Saturday, February 9, 2008

FOs: Baby Yoda Sweater, handspun; Getting in shape for childbirth

Yes -- the Baby Yoda sweater is done!

And y'know, right after I wrote my last blog entry, I discovered my first few seams were. totally. wrong. I had sewn the left cardigan front where the right should be, and then blithely sewn the right sleeve on. How did I manage such a boneheaded maneuver? Well, I had bound off the neck stitches and left the shoulder stitches live on that side, instead of vice versa (they were right on the other side), and I didn't check the slanting neckline.... Enough excuses. It was just boneheaded. So I undid the incorrect seams and put everything back together the right way on Sunday, in one marathon stretch so I wouldn't give myself an excuse for further procrastination. And now it's complete:

I checked in with my spinning teacher, who works at my LYS, about colorfastness. She said there had been some dyeing issues with Toasty Toes, now resolved, and that I could render this sweater colorfast by soaking it in a strong white-vinegar solution for a couple of hours before I wash it. Good enough.

I now have another project to occupy my idle hands. Having made a hat and scarf for DH, a pair of socks for myself, and a sweater for DS-on-the-way, it's time for something for DD. She's getting a purple spring/fall sweater, from Shine Sport (KnitPicks) in violet (of course). I'm planning a front-placket sweater with the "fancy buttons" specified by DD, along the lines of what Jacqueline Fee outlines in The Sweater Workshop, but with a higher percentage of stitches for the sleeves, to make it fit a child. DD is going on 4, so I'll aim for about a 5-year-old size for growing room, and I'll keep a couple of skeins of yarn for lengthening sleeves or hem later on, in case that will extend the wearability. Right now I'm a couple of inches short of the armpit, working bottom-up:

This is the second most boring knitting project I've ever done. The most boring was a stockinette cowl in pashmina, and there the fiber helped make up for the hours of unbroken stockinette. I asked DD if she'd like some cables or something, and she declined. I told her I might insist on a cable up each sleeve or some such if I'm going insane with boredom by that point.

Also, as promised, here are photos of my first four skeins of handspun, all washed and with the twist set, with pennies for scale:

These have all been described in previous posts. From front to back, they are: white Lincoln, spun in the grease on a spindle and 2-plied on a wheel; white Lincoln, spun clean and Navajo-plied on a wheel; and two skeins of brown Corriedale/white Lincoln, spun clean and 3-plied on a wheel. All but the first came out nice and balanced, though I had to run the Navajo-plied yarn back through the wheel to remove the extra twist from my not being able to keep up while plying. Here are some close-ups:

Mittens, here I come, with the three clean-spun skeins. I'm still spindling some greasy Corriedale to match the Lincoln, and I hope to make a hand puppet of those two.

In our last class of beginning spinning (not counting the dye class, which I'll have to do later, when I'm not pregnant), we learned how to spin worsted from top, predrafted or off the fold. Spinning off the fold doesn't quite click for me yet, but worsted feels pretty good.

In my non-fiber life, I've started a Bradley childbirth preparation class, and I'm liking it a lot so far. It's easy to hear, "Eat well and exercise regularly" from my doctor and not end up doing it. But in the Bradley class, my marching orders are very specific: so many servings of each different kind of food per day or week, so many reps of these exact exercises every day, and so on. And I'm doing well so far -- there's nothing like a daily chart to reactivate my good-student compulsiveness from my school days. The exercises ramp up in reps or duration for the first six or seven weeks of class and then hold mostly steady until the due date. We'll see how I do with the more strenuous demands. But already I'm feeling stronger and more energetic. Besides the exercise and good food, part of the energy is likely coming from getting to bed a bit earlier, since bedtime now involves a nightly 20-minute massage from DH for relaxation practice. Yeah!! I'll go to bed for that!

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