And Now, Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Things went very, very quiet last week thanks to a little event called Spinzilla. Because the whole idea of Spinzilla is to spin as much as you can in a week, it means you get to attempt to drop everything for that week and churn out some serious yardage. Since I’ve been slow on the uptake of my sweater spin, I used this as my chance to really dig into that project.

You might remember this giant heap of prepped grey?

img_3691All that remains after last week is about 2 oz in the big basket and whatever is in the backpack basket. I don’t know how to quantify the amount of fiber that is if you are not a spinner, but suffice to show, in process it looks like this…

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Plus 4 bobbins, I think… Who can remember after such a whirlwind?!

And finished…

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Five BURSTING bobbins of plied yarn. That’s roughly 20oz and 1100 yards of a dk/worsted yarn (we’ll see when it’s dry to be sure). All in one week.

It’s a minor miracle that in addition to the spinning, all this fiber is already measured, washed, set, and drying. Therefore, I have no skein photos for you right now. Once it’s dry, I intend to do another good swatch with it before casting on my sweater, just to be sure I’ve got all the math set right. For this project, I have an estimated 8oz left of the grey which should be mostly just a safety net of extra yarn and then 8oz of blue to go. I will probably also spin the last 4oz of yellow I have on-hand just to be on the safe side. Considering that a week ago at this time I was looking at having a solid 40oz to spin on this project, having cut that in half is a huge mental hurdle to have catapulted over.  I’m a little disappointed I didn’t finish the grey and surpass the halfway point, but I’m happy to have made the progress I did.

Of course, as is always the case, I did not give over entirely to spinning. One of the biggest pitfalls for a Spinzilla spinner is to do nothing but spin. The first year I did Spinzilla I really leaned into it and wound up with a very sore back by the end. I took that as an important lesson. I don’t ever want my craft to be a source of injury, so now I am pretty careful to approach the week in a more balanced way. This year, I made a point to take time for yoga & a good daily walk. And thanks to that, I also got to enjoy the beautiful fall colors that are just nearly at their peak here.

Yesterday morning, Mr. Knitting Sarah and I awoke nice and early and did a little drive and hike in one of our favorite spots.

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I love the deep, dense forests that surround us. This one looks pretty dark because the sun was barely up when we were out, but the trees were bright and blazing fall color with their lively range of yellows, oranges, greens, and reds…

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The leaves were rustling in the stiff, chilly breeze with their timbre ever so slightly transformed by the autumn. It is music to the ears!

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Oh, how I do love the autumn!

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At home, the push of migratory birds has been felt in our little yard, too. The White-Throated Sparrows arrived shortly followed by the throngs of Juncos. Our little Ruby-Throated Hummingbird friend was hanging tough through some cold nights to return to our feeder, as puffed out as such a little thing can be…

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(pardon the poor quality of the photo — it was through the window, screen, handheld binoculars, and rain!) I didn’t see this little thing yesterday and not yet today, so it may have finally moved on to warmer places.

This time of year is a fun time to have bird feeders out, though, because you never quite know what you’ll see. Currently turning up at our feeders are: White-Throated Sparrows, White-Crowned Sparrows, Goldfinches, Purple Finches, English House Sparrows, Juncos, Robins, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Crows, Chickadees, at least one Fox Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Hairy Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Chipping Sparrows, and European Starlings. We’ve also spotted an early Common Redpoll, the occasional appearance of the neighborhood Cooper’s Hawk, and this little treat…

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(again, pardon the through the window, screen, handheld binoculars, and rain taken with a cellphone photo!) — this is the prettiest little Eastern Towhee I’ve ever seen. I love these birds. In the spring they sing, “Drink your Teaaaa!” in the most beautiful lilting song and I’m honored that this has decided to spend some time with us.

Our yard is also a host to an intimidatingly large number of Robins. At any given time, there are easily 40 or 50 individuals. Today they are enjoying the low spot between our lot and our neighbors’ where they are all enjoying a nice brisk bath.

Our other significant visitor was this little thing…

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Mr. Knitting Sarah caught this snapshot through his spotting scope yesterday afternoon of this Red Fox. It appears to not be very healthy, so we are keeping an eye on it and doing our best to help it as best we can. In addition to food, we were advised to provide some meds (not harmful to other animals or pets), baited in food to help it recover. Keep your fingers crossed it finds its way back to the yard and the medicine!

And that, my good friends, has been my very busy week. I’m very much looking forward to resuming the regular programming of a balance of knitting and spinning and other things this week. I’ve got some lime butter cookies chilling in the fridge nearly ready to bake, a knitting project just a few rows away from being finished, and maybe I can wrap up those last 8oz of grey fiber. That sounds like a nice balance to start out the week, don’t you think?!

16 thoughts on “And Now, Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

  1. I am glad that you found time to do some other things besides spinning this week! And still you got all that gray done, wow! I know you didn’t get done all that you wanted to, but you still got through a huge amount!

    The birds you see! Wow! I have the hummingbird feeder up still, just in case, though we haven’t seen anyone in a couple of weeks. Actually, something larger has been at the feeder, most of the yellow flower ports are gone!!!

    Hope your little fox is OK. He found a good place to be!

    1. You are right — I honestly think spinning more would have caused me injury, so it was good to take it a little easy. I did start more grey last night, so I am still plugging along.

      I haven’t seen the hummingbirds since Saturday… perhaps they finally headed south!

      1. It’s always good to have a change of pace! Glad you are still plugging away at it, though. That sweater will be so beautiful.

        I hope the little fellows have moved south, soon it will be really cold for them! Has your fox returned?

      2. I’ve seen a couple still posting in the area, but I haven’t seen them around here!

        I didn’t quite get the grey finished last night, but today will definitely be the day. I’ve maybe got .3oz left!

      3. It makes sense to go for two ply and get the yardage, and not so much weight. I checked out the pattern again, it is going to be lovely in those colors!

  2. Wow you have achieved so much in your spinning! Hope the rest goes speedily too. I love reading what you have been up to. Can I ask for some nerdy details of how you spun your yarn? I love reading how others have spun their gorgeous yarn.

    1. Thanks!

      My fiber was prepped into small 2-5gram nests of fiber to blend because I had 2 different dyelots. For the actual spinning, I used a short-forward draw to make a worsted yarn, utilizing my control card to attempt to get a DK/light worsted finished 2 ply yarn. I used a 12:1 and a 10:1 ratio (on 2 different wheels) for the singles and a 12:1 to ply. I don’t have a TPI yet as the yarn is still drying. 🙂 Is there anything I missed?!

  3. Sarah:

    That is a wonderful accomplishment. What grey fiber are you spinning.? Did you mix two color ways or more? How did you spin the fiber?

    I truly treasure the time spent in fiber pursuits.
    I work full time so any free time I can spend pursuing my crafts is treasured.

    I enjoy reading your posts and appreciate your
    generosity in sharing your journey with us
    readers. You inspire others to pursue and
    challenge ourselves in our craft.

    Thanks,
    Elizabeth

    1. I am spinning Grey from Three Waters Farm on their Merino + Tussah Silk base. It’s one colorway, but I had 2 dyelots, so I made a bunch of 2-5grams nests to integrate at random so I’d have fairly uniform yarn across the board. I spun with a short forward draw to create a DK/light worsted worsted yarn. Any other questions about it?

  4. I’m totally in love with the red fox and surely hope he makes it. Your and Mr. TKS’ photography is always so beautiful. I always feel like I’m right there with you. The spinning isn’t bad either. 😉 So, when do you start the sweater? Can’t wait.

    1. Once the grey yarn is dry that I just spun, I will do another swatch to make sure the math is all good and then I’ll be casting on! I’m guessing another day or two on the drying though as it’s been raining and will keep raining for another couple days, so it’s pretty damp around here!

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