Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Tour de Fleece 2014 Recap

This was my first Tour de Fleece and I have really enjoyed how relaxed it has been in Team Must Stash. It got me spining every day for at least 30 minutes, which was my goal. Another goal was to use up some of the fibre I had had in my stash for years. I reached both those goals and have partly stocked up on new fibre too, but not as much as I have used up - which is a good thing. I also tried something new, which is spinning from punis. Here are the finished yarns in order:

Mixed blue merino singles
Singles using Fondant Fibre punis, Shetland and silk
I really disliked the colour of this fibre, but spun up and plied I am loving it.
Two samples: merino from Fondant Fibre and a little bit of soybean
Milk protein fibre singles, a new experience for me and it spun up really well.
150g out of 200g of mystery fibre from Hilltop Cloud. Very coarse, but great to spin.
And that’s it! I spun more than I thought I would. I challenged myself by using new fibres and punis. I used up things stashed for years. I spun a total of 29 hours and 29 minutes during the tour! Considering I hadn’t spun at all this year, that’s a lot. I mainly used my spinning wheel, but I did do some plying with a spindle. That's a lot of achievements in less than a month and I am very happy with it.

How did you manage during the tour? Did it make you want to give it a go next year?I'll be there!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Tour de Fleece: Day 21 - 22

The final two days have come and gone and the tour has ended. It's been a great and productive ride and I am very glad I finally joined in. I look forward to next year. This is what happened the last two days.

Day 21:
I didn’t realise the tour ends tomorrow! I was planning to make today a rest day since I spent the day in Oxford at a moot with Tolkien geeks. By the time I got back, I still had enough energy to spin, though, and did some more plying.

Total spinning time: 1h 00m

Day 22:
It’s the final day of the tour! I have plied the last of this challenges fibre and took a lot of pictures for a nice recap of the finished skeins.

Total spinning time: 0h 45m

Next time, I'll post a recap with my achieved goals and post photos of the final results. Have you taken part in the tour as well? How did you get on? Let me know.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014: Day 16 - 20

Day 16:
I am still spinning the coarse mystery fibre, which will take some time, considering I have 200g of it.
Total spinning time: 0h 32m

Day 17:
Actually, this should be a day of rest, but since I will be away for a day without access to my spinning wheel this weekend, I am spinning today. I finished the first bobbin of the mystery fibre and started the second.
Total spinning time: 1h 00m

Day 18:
Another hour of spinning down. I caught a cold yesterday, but still try to keep up with spinning till the end of the tour. so far it's looking good!
Total spinning time: 1h 15m

Day 19:
I’m plying the first two bobbins and it is turning into a really nice fingering weight yarn. I am very happy with how it is looking, which I did not expect.
Total spinning time: 1h 0m

Monday, 21 July 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014: Day 11 - 15

Day 11:
Today's blog post of the Tour begins with a day of rest. It is hard not to continue now that I am used to spinning every day, but I think my back will be thankful for the day off.
Day 12:
Back to spinning! After two years I have finally started on the 50g of milk protein fibre I bought at Wonderwool. I have no idea what to use it for, but I do want to spin it up already and make room in my stash. Like everything so far during the Tour de Fleece, I am spinning from the fold, which seems to be the best way to spin milk protein fibre. It is a lot like silk and very wispy and I really like how it is turning out.

**Total spinning time: 1h 45m**
Day 13:
Only spun in the evening because I was too busy.

**Total spinning time: 1h**
Day 14:
I finished the milk protein tops and turned it into laceweight singles. It's a nice, shiny and sturdy yarn and I'm very happy with it. I may knit it up as it is or use it to ply with wool.

**Total spinning time: 1h 35m**
Day 15:
I started out with soybean top today, but really didn't like it. Since it is so slippery, I spun it from the fold, but it just didn't work. It seemed to stick and I could not draft it, so I gave up. Next, I broke out 200g of mystery fibre from Hilltop Cloud. It is really nice to spin, very springy, but also very coarse when  spun. Not sure what I will use the yarn for in the end, but for now I am enjoying the spinning process.

**Total spinning time: 0h 30m**

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014: Day 6 - 10

Day 6:When I bought my punis, I was also sent a lovely hand-dyed fibre sample I was dying to try. Ispun up Fondant Fibre's handful of superwash merino in the colourway ‘Meadowsweet’ and got 43.5 m out of it, spun on the wheel, plied on a spindle. I prefered the colours in the singles to the ones in the 2-ply, which is something I am noticing more often. I just like how the colours graduate in the simgles.
Total spinning time: 2h
Day 7:
Due to 25 hours without internet connection, I spun a bit longer than usual. I started a new fibre from Easyknits that I have called Doe in the Woods. It was a gift a long while back and I didn’t like the colours of it initially, but it looks great spun up so far.
Total spinning time: 3h 30m
Day 8:
I planned to just spin half an hour since my back was acting up again, but managed a full hour instead. I am happy with that.
Total spinning time: 1h
Day 9:
There's been very little spinning today due to preparations for the football World Cup final in Brazil and my German party. After a very tense match that my country won, I was finally calm enough to spin a little bit. Still, I did finish all singles and will be plying tomorrow.
Total spinning tome: 0h 30m
Day 10:
My Doe in the Woods yarn is plyed and turned into a fingering weight skein. Even though it isn’t my kind of colour, I do like the result. I might knit a hat or a little shawl or cowl from it eventually. Another skein down, now on to the next!

Total spinning time: 1h 37m

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014: Day 2 - 5

As you can imagine, there's been a lot of spinning going on since the start of the Tour de Fleece! Here is a breakdown of my progress.

Day 2
Off to finish the yellow punis and start on magenta. Some of the punis are too compacted to allow for easy drafting. At times I can’t do longdraw like I usually do now, which is very annoying and I am actually looking forward to finishing these soon.
Total spinning time: 2h
Day 3
On to the magenta punis! My recovering torn back muscle is very painful and I almost didn’t spin at all. I managed an hour during the day, though, just in time for this Tour de France stage’s finish on TV. Late at night I actually spun some more and finished the magenta yarn.
Total spinning time: 2h 30m
Day 4
Finished with only one of the green punis left to do tomorrow. Very productive, and my back muscle is slightly better than yesterday.
Total spinning time: 2h
Day 5
Fondant Fibre yarn is finished and turned into skeins. 919.5 m in total. On to the next!
Total spinning time: 0h 30m

Monday, 7 July 2014

Let's Knit - Top 5 Makes Competition Prize

I got my prize for winning Let's Knit's #top5makes competition a little while ago and I am loving the colours of this Katia Silk-Mohair.

I have only knitted with similar yarn once before and it took me three years to finish that project, though it turned out beautifully. Now I am considering using up most if not all of the yarn I have collected over time to knit a jumper. 

I know this could potentially end in a disaster. First of all, it would takes ages to knit because this is very fine yarn. Secondly, I will have to do a lot of maths to get the pattern right and, thirdly, this yarn is nearly impossible to undo once knitted up. Ripping back is not really an option for large sections. 

Before I start on any project with my prize, I have a few other things to finish though, such as my grandma's bed socks. Christmas knitting has officially begun!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014

Even though I have been spinning for a few years now, I never actually took part in the Tour de Fleece. If you are a member of Ravelry, you will have come across it, I'm sure. So, what is it about?

In short, the Tour de Fleece is a spinning event that takes place alongside the Tour de France. We have the same rest days, challenges, and we spin throughout the time of the race. It is a good time to challenge yourself to learn a new technique, make a significant dent in you stash or simply to spend more time spinning.

This is the first Tour de Fleece I am taking part in and since there are lots of rules that baffle me, I have joined Team Must Stash whose only goal is to have an enjoyable experience. There are no set rules, but there will be a few prizes, I gather. The Must Stash group was founded by two podcasters in the US who I only discovered last month. If you need some distraction for an hour, have a look at their podcasts.

Even though I really have enough spinning fibre in my stash, I couldn't resist these Shetland-and-silk beauties from Fondant Fibre:
(Image source)

These prepared rolls of fibre are called punis and are tighter and more compact than rolags. I was wondering how they compare and have been looking forward to spinning them up on the wheel.

Day 1 
However, before I could get started on those, I wanted to finish some yarn I had begun last winter. I hadn't actually spun anything for about 7 months! So I dusted off my wheel and finished this blue yarn that consists of about 6 different shades of blue. It was not a nice spinning experience! The fibre, most likely merino, was so compact in places that drafting it was almost impossible. That was the reason I didn't finish it in winter. You can imagine how glad I am to be done with it! At least it looks nice.
With that out of the way, I started on the first yellow punis and discovered that they, too, were a bit too compact in some cases. So far my spinning has not gone as smoothly as I had hoped! I am already looking forward to finish this and getting some of my favourite fibre out of the way. Still, I think the finished yarn will look great. I want to keep it unplyed so that the colour changes stay as they are, going from yellow to magenta and finally dark green.
By the end of the day, I had spun for 3 hours. That is far more than I expected I would do since my torn muscle, although healing, is causing a lot of problems when I am sitting down. I shall post periodic updates throughout the tour, so let me know how you are getting on and what your goals are. Allez!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

More Abso-knitting-lutely customer photos

My lovely customers are enjoying their knitting and crochet stitch markers:

Do you have any photos of work in progress using my stitch markers, knitting needles, yarn or row counter bracelets? Let's share them!