Friday, July 5, 2013

A Tour de Fleece diversion

I am interrupting the Beijing trip details to talk about fiber. The Tour de Fleece started on June 29th. I was in many minds about my goals for this year. I thought I might spindle on a couple of spindles - supported and suspended. But eventually I narrowed it down to a simple goal: learn to do the ply on the fly technique.

I had this Rambouillet braid that has a lot of different colors. Really bright different colors. Really, really bright different colors. Get the picture. It would become quite muddy if I tried to ply it as usual and it just called out for a chain ply.

What is ply on the fly? It is a technique where you spin a length of fiber, make a chain and then ply it as you go. It was invented by Tammy Rizzo a few years ago and I have been intrigued by it but I never had the inclination to sit down and figure it out. Well, the time had come.

I downloaded all the ply on the fly videos that I could find to my iPad. I started spinning the fiber on my trindle and then I didn't spin for the first 4 days of the Tour. But then I picked it up and immediately got hooked. I spun a length and then watched this video
Then I watched this one
and then I sat down and did it. Voila! I was doing it.

Since then, I have been spinning daily and learning to do the technique better. One thing I learned about myself is that I prefer to spin a long length of single, winding it on the spindle as I go. Then I unwind it off and butterfly it onto my hand before plying all of it. It seems to go smoother to do it this way rather than alternating the two more frequently.

With that as a prequel, here are my Tour pictures so far...
This is the fiber. I warned you. It is bright but the colors are so pretty. This is why I wanted to chain ply it and preserve the colors.
Since the fiber is Rambouillet I am plying it rather tightly. I want to make sure I get a nice smooth round yarn which will not pill as easily as Rambouillet is known to do.
Day 5 spinning.
Day 6 spinning. Yes, there is very little progress but that is YARN! I don't need to ply it!
And last but not least, day 7. I have been photographing my progress at night and then posting it to the appropriate thread in the am. It is easier than trying to do it all at night. I am a member of three teams and so I need to post the pictures in at least 3 team threads.

Actually, I just finished spinning and plying that fiber in the photo above. That will go into the day 8 progress photo.

I have also been making stitch markers based on this tutorial. I have given away all the ones I have made so far. I will make more and photograph the results one of these days. It is a lot of fun. I should make some for myself.

I will probably go back to a Beijing post and then alternate with Tour updates. But who knows? Maybe I'll find something else to write about.

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