Rest Day

Today is the second of two rest days during the Tour de France and Tour de Fleece, so it seems like a good opportunity to update you, dear reader, on my progress.

Aren’t these colors just amazing? This is a Spunky Eclectic Spunky Club selection from June 2016 in the color way Easy Peasy. The fiber is Cheviot, which is one of my very favorite fibers to spin.

I had two bumps of Easy Peasy and after splitting them into thin strips, I spun them end to end on my Schacht Flatrion in double drive. The bobbins are posing on my Ladybug. I still haven’t decided how I am going to ply these singles. I might chain ply them to make a self-striping yarn with short color repeats, or I may ply from both ends of a center pull ball, or I may do one of each.

This is another of the second bumps from a Spunky Club selection, this one in the color way TACO. I spun the other bump last year at this time. I spun these singles on my Schacht Ladybug in double drive using the high speed whorl and high speed bobbin. Nowadays I use my Ladybug mostly for plying in Scotch tension, but every once in a while I will spin on her just to remind me of how sweetly she spins in double drive. I honestly think that the Ladybug is the best all-purpose wheel on the market. She is so versatile and spins well in double drive, Scotch tension, and Irish tension.

These are the completed TACO singles. I spun this to make a 2-ply fractal yarn plied from both ends of a center pull ball. I split the fiber in half lengthwise, spun one half end to end, then split the other half into thin strips lw and spun them end to end on the same bobbin. When I ply the singles, I won’t have any of that pesky leftover yarn to deal with.

Lulu the torbie keeps me company when I spin.

Lulu says, Look at me! I’m so pretty! My mommy loves me to sit with her while she spins.

My current project is Be The Light on mixed BFL, also a Spunky Eclectic Spunky Club selection from bygone days, October 2016. This is the first bump, spun in double drive on my Matchless.

This is the second bump of Be The Light. For the first bump, I split the fiber lengthwise into very thin strips which I then spun end to end. For this bump, I split the fiber in half lw and I’m spinning both lengths end to end. I will ply the two singles together to make a fractal yarn that will probably become a scarf or maybe a shawl. I love the subtle striping of fractal-spun yarn. I know I will end up with the dreaded left-over singles, but I will cope. If there isn’t too much leftover, I will make a plying bracelet and attach it to the skein. I do this by winding the plying bracelet without breaking the singles. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. If there’s too much leftover singles, I will wind a center pull ball and ply from both ends to make a mini skein.

The TdF ends in six days, and I am almost finished spinning the fiber I hoped to get done during this year’s Tour. I still have some plying to do, so I have plenty of time to reach my goal and maybe even surpass it. YAY!

Tomorrow is a challenge day, and I’m not sure yet what my challenge will be. Maybe it will just be to finish up Be The Light or to do some plying. Or maybe I will try doing some long draw again. I’m terrible at long draw and really need to practice. But I’m so bad at it that I always feel like I am ruining the fiber. Sigh.

The Tour De Fleece 2018 Continues

So, today I am going to report on days 8, 9, 10, and 11 of the TdF which correspond to stages 8, 9, and 10 of the Tour de France. Day 10 was a rest day–no racing for the cyclists–so from here on out, the days and stages will have different numbers.

On Day 8/Stage 8, I finished spinning the Black Pillar singles. I still haven’t plied them.

On Day 9/Stage 9, I plied all the singles I had spun so far, except for Black Pillar, and I also plied some singles that I had spun during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Top l to r: Aspens, Feathered Friend Far left: Out of Season (spun during the Stanley Cup playoffs) Middle, l to r: Squirrel, Little Bluebird, Caribou Bottom: The Undead All fibers by Spunky Eclectic.

Monday, Day 10, was a rest day, and this year I actually took a break from spinning on the first rest day. But that doesn’t mean I was idle. I spent some time preparing fiber for spinning.

Yesterday, Day 11, Stage 10, was a challenge day, so I spun a new-to-me fiber blend, Merino/yak. Both fibers have a short staple and are very soft. I was expecting it to be a bit difficult to spin, but it actually was pretty easy. The color way is Game Birds from Spunky Eclectic, a CLUB Remix selection from 2015.

All the plying was done in Scotch tension on my Schacht Ladybug except for Squirrel, which was both spun and plied in Scotch tension on my Schacht Flatiron.

Today I will be spinning again. I am going to start on a 2016 Spunky Club selection and spin both bumps. That’s ~8 ounces of fiber, so I probably won’t get it all spun today, but I should make a dent in it. I’ll will post pictures tomorrow.

TdF 2018 Days 6 & 7

More spinning! And with any luck, I will remember how to insert pictures from Flickr and add captions.

The singles spun from the Farmer’s BFL from Spunky Eclectic in the color way Aspen were almost but not quite finished on Day 6/Stage 6.

I finished the Aspens singles on Friday, Day 7/Stage 7 of the TdF. I still haven’t decided how I’m going to ply these, but I’m leaning toward a 2-ply from a center pull ball at the moment.

Day 7/Stage 7 This is the last of the second bumps from my Spunky Club, this one from March 2016. The color way is Black Pillar and the fiber is Po-Mo-Silk, a blend of Polwarth, mohair, and silk. It’s lovely to spin and loves to be spun very thin. I might get the singles finished on Day 8.

My Matchless has been getting a workout so far, but my Flatiron isn’t being neglected. I’m spinning Black Pillar on the Flatiron in double drive using the smaller pulley on the fast whorl (17.4:1). If you look closely, you will see that my drive band is black. I’m trying out a new to me type of drive band based on recommendations on the Schacht forum on Ravelry. It’s hemp, and the first time I used this drive band, I wasn’t thrilled with it. But I decided to try it for this project, and so far I really love it. I am getting a steady but soft take-up without any backspin and with light treadling.

The Hemptique 10# hemp cord that I bought comes in a boatload of different colors, including some variegated, and I couldn’t decide on a single color, so I bought a variety pack that has a dozen different colors on small spools.

Look at all those colors! And there are many more colors available. It’s no wonder I couldn’t choose just one

Each spool is enough for 2-3 drive bands (depending on the size of the drive wheel). I don’t think the hemp cord will replace the 8/4 cotton rug warp (seine twine) that I love (and that also comes in a boatload of different colors), but I will definitely be using it in addition to the rug warp.

Tour De Fleece 2018 Day 5/Stage 5

I got a fair amount of spinning done yesterday, which was Day 5/Stage 5 of the TdF, but my frustration with WordPress continues. Before yesterday, I was able to upload pictures to my blog post from Flickr and add captions and such, but for some reason I can no longer do that. Although there is a button for editing a picture, when I press it, it takes me to a page that has the picture but none of the boxes for adding a caption, centering the picture, etc. Perhaps I just don’t know the magic formula for making that stuff appear, but I have to say that it is spoiling my blogging experience and may well put an end to my already spotty blogging, not that anyone would miss my blog. Anyway, I ended up uploading the pictures from Flickr to WordPress just so that I can put captions on the pictures. I will probably use a certain search engine to try to figure out what’s going on with WordPress and why what worked just a couple of days ago no longer works. Gotta love technology.

I’m spinning this fiber in double drive on my Matchless, which I am falling in love with again.

Spunky Eclectic Aspens which I divided lengthwise into very thin strips. I’m spinning it end to end and it’s going very nicely. I will probably do a two-ply from both ends of a center-pull ball, but I am also considering chain plying to make a self-striping yarn. When I spun the other bump of this fiber, I didn’t much enjoy it because it was very difficult to draft. But stripping the fiber and predrafting it has made a world of difference and I am enjoying this spin a lot.

I finished up the singles for this project, also in double drive on my Matchless.

Spunky Eclectic Romney in the Little Bluebird colorway, another second bump from a Spunky Club selection. I divided this fiber up for a fractal 2-ply plied from both ends of a center-pull ball, and now the singles are resting before I ply them.

Finally, yet another “second bump,” this time Icelandic wool from Spunky Eclectic in the Squirrel colorway, spun in Scotch tension on my Flatiron using the slow whorl.

This fiber is best spun with low twist or else it feels like twine. The singles are done and awaiting plying. I will use my favorite method of making a 2-ply yarn, winding the singles into a center-pull ball (actually a”cake”) and plying from both ends. With this method there is never any left-over singles.

Tour De Fleece 2018 Day 1

Here’s what I accomplished on the first day of the TdF:

I spun this braid of superwash Merino from Spunky Eclectic in the color way Feathered Friends from the 2015 CLUB Remix.

A progression-dyed braid

I split the braid in half lengthwise, then split one of the resulting strips in half, which gave me one big strip and two smaller strips. I spun each strip onto a separate bobbin using my Schacht Matchless in double drive,

The two small strips are at the top, the larger strip at the bottom.

and I will chain ply the singles to create three skeins of yarn to make a hat (the larger strip) and matching fingerless mitts (the small strips). I hope that dividing and spinning the fiber as I did will result in stripes that will be about the same size in both the hat and the mitts. We’ll see. The knitting is a ways down the road still.

I also started the second project of the 2018 TdF which I’m spinning on my Schacht Flatiron. It, too, is a Spunky Eclectic CLUB Remix from 2018, a braid of Cheviot in the color way The Undead.

When I received this fiber, I had a hard time imagining how it would look when spun.

I decided to strip the bump lengthwise into very thin strips, spin them end to end, and then either chain ply the singles or ply from both ends of a center-pull ball. I still haven’t decided how I want to ply the singles, but I do know that I love how the fiber looks when spun.

I’m leaning toward chain plying these singles because I love the contrast of the dark and light.

Today I hope to finish spinning “The Undead” and maybe even start a third project or do some plying. I love the Tour de Fleece.

 

Spinzilla 2017 Is Done

Spinzilla 2017 ended on October 8th, and although I didn’t quite match my yardage from Spinzilla 2015, I did pretty damn well this year.

All the yarn was spun from Sweet Georgia fiber club selections. I spun and plied it all on my Schacht Flatiron except for one skein that was spun on the Flatiron but plied on my Schacht Ladybug.

The Sweet Georgia Spinzilla team was great. The moderator ran the Ravelry Group and team to perfection. She was supportive and kind, as were all the team members. And as if it wasn’t enough that we all got to be part of such a great team, Sweet Georgia (aka Felicia Lo) sent me this to thank me for being on the team.

Yes, that’s a braid of fiber and a water bottle. There is also a card included with a coupon code.

The other side of the water bottle. I love that it’s in Sweet Georgia’s signature color, hot pink.

Really, I should be thanking her (and did thank her) for welcoming me to the Sweet Georgia team. It was an honor and a privilege to represent Sweet Georgia Yarns during Spinzilla.

I don’t think I’ll be doing Spinzilla again. It’s just a little too intense for me. But I don’t regret participating this year.

Post-TDF Spinning 

I will soon have some knitting to share with yinz, but until then, here’s some spinning for your viewing pleasure.

Spunky Eclectic Carpe Diem on Farmer’s Woolpool Sheepswool from the March 2017 Spunky Club. It’s a 2-ply that I spun on my Ashford Traveller and plied on my Schacht Ladybug.

Spunky Eclectic TACO on Polwarth from the November 2017 Spunky Club. This is another 2-ply that I spun on my Schacht Flatiron and plied on my Ladybug.

Last but not least is another Spunky fiber, from the June 2017 Spunky Club in the color way Cold Feet on Cheviot. Mmmmm. Cheviot. I am spinning it on the Flatiron and I hope to end up with a 2-ply sock yarn.