Monday, July 26, 2010

TdF Wrap-Up & OSBeeeeee!

As happens this time every year, I have been obsessively watching the Tour de France and spinning for the Tour de Fleece. This year, as most, was EPIC! My goals for the Tour de Fleece were to spin as much as possible, and attempt to get caught up on my Club fibers from Hello Yarn, Southern Cross Fibers, and Spunky Eclectic. I also had some bits and bobs of random fiber around that I was hoping to take care of. A few weeks before the TdF I (finally) invested in some more bobbins for my Majacraft Rose, bringing my total up to 14, and mid-way through the tour I replaced the entire head assembly of my wheel, which had been giving me some difficulties (and being LOUD) for some time now. I learned that my wheel is 10-12 years old! Next on the maintenance list is a new drive band.

But the spinning! I spun the equivalent of a CAT this year!

TdF2010 Wrap-Up

That's 8 lbs, 03 oz. of fiber, for a total length of 8489 yards (15,648 yards pre-plying). I've got 2 sweaters' worth of yarn in there, a honking skein of color progression laceweight singles, some low-twist singles slated for a woven project, and much much more. My stash runneth over!

I did take some breaks from the spinning - I worked on my first assignment for One Scrappy Bee! Julie Frick requested some Vortex Blocks featuring bunneh fabric:

Rabbit Stew - Now With Fangs!

I couldn't resist giving him fangs. But then the second bunneh seemed to be lacking.....

Sexy Lady Bunny. this one got sexy lady eyelashes. I believe rabbit embellishments have been added to her OSB Assignments :) I'm really enjoying this Bee - I love seeing everyone's interpretations of the assigned patterns.

Oh yeah, I knit something too:

Annis - This Weird Little Thing

This is the Annis Shawlette from a recent knitty. This was a great stashbusting project - I have had this 300 yard skein of alpaca from Touch of Twist for a few years now, and this pattern seemed simple enough, and while it used slightly more yardage, I opted to knit it anyway and go down a needle size. As it is now, it's lovely and light and ethereal, though a bit of an odd size - neither here nor there.

Monday, July 19, 2010

4! Ounce! Challenge!

What can we make today?

TdF - SCF Rejects

In an effort to maintain spinning momentum and promote further creativity, I'm running the 4! Ounce! Challenge! on Ravelry. This contest is a collaboration with Hello Yarn, Spunky Eclectic, and Southern Cross Fibers. This is also an opportunity to use up those 4 ounce bundles of handspun.

People never seem to know what to do with 4 oz! To enter the competition, you’ll have to spin, knit/weave/crochet and (optionally) publish (via ravelry and/or their blog) a one skein pattern made from 4 oz of fiber. This competition runs during August/September. The goal is to create a whole heap of new patterns designed specifically for handspun fiber. The fiber has to be from Spunky Eclectic, Hello Yarn or SCF to enter.

Prizes - a grand prize of a $150 fiber pack from Hello Yarn/Spunky Eclectic/Southern Cross Fibre (about three 4 oz lots from each).

There will also be a random prize draw in addition to the grand prize with three $50 prizes (one 4 oz lot from each HY/SE/SCF). For people who spin and create an original item through August/September, they will get one entry in the prize draw. Those who publish the pattern get an additional entry in the draw.

The grand prize ($150 fiber) will be judged based on published patterns only.

All projects/patterns must be created during August & September. The deadline to enter a project is September 30.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Color Bands: A Tutorial

As many of you know, I am a sucker for Wensleydale wool, and it is most difficult for me to NOT spin it into color progression laceweight singles. This Tour de Fleece is no different:

Aquatic Deep Blue Sea
(That's Hello Yarn Wensleydale in "Aquatic", with a bit of SCF Teeswater in "Deep Blue Sea" on the side)

I've knit these up into a couple of shawls, but I am always wary of how the striping/progressions will work out. I'm not a huge fan of having the outer stripes so much narrower than the inner bits. With this in mind, Dale took it upon himself to figure out some numbers for me, and I'm presenting them to you! This is a formula for figuring out the ratios and yardages needed to knit a color progression shawl where the color bands are all equal. The information is for a triangular shawl, a circular shawl, a semi-circular shawl, and a square shawl.

A Few Things To Know:
  •  This has not yet been test-driven.
  •  Dale is not a knitter.
  •  This is written based on the pattern remaining the same throughout. If you change your pattern drastically, the numbers may be a bit off, but in the grand scheme of things I don't think it will be too noticeable.
  • The 10% addition is to account for differences in gauge, etc.
  • This formula does not account for bind-off.

That being said, here you go! (In Dale's words):

COLOR BANDS! Clicky for the xls file.

Based on the overall shape of the shawl I wanted to create a way to create equal bands of color. To use the Excel workbook, enter the overall shape of the shawl (circle, half-circle, square, triangle), the number of color bands (1-24) and the total number of yards required for the pattern. The chart will then produce the number of yards of yarn to use for each band of color.

Band #1 is the center or smallest color band, each sucessive band number radiating outward from that where the largest is the outer band of color. The number of yards is calculated from a ratio of total yards/area for the shape based on the total number of color bands and specific color band. Each successive color band will use more yarn than the one before because it needs to cover a larger area.

The chart shows 4 numbers:
Band: this is the color band #
Base Yards: a value rounded to the nearest whole number of yards
10% Yards: adding 10% to the actual value and rounding to the nearest whole number of yards
Actual Yards: the number of yards down to two decimal places

Each of the yard columns has their own usefulness. The trick is to know which one to use for what you want. One note I would like to make here is that the minimum number of yards is going to be 1 for base or 10% yards no matter the actual value.

The Excel workbook has 3 tabs:
Calculator: where you enter the data
Shape Examples: some quick examples to show what I'm on about
Print Friendly: printer friendly with the ability to add notes

Having some Fun:
There are a multitude of options and patterns you can create using these numbers; it doesn't have to be bands of color that are all the same width.

Let's say, for example, you are creating a triangular shawl but want to have 4 colors in alternating thick and thin bands using a total of 800 yards of yarn. You want the center to be thick, then a thin band, then a thick one of another color, and finally a thin band on the outside. Instead of entering 4 bands, enter 6.

ColorBandsActual YardsTotal
A (thick)1,23.31 + 26.4530y
B (thin)352.8953y
C (thick)4,579.34 + 105.79185y
D (thin)6132.23132y

Bands A and C will be twice the width of bands B and D. In the example I used the actual yards, but it can just as easily be done with the base yards or 10% adjusted yards listed. I would suggest using the actual yards when using larger number of bands, especially when relating to band 1 because the value can get quite small.

ETA: Dale has provided this handy sheet, with some answers at the bottom (should you have any questions).
***Hey! If you use this, please please let me know how it works out! Thanks! ***