Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Endless BFL Braid

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I've been making a feeble attempt to finish up old projects before starting anything new. I started spinning a braid of Bluefaced Leicester wool over a week ago. The braid was very similar to the one in the picture. I traded with someone to get a second braid and now am beginning to wonder why on earth I did it. I think the braid that I'm working on has a magic spell on it. It is getting smaller, but it doesn't show any sign of ending. I've been spinning for hours every day, too.

I finished knitting the Grouchy Couch pieces, but they all need a blast from the steam iron before I put them together. The ironing board is covered with a pinned together quilt, which needs to be quilted and bound. I stopped working on it so I could do the spinning for Tour de Fleece, which is how I started working on the BFL.

I think I'm in an infinite loop.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tour de Fleece is over

for another year and I'm glad. Spinning is hard to do when it is so hot that my hands are sweaty. I'm not touching the fiber I'm working on or the spindle or the wheel until it gets a LOT COOLER out.

I met my goals:

  1. spin more consistent and thinner yarn (aka suck less). Check.
  2. spin every day except the official rest days. Check.
  3. spin on the wheel. It was too darn hot to try to make my body learn the coordination. I did get the wheel set up correctly and I'm not scared to try again when I'm more patient. Check.
  4. spin through all the coral fiber and all the alpaca in the bag and ply them together. I left out two mini-batts that were closer to pink than coral to blend in with the upcoming Spam yarn. Check.
  5. spin something beyond the coral and alpaca. I spun the Rose Garden yarn and about a quarter of the superwash BFL I'm calling Last Stop. Check.

I didn't make it quite as far as I expected with the Doctor Who DVDs. I expected to make it to doctor Four. I'm still working on doctor Three.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Challenge Day

You know that saying about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well, this picture is the opposite. It's the result of my challenge and it'll take about a thousand words to explain why it is a success. In the Tour de France, the bicyclists are having a tough day. I think it involves a bunch of cycling in the mountains. In Tour de Fleece, we are expected to do something that's difficult for us. My challenge was to get my spinning wheel set up correctly and spin on it. I've been afraid of my wheel. I thought I wouldn't be able to spin on it. I was able to get it set up properly and I was able to make the wheel spin around as it should. I was only able to spin a few inches of yarn (it's the brown stuff in the picture). My frustration level was pretty high, mainly due to the temperature. It's 10 pm right now and the temperature outside is still over 80 degrees. I decided that I'll try the actual spinning on some other day when it isn't so frakking hot. Still, I'm not scared of the wheel now. Yay!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Day 16

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I <3 this batt. It's wool and silk from Split Rock Ranch.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Day 14

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
This is the milk fiber blended with the fluff that's under the spindle. It is hand-dyed rambouillet in a colorway called Scallop. The fiber's got a really interesting texture and spins nicely. I'll want to go to The Fuzzy Bunny next time I'm looking for something to spin.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Day 12

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I finished the last of the bag of natural alpaca and spun a little bit of milk fiber. This came from Moonwood Farm and the colorway is Peach Blossom. It really is made from milk. Here's what the tag says:

Milk fiber has antibacterial properties, no bacterial or fungal cultures are able to grow on it. It also has the same pH as human skin, making it a wonderful fiber for those who are sensitive to other natural fibers.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thanks, Cocoa Beach Yarn

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
This is Scooby Sock Yarn in the colorway In The Time of Butter-flies.
I won it in a random draw of people who finished the fifth sock in the Iron Knitter competition. The Cocoa Beach Yarn Company sponsored Iron Knitter and the latest Sock Wars. They provided a whole lot of their yarn as prizes. Thanks for your generosity, Cocoa Beach Yarn.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tour de Fleece Rest Day

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I have been spinning, as you can see by this. I clearly need more practice, but I think it is better than what I did last year.

On my rest day, I went to the post office to send some yarn to a Ravelry person. She needed some discontinued yarn that I happened to have in my stash. I hope the dye lots are close enough for it to work well for her. Then I went to the most local of my lys, Only Ewe and Cotton Too. I prepaid for a groovy skein of alpaca sock yarn from Yarns on Stage. Go over there and see the cute sheep that display the limited edition hand-dyed colors. They are really cute, and the yarn's great, too.

Then I came home and worked on the Grouchy Couch (that's the correct name) from Knitting Mochimochi. My only concern is having enough yarn. It doesn't look like it should take two skeins of the main color, yet the pattern calls for two. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Day 6

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I spun a little more of the Day 5 fiber, but just a little bit. I've got to work out a way of spinning that puts less stress on my left index finger. I took a time out to use my special Swedish hand carders, which don't require using specific fingers. The alpaca started out a little bit crusty (left) but turned out nice and soft and fluffy after I carded it. I plan to ply this with the coral fibers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Day 5

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
The new fiber today is Painter's Coral, a blend of superwash merino, alpaca, and milk fiber. It comes from Dragonmaille Designs. I've done something hurty to my left index finger, so I don't know how much I'll get done for day 6.

In unrelated news, I am a winner! I've won two skeins of yarn in two different drawings and I won a gift certificate to a fabric shop. There are some technical delays in me getting two of those things., but the third arrived yesterday. Thanks, Knitters Brewing Company, for the lovely Bellini yarn.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Day 4

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I swear, it really is different fiber from yesterday. The top is the new stuff which is merino, honey tussah silk, and angelina in colorway Seashell. It comes from H.A.Y..

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Day 3

There were two fiber changes today. Not visible is a pale peach merino/tencel blend called Coral Moon from Moonlight and Laughter. The visible fiber is Superfine 19 micron merino in the colorway King Crab Legs. It comes from Wooliebullie.

I'm using this as a record of what I did. This way I don't have to make sure I keep track of all the labels and business cards or whatever yet can still go back and buy stuff from the places I especially liked.

Mini Me in London

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
The yellow arrow is pointing to mini-me at the Stitched Selves display at the Science Museum in London. Well over 200 people knit/crocheted/sewed little versions of themselves and shipped them off to the Stitch London folks. The arrow's not part of the display, I just added it so I could point mini-me out. Here's a picture of her I took before sending her off:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Day 2

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I won't be a posting every day during Tour de Fleece, just one every time I start another fiber. I'm working through half-ounce batts and braids of fibers from 10 different companies.

This is Shell Pearl, a blend of alpaca, mohair, SW (not sure what that is), Falkland, and Angelina. It came from Silver Sun Alpacas.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Day 1

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
The fiber is about 1/2 ounce of 90% wool/10% mohair. The colorway is Coral Gables and it comes from Natchwoolie.

I'm on Team TARDIS, which are a bunch of people who are spinning and watching Doctor Who. I'm using a bunch of coral-colored fibers that range from this pale peach shade all the way to nearly orange. To keep with the Doctor Who theme, the resulting yarn will be called Not Amy's Hair. Why? Because Vincent van Gogh told Amy she had orange hair and this yarn will not make it to that level of orange.


Originally uploaded by Paula knits
I got an excellent swap today from someone on Ravelry. There were lots of good things in it, but I wanted to share this in particular. It's alpaca, naturally dyed in Peru. There are 100 grams of fiber in 10 different colors. It's being sold as a felt-it-yourself kit, but it looks and feels to this beginning spinner as if it could easily be spun.

The cool thing is, it came from Cost Plus World Market. Even yarn stores don't carry anything like this. It has been a while since I've been in Cost Plus. Maybe it is time to take a trip over there. The place could be full of yarn!

The box has a web address that I've not checked out yet:

(Flexible) Finished Object Friday

Those who are paying attention to such things will note that it is actually Saturday. This week, I am stretching the definition of Friday to include the writing of this post.

These are my Skew socks, knit with the watermelon turned into strawberry Kool-Aid dyed yarn.

These are this week's Granny-a-Day squares. The persnickety reader may have noted that only one is a granny and a week's worth is 4, not 7. Again, flexibility is the key here.

Last we have half of a pair of Foot Eaters. The pair is complete except that this one's sister needs to have her eyes and ears applied. I'm going to go do that now, then I'll be ready to start Tour de Fleece.