TdF Day 8

Posted in planning, spinning, Tour de Fleece, WIP by tchemgrrl on July 7, 2012

I did a bunch of things today, so I thought I’d change up the format of the picture:

TdF Day 8

Just a quick shot of everything I worked on.

Starting from the left:

The thicker purple and navy yarns are going to go into a sweater for the Toddler–this would be one small bit of the rainbow fiber that I’ll be working on once the BFL is complete. The purple is one of the handspun 3-ply samples that I made to match the navy blue commercial yarn. This particular sample got closest–even the twist looks surprisingly similar in spite of the fact that the commercial yarn’s a 4 ply. I’ve got the singles sample for this yarn, unwashed, to compare as I do the spinning for the rainbow yarn.

The lighter blue yarn is the laceweight silk I’ve been working on in short stretches since the first day. I started breaking the thread a bunch today, so it might require more attention than I pay in my knitting group.

The next yarn is some llama fiber that I got in a fiber club a while back and never did anything with. I still don’t know what I will do with it (as per my recent post), but I’ll be spinning it up into a 3 ply yarn in the DK to worsted weight range. The fiber is lusciously soft but I’m having a hard time spinning it without overtwisting; it’s been a while since I’ve worked with pure camelid yarn and it doesn’t seem to be like riding a bicycle.

The last yarn is the last–last! bit of the BFL fiber. My Big Project basket is disturbingly empty now that I finished all that. Something will need to be done, pronto. Once these singles are all plied up, the rainbow fiber will be taking up residence.


TdF Day 7

Posted in spinning, Tour de Fleece, WIP by tchemgrrl on July 6, 2012

One week!

So far, I’ve spun about 8 ounces worth of singles and plied about 275 yards/4 ounces of those singles. Not too shabby. I’ve still spent more time online than I’d like, which is my main Tour goal, but even so, that 8 ounces is about 7.95 ounces more than I’ve been managing in a typical week lately, so I’ve definitely got something to show for cutting down on the screen time.

Today, I did a little more work on the BFL on the wheel while the toddler watched some Sesame Street. (It was too hot to be outside and we’d run through most of the indoor amusements already.) Unfortunately I discovered that “mommy sitting” = “mommy must want to nurse me for the next hour, okay I guess!” so I probably won’t be spinning when he’s awake very much during the Tour. Spindle’s fine, so after that fun I worked on the silk for a bit. I also started in on a silly little project:

TdF Day 7

Some of my friends have made really lovely yarns from all their left over singles, so I went into my scrap box and started adding things. For both of these balls of singles, I specifically pulled out anything that was 1) not too precious, 2) relatively thick (a 2-ply DK weight and up). One ball is only dyed or white fibers, the other is only brown/gray/tan/far off-white fibers. My thought with mixing it that way was that the brown tones would have a chance to mute the brighter colors more uniformly.

In going through the stash I actually found two plying balls all ready to go. This in addition to some of that BFL that I already knew was ready and waiting. So I’ll probably have a ply-fest at some point. Maybe that’ll happen during the last few days of the Tour when my husband will be away on business; I expect that spinning anything more complex than already-made yarn will be beyond me on those days.

There’s 2-3 ounces of singles here, and I have a bit more fiber to go. My main observation after taking a trip down memory lane with all these old threads is this: Apparently, I really like orange.

Day 6

Posted in spinning, Tour de Fleece, WIP by tchemgrrl on July 5, 2012

TdF day 6

Vahn, Two! Two bobbins, ah ah ah! Vahn bobbin left, then the plying!

Ah ah ah!


TdF Day 5

Posted in FO, spinning, Tour de Fleece, WIP by tchemgrrl on July 4, 2012

TdF day 5

Finished the Starcroft Fiber yarn–colorway “Lobster Bake”, Maine Island sheep’s wool roving is the fiber, ~225 yards for 4 ounces, and a pretty good yardage for the thickness; I think it’s worsted+ for thickness. Lightly spun singles with a bit extra plying twist, as I like the yarn that results from that combo, particularly for a somewhat rustic fiber like this one.

As I showed yesterday, I plied this yarn on the spindle. It was getting pretty fat by the end, but I plowed through until the end. After my ridiculous plying attempt of over 7 ounces on a spindle, splitting an ill-behaved 4 ounce cop seems like, well, a cop-out. (ouch.)

I also plied a bit of extra singles I had, and am now eyeing the shoebox with lots of scrap singles balls. I’m thinking of making a scrappy yarn like one of my local spinning friends often does with amazing results. I’m thinking of having one ply be naturals/grays/browns and the other ply be colors and brighter whites. We’ll see.

A little silk, and I did some more of the BFL singles but didn’t get a pic. I’ll show the progress on that tomorrow, by which time I hope to have finished the bobbin.

TdF Day 4

Posted in spinning, Tour de Fleece, WIP by tchemgrrl on July 3, 2012

TdF day 4

Got my second wind after writing yesterday’s post, and I did finish off this bobbin of singles and got set up for the second (of 3). My hands are trying really hard to make this yarn thinner than it should be, but hopefully it’ll be all right when all is said and done.

I walked into work this morning with husband and son, plying the Starcroft Fiber Mill yarn as I went. Was briefly tempted to ply off the third floor balcony of the building I work in, but good sense and fear of heights won out over desire for efficiency. It’s nearly done, I should be able to finish it tomorrow over the holiday, unless some other project leaps into my hands.

J asked me what I was planning to make with the orange yarn as we headed towards campus. I’m not really sure. It’s a problem I often have with the gift of craft supplies. Many people complain that a gift of supplies from someone who doesn’t craft is usually impeded by the giver’s lack of experience–a person giving a knitter of lace shawls some eyelash yarn, or a skein of sock yarn to knit a sweater. I’m fortunate enough to not have that problem; J’s mom, in particular, is a non-crafty person who always manages to come upon really great fibers and then give them to me. The brown yarn in this vest, for example, was some drop-dead gorgeous Corriedale from a small farm that she ran across in her travels. And my mom found some lovely pin-drafted Merino recently that is my next big planned spinning project.

But I do have a hard time coming up with ideas for what to do with gift fiber or yarn. I’m very much a “start with a plan and then buy fiber to suit” type of person. Even if the project itself changes, the yarn or fiber has that kernel of… what? emotional investment? inside of it that allows me to see its possibility. Sometimes it’s harder for me to get to that point when a raw material magically appears. I have the same trouble with fiber and yarn clubs. They look like fun, but in my experience the product mostly sits there and confuses me.

This fiber made its desires known in terms of how it wanted to be spun–all wooly and squishy, with a bit of thick-and-thin nobbliness. But now that it’s nearly complete yarn, it doesn’t seem to have much else to say. Perhaps it wants to be a skein for a little while.

TdF Day 3

Posted in spinning, Tour de Fleece, WIP by tchemgrrl on July 2, 2012

TdF Day 3

Finally sat down at the wheel! Spun up some of my last batch of BFL singles while catching up on Legend of Korra. Did a bit more of the silk on the bus. It was a rough night with the toddler, and a busy Monday at work after a week away, so not the most productive spinning day. I plan to head to bed early so it won’t be a productive spinning evening either. But good sleep tonight=more productivity later.

TdF Day 2

Posted in planning, spinning, Tour de Fleece, WIP by tchemgrrl on July 1, 2012

TdF Day 2

Finished the Starcroft singles. A mindless project that can follow the toddler around is a boon. I wound them into a plying ball, and then added some old singles to what singles I had left over. The leftover singles are from Susan’s Spinning Bunny. I’m not sure about the fiber (though it’s probably Falkland) but I know the colorway is Mahogany. I then had leftovers of the mahogany, which I wound into its own plying ball. I have a couple of plying balls ready to go so there will probably be a plying spree sometime this week.

I spent quite a lot of time on the silk, not that you can tell. Fine spinning is fine.

I have some rainbow-colored superwash wool that I want to use as stripes in a sweater for T. I want the colors on the sleeves and body to roughly line up, so last night after I posted, I did some calculations to figure out what goes where–that’s what’s on the paper. It’s not spinning but this has been the thing preventing me from starting on that fiber, so I’ll count it. I’ll also be doing some sampling to see what goes best with the commercial yarn it’ll be knit with.

TdF Day 1

Posted in spinning, Tour de Fleece, WIP by tchemgrrl on June 30, 2012

My primary Tour de Fleece goal this year is to just focus on spinning for the next few weeks and not waste so much time online doing I-don’t-even-know-what. So while I’ll be updating regularly here, the posts themselves will either be on the short side because I’m not saying much so I can get back to spinning, or else they’ll be longer because I won’t spend as much time editing myself. 🙂

Here’s the results from day 1:

TdF Day 1

Most progress made on the right; that’s some wool from Starcroft Fiber Mill that I got as a gift from my in-laws. I spun a bit while chasing the toddler around; it’s a reminder that I CAN do that, at least some of the time. He’s getting a lot more independent; we went to a playground today and the only time he wanted help was when he accidentally dropped his ball off of the structure. The remainder of it was spun with my Saturday knitting group. Another regular is also doing the Tour so we compared notes and fiber. (She’s a phenom so I assume she’s washing her first pound of plied yarn right about now.)

The fiber is a nice crunchy medium wool roving; I’m spinning it as a not-too-thin two ply. Easy, mindless stuff.

I also did a very small amount of spinning on my Bossie; the fiber on the left is silk from Susan in the Blimey colorway. I haven’t done much fine spinning lately so this is an effort to keep those skills fresh; I’m spinning it as finely as I’m comfortable spinning this particular spindle with an ounce of fiber on it. (I tested this by doing a brief sample on one of my heavier spindles). It’s going to take forrreevvvver, but that’s the point. I just want something lovely to work on in odd bits of time, and when I’m done I’ll have a few gazillion yards of beautiful silk thread.

Less sporty than table tennis

Posted in fun, knitting, Knitting Olympics, planning, spinning, Sweater for JJ, Tour de Fleece by tchemgrrl on June 21, 2012

I’ve been thinking about the Tour de Fleece and the Knitting Olympics, which are coming up pretty soon.

I’ve decided that my goal this year is going to be pretty basic, but still a challenge compared to my recent tendencies: spinning and knitting take precedence over goofing around online. I’ve been spending way too much time doing way too little, lately, and have just gotten to the point where I’m getting annoyed at how much time I’ve wasted. I’d like to see how much I can get done with that “waste”, as a reminder to myself when click over to Ravelry the 30th time that day.

Some projects I’ll likely work on in the Tour:
-Finishing the yarn for J’s sweater.
-Finishing the spindle spun wool I’m doing now, and probably starting a new spindle project after that. I’ll have to look through the stash beforehand and come up with a good candidate.
-Spinning this awesome rainbow yarn for a sweater for Toddler. I have some very particular plans about striping on this one; I’ll need to know quite a bit about which sweater pattern I will use first, but once the organizational phase is complete the spinning will be straightforward.
-It seems ambitious, but if I finished all those, the next thing in the queue is some very nice Jacob roving for a winter hat for J, which I think he asked for two winters ago now. Oops.


Spot Hollow

Likely Knitting Olympic* projects:
V-Yoke cardigan, which has had a significant amount of work go into it, but which is still FAR from done.
– A sweater for toddler, if I get the rainbow yarn planned in the Tour spun up.

Inspiration from the pile of yarn that I got in the yarn swap will probably fall on my head, though, which would render any of these plans moot.

The plans are intentionally pretty low-key, like I said. My main goal is to get back into the habit of sitting down in front of the wheel instead of the computer. The main prep will be to decide on a toddler sweater pattern, pick a likely spindle spinning candidate, and clean and oil the wheel.

*Knitting Games, maybe? I wrote this just before this got started. I have no comment except “Hoo boy, don’t get knitters mad.”


Posted in spinning, Sweater for JJ, Tour de Fleece by tchemgrrl on July 18, 2010

Weekend stuff:

1) I finished and passed along all the shop samples.

Wild Hare Fibers, non-breed specific wool top, Bonfire colorway:

bonfire yarns

The top yarn is the chunky singles, the middle yarn is the barberpoled 2-ply, and the bottom is a chain-plied yarn. Three ounces total.

Abstract Fibers, Targhee top, Gypsy colorway:

Gypsy yarns

Targhee top dyed by Abstract Fibers in the "Gypsy" colorway. Spun up as samples for my LYS.

The top yarn is the not-very-chunky singles. The middle yarn is the barberpoling two-ply. The bottom yarn is mostly a novelty coil yarn. Very goofy, but fun.

(At the very bottom of the picture is a stealth appearance by the Baby Swell’d Area, which is apparently big enough that I can take a picture of it without realizing until loading the picture onto Flickr.)

2) I did another yarn sample and swatch with this fiber, since I was using a different wheel and wanted to get comfortable using a faster whorl to spin a consistent yarn. I got a yarn that J and I really liked on pretty much the first try; a heavy sportweight 3-ply that’s light and smooth. I’ve just started spinning the singles but I haven’t gotten very far.

3) I finished plying and cabling the remainder of the cotton I’d spun up:

cotton pre-wash

And processed it in the way I’d seen recommended:

cooking cotton

Boiling for about a half hour in water with a little dish soap and baking soda thrown in to clean the fiber and maintain a slightly higher pH to develop the color. The green did indeed darken considerably; it’s now very obvious. (Pictures tomorrow when I get batteries for my camera.)

4) I finished plying the silk/sea silk after my plying ball adventures, and started working on the yak/merino blend I’d mentioned. That was indeed the most compelling thing in the stash for a spindle project. While looking for it, I did a good little organization of the fiber stash, and found the box considerably emptier than I’d remembered. It will be even more so once I work through that Blue Faced Leicester. Huzzah! Another tour goal achieved!

I had intended to get a little bit more done this weekend (working on the sweater yarn in particular), but for various reasons it just didn’t work out. No matter–I’m pleased with how much spinning I’ve gotten done over the last two weeks.

It seems like a good time to check in on my Tour goals to see if there’s any little things that need sorting out in the last couple of days.

-Get comfortable with the charkha again? Check.
-Spin up all the naturally colored cotton and cashmere? I’ll finish up the cotton in an evening this week, but I probably won’t get to the cashmere. On the other hand, I did a bit more with the cotton than I’d initially planned by plying most of the singles.
-A quick and good job with the shop samples? Big check. It took me a while to get the hang of spinning a chunkier yarn but the end results came out really well, plus I felt like I knocked them out quickly.
-A day where I go for spinning a mile of yarn? Argh. It just hasn’t panned out and it’s not going to by Wednesday–mostly the weather, mild pregnancy woes, and some Life Busyness have conspired against me. I’d still like to try it sometime soon, and I’ll probably do it with the sweater yarn. Perhaps next weekend.
-Less slacking more spinning? Pretty much, yeah. It’s good to see all these skeins of yarn building up.

All that, plus a fair amount of spindle spinning. Not too shabby.