Choosing Projects Backwards

I don’t generally have a yarn stash.  Oh there’s lots of random yarn hanging around here, but pretty much all of it is leftovers from one project or another.  I’ll hang on to those long enough to maybe do some repairs and then make mittens or other small things that hardly count as projects.

Usually I decide on a project, acquire a pattern or at least a general idea of a plan, and then go yarn shopping.  I was in the midst of that process on Friday when I went to Knitting, but I was also between projects my most recent sweater having been just finished and the next one (not for me this time) waiting for the right day to go yarn shopping.

And then one of the other women at knitting was destashing so somehow I came home with three skeins of this pretty brown laceweight yarn.  I like the colour.  It’s soft.  It’s superwash.  It’s hard to beat free.

So now I’m trying to choose a completely different project having already acquired yarn.  How do people do this?

I had an idea. Maybe a vest/light summer sweater.  I knit a swatch.  And I determined that I don’t think it will work that well.  Maybe if I purchased additional yarn and held it double with the yarn I have (This could look really cool and I’m considering reserving some of the yarn for this purpose — One skein is probably enough.).  But the stuff that I have is just too light and drapey for the look I had in mind.

It really wants to be like…A super massive lace shawl.  Something like this:  Camping Half Circle.

But do I have any use for such a thing?

New Sweater Pictures

I finished my new sweater.  And then we went out with the camera.  So here’s pictures of my new sweater plus assorted extras

Some different details are on Ravelry

For future reference: The Pattern

Scarf

When my parents came to visit in the fall, we went on a yarn tour.  I was particularly excited to include the local shop that specialises in fibre for all the weirder crafts…spinning and weaving and the like.

I picked up a little cup of tussah silk and a little braid of merino wool.  Both would be interesting to spin as my experience thus far had been mostly with cheap corriedale.  I started out without a plan but it soon became clear that the silk wanted to be spun as worsted as possible.  It also became clear that I really didn’t have that much of any of it.

What to do?  Try a completely new thing?  Weaving you say?

So I consulted the internet and thought a bunch.  I considered backstrap style, but I was afraid the Trorg would get into that while I wasn’t looking and I’d end up with a tangled mess of warp.  I also briefly considered a vertical weighted loom — same problem there.  So I modified the method to not have too many loose warp threads and dragged out my Q-Snap quilting frame, rearranged the pieces to make a simple loom, added a stick and string heddle and made stuff up as I went.

It worked.  Mostly.  Here are a few notes on the process.

  • Everything I read on the internet said “do not use handspun warp!” I wanted to use handspun warp.  I mean.  That was the whole point.  I had handspun that needed a home.  So I ignored the internet and used my silk as warp.  It mostly worked, but I think I understand better now why the internet says not to do it.  Adding some commercial yarn into the mix might have solved those problems, or caused tensioning problems in their place.
  • I spun the silk into a worsted single.  Not that perfectly worsted thread is really possible in handspun, but this was certainly the most worsted I’ve ever spun anything.  And it was smooth and shiny and silk.  I worried less about the merino, I knew that it was going to become the weft where strength apparently matters less.  Even so, it’s at least mostly worsted.
  • I ended up with about 145 metres of each.  As a single, it was probably laceweight or finer.  I counted about 25 wpi.
  • I did not ply either yarn.  Partially because weavers often don’t and partially because I didn’t really have a lot of it.  It was going to be tight either way.  Nor did I do any finishing or setting the twist before I started weaving.  (I left my silk sitting for a couple months in a tight little turkish-spindle cop, does that count as finishing?)  I figured that since I was making cloth, it should be finished as cloth rather than as yarn.
  • I used a simple plain weave.  One heddle and a shed bar.
  • I needed less loom tension than I expected.
  • The backstrap weaving people who have so much nice information on the internet mostly do a warp-faced weave.  I wanted something more balanced to show off both my yarns and also to use them both efficiently.  So I used crocheted spacer strings as in the vertical loom video.  Turns out my handspun would have absolutely refused to do anything with more warps anyway.
  • I originally found the weave a little gauzy.  Once it’s finished though, it’s not as open as I originally thought.
  • The finished scarf is about 12 cm wide and just over a metre long not including the 10-12 cm of fringe on either end.  I was not completely consistent with my weft tension — one end is a little wider than the other and you can see little bumps and wiggles all down the selvages.  As a complete beginner I expected worse.
  • I would have liked less fringe.  Turns out there’s technical reasons for it — It’s really hard to weave all the way to the end of your yarn.  I should have woven a little closer to the end that I started on.  But I knew that I had approximately the same amount of weft as warp, I didn’t know how balanced my weave would end up, and I didn’t want to run out of weft.  As it is, I have a little left over.
  • I twisted the fringe into 4 strand ropes.  If they annoy me too much, I may yet trim them shorter.  Unless I do so, both the warp and the weft are one continuous thread through the whole piece.
  • There are several errors in my weave — I’d guess somewhere between 3 and a dozen.  These were mostly caused by the sheds sticking.  This was the real problem with handspun, any place where the warp had any little bit of fuzz on it, it would reach out and grab it’s neighbours and need to be yanked apart.  Similarly, it liked to tie itself to my heddle strings.
  • With the silk, I wasn’t sure how to finish this.  If it was purely wool, I would definitely be going for hot water and a little bit of rough handling to full or felt the cloth just a touch.  As it is I went for a steaming, some light smacking, and drying flat.

 

Church Search Victoria – Conclusions – January 10, 2016

I spent most of Advent and Christmas feeling as though my search for a church here in Victoria had failed.  There was Angst.  It was not good.  And I’m still not sure that it’s succeeded, but I need to make some decisions so here they are:

Just for itself, my first choice would absolutely be St Philip Anglican Church.  Their demographics are great, and it turns out that I really like that kind of low-church liturgical style.  Big problem though:  I simply cannot get there in time.  There is no way that I can regularly get myself and the Trorg out of bed, dressed, breakfasted, and all the way out there for a 9 am service.  And Someone?  He is never awake by that time.

It just Does Not Work.

The fact of it not working caused plenty of angst over Christmas and to improve my overall happiness I think I just have to sigh and accept that it Does Not Work.

But my church search hasn’t left me with very many other options.  So I guess we’ll be CRC again?  (So much enthusiasm, I know.)  I still find their service kind of oddly truncated*, and I don’t trust the way that truncation puts so much focus on their pastor** (pastors?  I haven’t heard the other one speak yet.)  But they have OK demographics and a Sunday School that the Trorg is fine with, they’re not terrible singers and have at least some musical memory***,  and I can get there on time.

It’s a longish ride, I think it’s the farthest one we tried, but by this morning’s route we can have bike lanes almost the whole way.  Also, the stroller is heavy, and why do we have to live in a place with hills?

So this could work.  Now it’s time to make it work.*^*


 

ChurchSearchIcon* The whole “Confession and Assurance” (sometimes called “Reconciliation”) section of the service is just…missing.  It’s weird and means that there’s really nothing in the service but some singing and a sermon.

** He did a reasonably good job of his sermon on Genesis 1 this morning so that makes a lot of uncertainties clearer, but we also know they have bad taste in guest speakers.  And it still bothers me that there is so little besides the sermon in the service.

*** Not enough musical memory to pick the sensible lyrics for Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing found in the CRC hymnbook rather than random ones found on the internet,  and somehow they credited Praise to the Lord, the Almighty to Hosanna Integrity Music copyright 2003 rather than any of the more correct credits (Text: 1680?  Tune: 1665?  Translation: 1863?).  That’s a minor peeve of mine.  But hey, at least they’re singing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing and Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.

*^* Making it work is going to involve a few things.  Showing up.  Trying to make connections.  Finding a way to contribute.  And also…Not always showing up.  I fully intend to sleep in at least once a month, I will almost certainly not go in the rain, and I’m planning to try to go to The Abbey at least a few more times — Probably in conjunction with sleeping in those mornings.  Maybe that will give me my liturgical fix.  Maybe I’ll make enough connections in one or the other place that the other will fade out for me.  I don’t know.  We’ll have to see how it goes.

Sleep

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This picture is from May.

The Trorg has never been a great sleeper.  Here’s what the current routine looks like:

  • 8:30 pm:  Bedtime snacks, teeth brushing, pull-up diaper, pyjamas, down vest*.
  • 9:00 pm:  Off to bed.  Covers pulled up, book reading.  Lights out. talk about our days, sing a song.  Say good night.  One more thing!  One more thing! One more thing!
  • 9:30 pm:  Say good night.  Leave, close the bedroom door.
  • 9:31 pm:  The Trorg gets out of bed, turns on all the lights in his room**, and quietly plays with toys in his room.
  • 10:30 pm:  Check on the Trorg.  If he’s sleeping, turn the lights out.  There’s a good chance he’s not sleeping though.  Suggest that he go to sleep.  Be ignored.  Brush own teeth, go to bed.
  • 11:30 pm:  If still awake, check on the Trorg.  If he’s sleeping, turn the lights out.  If he’s still awake say “Screw it.  The lights can stay on all night.”  Go to bed.
  • Sometime between 3 and 5 am:  The Trorg wakes up, turns his lights on if they were out, and goes back to sleep in his own bed.

There are several possible morning routines that come out of this.  This morning we had:

  • 7:30 am:  The Trorg crawls in bed with us.  He knows that if he comes before our alarm has started, I’ll send him back to his own bed.  He falls back to sleep immediately, squeezing me uncomfortably in the middle.
  • 8:05 am:  I get up.  I attempt to wake the Trorg and mostly fail.
  • 8:10 am:  The Trorg wakes, comes out in the living room, and demands that I go back to bed so that he can continue to snuggle in my bed. I decline.  Cue insufficiently rested temper tantrum!

Other mornings I have to try to drag him out of his own bed around 8:20 so that we won’t be too late for Daycare.***


*He’s currently living in his down vest.  Somehow they convince him to take it off at school, but he wears it pretty much every minute that he’s at home.  One of these days I’m going to have to figure out how to wash it.

**We tried getting him one of those kids flashlights with the automatic turn off in the hopes that he could be convinced to leave the overhead lights off and have something that would turn off automatically when he falls asleep.  No such luck.  Now he turns on the overheads and his fancy new*^* flashlight.

***He gets a nap after lunch.  If it weren’t for that, he would be sleeping less than his parents.  I’d really like to wean him off the nap after lunch in the hopes of him actually falling asleep before 11.  But no.  Daycare policy says everyone takes a nap after lunch.

*^*OK.  It was $3 at Value Village.

 

Church Search Victoria **- The Abbey* – December 13, 2015

  • Building: None.  And I didn’t even see the space that they usually meet in.  Apparently a mishap with a set of keys forced a relocation into a nearby home.
  • Demographics: Extremely small.  There were perhaps 10 to 15 adults (Three or four older women, about three couples around my age, two or four single people of various ages.  More women than men.) and 4ish kids (Hard get a good count, they kept moving around).
  • Service: Anglican communion service meets small group Bible study.  Complete with some awkward participatory elements.  The guitar/piano singing was not bad for the size of the group, though I found most of the songs to be unfamiliar.
  • Overall Impressions: Here’s the key:  4pm and within walking distance.  I’m not sure I like the way the afternoon service cuts up my day, but it sure was nice to stay in bed this morning.  Overall, it was kind of cool; I’m glad I went.  But I’m not sure my introverted self can take this.  The small group size means they really notice a stranger and go out of their way to make real connections. I could use some real connections, but I came home exceedingly tired.  And at this size, whether or not I actually connect with these specific people is going to matter a lot.  I’m also not sure my cynical self can take this.  Some of the answers given in that awkward participatory section were too expected.

**Yes, I’m still looking for something that will work.  Distance and earliness are making my two best options so far look significantly less appealing now that it’s winter and mostly raining.

*This is a brand new thing.  According to their webpage, they didn’t yet exist in July when I started this search.  There was a coincidental word of mouth type thing that tipped me off to their existence.  Or maybe providential?  Given the mixed impressions above, I’m not sure.

ChurchSearchIcon

Advent Calendar

Here’s my (or rather, The Trorg’s) Advent Calendar.

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Yes, I have decorated my walls with socks.  Socks that are either the Trorg’s size or the next size larger (There seems to be a disconcerting jump between the largest available socks in the “Toddler” section and the smallest available socks in the “Boys” section.  Intermediate Value Theorem says they’ll fit him eventually.)

They all have a little card with a Bible verse inside plus something else — A treat, a prompt for an activity, parts of a nativity scene, materials for Trorg-made Christmas tree ornaments.  A few of them have coins in them, along with small plastic figurines of poultry.  We’ll save up for this.

And by Christmas Day, the Trorg will have 12 badly needed new pairs of socks, plus two pairs of mittens


 

The two big Christmas Stockings at the end, just happened to be in my Christmas Decorations Bin.  They’re holding things that were too big for socks.

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