Tour de Fleece–Day 2

The sun is currently setting on day two, and an absolutely stunning sunset it is too (sadly my photography skills have never been up to capturing the beauty of a sunset, though if I keep trying maybe one day I’ll succeed)!

day2-sunset

Today has been filled with the palaver of installing an integrated dishwasher into the kitchen.  It entailed three trips to local hardware stores before the right bits of waste pipe were sourced and there was further bodging (technical plumbing term) to fix a leak right the end of the day.  However, It is now installed and running and appears to be a huge improvement over the old one.

I failed to keep up with the spindle spinning today.  However, at one point I needed to escape and quietly exited the kitchen, found fibre, went upstairs and dusted and oiled the Dryad wheel.  I then managed a few minutes peaceful spinning.

I’m spinning some Falkland dyed by Juno Fibre Arts.  It’s a real treat to spin something dyed by someone else.  The colours are different from the ones I would have chosen and the distribution and proportions of colours are also different.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this will come out.

fibre

I think I’ll Navaho ply it to maintain the changing colours.

day2-juno

Right, the sun is almost gone, so I think it’s time I grabbed another cup of tea and did some more spinning!

Tour de Fleece Day 1

Today saw the start of the Tour de France (apparently – I haven’t watched any or even caught up on events via the internet or radio).  It also saw the start of the Tour de Fleece (TdF)!

Yesterday evening I got myself all prepared and set up my “stash” on Ravelry for the yarn I’m planning on spinning during the TdF.  There are projects that are in progress and some are new projects to spin.  Once I had everything listed I was quite shocked to see how much I’m planning on doing!  I also updated my Ravelry profile with my aims for the TdF.

Today has been a busy day with the children, so I haven’t had time to do much spinning.  Last night I decided that the best way to tackle spinning today was to concentrate on spindling.  So I made sure that the two active spindle projects were easy to grab in quiet moments (there were a few – not many – but some) and I was able to make noticeable progress!

Both spindles already had some singles on, but here was progress by the end of the day:

tdf-day1

This evening I’ve sat down at my Ashford Traditional with the lace flyer and made some progress on the Shetland/Soybean blend that I started nearly two years ago!

I’m looking forward to getting lots more spinning done over the next few weeks and seeing just how much I can do when I prioritise spinning over other non-essential activities.

Ingredients

I’ve been playing with colours of fibre (wool, bamboo, trilobal and angelina) and have some possible ingredients for “Bow Ties are Cool”:

ingredients

I’m not planning on using these proportions though.  I’m thinking of a base of dark colours with brighter colours acting as highlights.  I may also need to add or take something away.  Looking at the photo the fibres I’ve chosen are very smooth – I think I need some texture in there too (perhaps the rest of the Leicester Longwool locks)?

Anyway, this looks like it will be fun!

Challenges

My life has definitely been full of challenges over the last couple of years (they’ve not been fun, but I think I’m stronger for them).  However, I have two challenges coming up that I’m really looking forward to.

Firstly, I’ve been invited to be a guest blogger on the Creating Space blog.  When I write here I’m talking about my creative journey (and sometimes I manage to discuss techniques and my wheels).  To write on someone else’s space I need to think about the readers there and write something that reflects the group (rather than just me).  This will mean that I have a slightly different focus from when I write here, but I’m looking forward to meeting the challenge.  When I’ve worked out what I’m going to write, written it, and the post has gone live, I’ll post a link here 🙂

Secondly, I’ve signed up for the Ravelry Tour de Fleece (TdF).  This is an annual event that runs while the Tour de France is on-going.  I’ve joined two teams: Ashford UK Spinners and Team TARDIS.  The objective is to spin everyday that the Tour is running – with two rest days and a challenge on the day of the hardest stage.  I’ve been trying to keep my aims low-key to fit with my current situation.  So here they are:

  1. Spin everyday!
  2. Do some spinning on all of my wheels!  Not everyday obviously, but I should do some spinning on each of my wheels by the end of the TdF.
  3. Spin a fun Doctor Who inspired art yarn.  I intend to learn a new technique while doing this.  I may spin something inspired by “Bow Ties are Cool” or “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey”, but I may do something entirely different :-)  Yes, it is a bit silly, but it’ll be fun, I’ll learn and perfect a new technique and I’ll end up with a scarf that I can wear to an SF Convention should I ever make it to one!
  4. Finish off any languishing projects.  I have a number on both wheels and spindles.  On my wheels this is an achievable goal but on my spindles I hope to make progress.

Once I’ve finished the “in progress” projects I have quite a lot of fibre all lined up for projects.  I have 10oz of carded Soay-cross fibre that I need to spin into a yarn for a shawl, plus a number of hand-dyed tops and a multi-coloured merino top.

The TdF is often a chance to de-stash a little.  However, I’ve been so overcome with enthusiasm for art yarns since my success with the Wild and Independent yarn and scarf, that I’ve ended up ordering more stash!  There’s lots of sparkle, un-combed fleece and also some bamboo and wool tops from different breeds for me to try.  As you can see I didn’t even manage to contain my enthusiasm to a single order:

TdfStash

The TdF starts next Saturday (29th June) and runs for three weeks. I’ll update progress on Ravelry and Instagram daily and post regular, but not daily, updates here.  Wish me luck!

Locks and Labels

I’ve crammed lots of spinning and knitting into the last few weeks.  But first a mystery!

I was away for a few days and took my portable wheel and a small selection of tops to spin.  I eventually decided on an pink/orange top that I’d dyed.  After dyeing it I remember thinking that I would know what it was when I used it and so didn’t add a label.  However, for the entire time I was spinning I wasn’t sure of the fibre.  It was humbug tops but that’s all I knew.  Was it Shetland or BFL?  I didn’t have a clue!  When I got back from my trip I checked my blog and thought that maybe it was some BFL humbug tops that I’d dyed.  But apparently I’ve already started spinning that into a crepe yarn!

I’m going to have to start making notes on the dyeing that I do and also adding labels to both my dyed tops and to the finished yarns.  However, I Navaho plied this mystery into a lovely yarn of about 190 yards.

navaho

I’ve also continued with the Wild and Independent yarn that started as a response to the suggestion I should downsize my spinning wheel collection.  I had enormous fun spinning this big yarn and plying in the locks.  I also really enjoyed knitting it up into a crazy scarf.

I took advice from my friends at Creating Space and settled on making a two-ply yarn with the locks trapped between the plies.  I did try tail-spinning the locks during the plying but I couldn’t quite get that to work.  In the end the locks are partially tail-spun and partially encapsulated by the plies.

locks

wild-bobbins

wild-yarn

I then proceeded to knit a huge scarf in just a few evenings. 

wild-coat

wild-scarf-close

wild-scarf-closer

I plan to wear my wild and independent scarf at every opportunity.  During the summer I’ll wear it when spinning in public (I’ve never got enough layers on when spinning in a field) and during the winter I’ll wear it with my military style wool coat (military and wild – a great combination).

I have plans to make more wild yarn – for my next one I have some locks in pink, yellow and orange ready to use!