May 20, 2008


The Central Park Hoodie has been placed officially On Hold for the following reasons: Noro Socks and Portable Spinning. For these are my two most recent obsessions.

First off, I could not be more psyched about how the Noro sock yarn is knitting up, with one exception. I should have either knit them up on US1s (I'm on 0s) OR, added just a few stitches. They are just a TAD bit snug around that undefined part of the foot that no one thinks about but sock knitters. You know, that point of widest circumference from the bend of your ankle around your heel and back. However, I am willing to make the sacrifice and just pray that it stretches out a bit.

I took the ball of Noro, skeined it, then wound it into a center pull ball, and now I am knitting in 5 row stripes from either end of the skein.

Regarding the portable spinning, I got an interesting comment yesterday from the Stalked-by-Comcast Spinnifer. "Pretty funny you being so excited about 'portable spinning'. Centuries worth of peasants would laugh."

True, true, spinning was a chore for those folks. I mean, Columbus's sails were woven from thread spun on a drop spindle, however that is precisely the reason I love it so much. It's something my ancestors did. Well, my ancestors weren't Spanish and surely didn't help with Columbus's sails, but my ancestors surely did this.

Wait, I just found out that Columbus was Italian, and, as easily as I burn in the sun I do have Italian blood, so that right there is irrefutable PROOF that my ancestors helped with the sails.

So, while my ancestors were spinning Columbus's sails and doing all the very hard work that people in that era did simply to survive from day to day, they were NOT working in an overly air conditioned office spending 40+ hours a week creating mock ups in Excel, trying to avoid soda, remember fish oil and increase their intake of dark green leafies, and having argumentative debates about the perfect web based software applications to support the future of the mystery shopping industry. Good for them, really, because while the certainty of food on my table every day, warmth in my house every night and the assurance that I'm not about to be raped and pillaged by evil, corrupt nobles is a luxury I am eternally grateful to have, the software industry and all the rest of it starts to seem a little pointless after a while.

So, I spin because it puts me in touch with a simpler, more meaningful yet much more difficult time, when the hard-won victories and every day drudgeries that people devoted their lives to actually mattered on a very personal, concrete level. Plus, it's fun, it's calming and it centers my mind.

Having said that, I agree with Spinnifer. Though these peasants, upon seeing the ease with which we live our lives and the ridiculously superficial things we fret over on a day to day basis might actually be closer to irritated than amused that I'd be so excited about the ability to do for fun what they had to do for survival, while in a car that goes WAY faster than horses on the way to a movie theater to watch some film in which the very same peasants were grossly misrepresented by Hollywood production companies who simply didn't bother to do enough research.

(Is it obvious that I have several huge projects I need to start on? Really, my name should be Daft Procrastinator).

So I filled up my spindle (or, possibly, I was just so excited to unwind it that I'm just calling it "filled") and wound the single into a ball. I found this awesome suggestion on Rav about taking a paper towel roll and cutting/taping it to fit snugly over my ball winder, then winding the single onto that. So I've done that and have just started spinning the second spindles-worth. Once that's done I guess I'll just spin up as many singles as I can, then ply them together in some way.

This is what I have so far. It takes SOOO much longer to spin on a spindle, but I still really enjoy it.

And here's the second spindle JUST begun

Oh, squee.


Sarah said...

Those socks are just beautiful, I love the vividness of the Noro in fun stripes. And you summed up the whole feeling of why we craft so perfectly with your new portable spinning obession.

Jennifer said...

My ancestors worked on Viking sails. Once I read that it took 11 spindle spinners working full time for a month to make the thread for 1 of their sails. The Noro sock is sure to be copied. Too bad you can't wear them for a while.

Ariel said...

Amen on Sarah's comment - you really nailed it. Heh - nailed. Also, those socks are fabulous! Are you doing anything special to avoid a jog when you change colors? And are you breaking the yarn each time (feeling many ends...) or just carrying the unused yarn along somehow? Your handspun is gorgeous too.

Tink said...

Oh my. I have seen the noro sock yarns before, but the using of the alternate ends is definitely nice! Did you find the yarn even/ knots? I don't know if we should carry it at Yarns in the Farms. Thoughts?

Jenny said...

You know, Tink, my thought is actually that I've never been to Yarns in the Farms, and today is our anniversary, so we are headed up to Gloucester to walk around and eat fresh seafood, so perhaps I'll make a stop in Beverly to visit your shop and tell you about the Noro in person. :)

Jenny said...

Doh. You're closed today. Okay, well then my opinion is that you should definitely carry it. It's intriguing and new and I know a lot of people who are looking for places where they can see it and buy it, and while there are certainly people who don't love it, there are also people who REALLY do. :) I haven't found any knots, however I've heard that other people have. The yarn itself is a bit thick and thin, it's a fairly uneven single ply, however that's one of the draws for me.