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.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Tour de Fleece 2011

And we're off spinning again for the 20 days of the Tour de France. I decided that my project this year would be to spin all of the dyed superwash Merino fiber that I did in the tertiary color study for the podcast.

The tertiary colors are created by taking a primary (red, yellow or blue) and combining it with a secondary color. This creates six tertiary colors, yellow/orange, red/orange, red/purple, blue/purple, blue/green and yellow/green. I dyed at least one oz of each of the six colors and then put more of the superwash into each dyebath to exhaust the bath and give me lighter shades.

So I have twelve 1 to 1.5 oz of the fiber to spin. My goal for each days is to spin two bobbins of singles of one of the twelve, ply the previous days singles and prep the next day's fiber. It sounds like a large goal for each day however, the 1 oz spins up quickly with the prepped fiber.

So follow along with me, I will try and post a new photo each day.

There is no photo for day one July 2nd. I prepped the dark yellow/orange fiber and spun two bobbins of singles and prepped the light yellow/orange fiber.

Day 2 July 3rd: Plied the dark yellow/orange singles (50 yards), spun the bobbins of light yellow/orange, and prepped the dark red/orange fiber.

Day 3 July 4th: Plied the light yellow/orange singles (82 yards), spun the dark red/orange singles and will prep the light red orange fiber tonight after work. This photo shows the top as it looks after dyeing and before predrafting.

Day 4 July 5th: 79 yards 2 ply of dark red/orange yarn, two bobbins of light red/orange singles and tomorrow's unprepped fiber 3 oz of red/purple superwash merino

Day 5 July 6th: 89 yards 2 ply light red/orange yarn, one bobbin single of 1 oz of dark red/purple superwash merino, and the prepped second oz of the fiber for tomorrow.

Day 6 July 7th: No photo today, there was so much going on during my day I barely found time to spin. I was able to spin about a third of the 1 oz of dark red/purple fiber in a single. I will finish that bobbin tomorrow, let it sit a day and ply those singles on the 9th.

Day 7 July 8th: Finished the bobbin with the singles of the dark red/purple. The fiber is the light red/purple and each bump is about 5/8 oz for tomorrow's spinning.

Day 8 July 9th: 107 yards plus a small 9 yard skein good for swatching of the dark red/purple. I love love love this color! Two bobbins of singles of the light red/purple color. And next we go to the contrasting color, yellow/green. The balls are the dark color of that dyepot.

Day 9 July 10: Sadly there is only 60 yards of the yarn, I loved the light red/purple as much as the dark. The dark yellow/green is now the least appealing to me of all I have spun so far. If it had all turned out like the dark bits you see now and then in it, I would have loved it. I think I put too little dye in the pot to get that type of saturation, I tend to be very cautious with yellow and the green was pretty light too (emerald). And the whole fiber ‘reads’ light because there is so much yellow in this blend, the primary is yellow and the secondary is yellow/blue probably more yellow than blue. So there is difference in the dark and light of this dyeing, but it’s hard to see unless the two are side by side, and I may lose even that after spinning and plying the fiber. The two lumps of light fiber to prep tonight really are the same weight, each 7/8 of an oz, one must have puffed up more than the other right before the photo was taken, it looks quite a bit larger.

Day 10 July 11th: A day of rest. I took the rest day too, although many spinners continued on with projects during the rest day. I thought my hands needed the break.

Day 11 July 12th: 79 yards 2 ply dark yellow/green yarn, bobbins of light yellow/green singles and tomorrow’s dark blue/green fiber.

Day 12 July 13th halfway point in the race! I’m slowing down for the rest of this week. I will spin another bobbin of dark tomorrow, and ply them on Friday. Probably will prep the light blue/green during those days too.

Day 13 July 14th

Second bobbin of dark blue green, and prepped light blue green for tomorrow.

Day 14 July 15th:

87 yards 2 ply of the dark blue green, 2 bobbins singles of the light blue green and tomorrow’s fiber which I will draft out tonight after work, the dark blue purple.

Day 15 July 16th:

73 yards 2 ply of the light blue green, one bobbin single of the dark blue purple, and the light blue purple prepped for tomorrow.

Day 16 July 17th:

Left two bobbins are the singles for the dark blue purple, and the right two bobbins are the light blue purple superwash merino.

Day 17 July 18th:

Top: 76 yards 2 ply dark blue purple superwash merino, Bottom: 82 yards light blue purple of the same fiber.

And finally a photo of all of the skeins of the tertiary color yarns, 970 yards total:

Day 18 July 19th:

Time to move on to other projects, mainly the yarn I want to enter in this years state fair. First though I need to clear some bobbins on my lace flyer on the Ashford, so today I spun some natural color cashmere, enough that I can ply with a previously spun bobbin. Then the bobbins will be available for the first project of my state fair skeins.

Day 19 and 20 July 20 and 21st:

Two days of spinning for one photo. The fiber is a 50/50 blend of targhee/milk and this shows the first bobbin with half of the fiber I want to spin. There is a small sample of what the two ply will look like on top.

Day 21 July 22nd

TGIF, except in the Tour, today is nothing but uphill. It's the most challenging day of the ride, so to keep with that, the spinners have decided that it would be a good day to spin something challenging to us.

I have an idea for a state fair skein, that involves spinning the beads right into the yarn. My challenge today was to spin a sample for that skein.

I had spun singles from a natural color white alpaca and used that as the base for the yarn. I took a thin wire normally used for jewelry making, and strung some beads on the wire, leaving the wire on the spool, the beads resting down by the spool.

Then I set up my Majacraft Aura wheel in front of me, and my Roberta wheel beside me. The roberta fed the alpaca single from it's bobbin, as I plied the wire and the alpaca. Every now and then I would slide up a bead, ply behind it, and then continue with the wire alpaca ply. It was a small sample because there was not that much wire on the spool.

Here's a photo of the resulting yarn:

The yarn is stiff, malleable, and can be shaped into just about any form I want. I like that for it's possibilities, but decided I would not make the state fair yarn with the wire. I will ply the yarn with something soft, like a crochet cotton.

Day 22-23 July 23-24th The End

No final burst of glory here, just some mundane spinning of more alpaca singles to be used for the large state fair skein. Play time is over, time to do some real spinning.....(laugh) I loved the TdF this year, I had so much fun with the tertiary color spinning, and can not wait to knit with the yarn.