Tour De Fleece Day 16 (Stage 15)

Today was a challenge day, and since I didn’t do any spinning yesterday because I sometimes do have a life, I challenged myself to spin a full 4 ounces of fiber today.

Here is a picture of success!

ITW Zephyr on Polwarth. This is a fractal spin done on my Flatiron in double drive. The singles are very thin and when plied together will make a fingering weight yarn, or maybe sport weight if the Polwarth poofs a lot when I wash the skein.


And So It Grows

My fiber stash, that is. It just keeps growing because there’s just so much gorgeous fiber out there. Here’s my latest acquisition, from The First Draft.

Here's what I saw when I opened the box. OMG!

Here’s what I saw when I opened the box. OMG!

Gorgeous colors, right? And everything was packaged so nicely in cello bags.

Here’s a group shot.


Notice the fancy tags?

Now I’ll introduce you to each one individually.

This autumnal color way is called Maple and is Corriedale Cross, a fiber I have never spun before.

Grapefruit is a good name for this colorway, don’t you think? It’s 40% Merino, 40% SW Merino, and 20% silk, so it should make some pretty yummy yarn.

Technicolor Violets is aptly named, with purple and acid green on Polwarth.

Last but not least, here’s another braid of Polwarth dyed in black and shades of gray in a color way called Into the Dark.

Not only is each braid identified with a beautiful tag that is tied on with a ribbon, each braid is also embellished with a handcrafted beaded stitch marker that complements the color way.


The stitch marker for Into the Dark has pearl beads.

And Lindey, the brains and talent behind The First Draft, also included a button, and tags that I can use to label the yarn I spin from this gorgeous fiber.


There’s a place for all the relevant information, and each tag is decorated with a drawing of a different type of spindle. That makes me want to get out my Golding ring spindle and start spindling again.

There’s no doubt I will be a repeat customer.

What’s On My Wheels

On this WIP Wednesday, I don’t have a lot of knitting progress to show. Which is not to say that progress hasn’t been made on the knitting front. On Friday you will get to see a Finished Object that was completed last Sunday.  I know, I know. But you will just have to wait.

I haven’t been doing a lot of knitting, but I have been doing some. I’ve knitted a few more repeats on the second My Broken Heart sock, and Cassidy’s first sleeve is nearing completion. But there just isn’t enough progress to warrant taking pictures.

The spinning front is a different story. I have four spinning projects in progress, three of which are my Wednesday WIP. The fourth one will be a blog entry unto itself sometime down the road, but I won’t talk about it today.

So let’s start with the project that is furthest along. About a year ago, I bought this braid of gradient fiber from Spinneretta’s Studio. It is Polwarth in a colorway called Monochrome.

A pretty braid of Polwarth

A pretty braid of Polwarth

A gradient colorway is one in which the fiber/yarn goes from one color to another to another gradually. The colors can all be shades of the same hue or they can be very different colors. But the colors never repeat. Gradient colorways provide a spinner with a wonderful opportunity to be creative. There are many different ways one can spin up a gradient. The most obvious one is spinning up the roving without splitting it. Just pull of a length of fiber and spin the colors in the order they appear in the braid. The yarn can either be finished as a singles yarn or chain-plied to created a gradient 3-ply yarn that shows off the lovely color changes.

I chose to spin the braid into one bobbin of singles, then chain-ply the singles. My chain-plying has improved by leaps and bounds in the past month (thank you, Tour de Fleece!), so the time seemed right to finally spin up this braid of fiber.

The yarn is currently on the niddy noddy.

Just look at that color progression!

Just look at that color progression!

I hope you can make out the colors in the yarn. They range from the palest of café au lait to the darkest espresso. I very pleased with how well this yarn turned out (and I know it will become even better when I set the twist), and I’m feeling ready to tackle the other gradient colorways  I have in my fiber stash.  Some of them will be spun and plied in the same manner as the Monochrome, but I think I might try splitting a braid in half lengthwise and spinning each length onto a separate bobbin starting on opposite ends to reverse the color progression. It will be interesting to see the results. And I might give fractal spinning a try with a gradient. Oh, what fun!

And speaking of fun, how could anyone not have fun working with these gorgeous colors?

These colors make me very happy!

This is yet another fiber braid from BohoKnitterChic, and it is currently being spun up on my Ladybug using the smallest pulley on the high-speed “whorl.”

I'm spinning on the wee "whorl."

I’m spinning on the wee “whorl.”

I divided the braid in half lengthwise, then divided each length in half, also lengthwise, which means I have four bumps of fiber to spin up that are approximately the same weight with the colors in the same order. My current plan is to make a 4-ply yarn, but I’m seriously considering chain-plying instead because I love how the colors are striping when I spin them up. When I get all four bobbins spun up, I’ll ply a few yards and knit it up to see how it looks. If I love it, the yarn will become a 4-ply. If I don’t, I’ll chain-ply the singles instead.

I have no doubts about what my third spinning project will become. The superwash Merino wool and Nylon blend I bought from Mustard Seed Yarn Lab was born to be sock yarn.

No one could resist such pretty fiber!

Every time I spin Merino, I am amazed yet again at how very soft it is. So soft. So very soft. And this yarn is spinning up in the most lovely shades of green imaginable.

Mermaid on the Lendrum fast flyer

Mermaid on the Lendrum fast flyer

It will make lovely socks, I have no doubt.

WIP Wednesday And The Tour De Fleece

I haven’t posted anything for WIP Wednesday for a while because I haven’t been doing much knitting lately. With the Tour de Fleece going strong and little worth watching on television, the knitting has been limited. Poor Cassidy has only increased by a handful of pattern repeats in the past few weeks, but once the TdF is over, she will become my priority. I want her intended to be able to wear her come autumn. The boy’s red raglan has sat untouched for all of July, but once football and hockey seasons start, it will move along quickly.

What I have been working on a bit are socks. Two “second” socks are progressing quite nicely. One of the things I love about knitting socks is that socks don’t seem to mind waiting while I busy myself with other projects. They seem to know that I will return to them at some point and give them my full attention. 🙂

Two "second socks" on their way to completion

Two “second socks” on their way to completion

The reason I didn’t post my TdF progress for day 16 is because the power went out last night. Funny thing, my computer and Internet don’t work well with no power. I hope you didn’t think I had crapped out on the TdF. To the contrary, my spinning has been something of a whirlwind. Monday was a rest day for the TdF, and so yesterday I was re-energized and ready to kick some ass.

I finished up the remainder of the 4-ounce bump of Wonder Why Alpaca Farm alpaca/Merino. I have another 4-ounce bump to spin, then I will ply the two singles together. But this is a long-term project. I’m spinning the singles very finely, so it is taking somewhere this side of forever to spin.

I chain-plied the singles I spun from Sunset Fibers July 2013 ROTM BFL. I’m starting to feel comfortable with chain-plying; my new Lendrum lazy kate has made a big difference. I can adjust the tension so that the yarn feeds smoothly and easily but without any backspin. The Ladybug’s on-board lazy kate is tensioned, but the tensioning isn’t adjustable. When I try to chain-ply using the Ladybug’s kate, I have to fight the yarn to get everything to feed smoothly and I end up breaking the singles. With the new kate, I can develop a smooth rhythm and just keep going. I’m very pleased with how this yarn turned out.

Even though we lost power last night for 2-and-a-half hours, I was able to keep spinning thanks to a battery-operated lantern, so I was able to spin up an entire 4-ounce braid of lovely BFL from OnTheRound. I plan to ply the singles together today to make a nice 2-ply yarn.

Last but not least, I ended up with around 1500 yards of lace-weight 2-ply from the 8 ounces of Sunset Fibers Polwarth in Pink Elephant. The picture does not do the colors justice, and you have to touch the yarn to appreciate how soft and cushy it is.

On today’s agenda:

plying the OnTheRound Singles

spin some superwash Merino/mohair/Nylon fiber to make a 3-ply sock yarn

Pictures at 11.

TdF Day #15

I just realized that I forgot to post on Saturday. On Day 15 of the Tour de Fleece, I plied and plied and plied. I plied 8 ounces of Polwarth singles. That’s a lot of plying. But the yarn turned out even better than I had expected, and I expected it to turn out really well.

Pink Elephant 2-ply on niddy noddy and bobbins

I both spun and plied this yarn on my Lendrum. The Lendrum is a mighty fine spinning wheel.

TdF Day #16

Day 16 of the Tour de Fleece is here and I finished skeining the Sunset Fibers Polwarth 2-ply.

Pink Elephant

The picture shows the yarn before I set the twist.

Now that the Pink Elephant is spun and plied, I have moved on to another bump of wool from Sunset Fibers, this one BFL in the July 2013 Roving of the Month colorway.

BFL on the ‘Bug

My plan is to chain-ply the singles and get a self-striping yarn. Keep your fingers crossed that it will turn out okay. My chain-plying has improved, but I still have a long way to go before I’m good at it.

Goodies In The Mail

Last Friday I hit the jackpot. I got two, count ’em, two fiber-related packages in the mail.

Friday’s mail brought me two fiber-related packages

The little white poly-bag is from Corgi Hill Farm in Vermont while the big box is from Knit Picks.

I opened the CHF package first. It contained the two braids of fiber I had ordered

Contents of the white poly-bag

and a surprise gift in a little white paper bag–3 pieces of candy (you cannot see the 3rd piece in the picture) and 10 g of beautifully hand-dyed Bluefaced Leicester roving.

Contents of the little white “thank-you” bag

You can appreciate the color of the BFL better from this picture that was taken in natural sunlight.

Lovely purple BFL from Corgi Hill Farm

Unfortunately, you cannot appreciate how freaking soft the BFL roving feels from looking at the picture. You have to actually touch it. And I don’t have “feel-ivision.” 🙂

The lovely braids of Corgi Hill Farm fiber are gorgeous and the pictures do not do them justice.

I took pictures in natural light, too. They don’t do the colors justice, either.

Corgi Hill Farm Polwarth/silk blend in Vintage Roses

Corgi Hill Farm Bluefaced Leicester in Cool Madras

I am saving this gorgeous fiber for the time when I’m more skilled at spinning and have at least some idea of how to spin hand-painted yarn without running the different colors together and turning them to mud. I envision each of these colorways becoming a fingering-weight 2-ply that will become either socks or a scarf, but my novice spindling skills are not there yet. They are not even close to being there yet. But they are on their way to being there.

On the other hand, the 10 grams of purple BFL will definitely be practice fiber. I’m looking forward to seeing how it spins compared to the mohair/Shetland blend I used for my very first handspun yarn, and it will be fun to see how gradient-dyed yarn will turn out.

Next up–I’ll open the box from Knit Picks.