Wednesday, July 24, 2013

End of the Tour Wrapup

This year was a good Tour De Fleece, even with the bit of stressing at the end. I got a lot done and found some new fun fibery people to chat with.

Here's my final photo with what I finished


I'm going to practice my Navajo plying on the little bit of Corriedale single left over, I am just starting playing around with my new spindle, and I have a ways to go on spinning that grey Potluck Roving.

All in all though, I am happy with what I accomplished. Almost 900 yards in just the 2ply alone, and that's pretty good! Maybe next year instead of focusing on the weight of a particular fiber, I'll just shoot for 1000 yards of whatever finished yarn I want?


I feel like I can't possibly say enough about the generosity of the team sponsors, and in some cases just the moderators or members. The "official" teams and many of the "wild card" teams have drawings or prizes based on the spinning, all donated which is awesome. An exciting bonus to spinning with your team, and showing off to people who understand what you're doing since they do it too. In addition, two of the sponsered teams I participated with really went above and beyond this year.

Edgewood Garden Studios had daily drawings for things like gift certificates, and natural or dyed braids of fiber. In the end there were a couple more members than days of drawings, but she made sure they weren't left out either. I would already have continued using this shop because their fibers are beautiful and the prices can't be beat, but for an independent dyer to give so much to her fans really earns some major loyalty points.

My name came up fairly early, so I had already received my prize before the Tour was even over. I was given a gift certificate, which I used to get this Gray Masham Wool in the Gentle Breeze colorway. I wanted to try a new fiber but in colors I already know I love. You can see it on my spindle in the picture above, but here is a close up showing the variations in color. I am loving it.



And for another business earning those bonus loyalty points (even though they already have my business as much as I can afford...and then some) was Paradise Fibers. They gave everyone that participated and showed off those spinning pics a free months shipment of their fiber club. The shipment gets mailed at the end of this month, and I am super excited about this one. It's one of those things I have always been interested in but never had the spare cash.


As much fun as the Tour was, I have to admit that I'm taking advantage of the down time after. Sorting through the knitting WIPs I set aside, remembering where I left off and even finishing some of them.

My fingerless gloves - remember them from the June KAL? - they were down to only needing the thumbs knit, and I finished them last night


Super comfy and the twisted stitches make for some beautiful detail. I can't wait for it to actually get cool enough to wear them. Unfortunately with today having a high of 100, it looks like I'm going to have quite the wait!


This morning before work I did the finish work on a Swiffer cover I started 3 months ago. How to I let myself drag these quick little projects out for so long?!?

Anyhow it is now in use, and already looks a little less new than it did when I snapped these pictures.

What can I say? I also neglected the housework a bit during all those days spent spinning.


I'm planning on getting the rest of that spinning done and finishing up another project or two, BUT I'm not ruling out a new project before too long.

Next post will likely be off the crafting topic and be about my day trip to Seattle though. Had a great time, saw some cool stuff and if I can only get the pics off my phone I'll be sharing them here.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This is not a real post (okay maybe it is)

Mostly it is just an excuse to show off this picture
(and to share what I've learned in the taking of it)

You see, last night I had myself a nice little freak out.
I realized that not only was there less than a week left of the Tour De Fleece but I was going to be missing the last day. I mean, I did already know that, but I didn't know it.

My original goal for the Tour was to spin the entire 8oz of Potluck Roving. In what can only be described as a fit of optimistic insanity, I later decided add spinning the 4oz of Corriedale too. What can I say, I was swayed by the colors.
I have spun the full 4oz of the Corriedale, but less than 5oz of the Potluck Domestic.

With over 3oz of that grey left to spin and then ply, I realized there is almost no way I could finish in time. Not with working every day through Saturday. Not with Sunday being spent out of town, from 5am till who-only-knows pm.
And all the sudden, my head turned Sunday from something to look forward too, into a stressful lack of spinning time to keep me from my goal.
And that's pretty messed up.
Why? Because that trip on Sunday is meant to be exciting!

It's girls trip with a couple friends that's been planned for a while. Letting me go to Seattle for fun, instead of only going there in a rush to catch a plane.
For the first time I'll actually get to go to The Market - which I've wanted to do for years - AND we're going to the EMP Museum, where I'll get to see the fantasy exhibit.

And that head of mine was making me try and regret this because I might not reach a self imposed goal with absolutely no consequence? Why head, why?!?!
This trip should be fun. It will be fun.

Yes, crafting is fun.
Yes, a little self imposed competition can be fun.
No, it should not stop me from enjoying the day to day. It shouldn't cause me stress, because that sucks the fun out of it.
After all, I can spin any day (and usually do) but how often do I road trip with friends to the city? Never! This is a very cool thing.

I took the pictures at the top of this post for my daily progress post on Ravelry, and I realized something. I have gotten a lot done. A LOT. There is already about a half a pound of finer there. I'm spinning fibers I haven't before, working with colors in new ways. I'm spinning on a wheel, when a few months ago I had never even touched one. I learned to spin by watching YouTube for Pete's sake.

And I'm getting down on myself? Why?!?
I have spun this beautiful yarn that I'm proud of. Am I going to dismiss all that I've done because a couple ounces might be spun a day or two later than I planned? That's just crazy talk.
I have awesome friends. Sunday is also their only day off work, and we're going to spend it together doing stuff I really wanted to do. I'll get to go new places, see cool things and hang out with these great people. This is a recipe for a great day, and I can't wait.

There is absolutely no reason to let the Tour stress me out and since convincing myself of this today has been a much better day. That's why I took that picture up there, to remind myself of all I accomplished in a couple short weeks (6 day work weeks at that!) I've done pretty damn good!

So what am I going to do with this new found wisdom? I'm going to sit here and sip on my lemonade and spin when I have the free time.
Maybe I'll finish on time, maybe I won't... Okay probably I won't, and that's fine!

The Tour is meant to be fun, and I just had to remind myself of that.
There are no spinning police monitoring the finish line, and even if they were I could tell them to hush because I'm spinning even more than that initial 8oz goal. Technically I'm not a slacker I'm an over-achiever. It's just a change up of fluff.

The most important thing is that I will remember to enjoy myself, not just in my craft room but on those very rare times I drag myself away.
There are sooooo many other things to stress about, my hobby should never be one of them.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

TDF End of Week 2 Recap

AKA Holy Hell I'm Almost Out Of Time!

Apparently one lesson I did not learn well enough last year is how quickly the time goes. As of today, we are 2/3 of the way though which means just one week from the end of the Tour de Fleece. Eep!!



Getting the Brisk Autumn Corriedale from Edgewood Garden Studio all spun and plied is one goal I know I'll be able to finish in time. I already had the first ply done last week, and I'm less than 1/2 oz from finishing the second.

I'm hoping to have that finished, the yarn wound off and the plying done by tomorrow night. Or at least most of the plying done. I even have very nearly almost decided on a pattern. I'm not saying which one yet, for fear of jinxing it. It is in my Ravelry queue though.

Like I said last post, this is my first go with fractal spinning and I can't wait to see how it looks when I'm done. Really quick explanation for any curious non-spinners -

Fractal spinning doesn't actually change the way you spin, but the way you prep the fiber before you start.

First you split the roving in half lengthwise. One half you set aside, this will be spun as is for your first ply. Because of the thickness of the roving you preserve the slower color changes. The other half you split again, either 2 or 3 times (I chose three), and then spin these pieces end to end. The thinner the roving the faster the colors change.

I wanted to be sure I get a good barberpole effect in the finished yarn, and this basically guarantees your color changes in each ply don't line up.



Aaaaaand now for my main goal. The one I'm starting to worry I might not be able to reach. That 8oz Potluck Roving from Ferndale Fiber.

Here's what I do have done -


The first set of singles are spun and plied. I still have to wash and dry them to set the twist, but my preferred hanging spot over the kitchen counter is currently occupied by the food dehydrator. I'll sneak the yarn in after BF finishes his jerky, and before I try out drying some fruits now that we have some extra trays.

I ended up with two skeins (smaller bobbin means I couldn't ply it all in one go) totaling about 463 yards, weighing in around 117 grams. It's a fingering weight, which has me over the moon happy, but now back to the planning stages of what to do with it. I didn't think I was able to spin that finely, so all my ideas before we're running in the sport-worsted range. Still, this is not a bad problem to have, and so I'm not really complaining.

It does relate to why I'm worrying a bit though. Spinning so finely means it takes longer to run through the weight of fiber, and so I'm going to have to push to get through what I have left before the Tour ends!



I did sneak in a little bit of knitting between all the spinning this past week. My fingerless gloves are now almost done. Just the thumbs (and end weaving) left to go -

Currently two weeks past the official KAL end, but at least I should finish before a full month over...

Hoping these aren't famous last words!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tour de Fleece, Week One

The Tour De Fleece is in full swing, and I haven't missed a day. Good thing too, because I've got a lot of spinning to do. And unlike last year, where I was posting pics of each day's progress here, I've been spending less time doing updates and more actually spinning. I figure a weekly update shouldn't slow me down too much though.

My original goal was just to spin the 8oz ball o'fluff I bought at Paradise fibers, the Potluck Roving from Ferndale Fibers. When I saw how smoothly it was spinning - and it is a dream to spin, almost as easy as the Shetland and sooo soft - I added a second goal. I am also spinning the 4oz braid of Corriedale I got from Edgewood Garden Studio.

The Steel Potluck Roving is going to be 2 ply, and so far I've spun one bobbin full of a single and started the second. Progress so far -

I'm not positive what I'll knit with it, depends on what kind of yardage and yarn weight I end up with. I'm not a consistent enough spinner (yet) to know exactly what I'll end up with ahead of time.


Similar thing with the Brisk Autumn Corriedale, except with that I know that I want some sort of cowl for fall. The style is up in the air, but I've narrowed it down to about a half dozen patterns (subject to change each time I log on Ravelry!)


I spun the first ply of that between plys of the other fiber. I figure mixing it up keeps me interested. No matter how pretty that grey is, looking at it non stop for weeks on end is a sure fire way to end up burned out!

Anyhow - here is the first ply of the Corriedale-

I really love the range of colors in it. Hard to tell when it's wound up like this, but they range from a pale cream, to shocks of bright red and yellow, with a beautiful almost wood grained tonal brown running through it. I can't wait to see what the finished yarn looks like. I'm doing fractal spinning, so I should end up with a beautiful "barber pole" effect with the colors.


The only real knitting I've done lately is on my fingerless gloves. Technically the KAL ended last week, but I'm one of the stragglers who needs more than a month to actually finish anything.

First one is done, except for the thumb. The second is almost to the thumb opening. Shouldn't be too much longer though, and then I'll have a pretty FO to show off. I promise that picture won't have an irritating sun reflection in the corner like this one!


Right now the closest I can come to a new finished object is this Baby Surprise Jacket. You know, the one I finished knitting in March? I finally sewed on the buttons on, using pink and cream ones I had in my stash.

We already found out (a while ago) the momma-to-be is going to be having a girl and since she is due in August, I figured I better get it done! Here's the whole sweater. It should fit right around winter time, hopefully.

A nice surprise today was the half dozen back issues of knitting magazines a customer brought in for me. All Interweave Knits, except for one Vogue Knitting.

Some I have digital copies of, but flipping through them is more fun sometimes. I predict my queue will get even longer before I'm done. Especially since she said there is probably more issues to come. Yay! I have the best customers!


Back to spinning for one more second before I go. After jealously admiring other's Trindles since before last Tour De Fleece, I finally ordered one of my own. I was going to wait and do it as an end of Tour reward, but maybe this way it will actually arrive by the end of the Tour.

My main problem with online ordering is that I want it NOW. I mean, I ordered it this morning so why shouldn't the mailman be able to drop it off this morning...yeah, logical brain is busy telling impatient-new-shiny-obsessed brain to settle down and wait. I'm not sure it's going to work though.


One thing I can guarantee is that as soon as it arrives I'll be spinning away and showing it off here :D