Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week 1 of the Tour is now over - here's what I did

I love doing the Tour de Fleece each year. I am so glad to see its getting bigger and bigger. It looks like its the thing to do for the summer. I know I have enjoyed my first week. I am half way through my goals. I have completed the yarn for my first sweater. For my first sweater I want to take an easy knitting project to SOAR. One that I don't really have to think about as I am working on it. So of course its going to be a Top Down from Knitting Pure and Simple. I'm not sure what pattern I am going to use but I know that I will need some where around 1000 yards of a worsted weight. So that was my goal. A few months back there was a Spin Off magazine that had the coolest yarn on the cover. It was a moorit brown that was over dyed with bright yellow. Instead of the end result being a yellow yarn it turns out to be a really cool green. So that's what I was shooting for. I found about 2 pounds of a Shetland in my stash and on the 4th I got busy.
I spun a bobbin full for the first 6 days. I then plied them together making a two ply.
Once all the plying was done I wanted to make sure I would have enough for a sweater so I ended up with 1100 yards. Into the dye pot it all went.
Dyeing brown yarn green using yellow dye takes a bit of faith. For one it shouldn't work. I'm yellow makes green. No way. So as its sits in the dye pot you have to let it be and do its thing. Once its done it still doesn't look green, not until its dry will you be happy with it. So for me it was really hard to let it alone and do its thing. I was like a cook watching a pot to boil. Then of course I thought I messed up all my hard work, but once it was drying I fell in love with the result.
Now the hard part. Letting it alone until October. I really want to get to knitting on it. The Sheltand was not processed all that well, there was a lot and I mean a lot of VM through out. So I was a bit surprised at how soft the yarn ended up. I'm thinking dyeing it helped burn up some of the VM.
Besides the sweater yarn I also worked on some silk on my newest Greensleeves spindle. I plan to make the Quaint head band that is on the cover of the current Spin Off for daughter number 3.
Lastly for this week, I spun up about 110 yards of Spinning Bunny's High Fiber Dessert club for the month of June. The Color way is Fudgy Chocolate Bundt Cake with Strawberries topped wit Sour Cream Chocolate sauce. The fiber is a Pixie Batt of baby alpaca,and merino. Now only was the recipe really good. I bit hit with the family and my knitting girls, but the fiber was a dream to spin. I am planning on knitting the button up neck warmer that is in the current Spin Off.
Tomorrow is a rest day for the Tour. So I plan to clean my wheel and change the drive band from Scotch tension to Double drive. I haven't decided which one I like better so that is part of what I want to do during the tour. My next big project is to spin some Cooridale that I bought for my birthday. I have been cleaning and carding what I hope is enough for an Einstein Coat. Its a wonderful shade of medium grey.
So stay tuned and see now only how I do on the Tour but if you haven' been watching the Tour de France its been fun to see Lance Armstrong back on the bike. I'm betting he just may be wearing more yellow before its all over. Right now he is in 3rd and looking really good. Yea for the old guys!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Tour begins

Happy Independents Day to all Americans! Don't eat to much BBQ and stay cool. Enjoy the fireworks but please don't set your house or the one next to you on fire.

Today is also the start of the Tour de France which means the Tour de Fleece also began. I think I am off to a pretty good start. Some what like Lance Armstrong. I'm not the fastest, nor did I spin as much as some, but I'm also not in last place.

I started out the day spinning a batt that I came across last night while I was looking for some yarn in my stash. I have no idea where I got it from but I'm sure it was from an exchange. The batt is one of those kitchen sink ones. Everything but the kitchen sink is in it. I'm not a huge fan of these, because for me its really hard to let the bumpy bits stay in the yarn. But i am please with the out come of the two ply. I ended up with about 80 yards. I think I will make a very loose scarf with it. It kind of looks like a yellow jersey. If you look real close anyway.
After I finished the first skein. I took a bit of a break, as some friends stopped by on their way out of town. So after they left I got down to business. As you may recall one of my Tour goals is to spin for two sweaters. So I started with my moorit brown, which I believe is Shetland. I do plan to over dye the yarn once its all done. I spun about 4 ounce, enough to fill the first bobbin. I think its going to try out to be just what I wanted for my basic top down sweater.
So I figure I am off to a good start. The Tour de Farnce looks like it will also be a fun one to watch. I have no idea who will win in the end but I'm sure it will have all kinds of twists and turns before we are all through, kind of like our yarn.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

For the love of it

As a knitter and spinner no matter how a project turns out, it was still fun to do. But lets face it there are some that end up better then others. Its all good but once in a while there is a WOW project. One that when you are all done you look at it and can't believe you were the one to make it. Well my new hat was just one of those projects.

I first bought the wool at Snake River Fiber Fair with the plan to make socks. Then the summer issue of Spin Off came out and I saw the CVM hat. I just fell in love with the pattern. So I divided up the 4 ounce into 1 ounce chunks. I left one the natural color and dyed the blue, gold and orange. I didn't have a wool that was the medium brown so I used some alpaca. The original pattern colors were blue, cream, yellow, red and medium brown. Because my daughter is attending Boise State this next year I want to make the red more of an orange instead of red. Now I really don't like the color orange so its more of a tomato red.

The pattern called for a bulky weight yarn and to use a size 5 needle. The total pattern called for 180 yards. So after I got all the spinning done each 1 ounce ball ended up with something like 36- 40 yards. Which I was hopeful would be enough. As it turned out it was. I did have about 4 yards of the cream left which is a bit close for me. The pattern called for tassels but I like braids better. The over all hat ended up maybe a bit on the smaller size but it does fit just perfectly so all is good. I can hardly wait to wear it this next fall and winter.
As I say I enjoy doing just about all the different projects that I work on but this one was such a total joy all the way from the first thought to the end.