Bit by Bit

This has been a week for plugging away and getting things done little bits at a time.

I’ve been plugging away at the new sock. Just a little every day. Nothing better than some play time with your favorite yarn. I love it so much I’m not even thinking about the sock schedule (but for those of you keeping track: this makes about 4.4-ish pairs out of what should be 5 by now out of what will, I hope, be about 17.3 by the end of the year).

This weekend I’ve also been plugging away at the spinning. I’ve spun up about a quarter of the Mad Color Fiber Arts Superwash Merino/Bamboo/Nylon Top I’m trying to turn into sock yarn, wound that into a ball, and started on the next quarter. I’m trying not to tempt fate by keeping too much on the spindle at once. I suspect that if I spin this in 4 bits instead of 2, then (1) I can keep a better eye on the thickness of my singles and (2) if said thickness ends up more varied than I would like, it would be easier to have, for example, 2 thicker balls and 2 thinner balls that I could mix and match for plying, than to have just 2 balls, each of which has thick bits and thin bits. (Also, I just have to: balls! bits! thickness! OK, I’m done now.)

I don’t know a whole ton about spinning yet, but I found with the last yarn I made that spinning it in just 2 sections led to a finished yarn that doesn’t look very consistent. I’d say it goes from a fingering weight in some sections to a bulky weight in others, and I really wasn’t going for that. I was trying to be as consistent as possible, and didn’t quite realize how much variation there was until I started plying it. So, for this yarn, going very slowly with smaller bits and stopping often to let the yarn twist back on itself to see if it looks roughly like fingering weight when doubled is the strategy.

I feel like I’m getting the hang of spinning bit by bit as well. I’m starting to move away from park-and-draft. This feels very exciting. I can actually keep the spindle going while I draft, and it just sort of started happening at some point. I didn’t really notice the change. I’m finding a spinning rhythm that works for me, too. The thing I still need to work on is how to hold the fiber supply. I can’t seem to find a way that’s comfortable if I want to hold more than a maybe 6-inch long section at a time. If I have a very long section of fiber to work with, I can’t wrap it around my wrist or fingers because then I feel like I’m constantly stopping to unwind more of it (is there a good wrapping method that allows you to smoothly “feed in” more fiber as you run out?).  But if I let it hang towards the floor I find more often than not it gets caught in the spindle and things get sweary. Ah, well. I’m taking things little bits at a time this week, so I’ll just not worry about this goal for now. One of these days maybe it will just come to me.

I’ve been plugging away at the exercising as well, managing to get at least a half-hour on the bike or yoga mat every night, and on my less busy nights a half-hour on each.

Thanks to a horrid antvasion I’ve been plugging away at cleaning up the dinner prep dishes while I cook and keeping the counter tops sparkling every night as well. That’s not to say the antvasion was caused by my or Dan’s housekeeping skills – we just get a different bugvasion every year and this year it’s carpenter ants – but it’s fallen to us to deal with it. We’re trying as much poison and cleanliness as we can muster. So far we’ve avoided a resurgence.

Finally, I’ve been plugging away at a few City of Heroes characters. My sad, lonely game account was crying out to me. The last few days I couldn’t resist and I’ve been logging in and playing a bit while I have breakfast.

All these little bits are adding up to progress and that feels good. All this routine makes me wonder if it might soon be safe to tempt the cello out of hiding and see if I can’t squeeze in 10 minutes a day with him as well. It’s been years since I played. I’ve lost my calluses by now. Now that I think of it, this might be the perfect time for me to start playing again – you have to build those calluses up bit by bit too.

11 thoughts on “Bit by Bit

  1. I used to play the violin and, like you, it’s been years since I played. I’m not even sure I could hold a decent tune anymore! Glad to hear you’re feeling productive, from the sounds of it a little at a time gets a lot done!

    1. I took the cello out the other night and realized I really need to take my time just figuring out how to tune it again! The pegs didn’t want to move and I was terrified I was going to break them, even though I know they’re pretty strong.

  2. You had a very productive week! I should follow your lead and make better use of the small bursts of time I have intermittent to the time-suck that has been my schedule so far this month.

    1. Any time I can get into a routine like this and keep up the motivation it feels so good. I’m sure something will throw me off track soon enough but for now I’m trying to fit in everything I possibly can.

  3. So much progress, YAY!
    I gotta say, I was the same way when I began spinning. I still am hesitant about the amount I leave on the Spindle, and i will probably always have consistency problems, but like you, it all comes with practice. I also noticed that I stopped park and draft without really realizing it.

    1. Thanks – I love hearing about others’ experiences learning to spin. It’s nice to know what I’m going through is a common thing. The more I do it, the more things start to just happen, the more I feel like I’ll totally get there and be a “real” spinner someday!

  4. Cello? Amazing! It’s the ones instrument I always wanted to learn and never had the opportunity to.
    Anyway, thanks for letting me know that my sock yarn is coming. Yours is also on it’s way! They are going to cross paths 🙂 Hope you like them.

    1. Even after having played for a few years, I still feel like the cello is the one instrument I want to learn. I never got much further than scales. We’ll see what I can do once I get him in tune.

      I’m so excited for new sock yarn! My scrap supply is dwindling & the Life-Long Blanket needs feeding. Thanks again for the trade!

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