I'm feeling unsure and feckless.
I cruised down the straightaways this weekend on both the spinning and the knitting fronts, making faster progress than I expected, and now I've run into temporary roadblocks. It's a bit like the feeling I get when I've finished knitting all the pieces and have to look ahead to the darning in of ends and sewing up.
I've finished spinning and plying all of the Coopworth wool that will become my first handspun sweater. That's a big achievement, for a novice like me, and I'm very excited to see the pile of yarn skeins where before there was a pile of rovings. And, really, getting that last half-pound done in a little over a week shows that I'm getting better at this. That was breakneck speed.
But now I've hit the brakes. There's a small chore ahead, of course, the task of washing the handspun to finish it. But that has the reward at the end of seeing what the yarn will really be like. The bigger reason I feel a little stymied, I think, is that I miss the ability to sit down at the spinning wheel whenever the fancy takes me, and just do a little more spinning at any moment without any thought or planning.
The handspun yarn now joins the stash, at least for the time being, until I make some decisions about the sweater it will become, and until the Pine Bark sweater is done. And the spinning wheel rests until I decide which wool comes next in the queue, and what sort of project to make with it.
At the same time, I've knit the front of Pine Bark all the way up to the notched armholes. And what that means is, uh-oh, I have to decide on the shape and construction of the neckline before I go any further. I have a general idea, but all the specific measurements and details have to be worked out. And I'll probably have to do some more swatching to test out my theories. That just takes too much mental energy at the moment. Of course, I could put the front aside and start on the sleeves for a while.... No, probably best to just take a little break and then think my way through it.
I don't really like to get too many projects going at once, since I do like to finish things. But right now I seem to need some kind of project as a pacifier, that I can tool along on even while I work the other things out in my head. Maybe it's a nice time to start a small, portable project, since Pine Bark has gotten big enough that I don't necessarily want to cart it around everywhere. Maybe for this one, instead of worrying about the myriad little decisions it takes to make up my own, I'll surrender myself to the calm and soothing feeling of following an existing pattern just as written.
The more I think about it, the more that sounds like exactly what I need right now. It will be a refueling stop. I have a skein of Schaefer Anne sock yarn that I picked up from Carodan Farm at the Fall Fiber Festival, in a nice array of subtle olive and khaki tones. (Of course it's much prettier than the picture conveys; I'll have to try to get a picture in daylight.) Winding 560 yards into a ball by hand was a nice mindless task to get me started.
And I found the Gentleman's Fancy Socks pattern in Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks book that calls for Schaefer Anne, so I don't even have to think about a yarn substitution.
Aaaahhhh. That's better.