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A Tour de Fleece with results

The mountain stages were where I dove into my 15 oz of Horned Dorset roving.  The goal was to keep practicing longdraw on my newly refurbished Watson Martha wheel.

Soon every saved toilet paper roll had been pressed into service.  In spinning all of the singles first, I did get a more consistent long-draw action going.  I also learned just how physically draining even a supported long-draw is over time.  It was a push but I finished in time for 7 skeins of squoosh plied before the end of Le Tour.

It was an extra push after my Dumb Mistake.  Which is to say, I managed to ply 78 yards of oops! before I saw it was 5 and not 4 bobbins on the darn lazy kate.  That hurt.

It’s what happens when you are me & try to start plying after 10 pm.  So we have some potholder yarn, and also 308 yds of my 1st proper 4-ply woolen yarn!

Beth Smith deserves big props.  She gave me respect for sampling and a new drafting method.  Beth is a wonderful instructor and hilarious besides!

To wit, these Mystery Fleece samples are curious.  The carded 3-ply (top) has the better hand.

 

But wait – what is this?  The 2-ply combed number knits a pretty sweet swatch!  The Shetland lace does have crunch but is still a keeper, I think.

Not that I am biased  or anything.

On a whim, I also made friends with 3 bolls of cotton that I picked up at the Ontario Handspinning Seminar last month.

Using the shell as a ground for the tahkli helps me to feel the spin better than ceramic or glass bowls.  Straight from the boll this cotton had so much crimp!  I got the knack of fluffing the staple crimp a little, and also not spinning to the short linters.

Easily my fastest work of any cotton to date, and very encouraging.  The cream singles on the tahkli is from organic Peruvian top that I have been carding into punis on my Schacht cotton cards.

The Tour was filled with inspiration, fun and best of all, real leaps forward in my spinning.  I just love the fiber community.  Yesterday, I built on this and got a little farther along by watching “Spinning Gossamer Threads” with Galina Khmeleva.

Sitting and spinning just feels so zen.  Also new but on the needles,

About 2 of 5″ of ribbing to start a handspun Redhook by Jared Flood!  The yarn is my Corriedale Christmas 2-ply.  It’s so exciting to see Diane’s colourway pop!  I’d love to wear this vest when I am at the Spinning Loft for Deb Robson’s classes in September.

Lastly, love & thanks to Deb.  You made my day with your thoughtful, so generous gift.  I hope you have many hours of fun on your new wheel – it’s a slippery slope!

 

 


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Day of Rest, Tour de Fleece 2012

Vive le Tour!  This year I am racing in Team Suck Less as a Friend of Abby’s Yarns, and also posting in the 66 page long Peloton.  It’s been great because this year I am both spinning for myself and taking my mind off some pretty intense stuff.

My Prologue came with not feeling well, so I took it easy with 2 spins in progress.  The spindles are resting on my Yarn Hollow alpaca/ merino/ tussah silk top and the white fiber is my hand-carded Romney lamb’s wool.

 

The Schacht cotton handcards are worth their weight in gold.  I got my pair from the Spinning Loft for Christmas.  206 tines per inch are all the tines I need.

The plying was also in progress, so I soon had my first skein of the Tour!

May as well bust the already-combed Romney while I was at it right?  This is still in progress for the rest of the Tour.

My small stage challenge of choice was to spin 100% flax on Chella.  This is after all why I said that I needed an antique flax wheel.

It was so different to anything else I have spun.  Even hemp.  The new changes were to:

  • Wet spin the life out of that flax.  It wanted more and more water, it really did;
  • Re-jig the pegs.  Steam punk for life, y’all.  No animals or plants were harmed in the operation of the flyer array;
  • Switch to a plied crochet thread drive band.

Oh, and spinning with a distaff is weird in a good way.  Mine is only ½ intact, so it meant putting the old chair rail to a new use (as opposed to resident nostepinne).

The single came off the bobbin ASAP.  It dried nicely on my coffee tin with nail punched holes.  So, if you are keeping count at home that 3 instances of tools improv for one spin.  Just the way I like it.

As at this morning the Yarn Hollow spin is down to:  a plying ball; 1.7 oz left in the braid; and 2 singles balls we hope will match up nicely.  The idea is to stop ochre & purple from barberpoling at all costs.

My second skein of the Tour is about 42 yards, a 3-ply sample.  Hand-combed from this 10lb longwool fleece that I bought on pure auction fever at last year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.  [There was another but let’s not talk about that…]

Proving that my Stringtopia teacher, Beth Smith of the Loft is absolutely correct – the only way to tackle such a beast is to sample, kids.

The beast is tamed!  I’ve also carded the combed waste, and spun up the 11 rolags between this Tabachek & my first Kundert.

It’s great to go after my own goals this year, and I have let go of the need to be totally structured about posting or going after crazy challenges and acclaim.  It really is good enough to be along for the ride, healthy and free.

See you on the road?