Wednesday, July 29, 2009

TdF Wrap Up and Miles of Yarn, I Tell Ya!

Well, I made it through the Tour:

Tour de Fleece 2009

My total spinning came to a total of 14,460 yards of singles, 6,870 yards of completed yarn, and 7 pounds, 9 ounces of yarn. YIKES! It was great fun, it was nice to get through some stash, and I tried some new things (a 5-ply, felted singles, Masham, Teeswater). Now I have to get around to knitting with some of this.

I fell in love with this 5-Plum Pie Hello Yarn Club Fiber during the Tour:
TdF - Day Nine

...and feared that I would be unable to locate a sweater's worth (yes, another sweater's worth of 3-ply. You'd think I would learn), but I was lucky enough to score some more! Yay! So very excited, and I already have the sweater planned out that I want to work on!

In other news: I've been working on a fancy, new, leather-bound copy of the Devil's Dictionary. While the layout takes a fair amount of time, once it's done, I'll have it to print up on demand. I'm being soooooo meticulous about it - I'd rather not have to go in for any edits once I've completed it. I'm thrilled with how it's working out so far, and hope to have it completed within the week.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Spin Span Spun

Oh wow. And here we are, 2 weeks later.....
I was trying to be so good about blogging the Tour de Fleece, and I ended up too involved in the actual spinning for it.
TdF - Day Nineteen (Stage 17)

This has been the most time-consuming of my Tour feats - 2 pounds of merino, singles set to be a 3-ply. It took a bit longer than I had hoped for, and I plan on also spinning up a few colored mini-batts that I have around as "insurance" for when I actually get to knitting this up!

There's also some more lace:

TdF - Day Eight

....perhaps for a second Aeolian Shawl?

And taking care of some past club shipments:

TdF - Day Nine
(Hello Yarn Club, 5-Plum Pie)

TdF - Day Eleven (Stage 10)
(Hello Yarn Club, Thrive)

TdF - Day Twelve (Stage 11)
(Southern Cross Fiber Club, Veteran)

I've also been laying out some text for a new, larger copy of the Devil's Dictionary. While it is slow-going and a bit tedious, I don't mind it too much - I've got a system down, and I'm being soooo meticulous about every little bit of it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

TdF - Days 4 & 5

Playing catch up over here! There's been a helluva lot of spinning going on.

Day Four:
TdF - Day Four

This is about 750 yards of mystery fiber (and so much sparkle!) in gigantic batts from ironjohn. I had been unsure of what to do with them as the colors all seemed fairly disparate and I was afraid they would just muddy themselves up. I opted for the color progression option.

The Spunky Club Singles-A-Long/Knit-A-Long project from earlier this year played a giant part in my being able to make this yarn. A year ago I would have been afraid to take on such a large lace spinning project, as well as being afraid of the properties of a laceweight single. I'm happy with how this came out, and I'm excited to see how it knits up!

Day Five:

TdF - Day Five

This is a 5-ply - my first! - made from Southern Cross Fiber Club batts from May 2009 in the "Fire" colorway. They are a lovely 80% Superfine Australian Merino/20% Tussah Silk blend. I ended up with about 170 yards, along with a little bundle of 3-ply. This yarn is delectably soft and wonderful.

Meanwhile, in France - WOW! The Time Trials were tricky and incredible, and today's stage was also pretty crazy! Large lead group and the battle is getting heated.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TdF - Day Three

And so it continues:

TdF - Day 3

Today was spent primarily plying. That's a pound-and-a-half of fiber up there, and it feels wonderful. It's fairly rustic-spun, and I love how solid bits of color pop out in some places. Measured off the niddy-noddy, there's just over 1000 yards there.

I also completed the "Soul Windows" 3-ply sock yarn.

So that clears off all of the bobbins! A clean slate tomorrow - new projects! Moving on to lace (where I am hoping to complete my goal for Team Suck Less - spin one mile of fiber in one day) and making a dent in a 5-ply.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

TdF - Day Two

I continued to spin up that mystery wool today, and finished up the singles!

TdF - Day Two

There's one more bobbin that I finished up after this photo was taken - I wanted to make sure I had some semi-decent light. Tomorrow will be a day of plying and freeing up all those bobbins in order to move on to the next big project - I'm thinking of breaking things up and working on my 5-ply from the Southern Cross Fiber "Fire" colorway series of batts.

That bobbin on the right is 1/3 of a Superwash Corriedale/Nylon blend in the "Soul Windows" colorway from Spunky Eclectic. I'm aiming for some 3-ply sock yarn.

Meanwhile, in France:
Today's race was beautiful to watch! While most all of the race today was held on pavement, early races were primarily on cobblestones or unpaved stretches. The competitors rode on bicycles with wooden rims! The weight of the rims alone must have impeded their progress significantly.

TdF - Day One

I love watching the Tour de France, and the Tour de Fleece is a wonderful excuse for me to actually get through some of my stash while watching it. I have lofty goals this year - 2 sweaters' worth of wool, a 3-ply sock project, a 5-ply (my first), and a few lace projects. I'm hoping to be able to accomplish all of this, though I remain apprehensive. I plan on spinning every day that the tour is happening (including rest days!) through (at least) the duration of the live coverage. We'll see what it gets me.

Today's bounty:
TdF - Day One.

These are my first 2 bobbins of what will soon be a 2-ply. This is mystery wool from Rhinebeck (in researching the seller, I am lead to believe that it is mohair and the rather vague "wool") that I am LOVING to spin. It's wonderfully soft. I plan on spinning all of it up as singles first, followed by some mixed plying action (bobbins 1 & 6, 2 & 5, 3 &4 or somesuch) in order to account for any inconsistencies in my spinning through the Tour. It's more than likely this will happen because things in the race can get TENSE!

For those of you who cannot comprehend the idea of watching 180 men (to start) bicycle 2100+ km around France:
The Tour de France is really lovely to watch as not only a sport, but as a travelogue - it's a wonderful, er, tour, of France, and it varies every year. Due to the duration of the race, one is able to really get an idea of the nuances of the actual race (which also vary by year) and understand the technical aspects involved. Of course, the entire idea of the race is fairly mindblowing. In early races, the riders did the whole thing on fixed-gear bikes! They also had to do any repairs along the way by themselves. Things have improved significantly since then!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Say Hello To My Little Friend

So much to report, and many pictures!

First off, the new loom!

Say Hello To My Little Friend

This is the 24" LeClerc Compact loom. It's a 4-heddle/6-treadle loom with the ability to go to 8-heddles. I have a 10- and a 12-dent reed for it. I had to replace the side knobs and the crank, but other than that, it's all ready to go! Sadly, I am a participant in this year's Tour de Fleece, which I am focusing most of my energy on, and I don't think I will get to any weaving until the end of July......

Tour de Fleece Goals

These are my outrageous goals for the TdF - I know, it's a LOT! I'm hoping to make sweaters out of the top bundles, a 5-ply (!!!!!!) with those center batts, and break it all up with some lace and what-nottery with the rest. I AM a huge fan of the Tour de France, and plan on watching it every day, so why not spin through it all as well? Please, no betting on how far through this pile I'll get.

As "training" I cleared off all the bobbins, finally getting around to finishing this:


That's about 200 yards of New Zealand Polwarth from Southern Cross Fibers in the "Budgie" colorway. It's absolutely delicious and squishy. It was wonderful to spin and maintained a TON of springiness when it came time to ply.

Anyway - I'll be doing fairly frequent TdF updates, and I have a book review for the rest day. See you soon!