Monday, October 17, 2011

Trust My Instincts

This last week reminded me that I should listen to that little voice much more often, at least as far as textiles are concerned.

Listen Up #1:  My latest traveling sock has had pattern issues.  It's one of those self-striping yarns in a somewhat subdued colorway (navy & gray mostly), so I set about finding a pattern that offered a little bit of patterning without being ridiculous to remember.  I am now on my 4th try.  The first two contained double decreases, which, while are a nice look, are kind of a pain on a traveling sock.  Ripped out both of those starts.  The third try was a pattern from an online source, which said to *K2tog, K2, yo, K6*, repeat and do every row.  Well, while nice, it was making quite the ridge in the sock.  Right along, I kept wondering why isn't there a plain row in between the pattern rows?  I would read the pattern again, still the same.  I finally came to my senses, tried it with a plain row and was much more satisfied.  Frogged it yet again, and now it's clearly working out.

Listen Up #2:  While stash diving to find already washed fiber to run through the picker, then the carder, I came across some what looked like really nice white wool.  A mystery wool and really clean.  I handled it, squooshed it and thought it seemed a bit dry, but went ahead with picking and carding anyway.  Picking did not really show up any problems, but carding sure did.  I should of gotten to know this wool a bit better (like checking for weakness) as it "broke" while carding.  That was quite the mess of a huge number of little nepps and very little fiber that didn't break...looked more like snow than fluff.  Arghhh!  That earned me a couple of hours of serious cleaning time on the carder.

Listen Up #3 (where I actually listened):  Another batch of fine white wool:  this one was a give away at guild a couple of years ago by someone who was destashing.  The tips were still stained, full of veggie matter and quite dry.  I gave it another wash, which helped the dryness and got rid of some more dirt.  Picking went  just fine and when it came time to card, I checked for any weakness (seemed good).  Really looked at the fleece, definitely on the fine side (likely a merino cross), so slowed down the feed and take off a lot.  Son-of-a-gun, the roving coming off looks really nice (other than the previously mentioned VM...less of it, but still a fair amount).  Then I got to thinking, gee, it looks really good, should I try speeding it up in the interest of time savings?  At that point, the little voice said, "NO!  Leave it be.  It's fine just the way it is." 

In the "practice pile" of wool, there are two fine fleeces of known heritage.  One is a merino and the other is a CVM/Romeldale cross.  After this last batch, I'm feeling more confident that they will come off looking very that I've had it proven to me that the little voice has really good instincts when it comes to fiber and textiles.

Update on the practice pile...the CVM/Romeldale cross is just lucious.  I can hardly wait to show it to Amy, that particular sheep's shepherd.  The merino?  I decided that it should probably be washed a couple more times, but tried a handful anyway to verify.  Good decision...noiled up right away.

PS:  As far as "Am I open yet?", I'll say "Yes, Acorn Works is ready to go.", although there are a few loose ends that need tying up (things like a flyer and a website).  I imagine any start-up has those!

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