I am on my last lap of the spinning olympic challenge. I can almost see the finish line from here:
Actually I took that photo yesterday morning, so half of the batts are already spun into a single.
A quick update though of the progress so far.
Days 6 and 7 I carded the picked fiber and started spinning a second set of skeins.
Day 8 through 10 I did a little spinning, but mostly was away from the project. I went to the state fair on one day, and spent two days editing the podcast. Off and on during the mornings of these days I picked the last of the washed fiber for the third and final batch of carding and spinning.
Day 11 I worked at the state fair, but in the evening I finished the plying of the second batch. Yardage for that batch was 238 yards of a bulky 9 WPI 2 ply. The picking helped alot, but the yarn is still bulky and slubby. I have given up any hope of getting anything but that type of yarn for this fleece. This evening I also searched Ravelry for a project to knit with the first 210 yards and decided on a cat bed. I've wanted to make one for my cat for a long time and realized that although this maine island fleece is bulky and slubby, it is very soft and I think the cat will like curling up in it. I have had cats crawl into baskets of washed wool to sleep many times, so I think there is hope this cat will accept the basket as a bed.
Day 12 I spent the entire day on the project (in between housework LOL). I carded the third batch of fiber, put the first three skeins of yarn into balls for knitting, printed out the pattern, rounded up circular needles and put all that in a bag for knitting at my knit group Tues night.
So to hit the finish line, I need to spin, and ply those last batts, and finish knitting the cat bed. I have 30 rows left to knit, and with bulky yarn and size 9 needles, it should be done by Friday night. I choose a catbed pattern that is not felted, although I may see how the cat likes it that way. If it doesn't seem snuggly enough for her (too big) it is 100% wool and will be easy to felt later if I want.
The project has been interesting, and certainly challenging, with the poor quality of the fleece. I will say though that the fiber type of the maine island is wonderful and if you ever have the opportunity to purchase some (hopefully from a breeder more in tune with the needs of a hand spinner) I would definately recommend it.