I spun a few extra days and then plied for about a week to finish up all my TdF yarn. It’s pretty impressive now that I see it all together and done.
- 144 yards of super bulky brown CVM
- 535 yards sportweight Polwarth
- 127 yards of sportweight Hampshire. Spindle spun but only half of it during TdF. I never got to the darker purple that’s in the pic.
- 527 yards of sportweight Merino. The carded waste in the pic got tossed. It was horrible when spun.
- 240 yards of sportweight Cormo. There’s a lot more of this fiber to spin. I just didn’t get any more than this prepped before TdF.
- 48 yards of super bulky Corriedale combing waste.
- 215 yards sportweight Corriedale, plus another 310 yards spun pre-TdF and plied during my massive plying session after TdF. I have more of this fiber already spun for a total of 1504 yards. And that’s not even half of this fleece.
- 642 yards of sportweight Shetland/Corriedale lamb.
The last 3 of Corriedale skeins were also solar dyed. They started out that paler purple and I tossed them in a big pickle jar with more purple dye and left it out in the sun for a day. Easiest dyeing I’ve ever done. When the jar was finally in the shade I brought it in, rinsed and finished the skeins. The dye did break and/or dye unevenly but I like it. These skeins are different than the rest so I may use them in different projects or maybe use the uneven skeins to spice up an edging on something made using the more uniform skeins. I have much to ponder about using this yarn.
I’m thinking of dyeing 3 skeins or the Shetland/Corriedale lamb teal and 1 skein brown (leaving the last skein to be dyed later for whichever color I may need more of) and knitting a Hap style shawl. I haven’t found a pattern I like so I’ll probably design it myself.
My wheel has been in use for all but two of 32 days straight and on those two days I spindle spun/plied. I hadn’t touched my knitting in two months until yesterday (because of prepping in the month before TdF).
It’s definitely time to knit. And ponder what to do with all my new yarn.
Looking back over the list. It seems that my default weight is sport, no matter how hard I try to get it thinner to make fingering weight. I think it’s part me and part that my wheel just won’t let me go thinner. I can’t adjust the uptake enough to go thinner. Part of that is the warped wheel and part is that it’s double drive. It’s a fine line between too much uptake to spin thinner and not enough tension on the band (which causes the wheel to throw the band off every 10 seconds and I’m not exaggerating.)
I’ve been terrible at updating. I think it’s because I post updates in my team thread for the group I’m riding with and then utterly forget to post here too.
Days 8 and 9
I wasn’t really thinking when I combed this and ended up with some light nests and many more darker nests. There wasn’t enough light to make a whole skein so I held a light and dark together and spun from both at the same time. This fiber is clumpy despite combing so I ended up spinning it quite thick. I think it may end up as bulky once plied. I have a few more light nests left and will continue holding them with a dark nest until the light nests run out and then I’ll finish the skein in dark. If I don’t like the end results of these two skeins I’ll dye them. Either brown to try to even things out or maybe red. I’ve dyed the dark brown red before and it turned out well.
Days 10 and 11
Combed Merino. This is as thin as my wheel would allow. I’m guessing at fingering weight once plied, maybe less. Depends on how much it poofs up after washing. It was actually pretty easy to spin. It wasn’t nearly as fussy as I was expecting.
Days 12 and 13
Dyed and combed Corriedale spun as thin as my wheel will allow. The pic of the singles is closest to the actual color. My camera doesn’t like purple.
Corriedale combing waste. Now that turned out much better. I spun two singles today, using up the fiber, and plied them on a spindle. They would not have fit on my wheel, both in thickness and length. I barely got it spun with the wheel. My wheel doesn’t like thick. Heck, it barely fit on one of my biggest spindles to ply.
I quite like the variety of shades of purple in the skein. It’s not washed yet so it may fluff up some. It’s definitely going to be bulky.
Days 15 and 16
And another single done. I estimate that I have enough fiber for one more or three total. That’s a respectable amount from a fairly small fleece.
Days 17 and 18
Second Polwarth single done. These will be plied back onto themselves to make 2 skeins. Not bad for 1lb of raw fiber. Probably will knit a small shawl with them – someday – after dyeing them a color yet to be determined.
And that gets me caught up. Tomorrow it’s back to Merino. And then the CVM and then the Shetland/Corriedale lamb. That should get me through the end of TdF. I might keep going and finish off the Merino and I think that is all of the fiber I have prepped (aside from the Romney/Teeswater for art yarn).
Then I’ll spend a few days plying and after that it’s prepping Cormo and Corriedale and maybe some knitting. I don’t think I’ve knit in almost 2 months. It’s been all fiber prep and spinning.
So I didn’t manage to post as often as I planned. It’s been a heck of a week with a lot of non-fiber things going on. But I did manage to spin quite a bit.
Days 1 and 2 were spent on the Shetland/Corriedale lamb. I had a bit of an epiphany. I have one wheel with one bobbin so I’ve been spinning singles to fill the bobbin half way and then spinning a second single and plying the two together. I wind them into cakes before plying. It occurred to me that I could fill the bobbin and wind it into a cake and then ply it onto itself since the cake allows me to pull from the center and the outside. And then I’d have no wasted singles. So that’s what I’m trying now. I won’t ply until the end or after TdF since it requires a different drive band and set up for my wheel. I prefer to do all my plying in big batches.
Days 3 and 4 progress and half of day 5. Despite an emergency defrosting of our refrigerator/freezer on Monday and spending several hours away from my wheel for the fireworks on Tuesday I managed 102 grams of Polwarth singles. Although I did get some work done on my spindle while waiting for the fireworks. No after pic, just imagine a fuller spindle.
As per usual, I spend my time waiting for the fireworks spinning on my spindle. If I’m being honest, it’s more showing off to the muggles with my spindle. 😉 I walk around, half don’t watch what I’m doing and all in all, make it look effortless. Eventually someone comes over to ask questions. Last night it was an older gentleman, who wanted to know about the mechanics of it. He said he’d ever seen anything like it.
Days 5, 6 & 7
This is a gorgeous soft cormo. But it was tough going. This is what I combed before I realized that I really needed to re-scour. It’s still got a lot of lanolin in it so it was very sticky. The rest of the fiber was re-scoured and is lanolin free but I ran out of time to comb more before TdF started.
I spun this thinner than my normal but with the lanolin I can’t tell how much it will poof up once washed (which will be more like a scour).
Today (Day 8) I’ve moved on to some CVM. I’ve barely started but so far it’s going well. Much thicker than the others so will probably be done faster. Although I do have some things that will keep me away from my wheel today so maybe it will take 2 days.
Sorry for the lack of post last week. I had the pics ready but just forgot. I got all caught up in prepping for TdF.
I overdid it on the fiber prep last week and combined with yard work over the weekend, managed to strain my wrist. I’ve been in a brace most of this week in the hope that I’ll be better enough by tomorrow to spin a little. So I’ve been forced to find alternate things to do as I can’t knit or spin or prep so I’ve gotten sort of lost in a computer game.
So Tour de Fleece or TdF. It’s three weeks of spinning in conjunction with the bike race Tour de France. I’m with team RWLU or the Raw Wool Lovers Unite group on Ravelry. We’re a very laid back group. We set our own goals (big or small) and cheer each other on. The only requirement is that the fiber is from raw fleece.
My theme this year is variety. In the past I’ve worked on one fleece for most of the tour and let me tell you, that gets tedious fast. So this year I’ve prepped bits of every fleece I have. 8 different breeds, mostly combed but two have the waste from combing carded into rollags.
So here is the lineup:
The Hampshire is spindles only and everything else is for my wheel. If I somehow run out, there is more Cormo and Hampshire to prep.
I think I’ll start with the Shetland/Corriedale lamb. It’ll probably be the easiest to spin. I have no firm plans for most of this. It will get spun at whatever thickness feels right. Probably pretty thin as that’s what I tend to spin.
Sometime today I need to change the drive band on my wheel and oil it and than I’m ready to go. I hope to post a couple of times a week to update my progress (and get in that Polwarth prep post I forgot about last week.)
Next up is a gorgeous Cormo fleece. This one almost 6lbs.
Some scoured locks. Those dirty ends flick right out leaving me with lovely white fiber.
Combing in progress. Same method as the last fleece.
The nests I have done so far. This should be enough for 2 singles to be plied into one skein.
The rest of the fleece needs a re-scour. There’s just a bit too much lanolin left in it. I can comb and probably spin it now in the summer heat without too many problems but come winter, it’s going to be a hassle. It looks like I’ll have a decent day or two next week to scour so I’ll get this bagged up over the weekend and ready to scour.
Note to self: Cormo has more lanolin than it appears and needs 2 soapy scours before rinsing.
I have fleeces!!!
I’m going to introduce them one at a time as I get to work on them this month. I finished scouring the last bit today so the rest of the month is dedicated to fiber prep for these new fleeces plus one or two older ones. TdF is coming up fast and I’ll need a lot of fiber prepped and ready to spin.
First up is a Corriedale/Shetland cross lamb. Just shy of 2 lbs before scouring. These pics are of the fleece and locks before scouring.
Here is an assortment of scoured locks. Staple length is 5-6 inches. There are a few locks with black/dark grey but most of the fleece is white to cream.
Combing in progress. This fleece is so easy to prep. I pull open the butt ends with my fingers. Just sort of fluffing it a bit and getting any second cuts I may have missed. Then I flick/brush the tips. Next is loading the hackle and combing. Look how fluffy it gets. This is the longest fleece I’ve ever dealt with. I really have to exaggerate my movements to get the comb free of the fibers before the next pass. Last shot is pulling the fiber off of the hackle into roving. I don’t bother with a diz. I just draft the fiber until it’s even as I wind it onto my hand.
This fleece is a dream to prep. Almost no VM. The tips flick out with 2 or 3 swipes of the brush and it pulls off of the hackle easily. I can work on this for hours at a time without aches and pains.
These are all the nests I made today. Aren’t they pretty? I can’t wait to see how this spins up.
I highly recommend Bleating Heart Haven in New Holstein, WI. I’m not sure if Cindy sells online but she got a lovely little shop on her farm and it’s well worth the trip if you can do it.
She flat out gave me some roving. She also has goats (mohair) and when I mentioned I’d never spun that she pulled down some mohair/coopsworth roving. Then later after she showed me the fleeces and I’d turned down some very short shetland lamb she pulled out a bump of roving made from a similar fleece and gave that to me. Plus she gave me an amazing deal on the 2 fleeces I bought from her.
I asked to see the sheep and she let me (insisted, actually) feed her bottle lamb. Adorable but noisy little thing and not all that hungry (it was early for supper time).
Sing a Song of Sixpence shawl – I have just started the 6th stripe. The last increase row was just before the aqua stripe started. I have 10 stripes to go. I’m very pleased with it even if it feels like there are a million stitches. It’s folded in half for the picture. It’s actually a full circle. Hand spun and hand dyed CVM wool.
Polwarth fleece – This is 1 pound and I paid $22.90 including shipping from Raw Fiber Arts Co on Etsy. It’s got little bits of vm throughout but that’s not a big deal to me. It’s actually quite clean compared to some fleeces I’ve dealt with. I expect it’ll wash up to a bright white. I was quite impressed that it was a full chunk of fleece and not a jumbled up mess. It was easy to pull the locks and the staple length is mostly quite long. It is so so soft and doesn’t have a lot of lanolin.
It arrived in today’s mail and I swear, all I was planning to do was take it out back, spread it out and take pics and then bag it back up. I’m busy and/or it will be raining for the next few days and I can’t wash until Monday. Once I got my hands in it, I was doomed. I spent the next couple of hours pulling the locks and bagging them up for scouring. And I loved every second of it. Well, at least it’s all ready for Monday.
In other fleece news, I’ve made an appointment at a new sheep farm for this Saturday. This one has Cormo, BFL, Shetland and Corriedale. I’m not sure what I’ll be getting. I’d love to try all of them but her prices run much higher than the other farm (actually the new place has more normal prices. The other place was super cheap.) She’s willing to sell partial fleeces so maybe I’ll get a few pounds of several. I won’t know until I see what she has and get my hands into them.