Sunday, July 2, 2017

Tour de Fleece 2017

The Tour de France started yesterday and in parallel, our Tour de Fleece started at the same time. This is the first year I am going to be home for the whole tour and since I recently retired, I am hoping to get a lot of spinning in the next 4 weeks.

I had a plan for the major project I wanted to do but I didn't work out the details till sometime between Friday and Saturday. I like to learn during the TdF by doing something new to me and over the years I've learned a lot of techniques this way - long draw, ply-on-the-fly, extremely fine spinning, etc. This year's project was to spin for a collapse weave scarf or shawl. Remember all the samples I made? They were to figure out what I wanted to do.

I have a secondary project that I want to do - spin from the lock with fiber I have processed myself.  This is in case I get bored or finish the collapse weave spinning too quickly. Since I am spinning singles for collapse weave, it goes fast. No plying!

Therefore the first factor in selecting fiber is the objective of the project. The second factor is what equipment I will use. When I travel, I am limited to spindles. Since I am home this year, I can use my e-spinner and my wheel. I am going to do the collapse weave yarn on the e-spinner and the spinning from the locks on the wheel.

The third factor is what teams I can be on. I try to double up on teams for the same projects :-) This year they are Team Footloose (e-spinner), Teams Fiber Optic and Gorgeous Gradients, and Team DIY and Dye.

 This is the gray Corriedale I bought in New Zealand. I used it for the collapse weave samples and spun a S-twist singles. This time I am going to spin it Z-twist so that I have the option of alternating S and Z twist in the warp. I may not do it or I may. But if I have singles with twist in both directions, I have options. I also have a lot of this so I don't mind giving some of it up to loom waste. :-) This will be the warp for my shawl/scarf.

 I had spun a bit of this before yesterday, but very little. Rather than starting a new project, I thought I'd continue with it and spin singles for the weft. I had split it into two and that is why I was torn about using it. But I decided that it was for the better. If I spin it completely end to end, I am tied to the length of the transitions as they appear. By stripping it vertically, I reduce the length of the color repeats. This means that I will get all the colors in a scarf or, if I end up doing a shawl, I can remove the last color from the second half and weave it in reverse to make a mirror-image shawl. So I'd start with gray (say) and weave to the magenta, Take off the magenta from the other singles and weave back to gray. Or just weave to the blue, remove the magenta from both singles and part of the blue from the second one and weave back to gray. I think it will give me more options. Since I've never done this before, options are good.

 These are the locks I dyed last year at a class in Rhinebeck. I had previously washed the locks so I started the processing with the fleece itself.  I am not sure how I am going to handle the colors. I may just let them come as they may or I might try making a self striping yarn.

 This is the first day's spin. The top is what I had done previously. As you can see, it is very little. I wasn't able to spin yesterday till after dinner but I got a bit more than an hour of spinning in.


 I also went to the yarn store and got photos of myself in the zippered hoodie.

I have made progress on the Grapevine pullover. I am halfway down the first sleeve. I decided to put a band of the lace at around the elbow. I picked a spot where I had the right number of sts for the repeat of the lace and put in an insertion. I will also do the same at the cuff.

No progress on the weaving. I was busy trying to get all the yard-work done before the heat set in in earnest. And I made it. Now I just have to keep the weeds down by doing a patrol every few days and it doesn't take much time to pull out the ones that have sprouted in the mean time. I think my sage is dying though. It is wilted even though I been watering regularly when it hasn't rained. The rest look good.

I am going to try and collect some flowers for dyeing in the winter.

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