The Tour De Fleece Is Here Again!

It started on Saturday with the start of the Tour de France. It’s the Tour de Fleece 2016! This year I plan to spin as many different varieties of sheep wool from my stash as I can in 24 days.

Yes, this is all fiber from my stash, and every single bit is either Spunky Eclectic or Into The Whirled. And, yes, this represents less than half of what is in my fiber stash. No, I’m neither embarrassed nor ashamed. My fiber stash is nowhere near S.A.B.L.E.

These are all fibers from Into The Whirled. Starting at the bottom left, we have superwash Merino and Cheviot, and in the back, left to right, we have Falkland, Targhee, and English Shetland.

From Spunky Eclectic, there is Romney, BFL, Corriedale, Wensleydale, Manx Laoghton, and Icelandic.

That’s eleven 4-ounce bumps of wool. It’s unlikely that I can spin all of that in the 12 days of the Tour de France/Fleece, but I plan to spin and ply as much of it as I can.

In the first two days, I’ve gotten a lot of spinning done.

These singles were spun on Day 1 from Spunky Eclectic Wensleydale in Island Dreams, and I will be plying them together to make a lace weight yarn. Doesn’t Wensleydale have a lovely luster? It has a nice halo, too, but you cannot see it very well in this picture.

In addition to the Wensleydale on the left–can you see the lovely halo?–I also spun part of a bump of English Shetland from ITW in a colorway called Studio West spun up. That’s a lot of spinning for Day 1.

On Day 2, I finished spinning the English Shetland from ITW. I did a fractal spin, so when I ply the two singles together, I will get a 2-ply yarn with a subtle striping effect.

On Day 2 I also started spinning a bump of Romney from Spunky Eclectic. The colorway is Little Bluebird. For this yarn, I decided to divide the bump into 8 strips and spin two bobbins of 4 strips each. I will then ply the singles together to make a 2-ply yarn.

That’s the English Shetland on the left, the Romney on the right. So far all of my spinning has been done on my Schacht Matchless in double drive. I will be doing the plying on my Schacht Ladybug in Scotch tension.

The Tour de Fleece 2016 is moving along smoothly here in beautiful Brookline, Pittsburgh. I have enjoyed each fiber so far. I will keep yinz updated, but probably not daily because I’d rather spin than blog. Peace out!

Another Finished Object Friday

I still have no knitting to report. I’ve added a few rows to each of the socks I have OTN, but nothing substantial. However, the spinning keeps, um, spinning along.

I started with this lovely Corriedale top from Into The Whirled in a colorway called Mud Bogs & Moonshine…

and ended with 8 ounces and just under 1000 yards of this lovely fingering weight 2-ply.

I spun one bump end to end on one bobbin. The second bump was split vertically (lengthwise) 12 times and spun the strips end to end keeping the colors in the same sequence. Then I plied the two singles together to make this gorgeous fractal 2-ply. I’m thinking scarf, but I haven’t decided for sure yet. The spinning was done in double drive on my Matchless at a ratio of 15.5:1; the plying was done in flyer lead (Scotch tension) at a ratio of 12.5:1. My Ravelry project page is here.

And there’s more! I also completed this braid of Shetland wool from the Spunky Eclectic Club Remix.

The colorway is State Park. it reminds me of a meadow in Spring, with all the flowers in bloom.

I made a 3-ply DK weight yarn, about 240 yards and 4 ounces.

I stripped the braid vertically into thirds as evenly as I could, then spun the strips end to end on separate bobbins. I was hoping that the colors would line up in at least some places, and they did! I love how the colors blended. This yarn will probably become either a hat or some fingerless mitts.

This was the very first project I spun on my Matchless. I used double drive and a ratio of 15.5:1. The plying was done on my Ladybug in flyer lead using a ratio of 12.5:1.

My current spinning project has been a pretty slow go because I am spinning up 8 ounces of BFL from Spunky Eclectic to make a lace weight 2-ply yarn.

This is the nicest BFL I have ever spun.

The ratio I’m using is 19.5:1, and spinning such thin yarn really takes a lot of time. But I am enjoying it a lot, and I don’t feel guilty about binge-watching Boardwalk Empire because I’m spinning while I watch.

This is the first bump/bobbin, which I finished several days ago. The second bobbin is now nearly finished.

I hope yinz have a great weekend. It’s supposed to get hot again here, but we are ready. Our A/C, which went on the fritz a couple of weeks ago, has been replaced, so hot and humid doesn’t scare me any more. 🙂

 

A Matchless Named Emily

Way back in 2012, when I decided that I really wanted to give spinning a try, I bought a drop spindle and some wool fiber and, with the help of some videos on YouTube, I taught myself to spin. And I liked it LOVED it.

After spindling for a few months, I knew that I wanted to try spinning on a spinning wheel. I did a lot of reading on the Internet, and finally narrowed my choices to two spinning wheels, the Schacht Ladybug and the Lendrum folding wheel. What I really wanted was a Schacht Matchless. Of all the wheels I read about, it was the one that seemed to be a consensus All-American. Nary a discouraging word was written about the Matchless.

But the price! The Matchless, crafted from maple and black walnut, is a spendy spinning wheel. I didn’t know whether I would even like spinning on a wheel, so I didn’t want to invest that much money right off the bat into something that I might not like. When you are first learning to play the piano, you don’t run out and by a Steinway baby grand, do you? NO! You start with a Casio keyboard, or maybe a Yamaha Clavinova, or perhaps Grandma’s old Wurlitzer spinet. Who know how long you will pursue piano playing, or whether you will even like it? So, when I decided to buy a spinning wheel, I didn’t want to start out with a Steinway baby grand. I thought it was prudent to go with the Yamaha Clavinova.

The Schacht Ladybug was the wheel I chose for my first spinning wheel. It wasn’t an easy choice because the Lendrum folding wheel is a really nice, well-priced spinning wheel, and almost everyone who has ever had one loves it. But the Ladybug is also well-loved, and it is far more versatile than the Lendrum, which is single drive, that is, a flyer-lead wheel, also known as Scotch tension. The Ladybug can be used in three different drives, flyer-lead, bobbin-lead (aka Irish tension), and double drive. That was the clincher; I wanted a wheel that I could grow with. And I thought that if I really liked spinning on a spinning wheel, I could eventually get a Matchless.

Well, my Ladybug and I clicked right from the get-go. She’s a beautiful spinning wheel, and since I first got her (a birthday present from my DH), I’ve learned a lot about spinning and developed my skills far beyond what I originally dreamed I could do. But spinning wheels are a funny thing. Once you have one, you crave another, and another… Most wheel spinners have more than one wheel. Part of it is–different tools for different jobs. Part of it is–oh, pretty! So eight months after the Ladybug came to live with me, I bought a Lendrum folding wheel.

The Lendrum is a beautiful spinning wheel, well-designed and well-built, but being a single drive wheel, it has its limitations. I was fine spinning on the Lendrum until I bought wheel number three, a double drive Ashford Traveller. I fell in love with spinning in double drive, although I still prefer flyer-lead (Scotch tension) or bobbin-lead (Irish tension) for plying. This meant that my Lendrum was relegated to being a plying wheel. But my Ladybug works really well in Scotch tension, and its bobbins hold more yarn than the Lendrum, so the Lendrum has become obsolete. (I won’t discuss the so-called plying head for the Lendrum, which has larger bobbins than the regular head, because I hate, hate, hate it.) I haven’t sold my Lendrum yet, but I plan to later this year. I hate to have it sitting around unused when there is a spinner out there who would use it as it deserves to be used.

So, here I am, with two multi-drive spinning wheels that I love and wouldn’t dream of parting with. But I still dream of owning a Matchless. I have saved, and saved, and for months now had more than enough for my Matchless. But I kept putting off ordering one first because of the cross-state move, then because of the renovations to the “new” house (which is an old house that needs a lot of work). But last Monday, I decided to wait no more. I placed an order on-line with The Woolery in Frankfurt, KY, which is where I have purchased all of my spinning wheels, and on Thursday morning, I had my Matchless. Life is good.