Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tour de Fleece 2013

So, the Tour De Fleece 2013 ended a couple of days ago. Although I did participate, I was not as productive as I had been in previous years. You see, I was over my due date for part of it and then, well, I had a baby! (Which RULES) But I did get a fair amount of spinning done, more than I thought I would, in fact. Most of my spinning was tidying up what I already had going - and some was consolidating, yet more was spindling, and then there was the massive rainbow project. There are progress and finished pics below. The only item from the Tour that is not featured is the peach colored fibre that I dyed and carded myself (made it look Peach by carding 3 different colors of pink and orange together) and did not finish. There's no point in including it in the Tour since I already considered myself done before I started it. I think I only got about .25 oz in anyway of the whole 2 and 1/8oz I have.

First, let me get into the spindle-spun part of the tour. I used the tour as an excuse to wheel ply two singles that I had spun on one of my spindles. The way I had split the fiber when I spun it originally gave me almost two completely distinct plies, one primarily maroon, and the other primarily teal. It was great seeing how they came together since I had been afraid it would be too muddy when plied.

Next was finishing spindling the 2nd half of fibre that I had been working on with another spindle. I had been spindling this for over a year, little by little, as we waited for a table at our breakfast place. I'm not sure how well it comes through in the pictures, but the fibre is purple, light blue, and swampy green with sparkles. I spindled the 2nd half of this for the tour and then plied it on my wheel. There was a lot of plying in this tour for me. Turned out great! Sadly, it is a bit of a muddy yarn. I'm hoping that some of the colors pop a little better once it's knit.

I had spun half of my denim blue fibre prior to the beginning of the tour. I spun the other half of singles and then plied them. This is a close-up of the two skeins plied. I navajo plied them (also called chain plying) in order to have two perfectly weighted skeins. The color in this picture is a little too bright and saturated blue to really show what the fibre looked like. However, the next pictures of the actual skeins is also not right. Imagine the color to be a mix of these two colors - a nice, grey-toned denim blue. It's the color you see on blue jeans.

 Here are the skeins after being washed and dried.
You can see that they turned out really nicely. Fairly even - which I can't take full credit for since the fibre was nice and didn't really fight me.

Here was my big project for the tour. These are bumps of fibre that I had dyed when I tried dying the first time. I've dyed a little bit with Jasmin, but she really did all the work - I just put my fibre in and stirred it. This time, I wanted to see if I could manage to do some on my own. These bumps were each between 1.5 and 2oz. There are 7 colors total, and they sort of make a rainbow. So, I decided the parcel them out into three equal weights for each color and spin them as 3 singles. This way, I figured the plied yarn would turn out somewhat rainbowy on it's own with some slight variation based on spinning differences from ply to ply. Here's me working on one of the bobbins. As you can see, I was having a good time going from color to color and making sure that each one was visible on the bobbin.

Here is the finished yarn. There was so much fiber that I overloaded each bobbin when plying, and even then I really didn't have enough space. I did end up throwing out some of 1 of the plies when I was plying because I realized it had way more to go of yellow than the other two plies and I only wanted so much overlap of colors. I'm incredibly happy with how this yarn turned out. I was too lazy to see how many yards I have, but I know it's a lot. It's about a fingering weight/dk weight. My thought is that I'd like to make a shawl out of it - or a stole of some sort. I was thinking of using a lace pattern, but the more I look at it, the more I feel like I should just keep it simple, maybe even as simple as garter or stockinette, and let the colors do their happy thing.

Here's a close up of some of the yarn, As you can see, there were a couple of fuzzy bits (my fault as a novice dyer), but overall it's gorgeous. I cannot even begin to explain how happy this makes me. Maybe I'll make it into a circular blanket. Either way, it's the happiest yarn I own now.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Finished Projects MId 2013

I'm probably missing a lot of finished projects, but these are the bigger ones that come to mind for now. So, that's what you'll get.  I'm almost 4 days past my due date, so there isn't much I've been knitting lately - but I have been spinning for Tour De Fleece 2013. You'll see pics from that in my next post.  But for now, some knitting pics. Because - knitting pics!

 This is the finished Daybreak made out of cascade. One + skiens of dark navy and the other of a red/navy variegated. I'm sorry it's a little washed out, but this was the best way to actually get across the pattern. The colors are so dark that it's a little hard to see the pattern otherwise. Stephen West is a genius and this is the 3rd one I've made. I've started a 4th now. Mostly because I am insane. I mean, I'd have to be, right?

Here's a picture of the Little Oak Cardigan in progress. This was the beginning, when I'd finished the bottom of the body, one sleeve, and had started the second sleeve.

Below is the finished sweater - 18 month size.

 Here's the detail on the buttons. I was really happy to find ones that really nicely set off the nice denim color of the sweater.

Below is my attempt to capture some of the detail on the sweater - specifically the oak leaves on the yoke. It turned out great! And it's big enough that the recipient, Mr. Miles, shouldn't be able to outgrow it until after this winter.