Monday, July 12, 2010

Tour de Fleece - Day 10

first bobbin completed
pretty much the same boring off-white yarn as before...

I Navajo plyed* (or Chain plyed) my completed TdF bobbin on Saturday evening.

Finished Yarn Info
Spinning notes:
I usually ply at two-thirds of original spinning twist, but I followed Fleegle's tip on Navajo Plying and plied a bit more firmly - about three-fourths of original spinning twist. (I didn't bother intentionally underspinning because I don't spin a super firmly twisted single as it is).

Plies: 3 ply
WPI: ~16-18
Plied twist angle: between 21 - 27 degrees
Yardage: ~ 300 yards

If I recall my basic math correctly, since the yarn is a 3 ply that means I spun approximately 900 yards since the beginning of Tour de Fleece, or only a little over 100 yards per day. But I did manage to spin every day so I suppose that's considerably more than I would usually manage this time of year (spinning is usually primarily a winter activity for me since we're usually working in the garden and canning in the summer), especially given that we've been otherwise engaged with a minor home-improvement project.

plied yarn - before and after washing

Before going to bed I started on the remaining batts:

Second verse, same as the first

Non-Tour de Fleece happenings
My spinning time has been a bit limited due to seasonal jam making and the most current household project here at Casa del Chaos.

This is what I was doing Saturday morning:

Goodbye old 'dirty vanilla' colored tile - you won't be missed!
(note original mid century wallpaper behind the tiles!)

Late Saturday afternoon:

It actually looks better without the tile

*is it 'plied' or 'plyed'? Neither one looks right to me this afternoon, but Blogger spell check really doesn't like 'plyed'. Do you ever have those days where regular words that you use all the time just don't look correct? I'm having one.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tour de Fleece - day 8

So far I've spun every day ( although only the tiniest bit this morning since we were busy working on a home renovation project today).
There's quite a bit more yarn on the bobbin since my last update, but it's hard to tell from the photo:

I'm getting ready to ply this up tonight.

I didn't post any details about this last time so here are they are:
Singles twist angle: 27-30 degrees
Grist/size: 25-30 wpi
(my Mable Ross tool only goes to 25 wpi and the single is smaller than that so I'm guestimating)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tour de Fleece - Day 5

Progress as of bedtime on day 5:

White fiber, finer grist - it's a bit like watching solid color stockinette grow as far as blogging goes.

Also, kind of slow going now that the holiday is over and I'm back to my regular work schedule.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July Already?

I can't believe it's been nearly two months since I last posted. June was a very busy month here at Casa del Chaos! I'm not going to try to catch up in one post because it will be too much.

Tour de Fleece
I'm doing Tour de Fleece this year. Here's my progress as of yesterday morning (day 3):

Tour de Fleece - Day 3

That's more of the angora blend (actually a Dorset/kid Mohair/Satin Angora mix) that I've been spinning to match the Dicentra Designs roving I was working on here . This is actually some of the oldest stash I have in the Basement of Wool since the Dorset component is from when I was a brand new spinner nearly 20 years ago (and with an interesting story around its acquisition but that's a story for another blog post).

Non-Tour de Fleece
I finished spinning the Dicentra Design BRIGHT rainbow:

two tiny balls of handspun

Unfortunately, there's only about 80 yards or so, maybe around 100 yards when combined with the yarn used for the initial test swatch. So I'm not sure if my initial plan to make myself a pair of mittens will work out here.

The natural angora skein next to it is from the batts I'm currently spinning for TdF, but this batch had a higher percentage of angora than the other batts, giving it a more definite grey color (the satin angora I used was silver). The grey angora skein only has around 120 yards in it.

I quickly swatched a bit with the initial run of matching Dorset/mohair/angora blend to see how the grey worked with the colored yarn (nicely I think). I have to say that my purling in two colors technique is something I need to work on.

I've nearly finished my handspun Spring Forward socks:

Yes, Vanessa, I still have my bad habit of waiting to graft the toes!

And I've started another pair of socks:

Pattern: Cedar Creek Socks
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Colorway: Rainforest Jasper

I know, I know, I said I wasn't starting any new knitting projects until the sweater was done, but I have been rethinking that approach (not really working for me - more on that later). Besides I used the well-known "Traveling to son's college commencement" exception. What, you haven't heard of that one? It's right there in chapter 12 of Denise's Book of Knitting Rationalizations.

I also started a quilting project. It's a gift but I think it's safe to assume the intended recipient doesn't read this blog (and if they do, they wouldn't necessarily know it's for them) so I think I can blog my progress on it here.

I think it should be noted that I am a very beginning quilter. Very. Beginning. A lot.

My previous quilting projects have consisted of some seriously simple nine patch blocks in table runners and precisely two baby quilts (one nine patch and one printed panel type quilt). I do have some sampler blocks from a beginning quilting class I took more than 8 years ago, but I got the flu and didn't manage to finish the class so the sampler wall hanging was never finished. And, unless buying fabric and patterns counts, I haven't really done any quilting in years.

I mention all of that so that it's clear just how ambitious this project is for me. And also to show that I may not be completely clear on the difference between optimism and insanity.

So far I've pieced the 'leaf' units and now I'm working on the base units. The base units involve using templates, which I've never used before. I can't really say I'm wild about them at this point. I think I prefer shapes that are rotary cut. The second batch got a bit easier after I starched the fabric and switched to a narrow (.5 mm) mechanical pencil for outlining the template shapes on the fabric. Here they are in progress:

And here's the initial test block (to make sure the templates were cut correctly):

Untrimmed block I guess I should have tidied it up before its photoshoot
(leaf units are to the side)

And here's part of the reason I don't think I'll be doing too many template-based patterns in the future:

Maybe if your post-cut out pattern piece 'adjustments' consist of one or two
thread-widths it was probably close enough to begin with...

Yeah, like I really need something that works to enhance my abilities in the 'obsess about the tiny details' department...