Posted in Spinning

Tour de Fleece Wrap Up and Daybreak FO

Tour de Fleece ended yesterday, so it’s wrap up time!

I started out by finishing up the All Spun Up Superwash Merino. I think I had maybe 2 ounces left to do, then had to ply it. It was nice to get that done and out of the way quickly since it’s been sitting around untouched for MONTHS now. After that was done, I moved on to Corridale in the TDF colorway from Zarzuela’s Fibers. 8 WHOLE OUNCES. I’ve never spun 8 ounces of any one fiber before, so this was quite an experience for me. That took up most of my tour, especially since I had some days where I didn’t spin at all, but only did fiber prep because my spinning mojo had suddenly disappeared. By Day 21 of the Tour, though, I had spun and plied all 8 ounces. Still too lazy to figure out my yardage or WPI on that, though. On Day 22, I realized that it wasn’t the last day and I still had one more day to get in spinning, so I broke out the Cheviot from Zarzuela’s Fibers in a colorway called DC Sunrise. It’s really pretty. I managed to get a little over an ounce spun up before I had to call it quits yesterday.

TDF Wrap Up

Overall, I’m quite pleased with how I did this year. The biggest improvement I think I made was in plying. I think I’ve finally got the proper hang of it and yarns aren’t turning out to be a bit loosely plied now.

The last week of the Tour, I may have overdone it a bit. My left hip and lower back have been feeling sore off and on during the entire Tour (which I chalked up to all the rain we’ve been getting), but yesterday I was in quite a bit of pain. I’m sure the amount of sitting we ended up doing this past weekend didn’t help, but I think it’s time to listen to my body and take a break from spinning for a while. When I do get back to spinning, I’ll make sure to take more breaks when I do spin.

Last time I posted, I mentioned finishing Daybreak, but that it still needed a wash and block before it was really “done.” It’s been washed and blocked and now I have pictures to share!

Daybreak (Full)
Daybreak, fully laid out

Pattern: Daybreak (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: May 28, 2010
Completed: July 17, 2010
Yarn: Dream in Color Starry in Happy Forrest and Punky Fuchsia, 1 skein of each
Needles: US 5 bamboo circular needle
Notes: From end to end, this shawl is roughly 64 inches. I did the “medium” size with 16 stripes. Followed the pattern completely and made no changes to it. Easy knit and I probably would have been done long ago, but I frogged it at one point because I’d dropped a stitch pretty far down and the spot was bothering me, so I frogged it nearly to the beginning where the dropped stitch was. My only real issue with the pattern was the way the increases were done in the first solid color section. There is an increase done at the halfway point between the first marker and the center marker (and the center marker and the last marker), which changes every row because there are increases at the beginning and end on the WS rows and the beginning, center, and end on the RS rows. You couldn’t even place a stitch marker in the middle for that reason since the increases would be uneven on one side of the marker. It’s a total pain to try and keep track of. I feel like there could have been a much easier way to do that part other then constantly keeping track of your stitch count. I did manage to use stitch markers to keep track of where to do them, but they had to be moved on each halfway point increase row to keep it in the right place. I’m not sure I can even explain it properly! That was definitely my least favorite part of the pattern. The rest was simple, though.

Daybreak (Chair)
Daybreak

Daybreak (On Me)
Best picture I could get of the sparkle in the yarn.

I’ve started a new project and want to update on other projects I’ve been working on and planning, but I’ll leave that for next time. 🙂

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Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects, Spinning

Tour de Fleece and Project Updates

The Tour de Fleece is going pretty good. On Day 11 (last Tuesday), I finished plying the first 4 ounces of the Corridale from Zarzuela’s Fibers.

TDF Day 9 & 11
TDF Corridale, Plied

Wednesday was a day of rest, so I didn’t do any spinning. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I did some fiber prep, but no spinning. I think I may have lost my spinning mojo after that day of rest on Wednesday! 😦 I think I’ve been a bit distracted by knitting. I’ve been itching to finish some things that I’ve been working on, so I’ve been picking knitting over spinning almost any time I have the chance to do one or the other. I’ve also felt rather busy this past week and kind of worn out when I get to the point in the day that I can finally relax. Still, I’m pretty pleased with all I’ve done up to this point! Hopefully I can get my spinning mojo a kick today and get some spinning time in.

I’ve been busily knitting away on Daybreak in an effort to get it off the needles. I decided that I couldn’t start any new projects (anything besides socks) until it was done and since I have a few projects in mind that I’d like to start, I wanted it done. Last night I finished up the last few rows and did the bind off!

Daybreak (Pre-blocking)
Daybreak, Pre-blocking

I have no idea how many stitches I had when I did the bind off, but it took me almost an hour to do. SO. MANY. STITCHES. I’m pleased it’s done and quite happy with how it turned out. I’m glad I decided to only do 16 stripes and not 20 because it would have been absolutely huge on me if I had. It’s just the right size with 16 stripes. Now it just needs a wash and block before being completely done.

I’m participating in this year’s Summer of Socks (though I’ve been lacking in my posts in the Ravelry group), so I’ve been working on my fair share of socks. It seems like I’ve started and frogged more socks then anything else so far, but I finally have a finished sock! Tuesday I finished up the first Maelstrom sock. I think this might be one of my favorite patterns I’ve knit. I may need to knit a second pair after this! It’s just enough to keep my interest, but not too much that it needs a lot of concentration. I haven’t started the second sock, yet. I figured I’d make myself wait until Daybreak was done to go back to this project.

Maelstrom Sock (left)
Maelstrom Sock #1

In between finishing this sock and trying to finish Daybreak, I caved and started another sock. I saw someone’s Jaywalkers recently and suddenly needed to make another pair RIGHT NOW. I pulled out the MacKnitosh Skye Sock yarn in Camo Girl that I attempted to knit KawKawEsque out of. Turns out the Jaywalker pattern makes this yarn stripe!

Jaywalker
Jaywalker Sock

Here’s the part where I make a confession… I have totally been taken by knitting socks using the Magic Loop method. I used to hate it. I even blogged about how much I loved DPNs. Then I did one project using a long circular and “magic looping.” It wasn’t so bad. I tried a pair of socks after that, also done Magic Loop. Then another… and another… and now? I really want to do this sock Magic Loop, but I don’t have the proper needle to do it! I never thought I’d be into it and even after the first two projects I did, I wasn’t totally convinced I liked it. After the Maelstrom sock, though, I really like it. It definitely makes knitting socks a bit faster for me and I feel incredibly slow going back to DPNs now. Looks like I need to make a Knit Picks order for some circulars in sock sizes very soon!

I’ve got some projects that I’m thinking about working on, but swatching must commence first. Sweater season is not that far off and I’m already thinking about what to knit for Rhinebeck. Next time I’ll talk a little about what I’d like to knit in the upcoming months.

In a little while I’m headed off to knit with some friends at a local cafe. Should be fun! I love being able to spend time with other knitters. 🙂

Posted in Current Projects, Gardening, Sewing, Spinning

Tour de Fleece

Tour de Fleece is in full swing here! 🙂

Saturday I started out with what was left of the All Spun Up superwash merino (full braid was 6.2 ounces). I started on this fiber months ago. I managed to get two and a half bobbins done and even plied up the first two bobbins before putting it aside. I think I had about 1.5 to 2 ounces worth of fiber left when I started out the Tour de Fleece.

All Spun Up (Spinning in progress)
All Spun Up Superwash Merino

I didn’t spin that much on Saturday. We were busy getting ready for having people over on Sunday and we ended up going to see Knight and Day with some friends in the evening. I did get about halfway through what was left of the ASU fiber, though!

TDF Day 1
TDF Day 1

Sunday we had a full house, but even while people were over, I got in a fair amount of spinning time between playing hostess to our friends and family. I managed to finish up the rest of the fiber and ply it!

TDF Day 2
TDF Day 2

I didn’t figure out how much yardage I had right away because I’d never written down what the first two skeins were. I took the time to calculate it on Monday and I figured out that I have about 776 yards. After thinking I’d lost it, I managed to find my wraps per inch (WPI) tool and figured out that I have about 16 WPI (14 WPI in some places) giving me 776 yards of fingering weight yarn. That’s WAY more then I imagined I’d end up with or even thought that I had! Not sure what I’m going to do with it yet. It’s pretty variegated, so something simple. Suggestions welcome!

TDF Day 2
All Spun Up Superwash Merino Fingering weight, 776 yards total

Yesterday I was finally able to start the fiber that arrived last week.

TDF 2010 Roving
Corriedale in a special Tour de Fleece colorway from Zarzuela’s Fibers

I split the first 4 ounces into three equal lengths and prepped the first bit by doing a bit of pre-drafting. I wanted longer bits of each color, so after separating it into three equal lengths, I didn’t split the sections further into 2 or 4 (split in half, then in half again for) and just drafting as I go or doing just a little pre-drafting like I have been doing. Instead I pre-drafted the whole length of the first section and just went for it. It was kind of nice because I didn’t have to pick up or add any fiber to it as I went. By the end of the day I was able to get through the first 1/3 of the first braid.

TDF Day 3
TDF Day 3

This is my first time working with Corridale. So far, I’ve found it to be a sticky fiber (as in it likes to stick together). I’ve been trying to spin it a little thicker and so far the singles by themselves are looking about a fingering weight. I’m going to ply it, but not sure how yet. Considering trying to Navajo ply it since I’ve never tried to do that before. The one thing that I’ve noticed about my spinning vs others that I’ve seen is that my yarns end up rather loose when plied. Not really sure what I’m doing wrong here. There are parts that seem tighter then other parts, but overall it just seems loose. From what I’ve read, it seems like I’m plying correctly and when I’m plying it seems tight enough. Maybe I just need more practice. The third skein of the All Spun Up superwash merino did seem like it was an improvement. The first two had more loose parts and the third had much fewer.

I forgot to mention my goals for the Tour de Fleece in my last post. My overall goal is to spin at least an hour a day. I haven’t been keeping track of all my times like I did last year, but I can estimate how much I’ve done so far, so I might from here on out. My first goal was to finish up the All Spun Up fiber (check!). Second is to spin up the Corriedale in the TDF colorway. Beyond that…. well, I’m not sure! I thought that 8 ounces of fiber would take me a good long while to spin up, but thinking about how many days are in the tour and how much I’ve done so far… yeah I think I’m going to have to find something else to work on after I get done with the Corriedale. I’ve got enough fiber in my stash that I don’t think it’ll be a problem to find something else do spin up after that’s done. Might finally get around to the CJ Kopec fiber I got last year.

Between spinning breaks, I’ve been knitting. I’m working on the heel flap of Malestrom, I frogged the KawKawEsque socks I mentioned in my last post (wasn’t liking the yarn/ribbing combo), and yesterday I started the Serpentine Socks for this month’s Socks From the Toe-Up KAL. I’m still working on Daybreak, too. The rows are getting quite long and seem to take forever, plus it’s been hot and sticky out, so I’ve been favoring the smaller projects. I haven’t worked on my crochet top or the Rippleghan in about a week since other projects have been taking up my interest. I think once I get Daybreak done I’ll focus on the top again.

Can’t wait to get more spinning done later today! I’m sure the Corriedale will be done in no time 🙂

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects, Spinning

Chicken Clutch, Projects, and Tour de Fleece 2010

It’s been one of those weeks where all week I try to blog, but every time I try, I can’t figure out what to say. Today isn’t much different. I’ve sat and stared wondering how to start out this post or what to say. Since the words don’t seem to be flowing easily, I’ll keep them to a minimum and speak mostly with pictures!

First, I have an FO to share. After my friend Jessy saw this pattern, she said I should make one for her for her birthday, so I did. I’ve decided he’s a free-range chicken, since he’s not all white like the original pattern. 😉

Chicken Clutch (Right Side)
Chicken Clutch

Pattern: Cluck Clutch (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: June 24, 2010
Completed: June 26, 2010
Yarn:Vanna’s Choice, 1.75 skeins in a heathered brown/grey (can’t remember the name of it), bits of red and yellow from stash
Needles: H/5.0mm hook
Notes: It was pretty simple to make and the only thing I didn’t do was add the button.

Chicken Clutch (Open, Side)
Chicken Clutch – Open

Yesterday was a Good Mail Day ™. I got 8 oz of Corriedale fiber from Zarzuela’s Fibers in a special Tour de Fleece colorway and she put in a skein of sock yarn for me in a Camo colorway as a thank you for doing the Summer of Socks 2010 group banner and button. Thanks Jessica! 🙂 I also got June’s shipment of the Knitterly Things Sock Club (a four stripe colorway called Summer Hill), which matches the Tour de Fleece fiber quite well.

Good Mail Day 7/1
Good Mail Day!

Speaking of the Tour de Fleece… I plan on participating this year! The Tour de Fleece goes along with the Tour de France. It starts and ends the same day as the Tour de France. You spin every day, either on a wheel or on a spindle, for however long you determine as your goal. For the full details, see the Ravelry group here. I’ll be spinning up that lovely fiber above and hopefully finish the All Spun Up roving I started who knows how long ago. There’s probably 2 or so ounces left to do, so I don’t think it’ll take long. I plan on working that up first, but I’m already anxious to get the TDF colorway started!

I’ve been working on Malestrom and I think I’m up to 6 repeats of the pattern so far.

Malestrom Socks
Malestrom Socks

I was itching to start something new, so I started a pair of KawKawEsque Socks (Ravelry page) Wednesday.

KawKawEsque
KawKawEsque Socks in MacKnitosh Skye Sock in the Camo Girl colorway.

This weekend is a holiday weekend here in the US and on Sunday we’ll be celebrating the 4th of July (Independence Day), which also means a long weekend for most people I know since they’re getting either Friday or Monday (or both!) off work. We’re having some of our family and friends over to do the traditional grilling out and fireworks thing. Should be fun! I’m looking forward to it. For once there isn’t a ton to do to prepare other then getting food and some light cleaning! Have a good weekend everyone 🙂 Good luck to all the other Tour de Fleece participants out there!