Monday, March 31, 2008

A Very Jane Weekend

On Saturday I watched The Jane Austen Book Club, and then got to thinking that I have only read three of Jane Austen’s novels (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma), and should read them all. So I went to the local used bookstore to see what I could find. Let’s just say that it’s you’re place if you’re after romance novels of a much more explicit nature, but it was terribly bereft of classics. There was nothing to do but drive over to the nearest town of consequence and see if I could do better, and now I’m reading Mansfield Park and only missing Northanger Abbey. On Sunday, I figured I’d make a weekend of it and watched Becoming Jane.

I think I might have caught the lace bug. I mentioned before that I’m spinning some laceweight. The first project is tussah silk top, which is naturally a ‘honey’ color. Mine arrived a bit more on the beige side I dyed it to be more gold and it turned out sort of a champagne color that I like very much. Spinning it is kind of a pain, not because it’s fine or slippery, but because the fibers come loose and stick to everything. I can’t just spin from the end like I usually do, or it coats my jeans and anything else it touches. Worst of all, it sticks to my naturally sweaty hands. I spin a handful, then rub my hands together, and have a little fluff of waste that comes loose. Frustrating. But I have 4 ounces and the intended project is small, so I’ll stick it out.

Tussah Silk

The other laceweight project is the Spunky Club February mailing, Think Spring South African Fine. My first instinct was baby stuff, but I’ve been doing a fair amount of that lately so I wanted to do something different. I sat down at the wheel, and, well, laceweight happened. As it tends to do when you have things set at the smallest whorl. I’m thinking maybe a Flower Basket Shawl?

Spunky Eclectic Febrary

Speaking of whorls, I ordered the extra small and extra large whorls for my wheel from The Woolery, and I’m dying to try them out. They came unfinished, though, so I didn’t want to use them and get oil on them before I finished them, and it took me a while to come up with a good way to do that. Some pegboard thingies from the garage turned out to be perfect.

Give it a whorl

The stain I hastily picked doesn't quite match the finish of the rest of the wheel, but since these aren't 'original' parts I'm not too bothered. They'll look less odd this color than in the unfinished light wood. I’m really happy that I could expand the capabilities of my wheel with only a $30 investment. I can only imagine what the extra small whorl will produce. Cobwebs? And I can't wait to try for chunky singles with the extra-large whorl.

All this laceweight spinning of course got me to thinking about knitting lace. I finally do have enough alone time to knit lace, and I could even wear it if I wanted to since there’s no Bruneaux around to jump on me and snag it. Little dogs can’t jump that high, and Smiley is better mannered than that. Before I knew it, I had pulled out a project that I started last spring and finished the first repeat and am already halfway through the second. I think I might commit myself to one repeat per day until it’s finished. The good news is that it gets shorter with every row from here on out. And I think I’ve finally figured out how to read lace, so it’s going well.

Lily of the Valley resurrected

How’s that for avoiding knitting sleeves or taking pictures for a tutorial? After all, it's hard to get into gloves and sweaters with this going on outside.

Azaleas in our front yard

Think spring, indeed.

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