Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Updated list of recent podcast episodes

For awhile I was listing each podcast as a unique post, but it's been awhile since I've blogged. However I have been podcasting during that time so here's an updated list of the episode numbers and topics. As always these can be found at Yarnspinnerstales website or by searching on iTunes as Yarnspinners Tales.

Episode 43 Spinners Block
Episode 44 Fiber Fairs
Episode 45 Spring Spin in
Episode 46 Spinning Tools
Episode 47 May Spin in 2010
Episode 48 Planning a dye day
Episode 49 A chatty spin in
Episode 50 Pour and Wrap dyeing
Episode 51 Dyeing the tertiary colors
Episode 52 Walnut leaf and indigo dyeing
Episode 53 A front porch spin in
Episode 54 Color theory for spinners Part 1
Episode 55 Color theory for spinners Part 2

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 finish line

I know this has been over for more than two weeks now, and no I am not still toiling up that last mountain. It's just that with my work schedule and the need to do lots of outside work lately, I have had little time to be on the computer to update the blog.

So here it is finally, the report on my challenge to myself to spin everyday during the Tour de France. It surprised me just how challenging it was to get even 15 minutes of spinning in on many of the days. No wonder I still have a never ending stash of fiber, seeing as how I find it so hard to fit spinning in my day, even when that is my goal.

I did most of my reporting in one of two Ravelry groups during the tour, either my Yarnspinnerstales Spin In group, or the Yarnspinnerstales team thread in the Tour de Fleece thread. Most of these photos were posted there also, but I thought I would pull it all together here in one post. That way, if I decide to remove the photos from Flickr, which will take them away from the Ravelry posts, I still have a record.

First, a recap. One project was to spindle spin a cashmere/silk blend batt. I have one cop of single wound off and a partial one still on the bobbin, no finished skeins of that project.

Another project was to spin the cashmere by itself on my Ashford. I found that I spun on this wheel only three times during the tour, and so I have only maybe a third of the bobbin filled with a spindle. It's lovely to spin, although the Ashford was being fussy about the take up and that is probably why I didn't go back to it much.

The third project was to spin more bamboo for my plying with the Blue Face leicester dyed wool I had already spun. I actually finished this skein during the tour:

The last project is the one I spent most of the spinning time on. There was a dyed Polworth roving that I wanted to spin and ply with a natural color polworth roving. I finished this skein and a smaller one, not shown in the photo, and filled two bobbins with more, which will be plied later.

So now I will start using a copy/paste of the forum posts in order to record my day to day spinning during the tour.

July 3rd

No pics for me today, I worked last night, but I did spin. I did the spindle thing at 4 am in the morning during my break, it was neat to spin at work. I decided to use my regular sized Bosworth spindle, instead of the mini, the cashmere seems to need that heavier spindle for more twist. Oh my I still can not get over just how soft cashmere is…no wonder everyone raves.
After spinning some of the first batts, I’ve decided the blend needs more silk, I’m not seeing the shine in the yarn like I had hoped. Easy to fix, I’ll just add more as I card the blend.
I left the bag in my locker at work, so I hope to do some more tonight, although I am expecting to be pretty busy.

July 4th
Spun at work with drop spindle during my break (4am my time), got two batts of the cashmere/silk spun (remember these are hand cards so the batts are small). Also carded up four more batts. The single is looking beautiful, but I may increase the amount of silk in the next batts, I’d like to see more of it in the yarn.

After sleeping today, and with my ‘morning’ coffe (hah) I finished the plying of the BFL and bamboo. I now know the total yardage is 455 yards. Sounds like socks to me!

July 5th

Day three I spun one bobbin from the dyed polworth roving. This roving has long stretches of the colors that ooze into the next color. And the pound really was one long stetch of this colorway, it makes me want to keep that colorway intact. So I wound the roving into one big ball producing this:

Yes that is my comfy chair it is sitting in, and I put a bobbin on top of it to give you a sense of it’s size. Now you know what a pound of roving wound into one big ball looks like.Then I will just spin the singles starting at one end until I get to the other. Those singles will be plied with a
solid color, probably brown polworth.I hope the color stretches in the final yarn will be muted enough not to be too stripey when knit and I hope that it will be enough yarn to knit me a vest. That’s alot of hoping, but what’s a spinner to do!

Day three’s bobbin from the ball o fluff:

July 6th
Spun cashmere for about an hour (watching a taped show, probably more like 45 min) got this much on the bobbin, did a small self plied sample of 2 ply on top of the bobbin. You can see I have a few overtwisted areas, the Ashford’s take up was fighting me a little, I finally took the
tensioning string completely off to get the take up I wanted. Also I am spinning this with the cross wrap method, single is hooked on hooks on both sides of the bobbin.

My main spinning time was spent on the natural color polworth, which looks gray in the photo but is more brown in real life. It’s spinning wonderfully, better than the dyed roving. I didn’t get a bobbin full though yesterday, and had to sleep today, so this will be on hold until my next day off. Tonight I will spin on my drop spindle.

July 7-9th

Day 5,6 and 7 report.

Bah had to work, and my plan to spin at work failed, it was super busy. I got more time on Wed evening, I spun about 20 minutes on my drop spindle. Thur I spun for about 15 minutes at home on the brown polworth before going into work. Friday early morning (around 3 am) I didn’t really spin, but carded up six batts. I had planned to spin more Friday evening, Digitaldurga and hubby and I went to a wine walk and I took my drop spindle stuff with me. But it was warm and muggy and I didn’t feel like handling the cashmere when I felt that sticky. I did spin during a stop at our local yarn store, for maybe 15 minutes. And not getting home until almost midnight made that the only spinning I did on Friday.So it did happen, I spun something everyday, and I have to remind myself, that was my goal. But it sure didn’t make much yarn LOL.

July 10-11

Day 8-9

They don’t call this a challenge for nothin….
But TGITW that’s thank goodness it’s the weekend! I am looking forward to spinning the polworth, it spins so wonderfully, I’m actually enjoying it more than the cashmere, which I will spin some today too, maybe on my porch. It has cooled off here some too, at least in the mornings and evenings. Ah Fall, you are such a memory….
Sat morning was cool and pleasant, for awhile, so I sat on my porch and spun the cashmere. I have maybe a third of a bobbin done, but a little of the fiber goes a long way.
Sunday I added to the bobbin of the solid color polworth, and I finished filling that bobbin this morning (monday) It’s actually a rest day today, and I won’t be able to spin anything else today, I have to nap and then go to work tonight. I can not wait to see how the two polworth singles look once they are plied, so I probably will take 15 minutes or so tomorrow to ply a bit, just to see how it looks.

My goodness the weekend went fast.

July 12-13th

Day 10-11

This was yesterday spinning and a nice photo of the progress on the cashmere/silk blend

Day 12

Today’s spinning (Wed July 14th, happy BD MOM!)

This is the polworth, one dyed single, one natural brown single, ending up with a 10 WPI 2 ply. But trust me, this shows only the tip of the iceberg, remember all those colors in the pile of roving? You’ll see what I mean when I take a picture of the skein tomorrow, I still have more to ply.I am obsessing about keeping the color progression the same as it is on the roving, because really there is so little repeat in the colors. So to do that, I am marking the yarn as to the absolute start of the spinning, as #1 and each end the next number. I had to do some backwards thinking, since the beginning of the yarn is at the bottom of the bobbin of singles LOL.
I am very interesting in how this is going to look once it is knitted, I will be swatching some soon I think.

July 15th

Day 13

Finished the plying yesterday, now to spin more of both. A little over 250 yards of 2 ply seems to have used about 4 oz of the dyed roving. I haven’t weighed the skeins yet, I am keeping them on the niddy noddy for awhile.

July 16th

Day 14

I am really loving the colors and the yarn is so soft. I’ll be spinning more of both for today’s spinning.

July 17-18th

Day 15-16

I’m in a funk today because I have to work, so I did the easiest spinning, the brown polworth. As I have read posts especially over on the TdF daily thread I see lots of people spinning polworth, and some lovely colors too. I am filling the bobbins with mine for the next set of skeins.
I did spin on the drop spindle last night at a really great production of Shakespeare’s Much To do About Nothing. It was an outside production in a park and I kept up my tradition of taking a drop spindle with me to spin while watching. It’s better than trying to knit. I spun the cashmere silk blend. No spinning tonight at work, since I did spin this morning. Tomorrow night I will try and spin with the spindle while at work.

I am just very happy that I have stuck with my goal to spin everyday.

The brown polworth:

I took my drop spindle to work on Sat and got to spin a teeny bit, but the night was really busy. Sunday night was better I spun during most of a break. I decided the cop was getting too heavy although it really wasn’t all that full on the spindle, it just didn’t feel like it was spinning like I wanted. So I took the cop off and wound it on a paper towel tube, and started a new bit, before I had to put it up for the night.

July 19th

Day 17

Monday evening I spun a bit on the never ending bobbin of brown polworth, I think the house fairy is stealing singles off of it while I sleep, it never seems to fill up! I am going to put it aside tonight and spin some color.

July 20-25
Day 18 to the finish

Here ends any entry from the ravelry forums, and any photos also. Day 18 and 19 were times I spun on the BFL natural color, Day 20 I carded more batts of the cashmere and silk and spun some. And that was it, I did not spin any more. Day 21-23 were too busy with getting ready to leave town and then actually going on a getaway weekend. I chose to truly get away, and did not take a computer, spinning, reading. Just sat by the river, watching the boats go by, drinking a nice wine and sleeping until I wanted to wake, not at the beck and call of the alarm.

As I said, it surprised me just how hard it was to get in just a little bit of spinning each day. It was a challenge, and I almost made it. I have not spun anything since either, although I am getting the itch again. There's two full bobbins of the polworth waiting to be plied, and all that lovely soft cashmere. I doubt it will be a challenge to sit down at the spinning wheel again, very soon.


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 the starting line

I know everyone knows about the Tour de France, but maybe you have to be a spinner to have heard of the Tour de Fleece. This is a big challenge time on Ravelry for spinners, who decide to spin with goals in mind, while the bikes are spinning their wheels in France.

So I decided to join the fun this year, and have set my goal to spin everyday during the July 3rd to 26th event. Given my current busy life, I have not set any other goal, just to 'get some yarn made' everyday.

To help motivate me to sit and spin, I decided it was time to dip into the prime stuff in the stash. This is stash I have held onto, because it was just so wonderful to me. Well, it is wonderful and so will be wonderful yarn, and later, wonderful knitwear. It's just plain time to spin it.

First: a Rovings polworth dyed roving called Spice Island:
The colors are more vibrant in person, my camera just didn't pick that up in the daylight. I will spin all of the dyed roving into a single, and then spin a single out of a natural colored polworth roving, shown here:
Again the camera and daylight washed it out some, the natural brown roving is a deeper brown that it looks in the photo above.

As a second project I will spin this cashmere roving:

I plan to spin it as thin as possible and see something lacy in it's future.

Now my biggest problem with spinning everyday is my nightshift work schedule. I work two nights back to back, and so the day in between is spent almost entirely in sleep before going right back to work. I decided the solution was a drop spindle project that I could keep in my car or even my locker at work. Then I know I will find at least 15 mintes to spin on a break at work. I had experimented awhile ago with handcarding a cashmere and silk blend and spinning it on a drop spindle, and thought it be good to revive that project. So here is my portable spinning kit:
I carded a few rolags to show the blend. That's my regular sized Bosworth spindle with them, to give a sense of their size. See the shine of the silk?
And so here's the bag, all packed and ready to go (I have to work the first two days of the Tour de Fleece so it will definately be needed).
Yes, that is a Laurel Burch bag. It was a very welcomed gift from a coworker several years ago, and I still smile whenever I use it.

If anyone wants to join me for this challenge on Ravelry (and probably see more progress photos there) check out the Tour de Fleece group and look for the wild card group for Yarnspinnerstales Spin in. Or just come to the group for Yarnspinnerstales spin in and check out the thread on the TdF there.


I had to go look in the archives because I truly could not remember, but I started this blog Nov 2002. For many years I used it to record my fiber pursuits. It was not easy those first few years. There was the learning curve of uploading photos, the hassle of dialup and all of those internet nusiances that have finally been smoothed away.

Now I should have no excuse for this last six month absence. My camera takes wonderful digital photos, adobe puts them in nice small jpegs for the internet, DSL uploads them almost in seconds.

I didn't even stop working on fiber pursuits in those six months.

No, but I did go through some major life changing events, first hubby's serious illness and hospitalization, then the need for me to return to work full time. And not just full time but _night shift_ work. It's taken me months to adjust.

Now I need to overcome some other internet issues, to make blogging super speedy again. Blogger insists to keep this blog on a very old google account of mine, so I have to log into that before signing on to blogger. I haven't found a way to keep the free account and change that email log in, so that hassle remains. I now find I need a new camera, and am very tempted by one that will wifi your photos straight to the internet. Will they still be speedily uploaded when there's no photoshop to make them nice small bitsize? I don't know. Where I use to have the time and patience to photoshop all my pics and then upload them, I find I don't have the time now.

I fear that my blogging may come to a screeching halt, because of these time devouring issues. I have found one small starting point again, the Tour de Fleece that begins July 4th. I wanted to blog about my plans for that, so for now, that's a good starting, or I should say restarting line. Hence the onwards title.