Tuesday, 28 July 2009

My knee is killing me!

Seriously, I can see me breaking out the walking stick again for the first time in years & I really don't want to do that. Then again, 'tis my own fault since I actually did it - I did the Tour de Fleece! Yeah okay so it's not like I did anything remotely comparable to cycling around the Alps for 3 weeks but I did at least do what I set out to do.

Here's a wee round-up (copied & pasted from my rav posts 'cos I'm too lazy to type it all out again). Be warned, this is gonna be a long post :0D

Day 8

I spent yesterday arvo washing & whacking week one's output & dyeing up this -


100g of 25.5 micron merino, split in half & dyed with KoolAid. Top braid was dyed with strawberry, strawberry-kiwi & tropical punch & bottom was grape & black cherry.

The plan is to spin them separately then ply & I just spent the last 2 & a half hours spinning the first -


Complete with gratuitous coin shot :0D

Day 9

Another 2 & a half hours spinning up the second braid of KoolAid-dyed merino. I now have a pink/purple single to ply with the pink/red -


No more spinning for me today tho' unless I break out a spindle - all this treadling is bringing back an old knee problem & I *really* don't want to end up on a walking stick again. It was bad enough last time & I didn't have toddlers to chase after then :0P

Day 10

Rest day. I did spend 1 hour in the evening plying up the purple/red merino that I spun up over the weekend, mainly to free up my 3 bobbins for day 11 :0D


Day 11

Hand-carded some mystery blue fluff with some hand-painted silk top to get lots of fluffy rolags. Spent just 30 minutes spinning today as I'm trying to learn longdraw & getting very frustrated :0P

Day 12

Another 30 minutes spinning the mystery wool/silk rolags longdraw.

Day 13

Finally seem to be getting the idea of longdraw. Spent 1 hour finishing the wool/silk rolags. The plan is to spin up a textured batt tomorrow & ply the 2 together - I was never going to get an even single while attempting longdraw so am going for a textured yarn this time :0)

woolsilk single blue

Day 14

An hour & a half spinning the wool/silk/alpaca/sparkle batt. I was very meh when I saw this & the wool/silk from yesterday side by side OTB but had to ply anyway to free up the bobbins (since I only have 3 :0D). I'm glad I did 'cos I love the finished yarn. It's aran to chunky weight, soft & squishy & I suspect will be very warm. Roughly 95 yards too so maybe enough for a hat or some wristwarmers. Took another 45 minutes to ply & I used the rest of the wool/silk single to practice navajo-ply.

chunky blue

ETA managed another hour & a half off & on through the day spinning some (possibly) merino roving that I got in a swap. Pics to follow when I find the new camera batteries :0P

Day 15

Went to Edinburgh today to get 2 year old DS a kilt & came home knackered so only managed about 30 minutes spinning. Still working on the mystery-but-probably-merino fibre.

Day 16

Much better today. Spent 2 hours finished the mystery singles then about 45 minutes plying them. This started out as 4 small braids of mystery fibre which I suspect is commercially-dyed merino. I broke each braid into 3 then stripped 'em in half & spun them into 2 singles. I had thought about chain-plying but I really wanted the colours to run into each other so 2-plied them & the result is 205 yards of roughly DK-weight which I've called Sunshiney Day -

sunshiney day

Day 17

Sort of rested (ie didn't spin) but spent 2 & a half hours carding some merino, silk & cashmere into rolags.

Day 18

Only managed about 20 minutes spinning the merino/silk/cashmere thanks to my treadling knee playing up.

Day 19

Knee still playing up so just 30 minutes today on the merino/silk/cashmere.

Day 20

Another 20 minutes *still* spinning the merino/silk/cashmere . . . am slowly losing the will to live. Decided I needed a break & spent an hour carding some chocolate merino, biscuit alpaca & toffee camel into rolags to be plied with the white single.

Then felt hungry & went off for a chocolate biscuit - Mint Clubs mmmmm.

Day 21

Had a big push & spent about 1.5 hours finishing the white merino/silk/cashmere. I've discovered that I dislike spinning natural-coloured (or at least all-white) fibre as I have the attention span of a concussed kitten & need to see the changing colours winding onto the bobbin to keep me focussed :0P

Day 22

About 30 minutes spinning the first of the merino/alpaca/camel - lush!

Day 23

Half-filled the bobbin with the merino/alpaca/camel then got impatient & decided to start plying to see what it'll look like. I don't have a jumbo flyer & am working with about 160g of fibre so this was always gonna be plied in 2 halves anyway.

I now have 170 yards of gorgeously squishy, roughly DK-weight merino/silk/cashmere/alpaca/camel (talk about overkill lol) with probably about the same length again on the first bobbin - just have to finish carding & spinning the darker fibres & I'll hopefully have enough for a really lush scarf for me me me :0D


This has actually been a really challenging week, dodgy knee & all - I have very little experience with the hand carders & with spinning from rolags so it was very slow going plus poor Daphne isn't used to being used so hard & has been protesting (I've just ordered a maintenance kit - I think she deserves it).

The Tour has been fantastic tho' & this year I actually did manage to spin every day with a pretty reasonable amount of yarn at the end of it all. I even managed to get a group shot of all my yarnz minus the very first of the tour which has already been sent off in a swap gift.

tdef 2009

See that pic in the bottom right? That's how I feel right now.

I did count up my time total t'other night & it came in at 41 hours which cannot be right so I'm gonna do it again when I have an uninterrupted 10 minutes (yeah, right) & see what the proper figure is.

It's been a great tour tho' & I'm looking forward to next year's - I'll just make damn sure I have a double treadle wheel for 2010!

I'll finish this post with my effort for the 'Creative Display' prize category on the TdeF group -


Yep, I really do need to get out more ;0)

Friday, 10 July 2009

Le Tour de Fleece Days 5-7

Day 5

I did 2 hours this morning spinning the first of a pair of gorgeous 90/10 merino/nylon batts from Colourful Designs -



And I finally got a pic of the BFL/silk from day 4 -



I'm having such fun :0D

Day 6

I didn't get a chance to spin during the day as I was out with the 2 littlies so 6:15 saw me standing at the side of the road with Daphne the Ashford Traddy waiting on the bus. Yep, you read right - the bus. Damn near caused a few accidents thanks to passing drivers rubbernecking - you'd think they'd never seen someone carrying a spinning wheel before. I headed off to knitting group, spun for the full 2 hours & finished the second merino/nylon batt so shall be plying tomorrow :0)



Day 7

I haz yarn barf!

I always spin to ply but long to spin a nice chunky single that I'll be happy to leave as a single & well, this ain't it -


Can anyone say 'overspun'?


*Braaaaaiiiinnnns! Braaaiiinnnns!*

I spent 1 & a half hours doing this. Part of me is sitting, head in hands going WTF is that? & another part is loling & going woah, cool! I'll wash & whack the hell out of it & see what happens but I suspect it'll eventually wind up plied with something commercially spun . . .

On a happier note I also spent 45 minutes plying the merino/nylon from yesterday -



I now have 256 yards of gorgeously squooshy DKish crochet-spun yarn that is destined to become a pretty scarf.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Le Tour de Fleece Days 1 - 4

Le Tour de Fleece

The aim - spin a little (or a lot) every day of the Tour de France. If you can co-ordinate it with the race itself (ie spin something challenging during the difficult mountain stages) so much the better.

So I'm taking part again & hopefully this year I'll stick to it. Last year I lasted 3 days so I've already beat my previous record :0D

My goals

1) spin up as much of my sadly neglected stash as possible
2) learn to spin proper longdraw (my usual method is a short backwards draw)
3) spin some different fibres (silk, alpaca, etc as well as wools I've never spun before)

I'm so chuffed - I'd lost my spinning mojo early in the year & from January had only spun about 60g of merino in about 5 months. Since Saturday 4th July I've finished the rest of the merino & spun 100g of jacob & 100g of the BFL/silk. I'm spinning for Team LSG (lazy, stupid & godless) on ravelry & am posting my daily progress there. Since I definitely embody the 'L' in our title I'm just gonna cut & paste my rav posts :0D

Day 1

I just spent the last 3 hours spinning up the last 40g or so of this -


merino from Halona Yarns.

I've hardly spun at all this year & I'm pretty sure this has been OTB since before xmas. Since I only have the 3 bobbins I'm gonna have to ply tomorrow before I can spin anything else & since 1 has been relaxing for about 6 months & the other is only just spun & springy as fk it should be an interesting experience . . .

Day 2

I plied the Halona Yarns merino from yesterday (took about 2 hours) -


close up -

heathered hills close

There was a wee bit left on one bobbin & being the kind of person who can't bear to see anything go to waste (hey, I'm a Scot) I plied some of it with a wee bit of merino then n-plied the rest -


Once my bobbins were freed up I spent another 2 & a half hours spinning up the first half of some kettle dyed jacob humbug from Shunklies on etsy -


and here's the other half ready to go tomorrow -


So all in all that's 4 & a half hours spinning for me today (& no housework :0P).

Day 3

Spent an hour spinning up the rest of the jacob humbug from Shunklies -


I was trying to spin thicker but am finding it really difficult - I managed a little bit thicker but not much :0S

Am not sure whether to n-ply (which was the original plan) or head up to the Mad Crafter for a big spool of shiny thread & ply with that instead. It was lovely to spin 'cos the roving was quite skinny - I just opened up the end & spun the whole length as it was, undoing loops as I went to keep the colour progression.

I'll hopefully get more spinning done later but I guess I better do some housewifely stuff now (sigh).

ETA - I was too L to go up town so decided just to n-ply & got exactly what I'd been hoping for when I started - 111 yards of heavy worsted to chunky with a definite colour progression. Only fly in the ointment is that I couldn't fit it all on one one bobbin when plying - I wants a jumbo flyer! {stamps foot}

It took 40 minutes to ply so that's 1 hour 40 for me today. Suppose I'd better do some knitting tonight . . .

pics -




& OMG you guys! I unwound yesterday's bobbin (merino from Halona Yarns) & discovered the best spinning I've ever done! 360 yards at 14 WPI & the most even I've done to date -


I haz a happy :0D

aaaaand finally -


another 2 hours spinning 50g of BFL/silk in blackberries that I received in the 2nd UK spinners group swap. That's the 1st bobbin done so I plan to spin the other 50g tomorrow & ply 'em together. This has been S-spun & will be Z-plied as it's for a crocheter.

I'm done for the day now - my a^se is square :0P

Day 4

So far have spent 1 hour 15 minutes spinning more of the BFL/silk -



Not sure if I'll get much more done today as I have a bathroom to clean then I have to go up town & the in-laws are coming for dinner tonight (spag bol so at least that's easy to make :0D).


I was too L to go up town so got in another 2 hours 20 minutes this arvo - I now have 249 yards of rather scrummy BFL/silk 2-ply :0D

I'll take pics as soon as I find DH's camera since my camera batteries just died . . .