pressed the 6-bobbin plying kate into service (the empty bobbin on the left is just there to even the tension band - I'm really making 5-ply here).  Note the copy of Miss Manners Guide to Raising Perfect Children holding the kate at a perfect 45-degree angle.  At last, that book has found its true calling.

The learning curve for plying 5 strands is exactly as steep as you might think.  Bits of it (like the part where one of the 5 plies breaks for no reason at all) totally sucked.  I stuck it out, though, desperate to finally see real yarn after an entire year of fleece processing and singles-spinning.  I wasn't going to let a little thing like complete lack of know-how get between me and finally seeing yarn.

And here are the first two skeins.  818 yards, so far.  There is still a lot of fleece to comb and spin.  I am reassuring myself that it's all washed, and safely hidden from my husband and an unintended jettison.  I put it in a place that I know to be safe from him: the cleaning closet.  Unless he falls prey to a sudden (and unprecedented) fit of polishing, I think the remainder of the locks are secure.

The finished yarn is much blacker than I expected.  The singles looked chocolate brown with silver streaks, but the yarn is black as can be.  I'm thrilled with it.  I'm also surprised at how much finished yarn the five bobbins yielded.  There are probably still another skein's worth of singles, but they need to be redistributed between bobbins.

So that was day one of my self-imposed knitting hiatus.  I planned to take five days off, but between the shawl, which keeps calling to me, and my family's heckling, I'm not sure if I'll make it.  Stay tuned.