July 28, 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014

The first week of the Tour de Fleece I finished spinning the remainder of my Phat Batts, this:

And spun it into four skeins of worsted weight, thick and thin, chain ply yarn totaling about   426 yards.

My second project, spinning sock yarn from some lovely gray Finn/Lincoln cross fleece I hand combed is a traditional worsted spun 3ply with two singles strands spun clockwise and one counterclockwise, and plied counterclockwise. I've never spun this kind of yarn before so I was eager to see what happens.  I ended up with about 299 yds of 3ply which isn't enough for a full pair of socks but would work if I use a different yarn for the legs.

It probably should have more plying twist to be a good sock yarn. I may add that later on.

My third project was to finish plying the 2x2 cabled yarn I was making from the Rambouillet/Montedale cross fleece. I thought I'd finished it several months ago but found some extra bobbins tucked in a corner.  The end result is about 61 yds worth of worsted weight yarn.

Brought To Me By: Crafting accomplished with the following audio/video accompaniment:  
  Audiobooks:. Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas; The Vampire King by Heather Killough-Walden; Curtains For Three by Rex Stout;           
  DVDs etc:   Murder She Wrote; The Big Bang Theory; Witches of East End; Moonlight;              
  Pod/VideoCasts:  The Knit Girllls; Two Tangled Skeins; Twinset Designs; Yarnspinners Tales; Knitmore Girls;                                    

July 4, 2014

Batting Practice

I have two boxes of Phat Fiber fiber samples that have been sitting around for some time now. I'd originally planned to spin each of them up and chain ply then use for an afghan or something similar and modular. I spun one up the other day and it came out fine, but frankly, I was bored.

So there I was staring at two boxes of all different kinds of fiber and assorted colorways and wondering what I should do with them. Should I even bother spinning them or just give them away like I had the other box? Then Wallace (Wally for short), my little drum carder, spoke up. "Use me! Use me!" He said, so I did.

Paying absolutely no attention to what the fiber content of the sample was and only choosing by the colors, I gleefully fed them to Wally. Some I pulled apart, others I ran through as is. This was FUN! When I made a half dozen or so batts, I started spinning.

I never thought to take a picture of those first batts before I spun them, but this is what they looked like spun up (or at least the last two batts which are all you can see):

I did think to take a picture of some of the rest of the batts I made before I spun them:

I spun however the fiber flowed easiest, but mostly either from the end or from the fold. I'd say most of the singles are pretty close to semi-woolen rather than semi-worsted (woolen or semi-woolen is my default style). Slubs, etc. were left in to give the singles some additional texture and color pops. It was interesting watching how changing my style of spinning (from the end to from the fold for example) changed how the colors blended or didn't blend.

My finished skein (pre-twist set):

I have enough batts carded up to make another skein. I'm saving them for Tour de Fleece spinning this weekend. Once the second skein is done, I will set the twist for both and see what total yardage I have. I'm guessing the set yarn will come out around a DK weight, or maybe worsted. There are so many different fibers (like Merino, BFL, Romney, Icelandic, Llama, Alpaca, camel, silk, tencel, bamboo, glittery stuff, etc) that I'm not sure if or how much the yarn will poof up after I wash it.

My only regret, if you could even call it that, with how I carded the batts is that I had no idea whose fiber was whose. And there were some fiber samples that spun really well and I wish I knew who made them so I could get more. But oh well, its not as if I have nothing good to spin here.

July 1, 2014

On Your Mark...Get Set

This year's Tour de Fleece starts this Saturday, July 5th and runs through July 27th.  If you are not familiar with it, the Tour de Fleece (TdF) is a global Spin-Along (SAL) held in tandem with the Tour de France cycling competition.  While the cyclists race through France, we spin along with them in an effort to meet our individual goals. Our goals can range from just learning to spin, or spinning a new fiber, spinning down a certain amount of stash or learning a new technique, to spinning a whole fleece - whatever is challenging to us.

I considered joining several teams this year, Wildcard and Official, as I usually do, but eventually decided to keep it to just one team: the Diagon Alley Marauders from the Hogwarts at Ravelry group (and not just because I'm the team captain this year).

My TdF goal is simply to spin down as much stash as I can.  That includes finishing up old SWIPs and starting new ones. For the new, I'm still in the process of prepping fleece, and also deciding which commercially prepped fiber bumps to spin. I love spinning my natural color fleeces, but I need some color to break up the monotony. They're all so pretty though, it's hard to choose.  So I'm thinking maybe I'll go deep stash diving and pull out some of my really early purchases.  Age before beauty I guess. LOL

What I have decided on so far:

(1) five ounces of hand combed Finn/Lincoln cross (adult) to be spun into 3ply sock yarn, one singles spun 's' & two singles spun 'z', plied 's'.

(2) finish plying up (2x2 cable yarn) the remaining Rambouillet/Montedale cross singles (yes, just when I thought I was done with this I found more hiding in a corner).

(3) if I haven't already, finish flicking & combing the Shetland Moorit fleece, then finish spinning.

(4) if I can find it, finish spinning that soysilk/wool blend in Promise colorway that I started in 2012.

Add in three or four more and I'll make a decent little dent in my stash. I would like to spin a minimum of 24 ounces (680 grams) but I don't intend to race through my spinning and sacrifice quality of spinning for quantity spun. That's why my goal is just to spin as much as I can. If I make or surpass 24 doesn't really matter. I'll be happy with whatever yardage I can get to add to my StashDash2014 total.