Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Problem with UFO April ~or~ "What I did Instead"

Well, honestly, April was not as good for UFO's as I had hoped!  This is what happened:

1.  The sun came out.
OK folks, this is the Pacific Northwest and when the sun comes out, the siren call of the garden is irresistible.

(please ignore the hundreds of volunteer kale plants that are about to smother everyone else.  They are destined for the salad bowl.)

2.  Hung out with the barn beasts.  And everyone.
It got too warm for the alpaca boys, so spent some time cooling them off.  

And collected brambles for the goats.  And took walks with the kitty.  And looked for tadpoles in the pond (still too early).  And did some birdwatching.
( a flock of 15 crossbills stopped by for a snack on their way to wherever they were going)

3.  Hurt my back.
Well, I thought I was taking it easy on the gardening, but there was a lot of remedial weeding (garden never got tucked in last fall, so the weeds took over) and I guess I overdid a bit (resulting in not being able to do the slightest bending, reaching, or twisting for about a week).  All better now.  I hope.

4.  Played guitar and banjo.
My dear husband and I are planning to attend a music retreat and I have not been playing much, so really had to put more time in (and get my calluses back!).

5.  Practiced spindling.
Thinking about going to the retreat made me look for extremely portable fiber projects to take along, and though I'm pretty confident on my spinning wheel, it's too much to bring to camp, and since I'm not very proficient with spindles, I watched Abby Franqemont's "Respect the Spindle: The Video" (Interweave Press) and played a little.  (the spindles are all Ed Jenkins Turkish Spindles)

The small spindle is 28 grams, Burmese Rosewood, with some 70/30 finewool/tussah from the Spinning Ewe (got it at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival).  A challenge to spin with irregular silk noils and cut silk strands - some long and some short - but it makes a fun little yarn.

The larger spindle is 53 grams, Honduras Rosewood, with some of Fantasy Fibers Naturale "mystery" roving (OK, we all know that it is random leftovers from the carder, all smooshed together in one new blend, but it's fun and pretty) (also from OFFF).

6.  Wove some on my Rigid Heddle Loom.
Continued the unbalanced weaves study for my Rigid Heddle Study Group with a little warp faced "mug rug" (weft is wool, mostly Cascade 220, warp is 8/4 cotton carpet warp, reed is 8 dent):
This first one is just one of the patterns that's in that little project book that comes with a Cricket loom, but I've got lots of plans for this little warp - tapestry, knotted pile, soumak, twining, and more!
Definitions for the weavers here:

warp emphasis - warp sett slightly closer than usual and paired with a smaller/thinner weft, lightly placed - to emphasize the beauty of the warp yarn
weft emphasis - warp sett slightly farther apart than usual and paired with a bigger/thicker weft - to emphasize the beauty of the weft

warp faced - warp sett much closer than usual and paired with a smaller/thinner weft, lightly placed - to hide the weft completely and only show the warp yarn (mostly)
weft faced - warp sett much farther apart than usual and paired with a bigger/thicker weft - to completely hide the warp and only show the weft 

7.  Gave a silk demo to my spinning group.
We cooked cocoons (used baking soda to soften the seracin - it worked great), opened and stretched cocoons over a frame to make mawata (silk hankies), stretched commercial mawata one by one and knitted them without spinning, and had some fun.  Here's our stack of handmade stretched cocoons (photo is before washing - they're whiter and softer now).
and here are my unspun mawata mittens  - the dye work is my own, from the Knot Hysteria silk retreat several years ago - the pattern is the generic mitten pattern from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd (Interweave Press).

They are soft and silky and warm and yummy!

8. Went to see Seattle Shakespeare Company production of "The Taming of the Shrew"
This is not really one of my favorite plays (in fact, some of the scenes make me grind my teeth) but the SSC is such an excellent group that I took a chance, and their trailer park interpretation was such a clever, wild, and fun way to tell the story, that all is forgiven.

9.  Found some beautiful yarn when I was in Seattle, and started knitting.
Wait a minute - getting this yarn was one of my April goals!  Yeah!  There's one finish!

yarn is Classic Elite wool/bamboo (a little splitty, but lovely soft and a rich color)
pattern is "Wyvern Wrap" by Angela Hahn

10.  Started another pair of socks for dear husband.
Look, he loves the first pair so much that he washes them by hand and lays them out flat to dry.  Such diligence must be rewarded.

Pattern is "Chevvy" by Jody Pirrello from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn (Interweave Press).
Yarn is Malabrigo Sock in the Arbol colorway.

11.  Finished the fingerless mitts and delivered them to my friend.  She liked them. 
(sorry, forgot to take a "finished" photo before they left for their new home).
OK, that was one of my April goals, so I guess that makes 2 finishes!

12.  Did 8 of the quilt pieces for the challenge quilt (not quite my April goal).
Since I need at least 12 in order to have a finished piece, and the quilt is due at the guild meeting next week, there's no hope of finishing in time, so it looks like I will be bailing out of this challenge.  But I'm having fun with the color study I'm working on, so will keep puttering away at this in my own time.

And since absolutely nothing got done on the giant flower quilt this month, that will be my only UFO goal for May and June (months that are congested with other distractions, from weaving conferences to birthdays to more gardening)!

oops, almost forgot to linky up to the UFO challenge!

  Never Too Hot to Stitch!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you've been very busy while "not finishing"!