Posts Tagged by tour de fleece
|20 July 2013||Posted by Ness under Life, Spinning|
I am something of a binge reader. If a book or a series really captures my interest, I find it difficult to savour them. Case in point: I took the seventh book of the Temeraire series out of the library on Wednesday night, and was done reading it by Thursday night. Coming in at almost 400 pages, that meant a lot of reading in a short space of time. But I just couldn’t stop myself. It’s so good! (I also scored the first hold on the hardcover of the eighth book at the library, which gets released next month! That always feels good, to get that first hold. It’s like winning the lottery.) I did the same thing with The Parasol Protectorate series: devouring each book in a minimum amount of time, delayed only when the library didn’t have the third book and I had to borrow it from a friend.
It doesn’t happen with all books. I’ve been reading Last of the Sky Pirates for a while now, meaning I read a bit and then it sits on the side table until I pick it up again. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, because I do. The book’s world is a fascinating fantasy/steampunk blend, and I’m interested to see what happens to the characters. But I don’t feel the same all-consuming need to see what happens to them as I do with Will Lawrence and Temeraire, or Alexia and company, or Honor and the people in her universe (though I have been slightly disappointed in the last couple outings – didn’t mean I didn’t read them fast…). With them, I stay up until all hours, because unlike many other people I know, reading keeps me awake, rather than helps me wind down to sleep, and I have to be very careful if I do read in the evening, because often it’s, “One more chapter. Okay, one more chapter. Okay okay! But one more chapter!” until it’s three in the morning and I can pretty much write off the next day, and still may not have finished the book, depending on its size.
In any case, book 8 of Temeraire isn’t out yet, and I’m looking at David Weber’s book listing and seeing that there’s a new Honorverse ebook (maybe) that I might go and get, but I should be pretty safe for tonight on the reading front. Maybe. Unless I do get that ebook. Maybe I should wait…
Tour de Fleece is wrapping up, and though I’m not unhappy with what I’ve accomplished, it’s less than I would like. So tomorrow I’m going to try and fix what needs fixing, and then see where I’m at. Today I spun up the white for the final project, as I’d finished plying the brown yesterday, and gave them a wash and full.
I can confirm that some of the brown was unwashed wool, and I can also confirm that there’s a heck of a lot of lanolin in that white Corriedale, so much so that I think I need to give it another wash just to get the rest of it out before I start knitting with it. I hung them on the outside trellis to dry…
…so I’ll check it here in a bit, but I’m thinking I should give it another hot soapy wash. I don’t think it needs another cold shock or full; I’m quite happy with how it plumped up, but I think it’s still a bit too greasy for me to be comfortable working with.
Lessons learned from this exercise: do woolen spinning with completely clean, scoured, lanolin-free wool. Yeah. Trust me on that one. It’s not fun.
|14 July 2013||Posted by Ness under Podcast|
In which I think about different skills and how we all have different ones, talk about my paltry progress on homework during Tour de Fleece, accidentally cast on a new project, run out of yarn on another, and bring you up to date (such as it is) on the Tapestry. Thanks for listening!
- Herbert Niebling’s Ravelry designer page
- I was mistaken: it’s only 10,000 hours of training for Olympic excellence. It’s still a significant number!
- Master Spinner Program
- Fibre Week at Olds College
- Baby Boat Neck Pullover, which I used as the construction reference for the final project pattern.
- Ram Chart, which will be the colourwork chart for the final project.
- Baby Surplice Jacket – Ravelry pattern page and my project page
- OpArt blanket that I love and want to knit.
- Lighthouse Shawl – Ravelry pattern page and my project page
- Lang Jawoll Color Aktion on Ravelry (this one’s mine) – I’m just making plain socks
By The Wayside
|8 July 2013||Posted by Ness under Knitting, Spinning|
I’ll admit it. Neutrals do not send my heart aflutter. Pastels aren’t really my cup of tea either. For me, it’s deep, rich colour. You see it in my yarn stash, and in my fibre stash. Saturated reds and blues, purples and browns. I’m powerless in the face of a beautiful variegated, which explains all the Noro. I went outside the box a little with my one purchase at Fibre Week (a lovely light purple/white blend of alpaca/mohair/merino), because I do need something a little more neutral for a stole or shawl for work. However, I also bought a gradient yarn from The Wacky Windmill that goes black through a host of bright stellar colours, so let’s call the fibre an aberration…
So it doesn’t surprise me much that when I’m working on something like this:
…that all I need to do is look at it and I think to myself, “Oh! I just want to keep it, it’s so perfect!”
Now, let me be clear. This that I’m working on? A baby sweater. It will never fit me. It will not even fit Læmmer, who is an oddly sized little stuffed animal. The most it would ever do is sit on a hanger looking amazing and perfect, and decorative. So despite my infatuation with the colours, I will send it to its intended recipient, knowing that there it will be just as amazing and perfect, and will be used as intended. And once it’s been outgrown, then maybe there’s a stuffed animal at its new home that it will fit, and if it gets worn out, well then it’s served its purpose, because the colours will have inspired enough wear that it has been used, and used hard. And for now, I have the joy of just how perfect this little sweater is turning out to be.
Speaking of little sweaters, Tour de Fleece continues, and even though today is technically a rest day, I went downstairs after work and spun while Mike was making dinner. Today I spun up half of the brown for the final project.
Woolen spinning and I are still not the best of friends, but I genuinely think it’s a combination of practice and fibre. I have a sneaking suspicion some of the fleece I made rolags out of wasn’t washed, and I think those were the ones I had trouble with. In any case, there was some waste as things broke, didn’t do what I wanted them to, and such things. But I was 1.5 hours at spinning it, which wasn’t too bad. Another fifteen brown and then ply, then two sets of eight white and then ply, wash and full, let dry, and hopefully I’ll be on to my final project in short order. Let’s call it about five hours spinning time, which I may be able to sneak in the rest of this week before the family comes to visit. Because! I spent another 1.5 hours last night figuring out a pattern.
I used the basic construction from the Baby Boat Neck Pullover by Beth Woodard with the Ram Lopapeysa chart from Laura Helton, but adjusted both for my gauge on 3.25 mm needles (which I liked better than on 3.5 mm), and Læmmer’s quite frankly odd proportions. As a stuffed animal, she’s in her mid-thirties, and that causes some sagging, smushing, and other oddness in her shape. But, according to the math, this sweater should fit her very well.
I have a new-found respect for pattern designers now, especially those that make sizes available for their patterns. Not only do they have to figure out the different ratios from original for their different sizes, but they have to double-check stitch counts, gauge, and all kinds of other math. I nearly had a failure with the yoke, because I forgot to add in the stitches from the sleeves when calculating the decrease rate for the yoke. That would have been ugly. But I caught it, and I can’t wait now to knit it and see how close I am to being right about how well this will fit. But first, more Tour de Fleece and woolen. Hopefully we’re better friends by the end.
|6 July 2013||Posted by Ness under Spinning|
It’s challenge weekend for my Tour de Fleece wildcard team, but if today is anything to go by, I should just be careful about touching my wheel for the next little while. Which is in part why I escaped off to the Enjoy Centre for lunch and knitting with friends, and then didn’t object when Mike asked if I wanted to go on a date with him to Teavana when I got home. I’ll settle back in at the wheel tomorrow and try to rectify the things that went wrong today.
Surely it can’t be all that bad, you say. No, it’s not all bad. I sat down this morning to make my final skeins of the blends that were dry. My mohair/wool blend is lovely, and my memory-to-inelastic-fibre blend of alpaca/Rambouillet is equally lovely. However, the two silk blends? Not so much.
Ugh. I had my qualms about the alpaca/silk even as I was spinning it. Let this be a lesson: free alpaca is probably not the best choice for your Master Spinner homework. Between fighting the knotted ends, the nepps that occurred in carding, and the struggle that spinning the skein was, it’s just ugly. I’m not even going to try and correct the balance. The mohair, on the other hand, deserves at least a fighting chance. Yes, there’s a little more vegetable matter in it than I would like, but the spinning is decently even, and it’s pretty and shiny, so I’ll try to correct the balance issue tomorrow and pick out more of the VM, and hopefully I won’t have to completely redo that one. The good news on the alpaca skein is that I still have to do the alpaca or alpaca-blend skein for a knitted shawl, so I’m just going to do a silk blend and use it for both. Is that cheating? I don’t think so!
Well, that little bit of fail made me grumpy, but I had some time before going out for lunch, so I went downstairs and rearranged my fibre storage, then sat down to do the textured mohair 10-yard skein. I’d done a lock sample on the last day of Level 3 class, since we were learning novelty yarns and I figured it was as good a time as any to get some pointers from people who know about such things. I got the hang of it, and it turned out pretty good. So when I sat down this morning, first I spun a fine singles using kid mohair roving, to act as a binder for the lock singles when I plied them together. Then I got on to the kid mohair locks, spun a bunch, and then plied them together. And you know what?
It’s perfect. It’s almost exactly what I hoped it would be. It’s kind of textured and floofy and curly and everything.
It’s also only five yards.
The good news is I still have a bunch of the binder left, so I’ll put this back on a bobbin, spin some more of the lock singles, and then splice it together in the ply, and hopefully (hopefully!) I can still come out of this with a ten-yard skein without having to redo the whole thing.
Today’s experiences make me leery of sitting down at the wheel to spin tonight, even though the test skein I spun yesterday for the final project yarn turned out great, and I have lots of rolags carded up and ready to go. Not that I don’t have lots more of either type of fleece in case things go south, but unfortunately, my time is a little more precious. Maybe it’s a better idea to do some more carding tonight. Nothing can go wrong with that, right?
|3 July 2013||Posted by Ness under Spinning|
While cyclists from around the world push themselves in the Tour de France, spinners around the world push themselves at their wheels and spindles. The whole idea behind Tour de Fleece (now hosted on Ravelry) is to push yourself, but to have fun in the process. My first Tour de Fleece, in 2010, was completed on my toy-wheel spindle. My challenge to myself was to spin every day, and get much more comfortable with my spindle, and to decide if I really liked this spinning thing. It worked.
I got a lot accomplished on my little spindle, and then was all ready for TdF 2011. That was also the year I went to Fibre Week for Level 1.
Tour de Fleece generally begins the day immediately following Fibre Week. But that wasn’t going to deter me. I spun through Fibre Week, and then I spun for the whole Tour de Fleece. I ended up with quite a bit of yarn in the end (though I didn’t spin any homework, which would have been smarter).
After TdF 2011, I didn’t spin again for well over a month. I was still newish to wheel spinning, and it was just a bit too much at that time. In 2012, I might have done it again, but I came home from Fibre Week with a nasty cold, which didn’t go away for well over a month; I was still suffering a bit when I went to London to take in the Olympics. The laying about in bed put paid to any plans I had to do the Tour last year.
But this year, I had a plan. Fibre Week went well for my legs, and I have so little left on my Level 2 homework that I felt pretty good about making finishing the homework my TdF goal. I didn’t come home with a cold, for all that it seemed to be threatening, my legs feel okay, and I’m committed to completing my homework as soon as I can.
But you know what they say about plans, right?
It’s Tour De Fleece Day Five, and so far, I’ve not spun on two of them. Today might have been another not-spinning day, but I brought my new takhli and some cotton with me to work (yes, I know that’s not Level 2 homework). I’ll give myself a pass yesterday, what with the temperature being 44 C when you factored in the humidity, and I guess I’ll give myself a pass for Day 1 too, considering I drove home from Olds and unpacked that day.
I usually put myself in the Peloton group for Tour de Fleece. I work, and it’s summer, and sometimes life gets in the way, but I’ve usually been able to spin every day for just a little bit. Today, I mentally took myself out of the Peloton and planted myself firmly in with the Lanterne Rouge. But I’m not counting it as a mark of failure. Les Lanternes Rouges also complete the Tour de France, albeit with not the fastest time. But they still get to the end, on their own two wheels, on their own terms. And so will I.