Another Monday and a new week’s worth of goals!! But first, a recap of how I did with last week’s goals.

  • Write tectonics, soil, and land use sections – COMPLETED!!
  • GIS: work on land cover classification & do analysis on sectors based on slope and aspect – I worked on the land cover classification, although it still has to be improved, but didn’t touch slope or aspect.
  • Start slides for Spring Symposium presentation – didn’t do this and am not sure I’m going to try to present at the Spring Symposium, which may be a time sink that I can’t afford.
  • Exercise 2 times this week – I went to the gym and rode the bike twice last week and went on a walk yesterday.
  • Finish knitting Bousta Scarf – Knitting is completed, but still need to weave in the many, many ends and block this scarf.
  • Read about how to do editing – Didn’t do this, so I need to work it in with this week’s editing of Chapters 1 & 2.

An overall productive week and not just with my knitting! And now for this week’s goals.

  • Edit Chapters 1 & 2 into a 2nd draft – my big project for this week. I’ve broken this down into chunks by day to keep myself from getting overwhelmed.
  1. Monday – Chapters 1 & 2 overall organization (sections); resolve dating issues (convert all to B.C. and A.D.); and make sure all references are properly linked.
  2. Tuesday – Edit Chapter 1 (this is a short chapter that introduces the entire thesis and will probably change quite a bit once I’m finished, so I’m not spending too much time on it).
  3. Wednesday – Edit Chapter 2: Geology.
  4. Thursday – Edit Chapter 2: Climate, etc.
  5. Friday – Edit Chapter 2: Land Use.
  6. Saturday and Sunday – as needed.
  • GIS: land cover classification and create validation file – I got a lead on another type of land cover classification that I’d like to try. If I have time, I’ll also try to work on slope and aspect.
  • Work on slides for Spring Symposium/AAG presentation – need to get started on this!!
  • Exercise 2 times this week – same as previous weeks, although getting in another geocaching walk would be wonderful.
  • Knitting – weave in ends and block Bousta scarf; work on Lace Ribbon scarf.
  • Spinning – try to spin for 15 minutes every day; need to work on developing spinning muscle knowledge.
  • Create 1 outfit – I’ve long felt that I need to improve my wardrobe and sense of personal style. Although I’m spending this year working on my thesis (mostly) from home, I felt it last year when I taught both fall and spring semesters and struggled through dressing the part of professor. In a thread on the Anthropologie fan group on Ravelry about “How do you shop? and What makes a great wardrobe?” were some links that I poured over yesterday in between georeferencing maps. Two of my favorite links were The Essentials of a Well-Balanced Wardrobe and Academichic. Essentials lists items that belong in Basic, Staple, Statement Pieces, Evening Standards, and Showstoppers categories to serve as the basis of a wardrobe. I’m happy to say that I have most of the staples, but am lacking in most of the other categories. The only thing left out of these lists was a list of essential shoes. Academichic is a blog written by 3 Ph.D students at a midwestern university that has been online for over a year now. I spend quite a bit of time going over their archives yesterday (and this morning) and favoriting pictures of outfits I liked on flickr. Their outfits are inspiring and they also have good tutorials on color. Plus they have a wonderful list on “Comfortable Yet Chic Shoes” that I’m going to base shoe selection on in the future. In their honor and to get myself out of my jeans and hoodie rut, I’m going to try to make one “outfit” each week, which I’ll probably post here.

Well, I have a busy week planned for myself, so I’ll wrap this up and get to work.

Cast on for my Ravelympics/Knitting Olympics project during the Opening Ceremony last night. Here’s my progress during the first two hours of the opening ceremony.

I’m knitting the Traveling Woman shawl in this lovely purple sock yarn. I wasn’t thrilled about the patches of bright pink at first, but as I knit more and the pink becomes part of the overall pattern, I’ve made peace with it. The pattern is simple so far (still in set-up rows), but might get more challenging with the lace charts.

Before the opening ceremony, I finished plying my handspun skein of yarn.

The yarn was originally all going to be the colored yarn with the white, but I ran out of the white, which I had spun first and was thicker in places. Luckily I had wound the colored yarn into a center-pull ball. I simply pulled out the other end from the center and used that in the place of the white. I washed the skein and hung it up overnight to dry.

Here’s the finished skein.

It’s not a masterpiece of handspun yarn, but it is mine and usable. And it’s much better than the first skein.

From my experience spinning this yarn, I’ve learned how to make a fairly thin single, even though I still have to park and draft. And I’ve learning that spinning is addictive and it’s a good thing I don’t have any more fiber in the house, since I have an Olympic shawl to knit in the next two weeks.

I’ve been spinning up my first real skein of yarn this last week (the first skein of single-ply is a brown mess, but what can you expect from the very first try?). I finished spinning the singles last night and began plying them together today.

Here are the finished singles.

As you can see, I wound up each single into a ball from the spindle. Now I’m using my spindle to ply the two singles together.

The finished effect looks like a multi-colored candy cane, but I think it’s pretty. Here’s a close-up of the plied yarn.

Now I just need a cool name for this yarn. At least something better than “Second Skein of Handspun,” so if you have any ideas for names, please leave them in the comments.

I really don’t have extra time right now, but I signed up for the Knitting Olympics sponsored by the Yarn Harlot. The premise is simple – decide on a project to be completed while the Olympic flame is lit (from Opening to Closing Ceremonies) that is challenging for your skill level.

My Knitting Olympics project is the Traveling Woman shawl – my first lacy triangular shawl project. I will be using this beautiful purple sock yarn I bought last week for the shawl.

I’ll cast on tomorrow night during the Opening Ceremonies and devote my knitting and spinning time to this project alone. I’m going to try to finish the spinning for my first (decent) handspun yarn today and double-ply it tomorrow. I’ll try to post pics of my progress tomorrow.

In the meantime, I have a thesis and book chapter to write and a conference paper to prepare. Just as long as they don’t cut into my knitting time. Or something like that.

I have a serious addiction. It’s to yarn. My yarn addiction hasn’t yet translated into a huge yarn stash (yet being the operative word), but I’m afraid it has now morphed into an addiction to making yarn by spinning fiber.

I’m 2/3 of the way through the fiber samples that came with my “Learn to Spin” kit. The first yarn was bad…

I left this skein as single ply, as an example to future yarn that I shall spin.

This is the second sample of fiber that came with the kit.

The ball on the right was spun before the ball on the left (with penny). My consistency is getting better and I believe I’ll be able to make a yarn I can use to knit with. This yarn-in-progress is now waiting because I’m going to spin the third fiber and then ply the two together.

Here’s the third fiber, waiting to be spun.

I can’t wait to see how the yarn will end up once I’ve spun the above fiber and plied it with the white.

There is one problem with this plan, however.

I’m almost out of fiber to spin. Thank goodness for the internet and shops that sell fiber. Following the advice of a well-respected spinner, I purchased a variety of fibers. I purchased for my educational purposes: 8 ounces of Romney wool, 4 ounces of black Alpaca/silk blend, 4 ounces of Tussah silk, and 8 ounces of Organic cotton. I also bought a new, lighter (and prettier) spindle, to help with spinning the silk which can be difficult on heavier spindles (or so I’ve read).

In summary: I’m learning to spin and getting better every day and I just spent my yarn budget for February and March on a new spindle and a variety of fibers to spin. I do believe I am truly addicted to yarn.

Before I show off the fruits of my new hobby, here’s the completed scarf I made for my friend.

Completed Gift Scarf

I completed a section (3.5 pages) of Ch. 2 of my thesis today after meeting my friend for lunch (and giving her the scarf). As a reward for finishing this writing, I decided to open the Learn to Spin kit and well, learn to spin.

Here’s the kit, showing the 3 types of fiber included in the kit. I read the included book and decided to start with the top (brown) fiber.

I couldn’t get it. I didn’t understand how to “draft” let alone start with the spindle. So I turned to my favorite online teacher – YouTube.

I found this video by theartofmegan (who I then subscribed to) titled “Spinning Yarn on a Drop Spindle – Tutorial”. It took me two viewings, but the video helped me figure out how to get started spinning.

Now I’ve spun about half the brown fiber into very, very lumpy yarn. But it is yarn and I can still knit with it when I’m finished. From everything I’ve read, it takes time to learn how to make smooth, even yarn. I don’t care if my yarn is lumpy (well, I do care a bit), I still turned that fiber into something I can knit with. And that’s saying something.

Okay, so the postman only rang once, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get something fun in the mail today. I got the Learn to Spin kit from The Bellwether.

The kit includes a booklet on how to spin, a spindle, and three batches of fiber to start spinning with. I’m very excited the kit arrived and had to force myself not to play with the wool right away. One of the reasons why I couldn’t play with the spinning kit right away is that I need to finish a scarf I’m making for a friend. I’m meeting this friend for lunch tomorrow, so there’s a bit of a time crunch. Luckily the scarf knits up quickly and is almost finished.

The scarf is knit in long rows until it is as wide as wanted. I’m using a different yarn for each row, so there are different colors and textures in the scarf.

Here’s a close-up of the yarns in the scarf. I’m repeating yarns, but not in sequence to make the scarf more funky. I just need to knit on a few more rows and the scarf will be finished. Just in time for lunch tomorrow.

And then I can spin!!