July 26, 2011

Tallied Up and Ready to Go

So  points yardage has been added up and the grand total is 1,729 yards of fiber.  Yay!  That's more spinning I've done in one three week sitting than I've EVER done in all the three (or is it 4?) years I've owned my wheels.

Here's the loot again:

Here are the stats:
Dripping Fiber Studios (Etsy), polwarth in Garden Gloves, 2 skeins #1-154 yards, #2-45 yards.
The Sheep Shed (MDSW), alpaca/tussah in Chocolate, 197 yards ( comes with a smaller alpaca/tussah/bamboo blend which was not measured).
Greenwood Fiberworks (Etsy), BFL in Persimmon, 146 yards.
Freckle Face Fibers (Etsy), BFL in Purple Poppies, 240 yards
Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio (Etsy), wool and kid mohair in Sands of Utah: 106 yards.
Grafton Fibers (MDSW), corriedale in 103 Stripes, 181 yards
Frabjous Fibers (MDSW), BFL in High Tide, 2 skeins, #1-363 yards, #2-297 yards.

I didn't measure the wool/soy from Sock Pixie because it's lace weight and my meter wouldn't read it.

So now comes the fiber I'm giving away:

First up is the Sheep Shed alpaca/tussah (197 yards of 3 ply fingering weight) that comes with a smaller skein of alpaca/tussah/bamboo which is unmeasured, but let's just say it's three yards:

The second skein headed for a new home is Grafton Fiber's corriedale in #103 Stripes (3 ply and 181 yards):

This fiber is not so soft and I wouldn't wear it against my skin unless you want to do some dermabrasion, but someone interested in felting might enjoy it.

The last to head out is Dripping Fiber Studios polwarth in Garden Gloves which is 2 skeins, and it's both pretty and soft (154 + 45 yards):

How do you get these beauties?  Well, the first one to comment on the skein(s) they want gets it/them.  You can only claim one skein (no one gets all of 'em) by leaving a comment on this page only, and it's yours for free.

As it turns out, I still have some spinning to do by way of cleaning up the mess I made during the Tour, but you won't be hearing about it from me.  No sir!  I'm going to stick to knitting for the time being.

Got socks?

July 25, 2011

Tour Loot

The last day of the tour has come and gone, and so did the heat wave.  I knew that as soon as I didn't have to touch fiber again for a while that the heat wave would end.  C'est l'histoire de ma vie.  But there is a rainbow at the end of that heat wave.

It's called loot.  In three weeks, here's what I amassed:

Tonight I started measuring, and when it's all done I'm going to start my give away.  Here's what I'm keeping:

This is Sock Pixie's wool/soy in Willow which I'm keeping because it has a knot in it:

Jason's socks will be made from this fiber.  It's Frabjous Fibers BFL in High Tide:

Even though the color is blue and green, the color still seems a little 'girly' for my son, but he's a manly man (at age 18) and not afraid to wear pink socks, so this color will be fine.

And lastly, I'm keeping the Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio merino/kid mohair because it not only has my favorite colors (neutrals), but it was a gift from Sojourn Knitter and I'm sure she'd love to see me wearing some mittens made with this fiber:

So, tally ho while I tally up.

July 24, 2011

Tour - Day 23 - The Last Day

Today was the last day of spinning for the Tour de Fleece.  I'm sad to see it go, but I like the idea of having some spare time to do what I want to do.  Not that I couldn't do that anyway, but it was a contest, and I felt compelled. I feel compelled every year and next year won't be any different.  I'll be back!

The last fiber I spun was Frabjous Fibers, BFL in High Tide, 8 ounces that I plied this morning, washed this morning and waited for it to dry - which it didn't.  It was so humid today that nothing dried, even the yarn I washed yesterday is still damp!  Oy!

At the suggestion of Monika, I made this yarn a three ply and overfilled two bobbins to get what has got to be almost 400 yards.  Three ply was smarter than chain ply because there are no lumps, just plain smooth yarn.  Thanks for the tip, Monika.

The alpaca and silk from the Sheep Shed and the wool and kid mohair from Capistrano didn't dry either, and I put them up yesterday!

But the still look pretty!  I see a fake fair isle hat with these two yarns together.  Their colors are so complimentary.

I think I figured out the secret of plying.

Everything I've read says that when you're plying you should stop and let the fiber hang.  An even/balanced yarn won't wind on itself.  Yeah, OK.  That doesn't work for me because my yarn doesn't hang down without plying on itself.  Honestly, I'm not going for balance, I'm going for looks.  It's shallow, I know, but don't care if my socks lean to the side - as long as they go on my feet.  So that was my light bulb moment.  Now, if only I can remember that for next year's Tour.

So the tour is done, but I still have wet yarn in the house.  I haven't measured any of it and I don't want to because it's still so hot and humid.  The only thing that's going to change around here is that I don't have to spin, but I still have lots of yarn work to do.  It's not going to happen tonight.

This evening I plan to knit in bed.

Keep cool!

July 23, 2011

Tour - Day 22

Today I filled my last bobbin of BFL from Frabjous Fibers.  I'd like to thank my friend Yvonne for calling me this evening just at the right time.  Chatting with her made the spinning go a little quicker and I got to laugh in spite of the ache of sitting on that hard stool.

And then there were three:

One spool will be Navajo plied, and if that works out then I'll do that for the other two.  If not, I'm going to have some mighty fine two ply with yardage galore (I hope).

Tomorrow is the last day of the tour, and thank goodness!  I'm wondering if tomorrow will also be the last day of the heat wave.  I've got fiber still to be bathed and plying to do, none of which will happen tonight.

My wheel is going in the corner after tomorrow.  It needs to cool off and so do I.

Tour - Day 21

We're nearing the end of the tour and I'm a little sad.  Sad that my stash is going down, that is!  The tour is 24 stages which includes the 2 days of rest, and now there's only three spinning days left.  I still have a mountain of Frabjous Fibers BFL in High Tide left to spin.  Yikes! And all the while my stash is going down, down, down.

Today I evened out the second bobbin, and both of them are pretty full:

Plying is where I always run into issues.  Are the singles thin enough to make this into a sock weight yarn?  Or will these be 'boot' socks?  Not that my son will care, but one of these days I'm going to have to figure out the math part of plying.  Ugh ... math!

There's still a lot to spin, wash and measure, but I'm going to mash through that tomorrow.  Today my hands have had enough.

I knit today at lunchtime and it felt good!  I sat in a corner at the air conditioned pizza shop, munched on pizza and knit in between bites.  It was so peaceful even though there were a few people around me.  I didn't get far, but I did get joy.

Another day down, and only a few more before knitting resumes.

July 22, 2011

Tour - Day 20

What can I say?  I'm so done with the race and the spinning and that evil little stool!  The heat is inhuman and the humidity is unbearable.  I have more fiber stuck to my face than there is on the spool.  After a short time spinning, it feels like I'm wearing gloves! Oy!

However ...

I'm quite pleased with having (almost) filled a second bobbin of this fiber:

There's not much left to spin, I should be able to finish the bobbin on the left and if I have to I'll fill another one.  If I'm lucky, it'll be the right weight to make my son a pair of socks with lots of fiber left over.

Tonight I stopped spinning as soon as they said Andy Schleck won today's stage!  Finally!

I'm going to bed now because there's no hope that my spine will straighten out unless I lay down.

July 20, 2011

Tour - Day 19

Today I made progress. Today I plied the alpaca and silk from Sheep Shed Studio in chocolate.  It was slippery and tricky, kind of like the route the cyclists took today down the mountain:

This yarn is shown pre-bath, I'm hoping that the bath makes the fiber full enough to fill in the 'blank' spaces.

Tomorrow I will spin up the rest of the BFL from Frabjous Fibers which, I believe, will be the last of my Tour spinning.  I don't have the heart to pull another braid out of the cabinet even though I just purchased 3 braids that I can hardly wait to get my hands on.

What I learned about my spinning style during this event is that this really is a race.  A race to get braids done, to make good yarn and to reduce stash in double time.  In real time, it takes me a week to spin one braid, and then it sits on the spool for about a month before I ply it.  Jeez, I'm a slacker.

The tour ends on Saturday.  By then I hope to have the yardage for all the skeins I spun.  That should be satisfying.  Last year I spun after work for the entire tour and I spun 5 braids, this year I spun 8.  Woo hoo!  I did take a week off from work during the tour so that helped.

Until tomorrow.

July 19, 2011

Tour - Day 18

Today I got nothing.  I got home from work at 8p, sat at my wheel and on that hard stool and spun up the rest of the alpaca/silk.  I got more satisfaction that it is gone than I got from actually spinning it.  I was hot, it is humid, I am tired and that stool was harder than it's ever been.

I should have plied some yarn, I should have washed some yarn, I should hire someone to do it for me, if that were possible.  I wish it was still light outside so I could get a good picture of what I've spun so far in all it's stages of un-doneness.  But here's the best I could get:

Looking at them all together, I wouldn't say I have a favorite color although the two skeins that speak to me the most are the persimmon and the purple poppies (skeins #6 and #7 from the left).  I'll have the specifics on yardage and approximate weight after the tour is over.

Not a bad haul for two weeks.  It astonishes me how much I can get done when there's a deadline.

July 18, 2011

Tour - Day 17

Today was a rest day for the riders of the Tour de France, but what was I doing?  Sitting on that hard stool adding to my bobbin.  There's enough fiber to fill this bobbin, but not enough to fill another.  So, to keep the fiber from haunting me until next year I just keep on adding to the bobbin.

This is alpaca and silk from Sheep Shed Studios in chocolate.  The silk gives it a heathery look, and if my camera was at least 'adequate' you'd see that.  Unfortunately, this is the best I can do.

I may have mentioned that my stash is going down quickly.  So quickly that I'm actually thinking of joining a fiber club just to make sure I never run out of fiber, but that would be wrong.  What if I get stuff I don't like.  So, off to Etsy I go carrying along the codes offered to Tour participants (15% off!).

These came from Unwind Yarn Company:

100% merino in Tiger's eye.  Reminds me of some Rambouillet I had once.  I'm not overly thrilled with spinning merino, but I couldn't resist this one.

This is BFL in The Great Berry Caper.  This color ought to make my friend, Sojourn Knitter, happy.  She says I don't have enough purple in my stash.  Here's one with many purples!  I'm happy.

Last, but not least is BFL in Buttered Toast.  Yum!  It's making me hungry!

And not to be outdone, also in the package was a lovely smelling sachet and two stitch markers.

I love freebies!

July 17, 2011

Tour - Day 16

The first days of the race, I was fresh and ready to go!  I love the Tour de France race and I watch it while I spin which makes me sit on the evil, hard stool longer than is sane.  Of course, I also had visions of wheedling my stash down to a reasonable amount and having lots of yarn instead of fiber.

The second week, after watching a week of carnage during the race (man tumbles over handlebars and lands on face, man crashes and ends up in a ravine and when they pull him up they believe his pelvis is broken, car crashes into rider, who crashes into another rider and man #1 goes skidding down the pavement and the other rider crashes into a barbed wire fence OMG!), I'm not so fresh and I feel road weary for the riders.  It's hard to cheer for anyone when so many have been taken out of the race due to injury (the Tour officials call it 'abandoning') it makes my aching hands, back, butt and neck seem minor.

Tomorrow is a day of rest and my first day back at work.  That means my spinning time will be abbreviated and the knitters who read this blog will finally see some knitting again.  I'll be just as relieved.

Today's offering is alpaca and silk from Sheep Shed Studio purchased about 3-4 years ago at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  I purchased 8 ounces and spun some of it up last year - which I gave away after the Tour.

Pardon the photo quality, my son took the picture under protest.

Tomorrow I'll ply it up and see if I can get something better than chunky weight.  Maybe it'll be enough to make something like a hat.  Maybe.

What will I spin on Tuesday?  I have no idea and I don't want to think about it.  I'm just trying to get to the end of the race.

July 16, 2011

Tour - Day 15

Today's post is a drive by since I'm on my way out to dinner with family.

Capistrano Fiber Studio Limited Edition, merino/kid mohair 70/30 (who knew it could be this soft?!), 2 ounces in Sands of Utah:

Even before the bath, this fiber is wonderful!  I'm going to have to scour Etsy to see if I can find more just like it.

My stash cabinet went from 3 shelves to 1 1/2, so I feel some fiber shopping coming on.  I need at least double what I have to live happy.

July 15, 2011

Tour - Day 14

I haven't been using the drop spindle because of my sore shoulder (it even hurts to knit!) so I've been doing all of my spinning on the wheel.  Now my back hurts!  Oy!

Yesterday I spun up the blue/green BFL, but today I couldn't even look at it because there's so much more of it to spin.  Instead, I pulled out some fiber generously donated to me by Sojourn Knitter.  It's 2 ounces of  merino/kid mohair 70/30, in Sands of Utah from Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio.

It spun up lickety split and turned out as soft as butter!  I only wish there was more of it because two ounces isn't going to get me very far.  It didn't even fill up a bobbin.

The handsome young man holding the bobbin only posed for the picture because he wanted something.  Goodness knows when I need him for help with pictures he always runs in the other direction!

He quickly lost interest in what I wanted to do as soon as he found out that there wasn't enough fiber to make him a pair of socks!  LOL

I also made another attempt to spin 100% bamboo, but my skill at spinning does not extend to slippery fiber that's too shiny to make anything with anyway.  I'll figure out what to do with it while I pray someone has some helpful hints for me.  Help!

Tomorrow is another day of spinning, so tonight I'm going to prep something.

I was off from work this week and I totally enjoyed spinning every day (and squeezing in some chores).  This is the life!  It'll all come to a screeching slow down on Monday.  I'll be spinning at 8p and posting at goodness knows what time.

And to my non-spinning readers, thanks for putting up with all of this.  Knitting is coming soon.

Tour - Day 13

Meet the enemy:

I spend hours sitting on this hard little stool and now that my butt is about as flat and pointy on the ends as Sponge Bob's, I'm wondering why I don't find a nice stool with a soft feathery cushion so I don't have to brace myself before sitting.  Oy!

Today I put more BFL from Frabjous Fibers on the spool:

And I plied up the Corriedale from Grafton Fibers:

And then I got that fiber ready for the bath, but it hasn't been bathed yet so it's still a little 'curly':

I wonder what will happen to the yellow when it soaks with the brown.  More of the issue is that this fiber isn't soft.  I'm hoping that will change after the bath.

Lots of fiber has been spun up over the past 13 days and my fiber stash is going down, down, down.  I'm so happy to have spun up some of the older stuff, and even though I still have the fiber as yarn, I miss the fiber crowd in my cabinet.

Participating in the Tour de Fleece has one serious perk, a lot of the fiber vendors are offering their goods at a discount!  Woo hoo!  I feel a shopping spree coming on!  (I do need to prepare for next year's tour, you know.)

July 13, 2011

Tour, Day 12 - 12 Days To Go

Today I didn't get much done because Mom had to check into the hospital.  Stress caused her blood pressure to go out of control, so she was in hospital from 10 this morning until 10 this evening.  She's home now, resting comfortably, and has to return to the hospital tomorrow morning.  I'm sure everything will be fine.

On the way home from the hospital I saw this:

The rainbow was so vivid!  I haven't seen one that strong since I was living in Endicott, NY.  There were actually two rainbows, but my camera only caught the one which was good enough.

Today I did more sock knitting than spinning because a sock is portable and my wheel is not.  I got in a few more rows of Joyce's sock done and I spun this much Frabjous Fibers BFL:

This fiber is a little neppy, but it still has good character.  I'm hoping I can do it justice.  It's not much, but it's as thin as eyelashes in the hopes that once it's 3-ply it'll make some socks for my son, Jason.  Honestly, any hand knit socks are just socks to him.  If these socks turn out to be thick as 10 ply, lumpy and itchy, he'd still wear them.  He only cares that they are hand knit.  Period.

Tonight it's too late to spin, so I'm going back to the sock.  Pictures will come as soon as I get further along.

July 12, 2011

Tour - Stage 10, Day 11

Yesterday was a day of (much needed) rest for the cyclists of the Tour de France and me.  I slept past 7a and after a cool shower, loads of laundry, and heating up the house cooking dinner, I finally got a chance to sit and knit.

I knit up two more preemie caps, to add to the others I did before the tour started:

These caps are going to Tracey who has made a personal dedication in memory of baby Remy.  You can find out about it on Ravelry.

During rest day I tried to work on Joyce's sock, but even that felt like a huge job for a day of rest.  Joyce has the smallest feet I've ever made socks for and I'm halfway done with the second sock, but alas, the humidity was just too much:

Today it was back to business.  I skeined up the polwarth from Dripping Fiber Sudios in Garden Gloves:

The top skein is 3-ply and the bottom is what was left over after I was out of the third ply, so it's a small two ply skein.  I don't have yardage because my meter is missing.  Oh boy.

I also spent some time with the trindle and the day of rest did not help my shoulder pain, but I trindled on:

Two ounces and I'm only halfway done.  How do drop spindlers do it?!  I'm torn between wanting to tear my arm off or setting the fiber on fire (but it's too darn hot for fire)!  I will spin on, but I don't expect much.  What you can expect is to be seeing this fiber until your eyes glaze over.

Moving on.  I finished spinning up the Corriedale from Grafton Fibers in yellow/orange/brown.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one too.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to ply it up by color, if I don't screw it up.

Lastly, my son picked out the next colorway:

Seriously, 8 ounces in this heat?!  He said he'd spin it up, but I haven't seen him since he pulled the fiber out of the cabinet.  He wants a lot of socks to take with him to college.  Yeah, good luck with that. 

July 10, 2011

Tour - Day 9

I'm so ready for a break!  Tomorrow is a day of rest for the Tour de France and I plan to do some knitting because I truly miss my needles.  Not that spinning yarn isn't a lovely thing to do, it's the pace I'm having a hard time with.

Today's entry is some Corriedale from Grafton Fibers purchased at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival a few years ago.  How it ended up in my basket is a mystery to me since I don't like spinning batts, but the color was interesting.  Anyway, here it is all wrapped up:

It's about as pretty as a picture all bundled up and contained, and like I said, I loved the colors:

Then I opened it up and the beast was loose (that's a yardstick above the fiber):

I have no idea how to work this fiber.  The colors could not be separated easily, the orange is in the yellow, the brown is in the orange, you get the picture.  So I separated and prepped them as best I could:

And today I spun up the yellow to orange:

There really is no orange part of the fiber, but the 'middle' section will probably produce some kind of tweedy orange.  There's not enough of all three colors to make this a three ply yarn, maybe I can Navajo ply it by color.  At this point I can't even think about it.

Now, since tomorrow is a day of rest, I fully intend to rest by taking up my knitting needles - if I can lift my arm, that is.

July 09, 2011

Tour - Day 7 & 8

On day 7, I posted my progress for day 6, so today on day 8 I had some progress I'm pretty proud of.

First I plied up the Freckle Face Fibers BFL in purple poppies (bottom), washed it and hung it out to dry and today I have skein:

The top skein is Greenwood Fiberworks in persimmon.  Both skeins are still a little damp thanks to the humidity, but they didn't mind making their debut today.  No yardage yet, but I'll get to it.  Persimmon is Navajo plied and Purple Poppies is a two ply yarn.

Then I got to the trindle and after spindling for a week I made, so far, two skeins of the singles from FatCatKnits in Seaside Cottage:

It seems like a little bit of fiber, but spindling fiber takes for-EVER, and there's still another braid of a different color to go.  Sheesh!  You can count me out of any further spindle groups for the Tour de Fleece!  I swear it feels like my arm is going to fall off!

Lastly, I got three mostly even bobbins of Garden Gloves polwarth from Dripping Fiber Studios:

I plan to make this a three ply yarn tomorrow and will hopefully get some pretty good colors out of it.  It was such a pleasure to spin, but I think I say that about everything.

My pledge this year for the tour was to spin five braids.  Four are done, the fifth is on the drop spindle and will likely be there until the end of the tour.  Since we are only one week into the tour, that means I have to find some more fiber to spin for Team Lendrum.  It would be so easy to quit now, berate myself for quitting, and then start up again after pieces of my body stop hurting.  Ultimately, I will go on.

Did I mention the weather?  It's so humid!  I keep eyeballing my neighbor's pool and wondering if an alarm would go off if I snuck in a little dip.  Fortunately, my neighbor Marisol came out while I was taking pictures and I got her to pose with my yarns.  She said if I didn't show her face she'd let me swim in her pool, so ...

I'm going swimming tomorrow!!  Thanks Marisol!

July 08, 2011

Tour - Day 6 Washout

Yesterday on day 6 I was at work when I should have been home spinning.  Every hour that went by my anxiety grew, and as the 11p hour came up, I just threw in the towel.  But if I had been able to do the work I set out to do, you would have seen this:

Freckle Face Fibers BFL in Purple Poppies.  This morning I plied it, washed it, whacked it and hung it out to dry.  Not to shabby for a day of work.

It came out of it's bath looking pretty good.  I love the way it fulled after it's bath.  What I'm looking forward to is the 'sproing' after it dries.

Stage 7 which is today, will see me working up some of Dripping Fiber Studios polwarth in Garden Gloves:

I've never worked with polwarth before, but I've heard good things and I hope I can do right by it.

It's even prettier when drafted and ready for the splits:

So, I'm still in the race, unlike poor Bradley Wiggins.

Oh, and there's still spinning on my trindle which I swear is going to take as long as the Tour de France to finish!  Oy!  The silver lining in all of this - I'm on my fifth braid and we're only one week into the race.  Yay!

If I can spin 5 braids in a week, I should be able to spin five more before the race ends, right?