1

And relax…

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Sadly I had to give up the Tour de Fleece towards the end due to a very, very painful shoulder. I most probably over did it a bit on the spinning, but that’s me, go at it ‘hell for leather’ and suffer the consequences after!

I did manage to produce some yarns I am very proud of and once this shoulder heals or I find a way to work with it, I will go back and finish the yarns I started.

The one above is a merino and embroidery thread art yarn, only about 20g as it took some time. Inspired by the final day of The Tour, coming down the Champs Elysees at night and the wonderful display on the Arc de Triomphe.

Th yarn below is another Limegreenjelly hand dyed merino. This is the finest I have ever spun, so producing a 2 ply DK yarn, which belonged to me for all of 20 mins. A friend saw it hanging on the line drying and bought it!

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There is another I am half way through spinning, a grey Gotland fleece, I haven’t got photos of it yet, but it has the most wonderful curls that I didn’t want to loose, so I haven’t carded the fleece, but spun it as it is, it’s producing a slubby art yarn, silver grey and black. I can’t wait to show it off.

One thing I did learn during The Tour, is the existence of Spindolyns. It’s a drop spindle that spins in a base, so you can prep the fleece with two hands.

I’ve ordered one for my birthday!! Woohoo!!

So until then, I have a little relaxing time now, making clocks, and hats for various people….

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4

What was I saying?

It seems the “Manx Missile” is back on track…I really felt for him standing up there on the podium, crying his heart out. It just goes to show that saying is true…”If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”. I almost live by that saying. I love to learn new things and I won’t leave it until I’ve won, I suppose you could say that I become obsessive. I will live and breath the new task. But what do I do with it, once it’s learned? Nothing, I go on to the next thing. There’s another saying; “Jack of all trades, master of none”, oh yes, that’s me. There is hardly anything I won’t try (as long as it doesn’t involve leaving the ground…and water…not keen on those!). Fibre wise, I’d love to be able to do it all, but I will also admit that if I really feel I’m “fighting a loosing battle”, I’m quite happy to wave the white flag and surrender.

designed by Barbra Breiter

Lace…the bain of my life. I look at all the beautiful shawls and scarves and wraps and I long, really long to be able to produce such stunningly, wonderous garments. Alas, I do not have the concentration, the time nor the patience needed to make them. I will get there one day, but today is not the day. No, today is the day for mastering the corespun yarn, on a drop spindle!

First attempt – it wasn’t pretty!

If you search on You Tube you will find plenty of tutorials…though they are for the spinning wheel (I came across a lovely one where the lady was spinning yarn that looked like a Christmas tree, complete with presents and a star! But I can’t find it now), but the theory is just the same. The main difference is, you have two free hands with a wheel as your feet are doing the spinning.

Here’s a quick demo

So, you need one hand to hold the core with tension, one hand to hold the wrapping fibre and another to spin the spindle…hmmm…unless you have a willing spouse, child…dog(?) to hold…something, I didn’t think this was going to be easy.

I then thought teasing fibres whilst spinning is going to be out of the question, not enough hands, so prepping needed to be done. On my first sttempt I had already spun the yarn.

Welsh Black tops, spun with silk then plied with merino.

I then attached the core yarn to the drop spindle, holding that with tension between my thumb and finger. The wrapping yarn  I placed between my index finger and the next so it could freely slide, while my right hand did the spindle spinning.

Like so; the fibre needs to be kept well away from the spindle otherwise you end up with a big fibery mess…which I suppose could be interesting in itself!

After spinning I washed the yarn in hot water and soap, so lightly felting it all together.

TaDa! merino/bamboo/flax/tussah silk corespun yarn.

Just a little bit of patience and knowing what you hands are doing and it’ll all be ok. Another yarn I’ve been working on is Limegreenjelly’s “Ocean Drive” Merino/Bamboo.

Which is turning into a very nice sock yarn weight yarn if it’s left in it’s single state. I’m not sure whether to make socks or wristwarmers…I’ve seen a couple of patterns I’d like to try – Archie’s socks (ravelry link) or there’s the hat heel in Knitty and these Mary Wristwarmers. I would dearly love to be knitting lace…

2

Buns and bikes and batts…oh my!

*fanning myself franticly!*

The Tour de France got on it’s way on Saturday evening and as always, the house goes a bit Tour mad…the poster of the route has gone up and Cycling Weekly will be bought and ITV4 will be on almost religiously for the next three weeks.

And of course the fibre and spindles are out too for the Tour de Fleece…where spinners all over the world have wheels moving as fast as Cavendish on a winning sprint…or, maybe not going by yesterdays performance!

That was a pretty impressive crash!

So what’s my plan of action for the Tour? Well, Cycling Weekly gave me an idea. On the front cover it poses the question “What type of Tour rider would you be?” Now, during the TDFKAL the “riders” would state which jersey they would be working towards, but in the Tour de Fleece, we don’t do this so I decided to see which kind of rider I would compare to instead.

hmmm..

Cycling Weekly suggests that sprint climbers need to propel themselves upwards so being a small or medium in size helps. Yep, sounds good to me, not sure about the stocky build and large quadriceps…(where are they again?) though.

Climbers have long legs and ferocious aerobic power…that’s me out then being a measly 4ft 11″!

Sprinters can be any size (cool) have a strong core (yep) and arm and shoulder strength…hmmm.

and then Time trialists…have narrow shoulders and a small frontal area…(uh yeah, that’ll be me then), flexible, yep,¬† and feel more comfortable in a low position. sounds perfect. So the aim of the Time Trialist? Fastest average speed…

So, this concludes that I shall keep spinning as much as possible, speeding up for the straight and slowing for the bends. I had intended to spin everything I have until I bought a load more fibre. So now I’m going for as much as possible as long as I keep going, no days off.

During the prologue I finished Jo’s “My Velocity” BFL/Seacell

Sadly after spinning so much on Saturday, I had great difficulty spinning on Sunday as my hands and arms were aching but I did manage 50g of a Merino/Alpaca/Camel and Mulberry silk blend, which was incredibly light and easy to spin, although it made me sneeze like …a big sneezey thing!

Now this beautiful fibre is now spun into DK weight singles I have aptly re-named “Velo” .

Purchased from Limegreenjelly

Chunnky singles. Merino/Alpaca/Camel/Mulberry Silk

Laceweight singles so far. BFL/Bamboo which I think I may ply with some Black Welsh tops.

It’s back to the doctors for me today. After being told I will have to wait 6 months to see a specialist about my legs, I’m pretty annoyed so a fair bit of…not shouting but a little more than gentle persuasiveness (oooh think i just made up a word) and get this sorted. Just some non drug induced sleep would be nice.

Good luck with the spinning and knitting everyone!

6

Dipping into my “energy overdraft”

The first day of the Tour de France and Phil Ligit manages to get one of his famous Ligit-isms in straight away! Yes, it’s that time of year again when fibre freaks around the world don a pair of lycra shorts and tool of their choice. For two years I did the KAL, obtaining a Polka Dot Jersey both times. This year I’m going for my biggest challenge yet, but not with pointy sticks, oh no…this year I’m doing the Tour de Fleece.

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I am on Team Jelly Legs initially, also in Team Rookie and team Drop Spindle

I am planning to spin 400g of fleece and hopefully learn to navajo ply. So far I have spun 100g of the Merino/Silk that was in my last post. It was so easy to spin and looks wonderful as a yarn. I’ve left it in singles, as there are so many colours already in it, I think adding more would be too much.

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Next up is “Precious” from Jo at Limegreenjelly

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I am so very looking forward to spinning this BFL, the colours are just what I want right now.

As for the Tour de France…Armstrong, Wiggins and Cavendish are looking good (these are the guys I particularly look out for). Cadel Evans and Contador are looking good too…I wish all the guys the best of luck!

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