July 2009


I got completely sidetracked from my initial goals for the Tour de Fleece, but I’m pretty happy with what I accomplished.

The first project I started was the swap batts I got from Sherie.  I’ve still got two batts left to go, and then the plying, but I’ve spun these three cops:

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That was my main spindle project.  I’ve spun a bit of cashmere/silk and a bit of merino/bamboo, but the polwarth/silk batts have been the travelling spinning.  Unfortunately, I don’t know the yardage yet, but I’d guess this is about 3 ounces.

Next was my first full skein spun from the fold, superwash merino from an earlier Ravelry swap.  It’s a little more than 4 ounces, and about 300 yards.

sunflower superwash merino

Continuing in the not-my-usual-yarn vein, I spun a bulkyish 2ply, also superwash merino (but with sari silk and sparkly stuff added); this is about 2 ounces, about 85 yards.

roses in the snow

…And I practiced spinning from the fold some more, followed by my first real attempt at chain-plying.  Not the most successful skein ever, but I’m satisfied with it.  It’s a little more orange and less pink than it looks in this photo.

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That was the last full skein I finished during the Tour, but I started this cormo/bamboo for the last evening.  I spun a bit more of the singles last night, and then plied them; it’s much too neppy for me to want to spin the rest of it.  It’s gorgeous and soft yarn, but my time is valuable.  I think I’m going to try wet-felting with the rest of the fiber.

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This morning, on the way to work, I took a break from the polwarth/silk for a post-Tour time trial.  I grabbed some of the same targhee top I used just before the TdF started, and spun singles on my walk in.  (I guessed pretty well when I grabbed the fiber!)
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I plied it at lunch and skeined it when I got home.  It’s about 16 yards, where I got 21 yards of 2ply from my pre-Tour time trial, but I think this yarn is better.  (Can’t find the first skein now, though.)  Also, it’s much stickier now, so I’m not upset with myself for not speeding up.

In spinning-related but not actually spinning things, I took advantage of my visit to my parents at the beginning of the Tour to make my first foray into spindle-making: two toy-wheel spindles.  This is the larger one (thicker dowel, larger wheel), with an extra wheel for now because it felt too light with just one.  They’re just held on by friction, so I figure I can take off the second one when there’s enough wool on the spindle to make up for the weight.  I do want to spin more on this (and on the other, smaller one), but I’ve been focussed on the other spindle projects so far.
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The white yarn in this photo is today’s targhee.

So…this is almost nothing like what I had originally hoped to accomplish during the Tour de Fleece, but I’ve learned a couple of new techniques and spun for at least a few minutes nearly every day.  I am pleased.  And maybe I can fit some carding and fleece-washing (and more spinning) in around the packing for the next couple of weeks.

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if I keep these, you won't leave!

“If I hold onto the noisemaker, she won’t leave!”

I’ve been working a lot and running around like a crazy lady recently, neglecting my poor, dear cat. I’ve even had the nerve to come home after work and then go out again!

Except for the weather, I had a pretty great weekend–I went to a party on Friday (going-away party, alas, for two awesome people) and a wedding dance (contra, English, and Scottish) on Saturday, which convinced me that I need to actually learn Scottish dancing at some point. My feet are slow learners.

The weather, however, meant that I had to pull the air conditioner out of the hall closet and rearrange the living room so I could set it up. I had been so hoping to not need it until I move next month… (I’m moving a whole five blocks this time. Same zip code, though, unlike after my last (four-block) move.)

Gotta run now, but there should be a Tour de Fleece wrap-up post soon.

I’m still running behind on pretty much everything.  I’ve managed to squeeze in the fastest apartment search ever (okay, not really; it took a week rather than the long weekend when I found my first place in Philly), and a little bit of packing, but nearly everything else that’s not work or spinning (downtime so I can focus again) has gotten squeezed out.  And I’m behind schedule on those, too.

Still, I’ve finished a couple of skeins as part of the Tour de Fleece, and I am sucking less at spinning.

roses in the snow

This is one Roses in the Snow batt from Enchanted Knoll Farm, from the February Happy Hooves shipment.  (The other two batts in the wild card set have different fates.)  I was practicing spinning bulky yarn, and I did pretty well–it’s a reasonably lofty 8wpi (but I’ve forgotten the yardage).

sunflower superwash merino

This is more superwash merino (but without the glitz and sari silk), from the Spunky Swa(m)p last fall; it’s from Rebecca of Heartknits Handpainted.

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And this is my current travelling spindle, with the travelling-spinning project I started on my way to my parents’ place at the beginning of July.  This is one of the set of 4oz of batts (Polwarth, silk, and a pinch of firestar) from Sherie, from a batt swap in January/February.  I think I’m more than halfway through them, but I haven’t actually checked lately.  Unfortunately, it’s been a little to humid to spin on my way to work for the last couple of days.

Time to get back to work!

How did it get to be Friday again already?  (Yeah, yeah, okay, the 12h workdays do make time disappear…)  I should have some fibery pictures to post soon, as I’ve been spinning for the Tour de Fleece (if nothing else, while walking to work), but, for now, here are a few more photos from my vacation in Vermont.

herb robert

queen anne's lace

delphinium

The herb robert is from a hike up Mount Philo; the Queen Anne’s lace and delphinium are from my dad’s flower garden.

I ran off to Vermont last Thursday so I could spend the 4th of July weekend with my parents. The vacation was not much like the way I’d imagined it, but it was lovely and relaxing. I did enough weeding to remind myself of how nice it is to buy veggies at the farmers’ market (the weeding itself was okay, but the mosquitoes were vicious), and I spent a while trying to free my parents’ balcony from the wisteria.

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(Can you see the cat hiding in the corner?)

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I cleared enough of the vines away that Whisper couldn’t really hide any more, and the chair was pretty well buried. I found another set of flowerbuds, which was a lovely prize for the work.

I also fit in some spinning around the games and singing and closet-cleaning-out; I’ll post some pictures later, along with a few from hiking and such.

• I’m still spinning on my way to work most days. Yesterday morning reminded me why (aside from spindle productivity) it’s such a good thing–without it, I’m a little too likely to fret about the time, and the weather, and all sorts of other work-related things that I can’t actually do anything about until I get to lab. Especially now that I’ve messed up a second pair of earbuds so that the left one doesn’t work.

• I’ve actually done a decent amount of cooking lately. Still probably less than ideal, but I made these

black raspberry muffins

a week and a half ago. The black raspberries I’d bought the day before were already starting to go fuzzy, so I picked out the icky ones, cooked the rest of them down a bit with some sugar (like jam, but not that cooked), and subbed the raspberry mixture into my standard muffin recipe (in place of the milk). The seeds were a little annoying, but they were otherwise quite good.

And I spent Sunday evening in ridiculously geeky cookery that I’ll talk about later, when the person who took the pictures gets a chance to upload them.

• There’s been a teensy bit more knitting on the Estonian lace scarf. I was thinking about photographing it with something for scale, since it was mentioned that it kinda looked like a stole rather than a scarf, but I’ll just say (for now) that it’s maybe six inches wide and knit on US1s.

• I’ve finished the first half of the merino/bamboo Sumac singles and started on the second half. It still amazes me how differently spindles spin with a full cop versus a tiny starter one.

• I finally skeined up the Jacob roving from Gnomespun, though I still haven’t (wet) finished it. It seems to be about 660 yards. Here it is with Mel, who’s wondering why I leant it on him (and maybe why he isn’t enough reason by himself for me to pull out my camera):

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• I’ve signed up for the Ravelry edition of this year’s Tour de Fleece, for which I have joined Team Suck Less, with the goal of spinning a mile not in a day, because I can’t commit a whole day to spinning any time soon, but on my spindles over the three weeks of the Tour. (And the side goal of spinning fast enough for the theoretical production of a mile of singles, at least, in a reasonable length day.)

• It’s now July, and I have yet to install my air conditioners this year.  This is wonderful.