Monday was day four of the Olympics and I did nothing with my challenge. That's not to say I did nothing at all though. Right now it is also state fair time and once again I will be busy with volunteer work in the textile department. I also have four entries in the fair, three skeins of yarn and the knitted shawl. I will post about those later. The fair opens tomorrow (Aug 14th) but all of the judging happens previous to the opening. And the judges need helpers, so my first volunteer day happened Monday, to help with the quilt judging. Those of us that do this, fondly refer to it as 'quilt wrangling'. Our jobs are to get the quilts from one category spread out one on top of the other on a large table, while the previously spread out category is being judged. This helps keep things moving. There are also scribes, which sit and listen and write comments the judge makes about the quilt, which are then mailed to the person that entered the item.
Quilting is a big thing in the state, and there are over 35 categories in the quilts alone. The number of entries per category can range from two or three to fifty. So it takes two judges, and about a dozen helpers to get them all 'wrangled' and judged.
I wouldn't miss this opportunity though, except every time I do it, I want to run home and start piecing fabric together. Ironically, if I entered a quilt, I couldn't then go to the judging. The compromise is to make the quilt and not enter it, something I am perfectly willing to do given the level of expertise I see at the judging.
But I come home very tired, and so did not even feel like spinning.
But Tuesday I got to spend the entire day spinning and watching recorded Olympic coverage. I am enjoying the Olympics more than I thought I would, and having it in such an exotic location is helping. To see bicyclists riding around the great wall, is just amazing.
I am not so thrilled with my spinning challenge though. The fleece is frustrating me and the yarn I am spinning is bulkier than I wanted. I already know I will not be making most of the ideas I had for the yarn, it is just too bulky for a nice afghan as well as maybe not having enough yardage.
This is what I am running into. First of all the fleece fooled me. It had a higher amount of lanolin that I anticipated and so it is still slightly sticky to spin. I really do not mind that in a yarn though, as I can use that to an advantage by making something for outerwear. It will help in the weatherproofing. But the fleece also fooled me by hiding a very large amount of tiny vegetable matter and the higher lanolin is holding it in the roving and not dropping out like it usually does while I spin. Also, there was hidden a larger amount of nubs. So I am starting and stopping all the time to pull bits of seed, and nubs from the yarn.
I almost quit, thinking well I will comb the rest and give this 8 oz up to a general loss. But I went ahead and at least plied the singles, and I liked the yarn better. Oh it's still bulky and I can still see bits of VM in it (OK can I now call it interesting additions to the yarn?). But the plying tended to even out the yarn and make it more appealing.
I don't have pictures of the yarn yet, I decided to wash it, so it is drying right now. I have about 160 yards of 2 ply at 9 WPI yarn so far.
Sleeping on a project often helps and when I got up this morning I realized that I needed to get back to the basics again and do something I had not done, hand pick the fleece before carding. In my feeling of needed haste for this project, along with thinking there was not much VM, I had skipped this step. The only thing I had done was open the locks some before putting it through the carder. It's no wonder there was a large amount of trash in the batts.
So I spent a hour and half on my porch this morning with about 8 oz of the remaining washed fiber and picked it open. It still did not remove all of the VM, but it does look better and will card up in a hurry, being already picked open.
Here's a lovely picture of the basket full of picked fiber. Hard to believe 8 oz fills the basket!
This is the trashy bits I gathered up off the porch floor after picking. Yes, it seems to be about the same amount of waste as I would get if I combed the fiber. It's almost the same process really, when you pick the fiber as hard as I do, there's alot of waste.
Later today I will card the picked fiber, and spin another 2 ply yarn. I imagine I could get a thinner yarn now except if I really want to knit something with this yarn, I should go ahead and continue with the 9 WPI and use it for something bulky and warm for this winter.