Sunday, August 28, 2011

Transition Time

Classes begin tomorrow and I can't decide if I'm ready or not.  It's not that I feel unprepared, or that my workload is going to be overwhelming, it's simply that I don't think I've made that necessary mental transition yet.  You know, the one that allows you to switch from sleeping until noon to waking up at 6am.  The one in which you must develop a drive so strong that you can continue day after day with only four hours of sleep a night.  The one that helps you understand that even though you've already played your clarinet for seven hours that day, the next two hours of rehearsal are still just as important and you can't give up quite yet.  The one (and this is the kicker) that prepares you for the idea that for the next nine months of your life... you may not have enough time to knit.

It's a tough transition.  And one that I hope I have made by 6am tomorrow.  (I'm bringing my knitting to school just in case.  Sort of like a comfort blankie.  I just need to know it's there.)  Of course, I think I may have a bit more time to get from point A to point B.  The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is currently touring Europe until September 12, so although classes technically begin tomorrow, almost the entire school of music faculty is out of the country, so two of my classes won't start for three weeks and I won't be having lessons until then, either.  Sometimes it's best to take it slow.

Apparently that's my motto when it comes to spinning these days, too.  I've been spending a lot of time preparing for my ensemble placement audition (a necessary evil) and that combined with all the secret knitting I've been doing lately means I don't have much time to sit at the wheel.  It's quite sad.  I did spin up the first ounce of my Cupcake batts, though.  (Oh my, I should not have clicked over there to get the link.  I barely resisted buying the gradient ocean ones.)

When I first posted these batts, I got a few emails asking how I was going to spin them up, so here's how I'm preparing the batts to be spun.

First, I unroll/unfold the batt and lay it out flat.

That is the point in which I normally do the petting.  Then I split the batt lengthwise into four strips.

I then take each strip and draft it out a little bit to make sure that the fibers aren't too compacted and I think pulling it into a thinner, longer strip helps me with fiber control as I'm sort of new to the wheel spinning thing.  The cupcake batts come in a nice crush-proof box, so pre-drafted isn't really essential, but with other fiber preparations it might be.

Once each strip is drafted out a bit, I wrap them up into cute little fiber nests.  (Except in my head they're not cute nests, but unpredictable, manly fiber volcanos.  It sounds more bad-ass.)

I just wrap the strip around my hand and then pull the loose end through when I get to it.

If you'd rather not pull your batt into four strips, you could also split it into one piece by doing some zig-zag magic.

And then once you draft it into a single long strip, you can wind it into a big fiber ball and spin it from there.

I personally prefer the smaller strips because it gives me a natural stopping point.  If I were spinning an entire ounce from one strip, I'm not sure I'd have the willpower to stop spinning in the middle of it.

Of course, you could also not do any prep and simply start spinning from one corner and go and go and go until it's gone.  There's no problem with that, either.

And because I've been stringing you all along this summer with my knitting, here's what I've been working on.

See?  That's a sweater, a sweater, a sweater, a sweater, and now a sweater.  (Things are truly unpredictable over here.)  The second sleeve is almost done.  I can blog about this one because it's a sample of Hannah Fettig's Carrot Cardigan, which is already published, so I don't think there's any harm in showing you, right?  Right.

And now, as is usually the case, back to practicing.


  1. Transitions are tough, I go through the same thing every Sunday evening. Eventually I'll get into the swing of getting ready for work mondays....

    Good luck with school enjoy it as long as you can :)

  2. I'm so glad that you have had a little time to spin - I have high hopes for time with a wheel next weekend - I'll be thinking about you tomorrow.
    ps - I have 4 more boxes of that Ocean - there will be one here for you when you're ready.

  3. Manly unpredictable bad-ass fiber volcanoes?
    Also, good luck with that schedule. I mentally said "Screw that" halfway through your discourse on it, so good on ya, mate. You're more disciplined by far than I.

  4. I totally understand the transition thing as a long-term student. I just got my master's (like, diploma-in-the-mail recent) and am currently dealing with the lack of transition that I'm used to having to do. It's weird.

    Also, I just finished the Carrot Cardigan this past spring and I love it!'s a lottttt of stockinette, ain't it? One of those great pieces that you'll wear often, though. Best of luck with the rest of the sweater and your new semester!

  5. *snickers* Erupting volcanoes of manliness! Works for me.

    I say knit during the school day when you are able to, and need a few moments to destress. Something simple, and soothing.

  6. Good luck with classes and practicing and all that jazz. Just remember how well you did last year and keep that momentum going!

    Also: I love your manly volcanoes of fiber. Very tough. ;-)

  7. I know it will be an adjustment, and I hope you do find knitting/spinning time throughout the new semester. That batt is spectacular, as is your first batch of spinning from it.

  8. I love your fiber volcanoes!! Also, that's a lot of sweaters...

  9. I hope you're adjusting to the school schedule easily, sweetie. Love the manly volcanoes of fiber. Although, I refer to mine as balls. Shut up.


  10. I don't go anywhere without at least one knitting project. And by at least I mean usually about 3. I leave 1 or 2 in my car for emergencies. I panic if I think I'm going to finish my project (usually very unlikely) and scramble to find something else to have just in case. So obnoxiously unreasonable but knitting keeps me from getting cranky waiting in lines/getting road rage/getting distracted when I should be paying attention... Take your pick lol

  11. What a gorgeous color!
    I am a bit late on this post (I was on a trip) so I assume you made your class choices by now and hope they turned out well.