Archive for the “tour de fleece 2015” Category

My weekend had no plans and nothing scheduled, so I got a lot of spinning done! First, I plied the first four bobbins of light grey onto two jumbo bobbins and skeined off about 350 yards of yarn. Then I finished spinning a second bobbin of medium grey. The fibre is drafting a little more smoothly now as I get towards the centre of the ball of roving, but there’s still a lot of neppiness which is leading to a “rustic” sort of yarn. I’m okay with that!

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The jumbo Sonata bobbins aren’t quite large enough to hold all the plied yarn from two S-R bobbins, so I started filling them to only about 90%. These two on the right will be plied together for a marled look, as my ambitious plan for this sweater is to knit a gradient from light at the top to dark around the hem.

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I also managed to get out for a bike ride this weekend between the rain storms. It’s been so wet lately that the good mountain bike trails have stayed closed, so I took the road bike out for a twelve mile jaunt through the hills. The next few days are supposed to be very wet; I guess that means my workouts will be indoors until it dries out.

Today is a rest day for the Tour, but I might end up spinning anyway – or I might take the opportunity to catch up on the housework I’ve been neglecting!

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So far I’ve been averaging a bobbin-ful of the gray mystery wool every day! Yesterday I watched Stage Four, the one with the cobblestones, while finishing up the fourth bobbin. I found a little more wool in the same shade of gray, but the roving is much thinner than the first batch and it isn’t drafting well, so I set it aside. If I need it, I’ll spin it up later.

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I moved on to the next darkest shade of gray and was immediately annoyed by it. The lighter gray had some vegetable matter and a few lumpy, neppy pieces. This medium gray seems like it’s *all* lumps and neps. I’m hoping that it’s just the outside of the ball of roving with the problem, and that it will even out as I get more towards the inside. If it’s still really bad after two bobbins, I’ll set this colour aside too, and move on.

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It was a slog to get through, but I finished the Rambouillet project one day before the Tour de Fleece began! This project has been languishing for five years; I spun the singles for the 2010 TdF and then let them sit and sit and sit. My plan had been to chain-ply, and then I realized that the singles didn’t have enough twist for that. I moved on to thinking I would just finish them as-is, as a lightly fulled laceweight. Then I realized that I’d never actually knit anything with that yarn, and that what I really needed to do was add some more twist and go back to the original plan. That’s what I did, and it’s come out to 268 yards of light fingering weight… though I still don’t know what I’ll make with it.

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And then on Saturday, the Tour de France/Fleece began! My main project this year will be spinning for a sweater on the new Schacht-Reeves and plying on the Sonata’s jumbo bobbins, using several pounds of mystery wool roving that I got from my friend Josh a few years ago. I have four different natural colours, and I started with the lighter gray. I’m starting to get the hang of the longdraw, though some parts of the roving aren’t drafting as smoothly as others.

I had friends visiting for the long holiday weekend. On Sunday morning we watched part of Stage Two of the Tour with breakfast, then went out for a 12.5 mile bike ride in the hills. After everyone had gone home, I settled down to spin while watching 1776, one of my July 4th traditions (I was a day late, but that’s okay) and by the time I called it a night I was well into the third bobbin. I’m absolutely loving how the Woolee Winder just lets me spin and spin without fussing with hook changes, and the thicker yarn sure does spin up fast.

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It’s a month away, but I’m already looking at my fibre stash and wondering what to spin for the Tour de Fleece. On one hand, I could set up a major project and attempt to spin enough of the same yarn for a sweater. I have nearly four pounds in four different colours – natural, oatmeal, rose-brown (pictured here), and dark brown – of this mystery wool roving that I got from my friend’s former roommate. That could either be super-boring to work on for three weeks, or it could be a good start on a project I’ve had in mind for quite some time.

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On the other hand, I have a collection of combed top in four- and eight-ounce servings that I could work through, including the yak-and-silk blend that I got for Christmas last year and this Romney from Into the Whirled that I bought two years ago at MDSW. That would clear out a greater number of stash entries, and perhaps I could even sell some of the yarns – since I can spin far faster than I can knit!

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Even though I have a month to decide, I can’t stop thinking and planning and plotting! So many projects, so many ideas… so little time. And then there’s another question: do I want to work on a spinning project in June, or should I just focus on knitting for now and save all the spinning for July and the Tour?

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You know that phenomenon where you have a hobby or interest, but you skip a few days at it, and then a few days turns into a few weeks, and before you know it, months have gone by? You think, “gee, I really should do that thing I used to do all the time,” but you’ve gotten caught up in life and other interests, and some more time passes. And then one day you realize, “hey! I miss that! I’m going to get back to doing that!”

I have two socks (of different pairs) in progress, but I haven’t been working on them. One is right there in my coffee table, staring at me every night. The other gets carried around with me in my purse, for goodness’ sake. And there’s the armwarmers pattern, which is written up and ready to go, if only I had good pictures to paste into the pattern. I need to take pictures of some of the yarns I’ve spun recently, too. Not to mention the other projects and ideas which are languishing… sigh.

This morning I realized that it’s already the end of May, which means it’s only five weeks until the Tour de Fleece begins, and I really want to do that again this year. And THAT means that in the next five weeks, I need to clear my bobbins – which should be easy, since there’s just one lace single that needs to be wound off and fulled, and only one half-done spin in progress: this rust-and-cream coloured merino/tencel blend.

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Spinning the other half and then plying it shouldn’t take too long; the fibre is wonderful to work with. It drafts so smoothly, I barely need to look – so I might bring the wheel downstairs tonight and attempt to spin while watching the hockey game. (Let’s go Rangers!) This may or may not be productive, depending how exciting the game is… but we’ll see! If the spinning doesn’t work out, I’ll work on a sock instead.

My consolation to the sad thought that I haven’t been knitting or spinning lately is that I haven’t brought anything new in yet this year. I’ve gotten rid of some yarn; the “Starry Night” handspun went to Mom so she could knit a hat, I sold some sock yarn that I wasn’t getting around to knitting, and I crocheted a washcloth, knitted a hat for my brother, and finished Stef’s armwarmers. So there’s already a thousand yards of yarn already gone this year, with none brought in to replace it. I suppose that’s not too bad after all.

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