Archive | November 2014

Spinning “S”, Plying “Z”

I know I still have some catching up do with documenting my OHS spinning journey. I will get there and probably back date it. Anyway, I figured I should take a bit of a breather and do something a little different with my hands to help avoid injury from repetitive motion. It is that time of year between the spinning and the crocheting orders. So I figured now was a great time to update my progress.

Today I decided to give some “s” spinning a shot. It’s part of the next series of assignments. I must confess that I don’t spin “s” very often. I don’t think many people do. I am interested in exploring this method more though because I have heard a theory that yarn spun “s” (plied “z”) works better for crocheting .

Spun "s", plied "z" - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Spun “s”, plied “z”

I’d better take a step back here because if you’re not a spinner, you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about! “S” and “z” are in reference to the direction the wool is spun.

Spinning yarn counterclockwise is adding twist in the “s” direction
Spinning yarn clockwise is adding twist in the “z” direction

How I remember is z=clockwiZe

While I was spinning “s”, I discovered that I needed to treadle faster and put more twist in. It was breaking on me, even when I was just spinning the single. And then when I went to ply, it broke on me again. This is the part where I would LOVE to bust out ye olde fast flyer, but I won’t. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to in this course at this point. Even if I was, I still want to get a feel for the effort I need to exert to achieve the desired results with my regular flyer.

So obviously I have some more practice to do. And that’s okay. A friend and sister student had used a term in her post that has described my experience to a “t”… Perfection paralysis. I think it’s so important that we remember that really, in the grand scheme of things, we’re still newbies. We ARE going to make mistakes. Our spinning is NOT going to be perfect. It if was, then what the heck are we doing taking this program? I just got to the point where my attitude is “I’m giving everything I have and if it’s not good enough, I still know I did my BEST.” I know I have a lot to learn, so if it’s not perfect, I don’t give a damn. It just means that I need practice. Marks, schmarks. This is the part where I just need to focus on becoming a better spinner. I’m not spinning to get high marks. I’m spinning to learn as much as I can so that I can pass it on. I think the very humbling experience I had in the Fibre Arts course has helped me stay level. I know I keep saying this, but it is my mantra… Mom always said “All you can do is do your best.” I’m on it Mom!

A Pattern Rant… Again!

I got my first order for a couple of very popular character hats. My customer had sent me a picture of the ones that she wanted and I was able to find the exact pattern. So rather than try to figure it out on my own by looking at the picture (which I could have easily done), I figured I would support yet another independent designer and purchase the pattern.

I am so sorry I did at this point. I say “at this point” because I do have a message in to the designer asking for the missing information.

This pattern had no gauge. It had no measurements, finished or working. So even if I followed it to a “t”, I wouldn’t know if it fit until I finished it and checked it with the measurements my customer sent me. Thank goodness I’m not a crochet newbie! Could you imagine if this was one of your first “big” projects and it didn’t fit? Things like that are enough to make some inexperienced stitchers throw down their hooks in frustration and blame themselves. That makes me sad.

I buy patterns a)to support designers and b)to save myself time. I know there are a lot of wonderful free patterns out there. When I run across one, you bet I sing the praises of the pattern and its designer. I also know there are a lot of designers cranking free patterns out and not having them tested because of time constraints. I’ve ran across my fair share there as well and some of them were atrocious. When it comes to a choice of a free pattern versus a paid pattern of a similar item, I will purchase the paid pattern. Reason being is if there are any issues, I feel the designer is responsible to address them because they have been given money out of my pocket. I’m not saying I wouldn’t send a message to a designer of a free pattern, but I don’t feel they should be held as accountable because what it comes down to is: you get what you pay for.

When I pay for a pattern, I expect that this pattern will save me time and I will get the required size IF I MATCH THE GAUGE. If there is a gauge and my item doesn’t turn out, the onus is on me. When I see that there is no gauge, I’ve already made up my mind that I won’t be purchasing any patterns from this designer in the future, no matter how well-written and illustrated it is. Sadly, that’s the case with this one. It looks like an excellent pattern.

I have messaged the designer and I politely asked for this information. I also suggested that they may want to include it in the pattern for others because I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world that may or may not match their gauge. We’ll see how it goes… Sometimes designers take offence, even when you tactfully point out that they’re missing important information. My intention is to help. I don’t want to nitpick or degrade them. BUT we’ll see what their reaction is. My attitude will depend on that.

UPDATE: I did get a message back and she said that I wasn’t the only person asking for a gauge. She sent me one and said she’s working on the others. Yay! So… I won’t be naming names (and I wouldn’t have anyway), but I will be posting finished results when I get them done and linking to where you can purchase the pattern as I do with all my finished items. It may not necessarily be the next finished item I post, so please don’t jump to conclusions as to who it may be. And even if you do, this gal has a ton of good stuff to say about this person’s work because the pattern itself is great! I won’t post a finished item or a link to a pattern if I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends.