I learned that if you don't know how to buy fleece, then you should meet someone who does know. I bought a small bag of fleece at Rhinebeck and figured it would be good 'learning' fleece since it was such a small amount:
I washed a handful of it without really separating locks and got:
What the heck?! The staple length is just over an inch and I'm sure is came from the sheep's (pardon me) ass. Is this fiber the 'skirt'? I think so. Now I know what second cut means. It smelled like I don't know what (I expected that), it was greasy (I expected that, too) and it was disappointing (I didn't expect that).
Live and learn. Since this is throw away fiber, I separated the locks for the rest of the batch, put it in the lingerie bag and sent it to soak. I'll have pictures of it if I ever spin it - which I will attempt, because that was the point.
I also learned that I like making socks, but I'm no match for the folks knitting with the Tour de Sock on Ravelry. Oy! The first pair of socks for the contest was Calable (available on Ravelry only) and instead of concentrating on the socks, I went to SOAR. No regrets.
It was a 'no-brainer' that I would knit on the overnight train to New Hampshire. Yep. I worked a 10 hour day that day, got no sleep before departing and got to the train station at 1:00 a.m. Was there a chance in HECK that I was going to stay awake for the ride? Nope.
Ultimately, four weeks later, I finished sock pattern #1:
To have finished at all was a miracle, and I like the socks (don't love them). Too much work, too little time.
Needless to say, I'm out of the contest, but I wouldn't have made the socks otherwise. The money I paid to join the Tour de Sock is going to Doctors Without Borders so it's not a total loss. Thank goodness.
I also learned that Sock Pixie has given up the Sock Pixie blog and is now The Color Alchemist. She's been dyeing fiber with natural ingredients and getting the prettiest results. I would recommend that you go to her old blog to see why she's starting a new blog. My best to you and your family, Caroline!
Lastly, I learned where Sticks and Strings in Scarsdale, NY is located - thank you Nicole and Joanne! If I ever dreamed of opening a yarn shop it would be that place. It's bright, filled with yummy yarns and patterns and the store owner was delightful. Their web page is under construction right now, but if you're ever in the area (45 Spencer Place, Scarsdale) you should drop in.
Until next time ...