Tour de Fleece Is Underway

The annual Tour de Fleece spinning challenge which coincides with the Tour de France cycling tournament has begun. Spinners from all over the world are either spinning along during the actual broadcasts or watching recorded sessions, among other things. In either case, everybody is getting in some serious fiber time.

On my bobbins:

Wensleydale singles

First up is 8oz of 100% Wensleydale I picked up probably Rhinebeck 2013. With a very long staple length, this fiber is very easy to spin. Not having spun on the wheel in a while, I had a brain fart when it came to plying it up, but I quickly recovered and the plying is coming along nicely. I actually had some of this fiber already worked up but I can tell the ply is not as good as it should be, so it’ll be revisiting the wheel once this ply session is over.

The Wensleydale so far:
Wensleydale plied

While that’s getting plied up, there’s this gorgeous colorway, Headcase from Knitty And Color. Its 100% Merino fiber. Spinning this was definitely eye-opening. I forgot how much harder it is to spin Merino fiber with its very short staple length. I think the only thing shorter might be cotton. Either way, I’m just now remembering how hard of a time I used to have with this fiber and my heart sank a little when I realized just how much of my stash is Merino. But you know what? I’m just gonna go with the flow and see how it goes! But not right now. 😉

The singles:
Merino singles- Headcase

Pretty, right? One other setback was the amount of pre-drafting this fiber needed. Granted, it was compacted into a braid that had been sitting who knows how long before I bought it like 4 years ago. 3? I don’t know. Ya’ll thought I was lying when I said I had deep stash. I still got stuff from 2007 to spin. Yeah. Don’t judge.

I’m still contemplating which fibers to choose next.  So far the only challenge I can see myself attempting is to spin carded fiber long-draw. I have some Finn that I picked up Rhinebeck 2017 on a whim– $20 for a lb of dyed Finn?? Hell Yes!– that would be perfect for that type of drafting method. Might as well try now. Or maybe I’ll try some mystery fiber I’ve had in the stash a while to practice before I screw up the good stuff. We shall see.

Do you spin? What’s in your fiber queue?

Tamara  😀

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Craft-a-Longs Galore!

It’s finally Summer! That doesn’t stop me from yarn crafting, though. I just have to change up WHERE I’m working to get stuff done without heatstroke.  It’s going to be a scorcher this first week of July and I would easily mosey myself down to a local pool to cool off, but the call of yarncraft is a bit stronger.

Two big crafting events either going on now, or about to start are: 1) FibrePunk/ Grianaig Creations Destash-a-long (FPGCDestash) and 2) Tour de Fleece (TdF) 2018.

The FPGCDestash started yesterday 7/1/18( Oops, I’m late!) and continues for 6 months, until 12/31/18. That’s PLENTY of time to use up yarns and finish up WIPs that have been languishing in your stash or WIPs pile since the beginning of creation. I’ve got one main knitting WIP right now (Starting Point, by Joji Locatelli), but I have a few #MakeNine2018 items still to be done. So long as I don’t keep adding things to my ‘wannamakenowmustmakenow’ list– I’m looking at YOU Sock Arms– I should be set with projects for the rest of the year. 😉  So head on over to the Grianaig Creations Podcast page on Ravelry for  more details and to join in the destash fun!

Also going on for 3 weeks in July, from 7/7 to 7/29, is the annual Tour de Fleece challenge, which coincides with the Tour de France cycling tournament. This will be my second attempt at participating and I’ve got my work cut out for me:

neglected bobbins

Between bouts of spinning startitis and having issues with my spinning wheel I’ve managed to leave a bunch of bobbins in various stages of progress. The tour starts in 6 days and I have to somehow empty these bobbins without losing any singles. For at least two of them, I can’t even tell you what fiber I was spinning. I know what’s going on with the yellow/greenish color in the middle, and I may use that to test-spin/ply until the actual event starts. The fullest bobbin is what I started of some Wensleydale top I got from Little Barn eons ago. The speckled fiber on the left, I have NO idea about. I have seen some unplied singles in a bin I’ve been storing handspun in, but I don’t think I have anymore of the unused fiber left so I’ll probably just wind that off and ply everything sometime after the tour.

And there you have it! Join one or both of these yarn craft events and show your progress! Find me here, and search #fpgcdestash or #TdF/ #TourdeFleece on Instagram for more participants photos.

I Popped My MDSW Cherry…

I know, I know. EVERYBODY and their mother on the East coast has been to MDSW(Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival) at least once. This past Saturday was my very first time. And it was sweet.

In the past I’d resigned myself to NYS Sheep and Wool (Rhinebeck!), because I was not willing to travel allllllll the way to Maryland. Most of my local knitter friends, and a bunch of distant ones made a regular pilgrimage down that way every first weekend in May. I figured now was my chance. Talk about overwhelming. I barely took photos of the goodies to be had, instead opting for the usual, ‘ I’m here, look!’-type shots. Hell, I’d even left the DSLR home(now you KNOW it was serious).
Pretty Sky
Sheepy decorations outside the festival entrance

Of course I took time out to show off a sock WIP( the Socks on a Plane have since been finished.):

Socks on a plane... at a festival! (Mine’s on the right).

The highlight of the festival was getting this: a skein of the Cobblestone Sock, by Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber co. Cobblestone sock, Canton colorway

I can’t wait to knit this gem!

Also, I managed to finish the Socks on a Plane in record time: 5 Days ya’ll!

Socks on a Plane, in Socks That Rock, Little Bo Peep colorway

This sock was insanely easy and the thick sock yarn made it go really fast. Socks that Rock is a popular sock yarn that sells like hotcakes at festivals. I got a bum skein with knots and tangles. I’m thinking they sell the oopses at these festivals. I like the yarn a lot for what it is, but I’m not sure if I’d ever buy it again if the usual quality is what I found at Rhinebeck (2013). We shall see.

What am I working on now?
Ashton shawl progress; Malabrigo sock, in Lettuce.

Meet the Ashton Shawl. I’m knitting this in Malabrigo Sock, in Lettuce. I know I bought two skeins of Malabrigo sock and couldn’t remember what shawls I wanted to knit with them. I just did the close-your-eyes-and-point and came up with this in my queue since 2012. What better time to knit it than now?, I say. So far, it’s a really relaxing, easy knit. Can’t wait to block this puppy!

So that’s it for this one. Stay tuned for a special event coming up in the next few weeks. I’ll give you a hint: socks. 😉

TTFN!

A Day Late, and a Yard Short…

Gap-Tastic cowl one yard short of bind-off

That’s pretty much how it happened. I’d used all three balls of the LB Wool-Ease Thick & Quick and was just short of finishing the bind-off when I ran out of yarn. I contemplated using 4 strands of some regular weight Wool-ease and hoping for the best. But sanity came over me and I backed out of that idea.  The upside of going back to the store for one more ball is that I can make a nice matching hat out of the remaining yardage. 😉 And I was so hoping to wear it this weekend. Oh well, onward.

The other day I decided to participate in Eat.Sleep.Knit’s annual Yarnathon for 2015( I’m a ‘Yarnicorn’!), and this is my first package:

 

Eat.Sleep.Knit Yarnathon entry package

(Clockwise from bottom left): Madeline Tosh Prairie, in Oceana, and then Gilded; Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce, and again in Impressionist Sky. The welcome packet came with a cute sticker, a little note pad and pen and a Yarn lottery ticket which netted me a store credit! Weeee! 😀
Madeline Tosh Merino Vintage
I had to be a bit greedy though, and picked up a skein of Madeline Tosh Vintage for a lovely hat I’d like to make: Tekstur, by Angela Tong. I loved this hat the moment I saw it and I just hope I can get it to fit my big hair!

I’ve also got a handspun merino hat on the DPNs as well:

 

Merino Handspun, "Gestures"

Perfect knitting for when I just need to keep my hands moving and not think so much. Like watching TV or podcasts or getting around on public transit. 😉

That’s what’s going on by me, How are things with you?

TTFN!

Harvest Sweater (Rhinebeck Sweater, 2014)

Been a lot of crafty crazy going on lately. Finished two shawls and a scarf that I have yet to actually block. I’m such a slacker when it comes to stuff like that. But I must at some point, right?

On to the latest WIP: Harvest Sweater, by Tin Can Knits. I got a tip that their Simple Collection( a collection of free, fairly easy patterns) was available to download. One of my favorites was the Harvest Sweater. One of the things I like about this whole idea of the collection is how the pattenrs are sized for the whole family. While I probably won’t knit one of everything for all 5 of us, the fact that it’s available is fantastic.

So,
Harvest Sweater--- body 60% complete

I’m about 60% done with the body and then it’s onto the sleeves. Still thinking about trying to knit both at the same time to get even sleeves. Don’t know how trying it on for fit is going to work like that, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, I was reminded of something: Tension can make or break your project.

Back several years ago, I learned to knit/purl backward, so as to avoid turning my work, and actually purling. I quickly figured out that in doing so, I could avoid the dreaded swatching-in-the-round that I didn’t really care for. My tension while knitting stockinette backward(purling without turning the work) nearly matched what I get when I knit stockinette in the round. It allows me to swatch stockinette flat for projects in the round, but when I am actually doing something flat… yeah.

I swatched the Harvest sweater flat, with actual purling because I planned to just go ahead and knit it ‘regularly’. But after umpteen rows of that nonsense I decided(after I was done with increases on the front), to go ahead and work backwards. Already I’m seeing a slight difference in the tension between both areas(see photo above– right above ‘here’ is where you can see the change).

No biggie, it’ll all even out in the blocking process(I keep telling myself this). Yes. It will. 😀

As for future projects, there’s some socks on the horizon and possibly a new cowl. Can’t have too many of those can you?

So, what you yarnin’ on? And what has you knitting/crochet taught you lately?

TTFN! 😀

Take It or Leaf It Shawl

IMG_20140722_112716

So this began the other day. After a false start or two I’m finally 80% of the way done. Can’t wait to block this out and show it off this fall. Patons Lace yarn in Bonfire, that I finally found a use for, and a G hook. I think I’d like to make this again in a less fuzzy yarn; one thing this project taught me is that the ease of ripping to be found in crochet does NOT exist when it comes to fuzzy mohair. You’re welcome.

What Can I Say? (NaBloPoMo day 6)

Not a lot of crafting got done today. Too emotionally stressed today. The Presidential Election just drains me.  I’ve mostly managed to internalize the insanity surrounding this election and could move through the daily routines smoothly. Some days were  harder than others. I don’t know what the future holds. I think that sucks the most.

 

I went out to vote early this morning and brought along a sock project, expecting ridiculously long lines. I was, instead, out of there rather quickly and had no time to cast on the Jaywalker socks I was planning on. I did manage to cast on a Terzetto hat, and do a few rows of ribbing, but part of me just wasn’t feeling it. Hoping I don’t lose my mojo before my current WIPs are complete.

 

That spinning project I showed the other day has to come to a halt. One of the spokes of the spindle is designed in such a way that it makes getting the singles/yarn very difficult to get off of it. I spun a good ounce of the fiber and after tugging every which way, risking losing the leader end of the yarn, I decided to wait until the spoke can be replaced. At least my wheel will get a little exercise again. There are some other sets of singles that need plying and I’d already broken my promise to myself to get those done before starting anything new.  To make matters worse I have another 4 oz of hand dyed fiber coming my way soon, and I will have to resist the urge to spin it first. Sigh.  I’m still waiting for those 10 pairs of arms…

 

TTFN