I've been spinning for about a year now, but I'm by no means an expert. This whole "setting the twist" thing really boggles the mind! The first batch of the plied Zanzibar came out perfect, but the second batch felted in the washing machine; I'm not really sure what I did differently, either. Fortunately there was enough in the first batch that I could still knit something with, like a hat or scarf, but it's disappointing all the same. Mom's suggestion is that I felt it the rest of the way and cut one side open to make a scarf out of it.
Now that I'm finished with the Zanzibar, I've started working on the merino/tussah roving (see Wheelies) and finding out that it's much more difficult to work with than I thought it'd be. Up to now, I've only worked with wool, which is probably--just guessing here--better for beginners because it's easier to control. This stuff is really soft and slippery, so when I'm drafting, I have to fight the pull of the wheel while I'm trying to pull just the right amount of fiber, so the yarn's thickness keeps changing as I go along. And this is with the brake band almost completely relaxed! I'm going to keep muddling on, of course, and see what happens. I still have another four ounces to work with, so hopefully by the time I get through the first bunch of roving, I'll have gotten better at it. There's always something new to learn, and always a new challenge.
Next on my list, once I finish the second Spartan, is to get a better handle on knitting cardigans. I--silly little me!--decided to knit a cardigan for my father as a belated Father's Day gift. Naturally, the one time I called and would have preferred to speak to his SO, HE answered the phone. And--silly me!--I told him what I was planning to do. Well--argh!--he, being the gracious soul that he is, immediately put a bunch of conditions on it, like what weight the yarn should be. It now occurs to me that, while he's seen me work on socks, he still has no freakin' clue what's involved. Bearing this in mind, I ignored his requirements and, while I'm using an approximate color to the one he requested (the shop I bought it from didn't have a true, dark navy blue), I'm using worsted weight yarn. If he wants a cardie in sock weight yarn, he can bloody well knit it himself! Okay.. maybe I'm being nasty about it, but as usual, I started out to do something nice for him, and he once again proved that he doesn't necessarily deserve it, and probably won't appreciate it. Last summer I finished a pair of socks for him, and he immediately concluded they wouldn't fit under sneakers, even though I pointed out that I was able to wear sport-weight socks under my own sneakers... and even worsted weight socks fit comfortably under my sneakers. So, ask me why I'm knitting him a cardie? Dunno.. glutton for punishment, I guess. So far, I've started the back panel
Also on my list is Christie's birthday present. Her birthday was in later June, so I got creative with PrintShop and put together a gift certificate for something Harry Potter-ish from Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. She, bless her, asked for a scarf in Slytherin colors. I have some of the yarn squirrelled away, so hopefully it'll be done before... October. Ideally I'd finish it before the new movie comes out, but July is just too hot for wool, especially in the city.