Jul 25, 2009

Tour de Fleece, Day (Mumble)

Tomorrow's the end of the Tour de Fleece, and while I didn't do as much spinning as I wanted to, it still helped me get some of my spinning-brain in order. I also used up some stash ... even if I acquired new stash along the way. (And hey, I still have one more day.)

This is the latest finished product for my Tour de Fleece:

Moorit Corriedale

That's the moorit Corriedale I've been working on forever. It came out to 448 yards of two-ply fingering weight yarn. I'd say that's worth spending a few hours on, although I'm not sure my total is really respectable (Looking at my Knit Wars totals, I spent a total of 13 hours on that yarn, including plying). It's enough yarn to knit a pair of socks or the lovely Endpaper Mitts, but it's not really a profitable amount of time to spend on one skein of yarn, is it? ;)

Next up, I'm working on finishing the second half of the Proud Peacock BFL I picked up from Gale's Art at Convergence here in Tampa (was that this year or last year?). If I'm very very good, I should finish that by the end of the Tour de Fleece.

Three skeins ain't bad, I guess...

Jul 14, 2009

Tour de Fleece, Day 11?

This past weekend in the Tour de Fleece I fell out of the Peloton and into the Lantern Rouge, the team for people who can't spin every day. I thought it might happen — it was even likely — but I hoped I'd be able to overcome that through sheer momentum. I spun some more of the Colonial on the drop spindle on Friday, but Saturday I got waylaid by chores, errands, a birthday celebration, and most of all, a melodramatic boyfriend who not only ate Saturday night, but also sucked up most of Sunday and my energy for that day, too. Alas. The power of angsty significant others is greater than the power of the spinning wheel ... at least in the short run.

Today, though, I got back on the wheel and spun some more of the moorit Corriedale. No photos; it looks like yet more brown yarn on a bobbin at the moment.

The first Cricket loom scarf did get worked on over the weekend — finished, in fact. I completed the weaving part and took it off the loom on Sunday to start twisting the fringe, then finished the fringe yesterday and washed the scarf. Today, it's dry, so it's officially done. Cheers.

And my organic batts from SpinSpanSpun arrived last week. Motivators for the remaining portion of the Tour de Fleece?

Organic batts from SpinSpanSpun

Jul 9, 2009

Tour de Fleece, Day 6; and my new Cricket loom!

My Cricket is finally HERE!

Warping it was way, way easier than warping the cheap but bigger rigid heddle I bought a while ago. Meridith of SweetKnits even sent me some nicely-matching yarn to replace the handspun she was going to send along originally (it was an angora blend, so I had to turn it down), and it's on the loom right now. I thought it would take me at least an hour to warp this thing, since it took an appallingly long time (four or more hours?) to warp the monster rigid heddle even with Brian's help ... but I think this took me way less than an hour. Yay, Schacht, for sending good warping directions!

I am, alas, too lazy to take a good photo of the loom itself right now, but here's what's on it at the moment:

Weaving close-up

And — all right — if I must share my crappy first photo of the Cricket, here it is:

New Cricket loom!

The Cricket and I were bonding, and I didn't want to leave it to spin for Tour de Fleece, but Le Tour is Le Tour. Somehow, using my drop spindle seemed like it would be less intensive than sitting at the wheel, so my poor, abandoned possibly-Greensleeves spins again:

Tour de Fleece, Day 6

If I remember correctly, that's some Colonial wool I got from Uncommon Threads.

And in case anyone was wondering, last night's test knitting was cursed. First, I couldn't find the pattern, even though I thought I had specifically put it into the bag with the knitting so I wouldn't lose it — it turned out that I had put a different piece of paper in there, that I just thought was the pattern. Sigh. Then when I tried to print a new copy of the pattern, the printer jammed about four times. There must be a tiny piece of paper stuck in there that I won't be able to get out without taking the thing apart. Sigh, I say, again. Then I had to go to bed, since there's still that pesky office job thing going on. The test knitting was just not fated for success yesterday.

Still, that and today's unhinged day at work set me up to receive the Cricket loom tonight, and my first Super-Awesome Bag of Crap swap from the Ravelry Spin or Dye Swapping group:

Bag of Crap from maiziemama

Those little balls of pencil roving are so very soft, and the chocolates are so very good (and I'm pretty picky about chocolate) ... This is a most awesome bag of crap. It was almost worth having a crappy day to get that and the loom and my new Harmony needles and blocking boards from Knit Picks all on the same day.

Oh. And. I gave in and bought some books from Interweave's Hurt Book Sale. I should really stop buying random things ... but ... but...

But they're useful...?

Jul 8, 2009

Tour de Fleece, Day 5

Not much visible progress in today's Tour de Fleece spinning: I got to the other end of the bobbin! Yay! But I only spun for half an hour, as I want to play with the Weave-It and work on the Phoenix Bess test some more.

Tour de Fleece, Day 5

But I did make a sparkly green square on the Weave-It last night. It took me about half an hour to do this one, but it was my first time using a small loom in a while.

Sparkly Weave-It square

My second square, made of white bamboo yarn, took a little more than 20 minutes. If practice makes faster, maybe someday I'll be able to do four in an hour. Ha!

Jul 7, 2009

Tour de Fleece, Day 4

Spent way too much time taking photographs today and far less time spinning — but spin, I did! Inspired by another TdFer's yarn, I dug out some moorit Corriedale I got from a swap:

Moorit Corriedale

Moorit Corriedale

(Does anyone know what "Wiljamie Victoria" might mean? It sounds mysterious — or like a romance novel character — but that's what it says on the label right below "Moorit Corriedale.")

There's only a little on the bobbin after today's spinning session, but going back to this fiber tomorrow should be a treat more than torture; that is, it'll be the opposite of what I expect the red Rambouillet to be when I get back to it ... This stuff isn't as sproingy as the Crazy Corriedale, since it's commercially processed (or it looks and feels like it), but it's amazingly, blissfully nepp-free. It was even happily cooperative when I tried the long draw technique on it.

Lame photo of some moorit Corriedale singles

Some of those photos I spent too much time taking were of the now-dry Crazy Corriedale yarn I plied yesterday.

Crazy Corriedale

The others were of some hand-dyed wool roving in "Glen Eden" from Neauveau, since I thought I might convince myself to spin it today.

Glen Eden wool from Neauveau

Instead, I'm trying to decide what form of semi-artistic-style yarn might best show off the roving's serene colors. Maybe I'll add some extra bits to the yarn to accent the colors without changing the texture of the yarn itself. But what to add? That's a question for another day...

Jul 6, 2009

Tour de Fleece, end of Day 2 plus Day 3

My spinning wheel, a Kromski Sonata, had its maiden voyage to the porch on Day 2 of the Tour de Fleece.

Tour de Fleece spinning, Day 2

It was a hot and muggy day for it — 87 degrees in the shade and 66 percent humidity — but we spun on valiantly.

Tour de Fleece spinning, Day 2

Not the best day for an unexpected battle with the Rambouillet of Doom, though. That fluffy, innocent-seeming fiber was neppier than it looked (I should have figured something was up when I saw that my test skein was so small) so I gave up on the "fairly thin yarn" idea and spun it long-draw, pitting my will against its, trying to find a happy medium between where it wanted to go and what I wanted to spin. The result: nearly 2 ounces of hard-won thick and thin singles.

Tour de Fleece Day 2

Whew. I restored a little of my sanity by buying an organic batt from SpinSpanSpun. And another. (But they were on sale, and a fellow Tour de Fleecer tempted me with her finished organic yarn!)

Today's Tour de Fleece spinning goal was to clear up a bobbin or two for the other half of the evil red Rambouillet (or possibly to make room for politer fiber), so I dug out the jumbo bobbin and plied the Crazy Corriedale from the long-draw experiment.

Tour de Fleece, Day 3

Hurrah! I'll see for sure after I wash and block it, but it looks softer and artsier than the short-draw-spun Crazy Corriedale that took me what felt like about the same amount of time to spin. Does this count as art yarn? Does it mean I've met my Breakaway team goal?

My other reward for getting through today was that my vintage Weave-It loom arrived:

Vintage 4.5" Weave-It

The woven square in the photo came with the loom. I haven't played with it yet, except to paw it, but after my initial test square, I'll probably be trying to weave a variant on the Triangle or Rectangle? shawl from WeaveZine.
Tomorrow, if I'm feeling brave, I'll spin some more of the red Rambouillet. If I'm not feeling so brave ... well, we'll see.

Jul 5, 2009

Tour de Fleece, Day 1 and morning of Day 2

Day 1 of the Tour de Fleece was mostly a bust, but I did spin a small amount of yarn. An extremely small amount. I finger-spun a tiny bit of hand-dyed Tussah silk I grabbed for comfort factor while moping that I should probably go to bed rather than stay up and spin, since it was after midnight when we got home from 4th of July festivities. Still, I did spin something, no matter how small:

Tour de Fleece Day 1

This morning, likewise, was full of putz. I suffered from a bout of "fiber fright," meaning that I was stymied by the usual unwillingness to use up/mess up precious pretty stash fiber — and the knowledge of my own unwillingness made me all the more aware that if I forced myself, I could end up not enjoying myself as much as I should. And what's the point of that?

But I finally got off my butt, pushed aside the fiber fright, and decided to tackle the four ounces of red Rambouillet and blue mohair that I won in a blog contest a while ago:

Tour de Fleece fibers

Tour de Fleece fibers

It should make a pretty decent shawl-type object, so I'll be spinning it fairly fine. (One good thing about lighter-weight yarns is that they can be doubled to make a heavier knit, if I want to go that way. So I have more options if I spin more finely.) I don't think I've ever spun four ounces of yarn in one day, so this should keep me busy for a bit.

Spin, spin and away...!

Jul 4, 2009

Summer of Spinning and the Tour de Fleece

The spin-a-thon continues apace! Today's featured fibers that will (hopefully) be spun up in the next three weeks:

Tour de Fleece fiber

Why in the next three weeks? I'm participating in the Ravelry Tour de Fleece (that's a link to Ravelry, so it won't work if you aren't signed in), which means I'll try to spin some yarn every day of the Tour de France. As the description on the group says, "The concept is simple: They spin, we spin — a real spinning-themed spin-along." The Tour runs July 4 through July 26, with days of rest on July 13 and July 20.

Tour de Fleece participants can join a variety of different teams. I'm in:

  • Rookies — For first-year participants.

  • Climbers — For spinners taking on big personal challenges.

  • Breakaway — For spinners of art yarn.

  • Peloton — The main group, which everyone is in.

  • Stash Busters - For tamers of the stash.

  • And, of course, Team Hopelessly Overcommitted — A "wild card" (participant-created) team for those of us who just can't help ourselves.

My personal goals for the Tour de Fleece:

  • Spin at least a pound (16 ounces) of fiber during the Tour. (Overall/Climbers/Stash Busters)

  • Spin at least one skein of recognizably arty yarn, not relying solely on thread-plying for its artsiness. (Breakaway)

  • Spin at least three of my special stash fibers. This is a Climbers team challenge for me because I tend to hoard certain fiberbits. (Climbers)

  • Coinciding with the Tour de France's toughest leg on July 22, spin something challenging.

  • Prep and spin at least one bag of washed fleece. (Stash Busters/Climbers)

So the 2 ounces of Peace of Yarn (30% baby alpaca/50% Merino wool/20% Tussah silk) from Bahr Creek Studio will count toward the Climbers goal(s)....

Tour de Fleece fiber

The 8 oz "bleached Irish linen" white flax (from Little Barn) will probably get spun on Challenge Day...

Tour de Fleece fiber

...and the 5 oz hand-dyed wool locks ("Summer Garden" from Neauveau) is destined to turn into art yarn for the Breakaway team.

Tour de Fleece fiber

Also, the roster for David Daniels' Summer of Spinning now contains me and this blog, which means I'm going to spin something, anything, between now and Labor Day. The first event should make the second event a gimme, no?

Finished Object: Branching Out scarf

Behold! The Branching Out scarf I started two years ago is done!

Branching Out scarf

Branching Out scarf

The Phoenix Bess secret test knit has been received and cast on. It looks like it's going to be an enjoyable and quick knit, especially since my new Knit Picks Harmony wood circular needles were magically the correct size for the pattern AND I magically got gauge with them. That seems like a good sign.
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