The First Skein of Tour de Fleece

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My first skein from Tour de Fleece was spun from the first batts I made on a drum carder. The batts I made before I knew what I was doing. The ones that were kind of blended but mostly filled with lumps, bumps, and clumps. The ones that looked like an impressionist painting. Looking at them fresh of the drum carder, I knew that they weren’t going to be create a smooth yarn but whatever. I’d just made my first batts and they were awesome.

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When Tour de Fleece rolled around, I was less excited and more annoyed that I hadn’t split the fiber evenly for 2 equal batts. So I tore them into strips and started one single that’d be plied with itself. Tried to aim for a 2-ply worsted weight but the fiber had other ideas. Sometimes the fiber wouldn’t take the twist or there was an un-draftable clump. The single came out thick and really thin and not just because I was drafting long draw. (Short forward draw was not an option thanks to the lumps.) So much for that worsted 2-ply idea.

At this point, I wanted to trash the single and move onto a different, less ugly project; however, plying solves many ills and I wanted to see if the plied yarn was any more appealing. Chain plying seemed like the best bet to get a worsted weight yarn and it was easy to find a rhythm once I got started. Where the single was thin, I got fingering weight. Where it was thick, I got bulky. The clumps just stood out like a sore thumb.

Plying fixed a lot but giving this yarn a bath and a good thwack made it so much better. Instead of throwing it out, I wanted to keep it for something good. The yarn, clumps and bumps included, plumped up into a unified whole. Every random bump seemed like it belonged right where it was. The skein definitely wouldn’t be as interesting without them. Maybe even boring. If I knew how to weave, that’s what I’d use this yarn for. Who knows? I may learn eventually.

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The Specs

Fiber: Mystery Wool from a Gwen Erin Grab Bag 

Yardage: 86 yds

Weight: Fingering - Worsted - Bulky

Dates: July 7 - 9, 2014

Goldfinch Handspun

When I first joined Instagram, the predominate color of my photos was yellow and this yarn is the reason why. The fiber was so bright and colorful that I couldn’t resist photographing it and documenting the spinning process from beginning to end. After hanging out in my stash for more than a year, this falkland deserved some time in the spotlight. 

When I finally decided to spin, I wasn’t sure what it was going to turn into until I unchained the roving. The fiber was soft. The colors were lovely and mottled. I just wanted to spin it with doing any sort of fancy prep. Normally, this would mean spinning a simple 2-ply but a brand new bulky flyer and bobbin had just arrived at my front door. With 4 bobbins, one of them extra large, I could easily spin a warm, cushy 3-ply! So, I split the roving into 3 equal sections and got started. Spinning the singles was easy. Plying the singles was ridiculously easy with the bulky flyer. I didn’t have to constantly watch the bobbin to make sure the yarn wasn’t getting tangled up in the flyer or wrapping around the tensioning cord. I didn’t have to ramp up the tension just to get yarn to feed through the orifice and wrap around an already bursting bobbin. All I had to do was treadle, ply and, occasionally, join broken singles back together.

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I’ve heard tales of singles being the same length but I’ve never been that lucky or skilled. Take your pick. One of the singles was much shorter than the other two. Time for 2-ply. Chain-plying was out because, while it would give me a similar thickness, the colors wouldn’t behave the same way. Thankfully, the leftovers fit on a regular bobbin with room to spare.

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Now I just have to figure out what to do with all this cushy, cushy yarn. Pet it? Done. Squish it? Done. Sniff it? Done. Cuddle it? Done. Knit it? Haven’t started yet but I have a plan. 

The Specs

Fiber: Gwen Erin Natural Fibers - Falkland Top

Color: Goldfinch

3-ply

238 yds; 3.3 oz

Aran Weight; ~ 8 WPI

2-ply

94 yds; 0.7 oz

Worsted Weight; ~ 9 WPI

Wander the Web 23

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This weekend I’m spinning a 3-ply yarn just because I finally have enough bobbins to do so. Can’t wait to ply it all together and try out my brand new bulky flyer. The lucky fiber is Falkland from Gwen Erin Fibers with the completely appropriate name of Goldfinch. 

Also, I’m making cookies; Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, to be exact. Shaping up to be a nice few days. 

Knitter’s Graph Paper Journal 

Toon Bombing - Googly eyes can bring any inanimate object bring to life. Mustaches help too. 

Optimist by Hottea - Minimalist yarn bombing at it’s finest. 

How To Make Twisted Fringe 

Office Supplies as Knitting Supplies

Selçuk Yılmaz’s Hammered Metal Lion

Grab Bag Goodness

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Reason 3,548 to love the internet: You can see something you absolutely love and, after a few clicks, it’ll show up on your doorstep. That’s exactly how I ended up with these little bits and bobs of fiber from GwenErin. I slightly stalk her Etsy shop and, when she posted about having grab bags of fiber for sale on the cheap, I couldn’t resist. That was last week. This afternoon, the package was waiting for me when I opened the door.

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The longer lengths I’m going to spin and use for a  few of the constructions in The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs which is horribly inspiring. As for these smaller bits, I’m not sure since they’re not in large enough pieces to spin. Maybe I’ll use them for felted balls or take another try at needle felting. Hell, if none of that works, I can just use them as stuffing. Waste not, want not. 

Do you have any suggestions for what to do with small, leftover bits of wool roving? I’d love to read your suggestions.

Testing Sophiti-cuffs

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I like test knitting even though I don’t do it too often because of schedule conflicts or being waist deep in my own designs and projects. When the opportunity presents itself, I sign up whole heartedly because I like supporting people and designers that I like. I also get to knit the cool stuff before anyone else.

The latest bit of testing was for the Squares Sophiti-Cuffs from Gwen Erin. I’ve been following Gwen’s blog for years now and I’ve never once considered culling it from my RSS feeds. She recently started spinning yarn and dying fiber full time and it’s been to resist. I have a few ounces of her fiber and it’s been elevated to such high status that I can’t help but feel the urge to improve my spinning skills so I can do the fiber justice.

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The cuffs turned out to be a quick little project. I might have spent more time picking out buttons than knitting. The grey yarn is leftover from a few different projects and the cream is some of my very own handspun. First time I’ve knit with my own handspun too. Full technical details on Ravelry.

Besides from being quick, the pattern’s pretty versatile too. I think the cuffs would be cute buttoned around gifts, flower pots, or naked table legs. I’m looking at you, Ikea table legs.