playing catch-up: tour de fleece

I thought I’d do a bit of a round-up of my spinning, which has been a huge force in my creative life this year. I’ve completed some big projects that I’m really, really proud of, and I think they’re worth sharing.

I’m going to start with the easy stuff: my Tour de Fleece spinning. Obviously, most of this is from July, but some was finished pretty recently, so I thought it’d be good to share. When the Tour was coming around, I realized that I had a bit of a club finer backlog. I spent most of the spring working on a pound of white fluff, which meant that my club packages didn’t get spun at all. I decided to join up Team Into The Whirled for the third year running, and worked on getting some of my Fluff Stash into Yarn Stash.

ITW 24 1/2 Century

Colourway: “24 1/2 Century” on Falkland
Stats: fingering weight, 348m/111g

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8694/27786962143_fdedb874bb_z.jpg

Colourway: “Mud Bogs and Moonshine” on Corriedale
Stats: closer to sport weight, 240m/118g

My last spin started during the TdF, but due to a variety of circumstances I had to put it on hold for most of August, and actually just finished it this month. I started a fairly ambitious spin near the end of the Tour, mostly because I just wanted to get it started and was excited about sharing it. I’d been planning some kind of combo spin for a while, and inspired by [TKbrenboone]’s magnificent spinning, decided on a three-ply gradient.

ITW TDF Combo Spin

The way this works is: one starts with two colour ways, and splits each into six. Then, spin four three-ply skeins with gradually shifting proportions of each colour way. So if one is A and the other is B, the skeins would go: AAA, AAB, ABB, BBB.

This is “Stay Shiny” and “Captain Tightpants,” both on merino/nylon.

Keep your tightpants shiny

Stats: light sport weight/heavy fingering-ish weight (16wpi), 3-ply. Total yardage of all four skeins is 594m/234g.

I’m really into this last batch, and curious about how it’s going to knit up – I think it’ll end up quite muted and “muddy,” with some subtle colour changes, which might lend itself well to a fairly plain shawl or scarf, or maybe a sweater yoke.

big blue-green

So, I still haven’t frogged my Edith yet (working up the nerve, and trying to pick a day when I’m in the mood to wind and wash a whole lot of skeins) but I have been doing a lot of playing with wool.

I’ve got another sweater on the needles which has maybe been on the needles since March, but I thought I’d share.

Clarke

This is Clarke,, a sweater knit from a really lovely, basic sweater pattern by Jane Richmond. It’s worked in one piece, which means no seaming, but also means that it’s mostly a blue-ish, greenish yarny blob. I’ve tried it on and I promise it’s sweater-shaped, but I realize it’s not the most glamorous thing to photograph right now.

I picked this pattern specifically to create a hand knit version of a RTW sweater I bought this winter. I bought a machine-knit, wool pullover with a high-low hem on a whim over the holidays, and it has turned out to be the wardrobe staple I didn’t know I needed. I wore it pretty much daily through the winter – around the house over pyjamas on cold days, as a top with leggings or jeans when I was feeling lazy about picking an outfit – and on cold spring days I did my best to keep wearing it, basically all. The. Time.

I wanted to make a hand knit sweater that would supplement that niche, in a different colour. The pattern is written for stripes, but I decided I wanted to work it in a solid sweater. This was partly because it makes for a more versatile wardrobe addition, and also because I wasn’t 100% on the pattern I was going to use. I was worried that if I decided to frog or go with a different pattern, I’d be stuck with a SQ of yarn that had to be worked in stripes, and didn’t want to get limited if I swatched and couldn’t match gauge.

Clarke

I’ve made my way through the end of the sweater body and am actually well into the second sleeve, and I’m pretty happy with it so far. I’m working it in Madelinetosh DK in Cove, which is knitting up into a lovely semisolid fabric, and am generally very excited to have this in my closet.

Clarke

The big limitation to working on this is how big it is. It basically lives on my couch now, and because I’ve been travelling a lot over the past couple months, this hasn’t received as much knitting time as it should have. Currently, I’m pushing to get it done – partly just because it should be done, and also because I’ve got yarn picked out for a more summer-appropriate knit, and this needs to be off the needles first!

wool fluff update

So, I still haven’t worked up the nerve to frog my Edith, but in the meantime I’ve been doing lots of other playing with wool that I thought I’d share.

Mostly, I want to talk about my latest hadnspinning finish, and what I’ve got on the wheel right now.

Fen Singles

This is some cheviot fibre in “Fen,” from the Into The Whirled classic club from October of last year. (I’m a little behind with my club spinning, clearly.) I decided to spin it as a bit of a palate-cleanser, moving on from the end of one big project before deciding on another. I split it into two halves by weight, spinning for a two-ply.

I didn’t get too fussy in terms of goals and planning, but pne of the things I’ve been working on with spinning has been put-up and yardage. I was doing some reading and wondered if part of my issue was over-twisting, so I did my best to spin fine singles with as little twist as I could manage.

ITW cheviot

I ended up with this: 335 yards on 101 grams and 21wpi before washing! This is the biggest deal for me in terms of spinning, and I was delighted when I measured out my yardage and got that number!

ITW cheviot

I’m trying to psych myself up for trying to make this into socks. I tend to get really precious about my handspun when I think about socks – it’s not dense enough, too fluffy, not durable enough – but I also really want handspun socks, so at some point I’m just going to have to go for it.

In the meantime, I’ve planned out a longer-term project spinning a similar style of yarn. I have a pound bag of Rambouillet roving from Olds last year, and would like to spin it into fingering-ish to sport-ish weight yarn and experiment with dyeing it. I’m hoping I’ll get enough for either a nice little mini-sweater or a really good blanket-shawl.

Rambo

Rambo

I think it might be my first time spinning a true woolen-spun yarn (from roving, spun long-draw) and it is almost offensively squishy and lovely. I spun a test-skein to make sure I’d be happy with the finished product, and it delights me.

Spun Rambo

I’m hoping to have the spinning for this done by the Tour de Fleece in July – I always enjoy using that time to play with small quantities of hand-dyed fluff – but we’ll have to see how much time I manage with my wheel over the next month.