Friday, January 23, 2009

Finished Project #1 - From First Spin!

I just finished knitting my FIRST SPIN! With only somewhere around a vaguely-estimated 123 yards that I spun, as thickly as I spun it, out of the gorgeous 4 oz. of fiber that Jenny gave me with the drop spindle for Christmas, I was really limited as to what I could make. That's not a lot of yarn but probably typical for a first spin.

I had a particular scarf in mind which is tailored. That was my only problem with it, because I'm not. I still like the way it looks though, and I had enough yarn for that. So I started it and only knit up about 2 inches before I realized, the size 4 needles called for were way too small for my yarn -- at least the part that came off the ball first.
This was coming out super stiff, thick and dense. I hated it, and would never be motivated to wear it. (The center stocking stitch part is where the slit would eventually go.) Otherwise it's ribbed. Thick, stiff, tight ribs!

So "tinked" it. (Jenny says "tinK" is Knit spelled backwards, and it refers to Un-knitting, otherwise known as ripping it out. So I switched to size 8, and started again.

Better, but still too dense and stiff. Only now, add that it would be too wide also. I thought maybe I could fold it over in the back, but why start out having to adjust to something you don't like anyway for this yarn.
I really wanted this first spin to be knit into something I could keep forever. Not only did this fiber come along with my drop spindle (and I can now say my "first" drop spindle), but Jenny picked out the fiber because it's a really nice BFL that spins great, and it was in my colors.

So for all those reasons, I abandoned that pattern and looked on Ravelry again for another thing to make out of it. I found one. Its picture wasn't QUITE what I wanted, but envisioning my yarn, I thought this might be a perfect thing to make. Plus it called for size 13 needles! Now we're getting somewhere!

So I tinked again.

This is now three tinks on the same yarn. AARG!

The pattern did not say "Cast on so freaking loosely that it's downright ridiculous, so I didn't. I cast on looser than I normally do, but not so it was downright ridiculous. Next time I make this (and I will), I will cast on so loosely that it's downright ridiculous. The very first rows are... you start with 60 inches, then knit 2 together down to 30 in the first row! Then without any breather purl row, in the very next row you decrease yet again! Down to 15 stitches. I mean, that's a violent change. I really had to struggle to knit two together even in the first row. The second was worse.

Time out: At least a year ago, I saw a whole set of bamboo knitting needles on eBay, cheaper than just one pair elsewhere. I ordered them for Jenny, just in case they weren't crap quality. I mean, they came out to $1 per pair so I didn't have high hopes, but it looked like these were mass produced somewhere in Asia, and who knows. Well, Jenny didn't like the tiny ones at all, which was what she was after, so I've had 12+ sets of round needles in tons of sizes, just sitting there. I am soooo glad I do! I figure the teensy ones are all wrong (cables are too big) but the big ones, I actually like a LOT! In any event, that's how I came to have so many needles so I could keep trying different sizes. And that's really a darned good deal! I could definitely get into knitting with bamboo needles for everything!

So the yarn kept being thick, and I was really liking this scarf-to-be. Then suddenly, not even a gradual change, it became thin. And I mean THIN! Can't find the close-up, but you can see what happened on the left side of the paper. Skinny yarn, skinny part of scarf.

I kept hoping the thickness would vary back and forth so it would look consistent and on purpose, but there are just sections that are skinny.

So this is what I got. One lacy, thinner tail, and one thicker, clubbier tail.

Adding to the variation in width of the scarf caused by the thick yarn on one tail and the thin on the other, when binding off, I just couldn't do it as tightly as when I cast on. So we have one "super-ruffle" and one "not so super" ruffle.

Here are the two ends hanging off a hook so gravity adds to the differences even more.

End result (the bad part):

  • The two ruffles really do look like they're on two different scarves. In fact, one ruffle is a good 1/3rd wider than the other.

  • Same with the actual body of the scarf. The thick side is about 1/4 its own width wider than the thin side.

    End result (the good part):

  • Hey, one end will be flipped over onto my back. You won't see them together.

  • Hey, if I'm being dressy and delicate, I can have the lacy end in front. If not, then the clubbier end in front. A convertible scarf! (Okay, we are really reaching here, but it's actually true because they don't look much alike.)

  • Hey, if it was perfect it would look like I bought it in a department store.

And last but not least...

  • Hey, it's my first spin! Some people don't knit anything from their first spin. It seems fitting somehow that it would be as inconsistent as it is, and I can't help but love that about it.

So there it is. And I will definitely wear it! In fact, I think I'll wear it with pride.
I sure learned a lot more about spinning, just from having knitted something out of what I did spin.

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