A Long Time Coming

So, I am finally getting around to posting pictures of some of the knitting I have been doing. These pictures are a shawl I knitted from handspun. The fiber is Wensleydale from Spunky Eclectic in the color way Island Dreams that I spun into a 2-ply laceweight yarn; the shawl was knitted from two strand of the yarn held together. The pattern is the Campside Shawl by Alicia Plummer and was started a little over a year ago as part of a KAL in the Spunky group on Ravelry. The shawl knitting was interrupted by some baby blanket knitting, and it took me a while to get back to it. All the pictures of the shawl are before blocking, so you really cannot get a good idea of how lovely this pattern is.

A close-up picture of the upper edge of the shawl. I spun each bump of the yarn from end to end and somehow all the colors lined up in a way that resulted in some very nice, subtle striping.

The colors in this picture are more saturated than in real life. The first picture is closer to the actual colors. But in this picture you can see the center “spine” of the triangular shawl. The bottom edge of the shawl is a few rows of garter stitch. When I block the shawl, the edge will no longer roll. Fingers crossed.

Once again, the color is off, but you can see the shape of the shawl. It looks like the tips are going to curve, so the shawl should fit very nicely.

Once I have blocked the shawl, I will post more pictures of it. I don’t know how much use it will get because Wensleydale is a bit on the scratchy side, and since I doubled the yarn, it’s going to be a very warm shawl. But even if I don’t wear it much, it was a lot of fun to knit.

Post-TDF Spinning 

I will soon have some knitting to share with yinz, but until then, here’s some spinning for your viewing pleasure.

Spunky Eclectic Carpe Diem on Farmer’s Woolpool Sheepswool from the March 2017 Spunky Club. It’s a 2-ply that I spun on my Ashford Traveller and plied on my Schacht Ladybug.

Spunky Eclectic TACO on Polwarth from the November 2017 Spunky Club. This is another 2-ply that I spun on my Schacht Flatiron and plied on my Ladybug.

Last but not least is another Spunky fiber, from the June 2017 Spunky Club in the color way Cold Feet on Cheviot. Mmmmm. Cheviot. I am spinning it on the Flatiron and I hope to end up with a 2-ply sock yarn.

The Tour De Fleece Has Come And Gone

I have to say that the 2016 Tour de Fleece was a rousing success. I spun and plied and posted pictures and binge-watched The Great War and Midsomer Murders and plowed my way through 14 4-ounce bumps of fiber all from stash.

I spun fourteen different types of sheepswool or different blends, some of which I had never spun before. I spun BFL, Cheviot, Corriedale, English Shetland, Falkland, Icelandic, Manx Loaghton, superwash Merino, Polwarth, Romney, Targhee, Wensleydale, superwash Merino/Nylon, Merino/mohair, and Po-Mo-Silk. Eight of the fiber bumps were from Spunky Eclectic, and six were from Into The Whirled. Almost all of the spinning was done on my Schacht Matchless; all of the plying was done on my Schacht Ladybug. Two projects were spun on my Ashford Traveller, one on my Schacht Ladybug.

I had every intention of updating my blog during the TdF, but that just didn’t happen because the reality is that I joined too many Tour de Fleece teams, five in all, and it took me at least an hour every night to photograph my progress, edit the pictures, make collages, and then post the appropriate pictures to the appropriate teams.

But I am updating yinz now, so enjoy.

In the first week of the Tour, I was a lucky duck. I won a Tour de Fleece random drawing on the Spunky Eclectic Ravelry group. The prize was my choice of a braid of BFL. Here’s what I chose.

I was so happy to be the lucky number chosen by the random number generator.

I was so happy to be the lucky number chosen by the random number generator.

And here is a picture of the center-pull ball from which I plied Northern Lights.

Here's the center-pull ball I wound to make a 2-ply yarn from Northern Lights. I kept it on my thumb so that the ball wouldn't collapse on itself and make a hopelessly tangled mess.

Here’s the center-pull ball I wound to make a 2-ply yarn from Northern Lights. I kept it on my thumb so that the ball wouldn’t collapse on itself and make a hopelessly tangled mess.

Plying from a center-pull ball forces you to finish the plying in one sitting unless you are foolish courageous enough to stick a pen in the center-pull ball before removing your thumb and trusting that you will remember to be careful when picking the ball back up that the pen doesn’t fall out. I did this twice (I have the bladder of an almost-65-year-old), and both times the spinning goddesses were smiling on me.

After Six Days

Today is the seventh day of the Tour de Fleece, and after six days, here’s what I have accomplished, as told in pictures. With captions. And links to my Ravelry project pages. 🙂

These singles were spun from Spunky Eclectic Romney in the colorway Little Bluebird. They have been resting and are awaiting plying. Romney is a very nice fiber to spin.

More Spunky Eclectic fiber, this time Wendsleydale, which is a long wool and requires careful handling. Too much twist and you end up with twine. Just the right amount of twist and you end up with a lustrous and drapy yarn that works well for lace shawls. This colorway is called Island Dreams.

This is what Island Dreams looks like after the two singles in the picture above were plied together. This is a laceweight 2-ply yarn and it is even lovelier in person than in the picture.

These singles are spun from Icelandic wool from Spunky Eclectic in the colorway Squirrel. I had to take special care spinning up this fiber because it had a long staple and was kind of slippy. Too much twist and it turned to twine; too little twist and it drifted apart. I really needed to hit the Goldilocks Zone with this fiber.

And this is Squirrel after plying. It is really quite lovely, with lots of rich shades of brown and a nice sheen and halo. This is a somewhat rustic yarn, not the softest, but not harsh, either. It will probably soften up a bit when I soak it to set the twist, but it is definitely destined for outerwear.

This is lovely English Shetland wool from Into The Whirled in the colorway Studio West. I spun this as a fractal, which means that the color repeats on one bobbin are long, and on the other bobbin the color repeats are shorter, so when the two singles are plied together, there will be a subtle striping effect.

And here is Studio West after plying. Shetland wool is one of my favorites to spin and to knit with.

Last but not least, I have been working on a bump of Targhee wool in the colorway Talisman from Into The Whirled. I stripped the bump into eight strips to shorten the color repeats, and I’m spinning the strips end to end. I plan to chain-ply the singles to make a self-striping yarn, which is going to take forever because the singles are very thin. The plied yarn will probably be a heavy lace weight to light fingering weight, but I think it will be worth the time and effort because the colors are brilliant. I think this is the nicest Targhee I have ever spun. The prep is outstanding–very few nepps. It practically drafts itself.

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!

Feed The Stash

My fiber stash continues to grow. Here are some recent additions.

From A Verb for Keeping Warm’s Pro-Verbial Club, April 2016, I received 56g of Merino wool (purple) and 56g of silver alpaca (gray), meant to be spun separately, then plied together. This is my last installment of this club, and I don’t plan to sign up for the next installment. The fiber is gorgeous, but with the exception of this final installment, I really don’t know quite what to do with it.

This was something of an impulse buy when I was ordering some things from WEBS. It’s a limited edition colorway from Frabjous Fibers that was offered at an irresistible price, and it’s BFL and silk. And it has a baseball theme. And it’s gorgeous.

This is the April installment of the into the whirled Classic Club. The fiber is Cheviot ♡♡♡ and the colorway is Cattywampus. I think the colorway should be called Go Bubblers! because the school colors of the high school where I used to live, Boiling Springs Pennsylvania, are purple and gold, and the school nickname is the Bubblers, in honor of “The Bubble,” the place where a huge underground spring bubbles up to the surface and feeds the lake that you see in the picture at the top of my blog.

This fiber is Manx Laoghton wool, which is similar to Shetland wool, and just as wonderful to spin. It was dyed in the colorway Big Thaw by Amy King, the brilliant dyer behind Spunky Eclectic. This is the April 2016 installment of the Spunky Club. I’m really happy I chose the double shot for the Spunky Club.

I subscribed to the Spring fiber club offered by the amazing Felica Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns. Felicia is know for gorgeous saturated colors, and she has never failed to thrill me. This is the first of three installments. More BFL/Silk. Yum!

I made a big mistake. I was browsing on Etsy, and I just couldn’t resist this braid of Cheviot ♡♡♡ from The First Draft. I love the other braids from The First Draft that I have spun, and as a bonus, each braid comes with a small card on which to record all the technical stuff when you spin the fiber and a lovely hand-crafted stitch marker. This colorway is called For Alice, and the braid is 4 ounces.

Here’s another braid from The First Draft. I think Lindey is a brilliant dyer. Not only are her colors gorgeous and perfect for spinning self-striping yarn, a lovely fractal, or a marled yarn, the fiber is handled gently during the dyeing process. I’ve yet to get any that is compacted or felted. This colorway, which is called Indiana, reminds me of summer–blue skies and sunflowers. The fiber is Rambouillet, which I have never spun before but want to try. I couldn’t resist this happy colorway.

Yes, this is another braid from Lindey at The First Draft. This one is a gradient called Spring Shoots. The picture doesn’t do it justice. I plan to split the braid to make four skeins of a chain-plied gradient yarn for fingerless mitts and maybe a matching hat. If I don’t have enough yarn for a hat, I should be able to make a second pair of mitts.

I probably shouldn’t mention that I have also purchased yarn recently. Oh, my!

And So It Grows

Yes, my spinning fiber stash just keeps getting bigger, in spite of my efforts to keep it under control by spinning, spinning, and spinning. I’m not ready to give up any of my fiber clubs quite yet, so I will just have to find room for all the fiber. Of course, every time I complete a spinning project, my fiber stash gets a little smaller, but my yarn stash gets bigger. And so it goes grows.

New fiber from February and March:

Into The Whirled 24 1/2th Century Falkland top

Into The Whirled Madame Vestra BFL

Spunky Eclectic Aspens Farmer’s Sheepwool (BFL)

Spunky Eclectic Black Pillar Polwarth/Mohair/Silk

Current spinning projects:

I’ve started spinning one bump of this lovely superwash Merino from Into The Whirled in the colorway Godric’s Hollow.

I split the bump in half vertically and I am spinning each half end to end onto one bobbin. I plan to chain ply the singles to make a self-striping yarn. I split the bump so that the color repeats (stripes) would be small.

These two braids are the December 2015 installment of the Sweet Georgia Yarns Fibre Club. The colorway is called Wistmas.

Wistmas is on a base of BFL, and I decided to do a fractal spin. This bobbin contains the singles spun from the braid that I split into 12 strips vertically. I spun the other braid end to end without splitting.

The plying is almost done. Because I spun two bumps, approximately 200 grams, of fiber, I filled one bobbin and had to start on a second bobbin. This is a straight-up 2-ply yarn, and the second bobbin is about 2/3s done. I love the sheen of BFL.