The longer one has knit, the less inspection of the WIP occurs as rows are knit. Countless blog posts and Rav notes describe the "Oh sh*t!" moment when comprehension hits.
My schematic for Leilani describes 32" across the back. Did I check my most recent gauge from the front pieces? No. Did I measure when the back could have been called a somewhat wide gauge swatch? No. Understanding came slowly, menacingly, 1+ skeins into the piece. I noticed that I was very bunched up on a 24" needle. I knit it onto a 32" needle, measured. Oh sh*t. 35.5 inches. I was knitting a schmata. It took several days for me to become an adult about this. Photodocumentation preceded frogging by minutes.
Cheryl S recently frogged a bunch of knitting, as did Anne. Courage by example works for me. The part that burns my toast is that my yarn is inelastic. Knitting occurs in short bursts because my hands become unhappy. The good news is that the pattern is only stockinette, with periodic decreases.
I am spinning Felicia. Lynn (who seems to be appearing here often) posted a challenge on Ravelry, to spin an entire fleece in the month of September. She allows half fleeces, which is what is left of my lovely Corrie/Romney X from Ingrid Byrd at Ward Brook Farm in NH.
Felicia has since gone to the great green pastures in the sky. Spinning one of her last fleeces is a meditative journey on life, death, and what we leave behind. I planned for a worsted weight yarn, spun woolen, classic three ply. The meditation switches quickly to what is being drafted in my hands.
What does a shepherd owe her spinners? What about fiber mills? What kind of fleecy outcome should land in our spinners' laps?
How much VM is reasonable? (There is surprisingly little in this fleece. Ingrid handpicks them before selling them.) If a sheep is not advertised as coated, caveat emptor rules. You buy VM at fleece weight. That is part of the natural process. The other extreme (Louet or Ashland top from nameless sheep) is not necessarily a more desireable choice.
The middleman is the shearer. This is potentially the weakest link. Second cuts will produce lots of nepps, both great and small. I know I rarely go hunting for these in fleeces that catch my eye at fiber festivals. I should probably change my impetuous habits.
The fiber mill is a huge variable. Spinners pay lots of dollars for the assumption of good processing. The mill can only produce the best job with what we give them. However, they can process poorly and produce unspinnability out of loveliness. (Felicia has some big nepps. Some appear consistent with second cuts, and some may be the result of processing.)
I recently discovered that a Whitefish Bay ewe fleece in my stash was nepped into unuseability. Dollars on top of dollars wasted. Hopes dashed. I can comb the roving, and salvage some. Half? Slightly more than half? Is it worth it? I'm not sure. (Fiber mill responsible available by PM.)