Life's a beach

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We took Miss Panda to Ocean Beach where they have a lovely stretch just for dogs.

It's about an hour and a half drive for us, so I did a bit of knitting on the way.

That's the unnamed shawl I've been knitting with my handspun. You can really see how, from skein to skein, the tonality of the yarn changes, but I like it. It might be because, having spun the yarn, designed the piece and knit it, I can't bear to NOT like it, yet I truly think that once it's blocked it will look good.

But you don't want to hear about the shawl, do you? You want to see some fun Panda pics, which I'm here to offer, after the bump.

The spin zone

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While at Stitches, I got myself some lovely light sage green merino/silk blend roving. I bought it from the Angora Cottage booth. The first day, they had a sale and I got this roving for a great price.

I've been spinning it up on my 0.9 oz spindle, working the singles into about a fingering/DK weight with hopes of having a light worsted when I'm done.

I am finally feeling comfortable spinning slightly thicker weight yarns. I'm not sure I could do a big chunky yarn yet, but it's getting better each time I try.

Let me tell you, though, I've been acquiring roving at a pace I can't imagine ever catching up to with my lovely little hand spindles. Janel of both Spindilicity and Cameleon Colorworks fame, sent me 3 gorgeous servings of her hand dyed roving.

I got two of the Merino/Silk dyed in colorway "Catalina".

This was the same colorway I used for this pattern.

And then there's this:

The colorway is Indian Wedding and the fiber is Merino/Tencel. I'm not sure why I've been so drawn to warm tones lately, but this color is decadent. I've never spun a Tencel blend before, so we'll have to see how that goes, but if it's anything like spinning a silk blend, I think I'll like it.

And if that's not enough roving to add to the bunch, I'm awaiting an order I just placed with Amy for some of her Almost Solid Series roving.

What did you call me?

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Now that Leo is working downtown, we spend a lot of time together. We commute in together, eat our lunches together and commute home again later on. Even with all that time together, we still find ourselves touching base throughout the day. Both of us use our IM accounts to do actual work (who'd a thunk it?) so it's easy for us to write each other, throughout the day, when things come up.

But every once in a while, I have to call him at his desk. Whenever I do, he answers with a chuckle. Why? Because his caller ID sees both my cell phone and office number as follows:

When I call, I'm announced as "SUPERTRUNK." Being she who bears the interloper, aka "Junk in the Trunk" I'm rather shocked to hear that it's detectable, even by a phone system.

Now, the past couple of months, I've certainly been given said "trunk" a bit of extra exercise. Whenever Leo and I meet for lunch, I scale the 2nd street hill of doom.

Trust me, it's doomier than it looks.

And then I climb two flights of stairs up to MOCA

And I'm a brisk walker indeed, no breaks along the way.
So while I'm amused, or perhaps even flattered that Leo's phone thinks I have a super trunk, perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised.

And if conversations about my derriere are off topic for this blog, well, so be it. I'm a bit loopy from work exhaustion. Perhaps, if there is not a mass exodus from my blog after this post, I'll introduce you to the mutant flowers near our favorite lunch spot.

Ah, my beautiful new spindle!

One of the reasons I asked for a heavier spindle for my birthday was because I wanted to start spinning different weights of yarn. Of course, any of my lighter spindles can be used to spin chunkier yarn, but I think the extra weight is helpful. So, after practicing with some spare merino, I pulled out my gorgeous olive green Corriedale and I tried spinning some thicker yarn.

The singles are about a DK weight, it's much thicker than I usually spin, but by the end, I was getting pretty consistent results. Since I use the Andean Plying method, my most even bits are plied against my most inconsistent bits so the overall effect doesn’t look so great, but I can live with that.

When plied, I got something around a worsted or a little thicker weight. Actually, fresh off the spindle, it was more of a chunky or bulky weight, there was a lot of loft, but having washed and hung the yarn, I’ve still kept a bit of loft, but the yarn is closer to worsted in weight. I still love the finer weight yarns I’ve spun, but it’s good to practice spinning a bit thicker.

As for the spindle, it’s working beautifully. A couple people asked if I had noticed a wobble or any other problems, and I have not. This is a beautifully balanced spindle that gets enough momentum to keep spinning and spinning. I would guess that people who have had problems may be using a design without as much symmetry, which could throw the balance off a bit. That’s just my guess.

Wednesday was a long day. It wasn't a bad day, but it was long. Leo and I left the house at 5:15 AM, so we could make some early morning work obligations, and we didn't get home till almost 9 PM, because I had a beginner knitting class to teach that evening. That's a long day. But, awaiting me, when I returned home, was a big package with a little surprise inside.

It's a belated birthday present from my step father, a brand new spindle from Golding.

I now have four wonderful spindles in my collection.

From left to right, their weights are:
1.9 ozs, 1.3 ozs, 0.9 ozs, 0.6 ozs

I've been spinning some merino and I think I'm getting a feel for the heavier weight. It's been a nice match and a good chance to practice spinning some thicker gauge yarn, though I have to admit that my left arm gets tired more quickly. I can see myself using this spindle a lot. The larger whorl means I can use it to ply my finer yarns and the weight is a nice match for roving that tends to be grippier (technical term).

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