Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The End of the Tour de Fleece 2015

So the Tour de Fleece is over for 2015.

I am happy.  I spin every day but one of the two rest days.   And even then I skeined one of the yarns.  

Most years I don't get to spin that much. Something comes up.  But I was very focused & did well.

Though this morning I looked at my wheel & was sad to see it empty!  *laugh*  It seems so naked without some fiber on it.  I suspect I will put something new on it today.  Just debating what.  I *really* want to spin some sock yarn.  But fear I am just not that good yet...

Mind you, since I got my Lady Rue at Maryland at the end of May, she hasn't been naked for long.  I have been spinning nearly every day even before the TdF.  The TdF just gave me an excuse to take pics & share it with folks! *chuckle*

I am pretty thrilled with my TdF spinning.  I got a total of 13.8 oz spun on my new to me Ladybug.  It would have been great to break a full pound.  And had I been home for the end, I probably would have put 2.2 ounces on the wheel!  *grin*

Here are my finished TdF yarns. 

Tour de Fleece 2015
Finished Yarns

~ 390 yds
WPI Average - 10
Some 8, some 12

The Bumps are still on their bobbins as I finished plying today.  The bottom four bobbins at the Bullseye Bump. 

And yes, they are different colors.  Though hard to tell in this pic!

Can't wait to see what the final yardage is on the Loop Bumps.  I am hoping I broke 1000 yards, but don't think I did realistically.  But maybe 800-900??

I am super happy with this year.  I spun every day of the TdF other than the one rest day when I skeined the first project.

I will have to post pics of the Bumps skeined up to show the *amazing* colors!  But Sunday night was a rest night for me.  A sick son & traveling today left me tuckered!  It was smarter to rest and enjoy being home.  And yesterday was trying to get the family to feel better & catching it myself.  *sigh*  Too bad!  Took today as a sick day in hopes of recouping today.  Hoping that the crud passes quickly.

Still think I need to get something on my wheel today...  *smile*  It is wonderfully relaxing & all.  So might be good while I am sick.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Why NOT to Overfill Your Bobbins

I swear that read that the Woolee Winder bobbins were supposed to hold 5 oz.  (Though of course, I looked again now & can't find anything of the sort...  So maybe I was imagining it...)

So I tried to stuff the 4.8 oz. of the Loop Bump on one bobbin.  I knew I was pushing my luck.  But I only have three high speed bobbins.  So I wouldn't have been able to spin the singles for the two Bumps as desired. 

So I got the 4.8 on one bobbin.  It is pretty stuffed as you can see.

Tour de Fleece 2015 Day
9 - July 12 - Loop Bullseye Bump in Ultraviolet colorway - Pic

Not such a good idea.

For Bump Two, I was able to use two bobbins.  So that is good.

I started plying the two Bumps today. Really hoping to finish by the end of the TdF on Saturday.

Working along and feel it tighten.  Look down at the bobbins on my Lazy Kate attached to my wheel.  Ummm.  Some of the singles had slipped off the end of the bobbin.  It got wrapped around the end.  Not so good.

Tour de Fleece 2015 Day
19 - July 22 - Why NOT to Overfill the Bobbin - Bullseye Bump in Ultraviolet on
the Bobbin & Tangled

I tried to untangle things.  Got a bit more off.  But ultimately, I had to break off a chunk that got tangled...

Tour de Fleece 2015 Day
19 - July 22 - Why NOT to Overfill a Bobbin - Loop Bullseye Bump in Ultraviolet


So, right.  No more than 4 oz. on a bobbin...

I am not sure what that means for big projects honestly...  Either another bobbin for double Bumps or doing something else.

Kinda frustrating as the jumbo bobbin is supposed to hold 12 oz.  So if I have 4 on each of the three bobbins, it will work.  Just not two different ones that are over 4 oz..

Ah well. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What a Difference a Good Soak Makes


So I think I was way too hard on Falkland.  I think I was trying to get it to do what was in my head instead of letting it do its thing.

With the Into the Whirled batt, I was struggling with it to start.  I wanted a shawl in a nice light weight yarn.  I did the two ply to make a shawl.  But it didn't want to spin thin.  It wasn't having any of it.

So I finally said screw it.  Let it do what it wants.  I spun it thicker and let it plump. 

But I confess I was pissed at it for thwarting my plans.  I was grumpy.  But I wanted to finish it.

With the help of my DH, it got wound into a skein.  It was big & plump.  But I was still suspect.

Into the Whirled Falkland Batt in Excursion Colorway on Swift from back
But when I pulled it off the swift, it was really beautifully balanced.  Hanging nice & straight.  Huh.

Then I put it in its bath.  It needed a big bucket.  It was too plump to fit into the place I normally soak anything that is 4 oz. or less.  Huh.

I pulled it out after about 20 minutes.  Even wet, it felt really nice.  Fluffy.  Light.  Sweet.

I rolled it in the towel and stomped on it to get the water out.  When I took it out, it sprung right back.  It was happy and lofty.

I was thinking I needed to thwack it.  But after a few times, I knew it didn't need a thing.  It was lovely.

I am still pretty stunned...  It just wasn't at all what I expected.  Yet, I want to put it on my needles *NOW*!  Even damp, it feels so lovely.  So springy and yummy.


What a difference from the way I felt spinning it.  I am really amazed.

I will see if I still feel the same way when it dries tomorrow.  But I really feel like I will.

Into the Whirled Falkland Batt in 
Excursion Colorway After the Bath w flash

Of course, I have *no clue* what I will do with it.  But I am so thrilled.

And I am also thrilled I made such a balanced yarn on my new-to-me Ladybug.  After too much twist in the first skein I created, I was worried.  But it wasn't about the wheel.  It was about me learning what she needs from me. 


So very happy right now.  Of course, it is making me not want to take tonight as a rest night from spinning!  But I think it is wiser to prep for the mammoth plying ahead.

Tour de Fleece 2015 Update

Work has been crazed.  So I have been taking pics, but didn't have a lot of time to *do* anything with them!

I finished the Into the Whirled batt singles by the end of day Two!  It also plied up quickly.  So I suspect there won't be tons of yardage, but it was fun. 

I confess that I just didn't care for the Falkland.  But, could just be me.  The colors are gorgeous!  And the batt was beautifully prepared.  So I am definitely curious how it came out.  Tonight's project is skein it, soak & thwack it. 

So because I am me...and I am crazy, I took on the two Bump project.  *gulp*

But to my amazement, I have finished my singles!  WOOHOO!!  *happy dance*

Mind you, I finished the Water Ballet Bump at 2:45 am last night.  On a WORK NIGHT.  Zzzzz.   Ummm...what?  *grin*

But I have created lovely collages for each.

Loop Bump Ultraviolet
Collage - Filmstrip

Water Ballet
Tour de Fleece 2015 -
Loop Water Ballet Bump

As per usual, my camera doesn't do the colors justice.  It is hard to get decent pics with a flash.  But I tend to spin after work & dinner.  So on weeknights, I am generally not touching the wheel until about 7 on days I work from home & after the kids are in bed on days when I am in the city. 

I think the colorways will look amazing together.  I am giving the singles a day to rest & will start plying tomorrow.  I am under some delusion that I can finish it in a day.  *laugh*  My last Bump took *days* to ply.  Just hoping I can make it for the end of the TdF!  *fingers crossed*

Already have plans for the finished yarn...  A lovely sweater for my darling daughter.  A nice feather & fan perhaps to show off the striping effects.  I think it will be lovely. 

Of course, I am hoping that I don't overtwist it.  I have had that issue with the new wheel.  I am still getting used to the Ladybug.  But overall, I think I am getting better with her.  And the yarns are getting better the more I spin.

Also, I have been watching a ton of spinning videos.  And believe it or not, I never had seen anyone pull out singles or plied yarn to check the twist!  Now that I understand about that, I think I am getting better about more consistent and less overtwisted/overplied yarns.  And at least one pointed out that you can always add twist in the opposite direction if needed.  Duh!  *laugh* 

I think I am going to do that with the Gale's Art Alpaca/Silk I spun first on the wheel.  That may help.  Mind you, that may only apply to overplied yarns...but worth a shot.  Or I live with the fact that when I knit it, it will bias and try to use that in the design.

So overall, still very happy with my purchase of the Ladybug. The only thing I second guess at all is if I shouldn't have bought new.  But I wouldn't have ever gotten the Woolee Winder that way.  And I *really* love not switching hooks.  There is a whole lot to be said for that.

So much so that I bought the bulky flyer!  *smile*  And am mostly happy with that.  Though the only downside has been that the maiden sits too low with the Ladybug.  So I had to tweak it some & twist the eye slightly so it doesn't bang against a screw on the Mother of All.  But it works.  And is very lovely...  So I am a happy gal.  *smile*

Dinner time.  Then some skeining.  The big excitement.   I don't think I am going to put anything else on the wheel for singles.  I was debating it.  But I don't think it is wise.  If by some miracle I finished plying tomorrow...  *ROFL*  I might take a bit of fiber with me.  But I am aware that with the travel, it is *extremely* unlikely I will finish up anything else for the TdF. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

And We're Off - The Start of the Tour de Fleece 2015

So it begins! 

I am doing the Tour de Fleece for another year.

It is the first year with the lovely Lady Rue.  She is terrific.

I signed up for toooo many teams!  Six in total.  Two fiber specific - Loop & Into the Whirled.  Two wheel specific - Schacht & Babe.  Two others - Spin Your Stash & Browncoats.  The prior is pretty obvious.  The latter is a Firefly group.  I don't have any Firefly specific fiber.  But they don't care.

Day 1 - July 4th

Tour de Fleece - Day 1 -
Into the Whirled Falkland Batt

On day 1, I spun over half my lovely Into the Whirled Falkland batt in the Excursion colorway.  I started on the second half as well. 

I scored this lovely at Maryland S&W. It is a beautiful colorway.  So much I love it that I also got sock yarn in the same colorway!  *laugh*

Loads of pics on the project page.  I look pics of each color & some of the transitions. 

It is *definitely* a learning experience.  I haven't ever spun a batt with color transitions.  It is interesting.  I like it.  But it does require some attention.  For some of the transitions, I worked across the row.  Others that were solid color, I could just a chunk of fiber in whatever worked for the fiber.

I was originally thinking a shawl with the yarn.  So I started thin & then realized that wasn't gonna work.  It needed a more woolen touch. 

I really like it.  But I have to confess, I don't think I like Falkland.  It is a bit tough for me.  I am definitely curious to see the finished yarn.  I think it is kinda gonna surprise me.

Though I also learned what *NOT* to do!  A bobbin of some samples I had spun were resting on the on board Lazy Kate.  They kept spinning. I thought it was about the wind of wheel spinning making them turn.  It hadn't happened before.  But the probably was less than a couple ounces of fiber on the bobbin. 

Remember the wheel is new to me.  Only got it in May.  So I am still getting used to what it does.  So I thought cool.

Yah.  About that.  Not so cool.

Here's what happened...

Tour de Fleece 2015 Day
1 July 4 - How to Waste Nearly Half an Hour of Spinning

The single wrapped around the shaft of the wheel!  It means it got wound around it. 

I am soooo grateful that they were different colors in the samples.  And it changed from grey to this blue/black colorway.  So I could see that it wasn't the same.  *sigh*

So that killed almost half an hour.  Getting it unwound and back on the bobbin.  Mind you, it was tons quicker when I pulled the bobbin off the Kate & just treadled if off the wheel.  So part of my time was about me not doing it in the most efficient way.  But live and learn...

Day 2 - July 5th

Day 2 went pretty smoothly.  The second half of the Into the Whirled Falkland batt got completed. 

Tour de Fleece Day 2

Though I learned a valuable lesson.  Never watch a movie with the assumption that the kids are playing.  So you will be able to spin in peace & watch it.

I long time guilty pleasure of mine is Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Yes...the musical from the 70s with the Bee Gees & Peter Frampton made up of Beatles songs.  Don't you judge!  *smirk*

The kids are 4 & 5 1/2.  I really figured they would look at it once and wander back into their room to play.  But instead, Elder Munchkin wanted to watch it.  And Little Guy didn't want to play alone.  So there was a whole lot of them asking who the bad guys were and them asking what was happening.  And me thinking I should just turn off the movie as there was a whole lot of explaining that I didn't want to do...

Another live & learn experience...  Whee.

Second half of the Into the Whirled Falkland Batt in the Excursion colorway.  Singles done & resting.

I LOVE the colorway and am sad to be done with the singles.  But it will be interesting trying to match up the colors when I ply it.  I hope I am up for the challenge.  Maybe I should do that on one of the TdF challenge days.  We shall see!

The white bobbin in the pic are some samples I spun pre-TdF.  There are actually nine different fibers on it.  Little bits & bobs from a terrific Etsy seller.  I plied them yesterday to get them off my bobbin for the next project!

That plying actually helped when it comes time for matching up colors as I was plying them from a single bobbin.  So I had to break the singles to match up the quantities.  Worked well.  And was useful in figuring out how to manage the yarns.

Day 3 - July 6th

Today, I am letting the Into the Whirled singles rest while I start on some of the Loop fiber. 

 Tour de Fleece Day 3 -
July 6th

This is a beautiful purple Bump I was hoarding from myself.  My terrific SIL picked it up at Maryland Sheep & Wool in 2010.  I ended up sick so I couldn't make it that year.  She was so great to get it for me. 

It never made it into my Ravelry stash.  So it was pretty much forgotten until the move last year unearthed it again. 

I realized that with the sparkle, I should really let it go.  The deep purples are sooo very me.  But the sparkle, not so much. 

Since it is only Day 3, I am tackling two Bumps & plying them.  *gulp*

I realized that I can *probably* eke out a sweater for Elder Munchkin with two Bumps.  So I am hoping to keep this on the thinner side, but with enough loft to make it lovely to wear.  I am crossing my fingers I finish the two Bumps in time.
I am going to pair it with Water Ballet which I picked up specifically for my daughter. 

Here's the pic:

I think the two will be super stunning together!  But it is hard to go wrong with any Bump.  They are such a joy to spin & such amazing colors.  Yum!

Day 4 - July 7th

I hit the black hole!  The fiber is super dark.  I think black with silver sparkle.  (Need to look more in daylight...)

;Tour de Fleece 2015 Day
3 July 7 - Loop Bullseye Bump in Ultraviolet colorway - Color 2

Tour de Fleece 2015 Day 3
July 7 - Loop Bullseye Bump in Ultraviolet colorway - Color 2

And so I only took two pics.  Even that was pressing it to make a point as it is yet more black with silver!!

It is also tricky because I am spinning at night.  So I have to take pics with the flash.  And the sparkle & flash aren't a good combo.  But hey, it is what it is.

Okay!  I am posting this.  Otherwise it will continue to sit here.  Whee.