08 July, 2010

Brought to You by the Letter "T" - Tour de Fleece, Days 1-5

Since I began spinning two and a half years ago, my fiber accumulation has vastly outpaced my handspun output. This, I understand, is not completely unusual, neither for me personally nor for the spinning world-at-large. But in keeping with my motto of “if you’re going to sin, sin boldly,” I tend to spin for a mere month out of the year, and acquire fiber rather more often than that. Said month is, of course, July during the Tour de Fleece. Once again I have joined Abby Franquemont’s Team Suck Less, <> and I’m re-using my badge from last year - not having Photoshop with me to adjust it for the current year’s date: 

My goal this year is to spin every day of the Tour, even if only for 10 minutes (thus putting me on a secondary TdF of “Ten Minutes/Day”). So far, it’s worked quite well. I have my Victoria set up in front of my shiny new laptop that plays Netflix DVDs extremely well, and I’ve managed to do quite a bit of spinning while watching the third season of The Tudors. Tangentially, The Tudors is a terribly watchable show, completely tawdry and trashy, and I treasure it.

I have a couple of completed items to add to my Twelve Mile Quest 2010 total, as well. The Cherry Seraphim (Cherraphim?) shawl is still in Time Out, and will probably remain there for the foreseeable future. But in keeping with my WIP count limit of roughly 3 - not counting UFO’s - I sucked it up and finished THB’s Last Chance Socks (the picture for which should go here but won't because it was AWFUL. New photoshoot scheduled for this afternoon.)

When I packed for my summer in Coal City, I tried to think of things I would need for finishing projects: darning needles, extra cables for my Options set, several sizes of needle tips, my swift*, etc., but I deliberately left two things at home that I thought I could do without: my kitchen scale for estimating yardage, and my ball winder. Of course I quickly discovered that both of those things were, if not technically required, at least an element of Knitting Happiness and Management, respectively. I am, it seems, crap at both winding yarn by hand and estimating how much yarn a pair of men’s size 11 socks uses.

The second finished item I have should probably wait for its own post - after all, I have had precious few Finished Objects this year - but since the posts would go up at the same time anyway I’m just going to put everything all together. But first, a teaser shot:

These singles were started at the first annual CogKNITive Fiber Retreat in Tehachapi, California in October 2009. I may or may not have taken any pictures of them on the wheel, but I finished the second half of bobbin #2 and most of the third bobbin over a couple of days leading up to the Tour. Then I discovered that the Lazy Kate that comes with the Victoria wheel was missing the center post (it’s removable so it fits in the bag), and I have a vague memory of it being in the bottom of my spinning basket back in California. On the 4th of July I legged it to Ace Hardware and bought two 1/4” dowels, some kite string and a package of rubber bands. Combined with a loosely woven basket I found in my room, the ingredients made up a quite functional tensioned Kate. I felt like MacGuyver.

On the 5th, I finished plying:

And on the 6th I had skeined, washed, and whacked it into submission. Behold, my first finished yarn since last year’s Tour was over! 

Yarn: Bee Mice Elf SW Merino “Whammy Kiss,” 335 yards

I’m quite pleased with it, especially as I wasn’t sure about the consistency between the bobbins of singles. There is probably another 20 yards of chain-plied yarn left over from after the first bobbin ran out of singles, but it’s still sitting on a bobbin waiting to be wound off into a mini-skein.

In the mean time, I started on what turns out to be my favorite Old Standby: Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino, this time in Be-Bop-a-Lula:

Before I left CA I divided the 8.5 oz bump into 3 parts by weight, but my scale was acting up a bit so I’m not 100% sure the weights are accurate; when I get home I’ll have to remember to change the battery on the scale. I haven’t finished the first bump yet, so my options are still open as to chain-plying or getting one of those fancy 1-ounce bobbin winders like Jasmin has. Maybe I can find an antique one hereabouts; I’ve seen several Amish stores around, and where there are Amish there are usually beautiful handcrafting tools.

Whew! That’s about all the update I have, other than that Grandma is doing well. She had her second of eight chemo treatments on Tuesday, and she’s been so tired today that I haven’t even gotten to speak to her, she’s been sleeping so much. These next few days will be even more quiet than usual around here while she alternates between Dreamland and drinking tons of water to flush the poisons out of her system. Mr. Darcy has taken to sleeping in the hall between my room and Grandma’s so he can keep his eye on both of us lest we should move or offend him in the middle of the night. He’s adjusted fairly well, but my Uncle Tony is coming with three Chihuahuas tomorrow, so there might be a Big Shakeup in our future. Ahh, the entertaining life I lead!!

*Yes, I brought my swift. It was a big suitcase!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I like those singles. Very pretty. Glad to hear your Grandma is doing as well as can be, too. :)