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Finished Spiraling

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If I suddenly disappear this week, don't worry -- I've only gotten sucked into the incredible black hole of lost time that is the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I had all my pictures ready for this post on Saturday, but then a computer game came and ate my brain. Oblivion definitely falls into the class of "dangerously addicting". In a good way, of course.

But I do have a finished project to start the week off. And this one makes me feel virtuous because it's one of the projects from my list of projects I've resolved to finish: the Handspun Spiral Rug, from Donna Druchunas The Knitted Rug.

To finish this project off, I blocked the center spiral and decided that I would do a crochet edging. At first, it was going to be a simple edging, just one row of single crochet and then one row of reverse single crochet (crab stitch) in the main solid dark blue color. But there's just something about doing single crochet that I find addictive, and I couldn't stop until I'd worked some stripes into that edging. Probably for a more sophisticated finished edge, I should have stuck with my original plans. But, hey, it's just a little rug that will probably never make it onto the floor because I can't bear the thought of cats clawing (or barfing) on or people walking on my knitting. At least not just yet. So, since I had fun, I'm willing to live with a little less sophistication.

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Handspun Spiral Rug Finished!

Some basic details: This rug was worked using Cascade 220 (the solids) and Mountain Colors 4/8's Wool (the variagateds), held double on fairly large needles (I can't remember exactly which, but it's not really critical). The colors were selected for me by Matt at Threadbear Fiber Arts (I had no advance warning since the yarn for the project was a birthday present from last year, but as always, I think Matt did a really nice job putting good colors together).

This rug looks bigger than it is. In reality, its probably not even 3 feet in diameter. Probably because even the author of the pattern got tired of knitting those garter stitch strips after awhile! I'm generally pleased with the edging I chose to do, but I also chose a crochet edging for another reason: it's much more structurally solid than an applied I-cord edging would be. This was important for me because my stitching to connect the long edges of the strips together is fairly loose in some places (because I was working hard to keep the thing from puckering) and I wanted the edging to work to hold everything in place. And, of course, even with all that going around and around with the three colors, it still probably took me less time to do the crochet than it would have to have done the applied I-cord.

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Spiral Edging: Single Crochet Stripes, Crab Stitch Edge

I think the crab stitch makes a more than adequate substitute for applied I-cord. This project did make me realize something, though. Clearly, crocheting in the round creates the same kind of "jog" as knitting in the round (you should be able to see it in the above picture). Is there any way to avoid this? I decided not to worry too much about it, after applying the galloping horse rule, but it would be nice information to know for the future.

One resolution down... 2 more to go.

Dear Unfinished Projects,

Now that I have finished the Pearl Buck Swing Jacket, you'll be happy to know that it is now time for me to decide what to tackle next. As I began to do a little spring cleaning in my fiber room, I realized, however, that a number of you larger sized projects have been hiding out, waiting to be found. Some of you, in fact, have been waiting a shamefully long time with relatively little left remaining to make you complete. I have decided that I just can't justify starting something new until a few of you become the finished projects you were meant to be.

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Top Left: Jo Sharp Kaleidoscope Vest, Bottom Left: Handspun Spiral Rug, Top Right: Liberty Wrap Top

In order to help me combat project neglect, I thought I would engage in some self-analysis.

Handspun Spiral Rug. Poor rug! I knitted through all your garter stitch monotony, figured out how to connect your edges together in a way that appealed to me, and then neglected to give you the border edging that you deserved. The word "neglect" in that last sentence was not one I chose without reason. I literally lost track of where you went. Yesterday I discovered you in a basket on the high shelf in my laundry room under a table runner waiting for a bath. How did you get there? I suspect that a well meaning husband, straightening things up before our cleaning lady came to clean, put you out of harms way in the basket and the basket got moved to a place that is above eye level for me, and since I was in denial about dealing with your applied I-cord edging I did not put to much effort into finding you. Clearly I must work harder to make sure that future projects are stored away more carefully when I am not working on them. And deal with my deep-seeded issues relating to applied I-cord.

Liberty Wrap Top. Beautiful and soft, but plagued with two issues that can bring me to a total standstill every time. The first, and more surmountable, issue is that after your pieces are complete, I will have approximatley 1,324,926 ends to weave in. If I avoid colorwork, it is almost always because of the issue with weaving in ends. The second, and much less tractable, issue is the my constant fear of running out of yarn. I have finished your back and am but a short distance from having both fronts finished. Two large sleeves and a significant amount of ribbed edging finishing still remain. And all the yarn I have left is what you can see in the picture. So in this case, the fear of running out of yarn, also exacerbates the fear of weaving in all the ends. I don't want to weave them in as I go along, because what if I run out of yarn and can't complete the sweater? All that weaving in of ends will have gone to waste. I didn't buy an extra ball of that grey and orange yarn because I've been okay with Rowan patterns in the past and because I am a cheapskate who didn't want a bunch of extra, somewhat expensive, yarn left over. I am paying for that cheap-heartedness now.

Kaleidoscope Vest. More wonderful colorwork, but fewer unpleasant ends to weave in because the incredible Jo Sharp decided to design you in such a way as to make it not so difficult to carry yarn up the sides. I started you not so long ago, with much enthusiasm (it is hard not to be enthusiastic about Jo Sharp DK weight wool). Why did I cast you aside, even after putting you in one of my cute new Longaberger baskets? Apparently in addition to my fears of weaving in ends, interminable amounts of applied I-cord, and running out of yarn, I also have a fear of garments being too small for the intended recipient, and I do not trust my own measurements, even when I have calculated them several times and know they are correct. Especially when combined with having to break the continuity of a ball of yarn into multiple pieces that cannot be re-attached if the sizing is off. Nothing would help me go further with this project unless I could hold you up against the intended recipient. Since he doesn't share a house with me, that didn't happen until February. And in the meantime my eye was drawn by the seductive Pearl Buck and the call of some long ignored yarn in my stash.

I want to let you know that there is good news for all of you. Because all of these issues are issues with me, not you, I am going to work to overcome my problems.

To my Handspun Spiral Rug, the closest of all to the finish line, requiring only blocking and a finishing edging, I promise that I will block you soon. I will also look through all my books on edgings and trims and find out if there is something that can replace that dreaded applied I-cord. Perhaps a simple crocheted edging is in order? If not, I will suck it up, pour myself a glass of wine and queue up an audio book, and deal with the applied edging like the dedicated knitter you deserve.

To my Liberty Top, although the issue of weaving in ends cannot be solved, other than by weaving them in, I will finish the remaining front piece and work on the first sleeve before I decide to be too concerned about running out of yarn. In the meantime, I will contact the place where I got the yarn from and see if they have any more of the grey and orange yarns in the same dyelot. If they do, I will order them even if I don't end up needing them. Consider it penance for being cheap (a stupid thing after you have already spent a bunch of money of the recommended amount of yarn) on a sweater that I should not have purchased yarn for if I was only about cheap.

To the Kaleidoscope Vest, abadoned because of my issues and because I am easily drawn by another pretty face, there will be no more big projects started until I have worked some more to bring you to fruition. I will curb my wandering eye. Whenever I think about buying yarn for another sweater project for myself, I will think of the two pounds of moorit CVM roving waiting to be spun, and I will sit down in front of my wheel instead. It takes me much longer to create temptation than it does for me to buy it!

In closing, I hope you all realize that I am working hard to overcome my fears and to get beyond my shortcomings. At least, I can honestly say that I think in picking you, I have picked good projects that I will look forward to wearing and using or sharing. I have come a long way from the time when I would cast anything on, even if it was not quite right for me. Clearly, I still have a long way to go in considering techniques that I will see through to the end and keeping my roving new project eye at bay, but if you will give me another chance, I will keep working through my issues and hopefully you will all be finished soon, and future projects will not be tormented so much by my lack of attention.

Sincerely yours,

The Keyboard Biologist

Going in Circles

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Before
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After

Nothing like a little water and a flat blocking board to make a rug start to take shape.

P.S. She's not quite finished yet... still got those pesky ends to weave in and the i-cord edging to apply...

Handspun Progression

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Sunday was an absolutely fabulous weather day here in Chicago. It was perfectly timed with the completion of the main body of the knitting for my handspun spiral so that I could finally get a picture that captured the real colors that Matt pulled together for me.

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Color Stripes in Series

In the last couple of pictures I took indoors, everything came out with too much yellow. While there are warmer, yellower undertones in all these yarns, the solid blue yarn really is very blue. I think that that is more apparent in these pictures.

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Lots of Ends to Weave In

Knitting the long strip of garter stitch that forms the spiral is only half of the battle in this project. The finishing requires a relatively signficant amoutn of effort. First all the ends will need to be woven in, then the strips have to be whip-stitched together to create the spiral shape. And then there is far more I-cord to knit than I really want to

Spiral Galaxy

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More good intentions led to almost nothing this evening. A few rows on a new project that I have started to help usher in the spring weather. But since even I don't consider 5 rows to be photo worthy, my handspun spiral progress is front and center tonight.

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Spiralling Outward

I'm only a couple more intervals away from getting to the finishing part. Even though the twisting that comes from working from both ends of the same ball of yarn is making me a little crazy, this is very nice knitting for when my brain is mush and I just want to watch TV. Not only that, but this is definitely a stash-busting kind of project. Got odds and ends of Cascade 220 left over after a bunch of felting projects? This is a great way to use it. Check out Julie's most recent post for an excellent example.

Spinning

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No, I haven't taken up a new hobby just yet, unless making knitted rugs counts as a new hobby. When I needed a break from Sigil, I was working on my Handspun Spiral rug.

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Spinning a Spiral

The second gold section marks the start of the second color repeat, so I'm roughly to the halfway point if you don't count the finishing work. This rug, as you can see from the picture, is knit in one long strip of garter stitch and then the spiral is seamed together to form the rug. In order to keep the project reasonably portable, I'm opting to wait to do my seaming until after the strip is completed.

This project has been a reminder to me that even something simple, used cleverly, can become complex and interesting.

Thank you to everyone for your compliments and your suggestions with regards to Sigil. She's likely to get her first trip to work tomorrow. That outing should have a lot of impact on my decision to add a zipper or not. And for anyone who is interested, I will be wrapping Sigil up (one size only for the time being) and making the whole pattern available all in one place to anyone who wants it. For the time being, it will be without the chart for the cable pattern (but with a reference for where to find it). I'm going to try to contact Elsebeth Lavold and find out if there is any way I can include the cable chart in the pattern. I know it's not a difficult chart, but the inspiration definitely came from her Viking Patterns for Knitting. Always best to give credit where credit is due.

Handspun Spirals

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A woman in Chicago in February cannot live by grey yarn alone, no matter how entrancing the cable work might be. Since I've finished all but one of my scarf projects, and Sigil is my only major project in progress, I decided tht I could give myself permission to dive into something new. Something with color, but not something too mind consuming.

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A Handspun Spiral and an Unraveled Capelet

If you checked out Julie's blog today you saw her review of The Knitted Rug by Donna Druchanas. For my birthday, my husband conspired with Rob and Matt at ThreadBear Fiber Arts to set me up with a personalized rug kit that would allow me to make my own Handspun Spiral. (To be fair, mine is not made out of handspun). Matt picked out some lovely colors for me - 3 shades of Cascade 220 (a deep gold, a purply fuschia and a denimy blue) and two skeins of Mountain Colors 4/8's wool, Glacier Teal and Yellowstone. The gold strip that rests on top of the basket is the beginning of the inner spiral.

And I haven't forgotten about my February Fix-Up efforts. Those balls of yarn sitting next to the basket represent all that is left of the Goddess Yarn's Capelet. It needs to be hanked and bathed to let it relax, but at least it's on its way.

Sigil also made it into my hands tonight. I think the assembly process is going to go somewhat slowly. Seems like any time I have to deal with inset sleeves it slows me down a little bit.

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