Ready, Set, Spin

So today marks the start of the Tour de Fleece, and annual spinning challenge that concedes with the Tour de France.  I participated last year and found that keeping up with teams took more time than the actual spinning, and with my new job (and stupid commute) I want to save as much time for knitting, spinning and weaving as possible, so I’m not participating in the Rav group, but I do have some goals for the three weeks of the Tour.


Goal:

  • To be able to spin the yarn that I set out to spin (rather than ending up with the yarn that the wheel wants to make)

It seems like the best way to meet this goal is to spin a whole bunch of fluff that I have no plans for.  Part of my issue is that I feel like everything I spin has to be useable, that if not then the fluff is wasted, and I don’t want to waste my fluff so I sometimes don’t spin what I have for fear of ruining it.  So I have pulled out a few different batts, braids and fleece that are already in handy sample size (so no worries about not being able to knit with it) or I’m not totally in love with but still really like to get into and not be fearful while spinning and take some chances.

So I guess there is a second goal of the TdF, spend enough time spinning to meet my first goal.  To that end I aim to spin at least 10 minutes a day, with a minimum of 30 minutes of spinning on days I don’t go to work.  This should give me the time to actually do some spinning, before the Ravellenic Games (formerly the Ravelympics) and knitting take over for the end of July and into August.

So with the perfect weather I may be taking my spinning wheel outside for the rest of the weekend and seeing how far I can get before Tuesday (thanks to Canada Day tomorrow I have a four day weekend.

What do Rainbow Brite, 70s Appliances, an Easter Basket and the North Pole have in common?

A range of fibers and textures, Corriedale, Masham, Merino/Tencel, and Merino plyed Peruvian Highland Wool.

They are all handspun yarns.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I have a backlog of projects that need to get up on the blog, but I wanted to show off some of the yarns I have finished off recently.

The weekend before I started my new job I pretty well had the house to myself and a bunch of fluff that had been burning a hole in the bucket so I decided it was time to actually spin and ply my darling braids.

Spinning and watching the X-Files is a totally normal weekend activity, right?

The neat thing about spinning is that you can start with similar preps and even similar fibers you can come away with totally different yarns based on what your hands do: woolen or worsted, lace or bulky.  By starting with combed top (rather than batts) I was working on the worsted side of spinning and two yarns (Rainbow and 70s were done more semi-worsted with some loft, and the Easter and Christmas yarns were done in a true worsted style, lots of drape).

Singles all stacked up

Once you have the singles, then a whole other set of decisions, single, 2-ply, 3-ply or chain ply, loose ply or tight ply.  In this case I worked mostly with tight 2-plys because I don’t spin thin enough to make a 3-ply that comes any thinner than an Aran weight, and prefer knitting with fingering, sport and worsted, and tight because I just like the way they look and work better.

All, plied and ready for a bath.

So at the end of the weekend I had four yarns with distinct personalities (and having watched some of the most awesome S3 episodes of the X-Files).

FO: Sister Scarves

The alpaca and merino makes for a wonderfully warm and soft scarf.

So a while back my sister Carla made plans to crochet herself an hexagon blanket, it didn’t work out and while she managed to destash all the full balls, there was 500g of yarn remained in partial balls and the crocheted hexagons themselves.

With the yarn the way it was, in little butterflies from the frogged hexagons and larger bundles, it wasn’t conducive to either knitting and crocheting, but would be perfect for weaving.  By using the larger balls for the warp and the little bundles for sections of weft, I could turn the yarn into something useful.

The warp on the second scarf was a bit more random, but meant that it has a racing stripe.

The two scarves were warped differently due to yarn restraints and the weft on the first is more regular (all the colors have an equal number of ends) and on the second I used up each of the colors in order and then used Chipmunk (which there was more of than any other color) to warp the full width.

I achieved the random stripes by pulling yarn butterflies from a bag, it worked surprisingly well.

For both of them I used the butterflies for weft, the first was entirely random, but for the second I was a bit more strategic alternating a large segment of Chipmunk with two and three random stripes in the other colors.

In the end I had two 3.5 yrd scarves and about 60g of yarn remaining.  I have plans for that last little bit, mostly a baby scarf for baby Nico who I made the baby sweaters for.

The first sister scarf, with equal 1″ warp sections.

– Details –

Project Name: Sister Scarf and Return of Sister Scarf

Draft: Drunken Plaid by Green Bean’s String Factory

Recipient: Carla of CarlaBeeCreations (and whomever she chooses to give the other one to).

Yarn: City Tweed DK in Chipmunk, Tabby, Snowshoe, Obsidian, Tahitian Pearl, Tarantella and Orca

Modifications:

  • Each of the scarves was warped and weft differently

New Skills:

  • Warp Stripes
  • Weft Stripes

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Wow, this yarn is so very, very soft!  I’m eager to get more of it to make Christmas scarves.
  • Draft: Yep, this confirms it, I’m a genius.  And by genius I mean super lucky and Carla did such a great job with the color palette to start with, I really was set up for success.

Re-Weave?: For sure, these babies are a great, fun and quick way to make really nice looking gifts.

The drape of the fabric is just so wonderful.

WIP Wednesday: June 13th

Wow, where has the time gone?

I’m loving my new job, I’m in my field of choice (environmental not-for-profit) but the two-hour commute is really killing me.  I have been working on my knitting, but blogging seems to have fallen off my radar, and unlike my last job I don’t have time to blog while at work.

So I have quite a few things on my needles right now, but my loom and wheel are bare.  So right now I have two pairs of socks, on the left, my casserole socks, a good, wholesome plain pair I have been designing for Felici/self-striping sock yarns, and the right my Lettucefrog Socks that I started after my trip to the frog pond a few weeks ago.

I also have two lace weight shawls on the go, at the bottom you see my Leopold shawl has had no growth, I blame it on leaving my iPad at work so no pattern for a weekend, but realistically it is the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl (the red one) that has been taking up my lace knitting time.

Finally, I have my Spectra, (in the middle) which has really neat construction but the colorway I chose for the inside has a big, long greenish section so I haven’t had all the color change excitement that this pattern has.

So, life is good, knitting is good, blogging is behind.  I have quite a few things to share and maybe this weekend I will get together some posts that can be sent during week.