Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010 Day 6

My thoughts about this year were to challenge myself to get most, if not all, the started spinning projects in my baskets all spun up.  To that end yesterday I sorted the fiber in the baskets finding lots of balls of singles as well as balls of plied yarn.  Of course none of it was enough to knit something substantial with but at least I found it all.
In the top basket on the left is some Evening Star bfl and a started bobbin of Evening Star bfl Singles. Also a spindle with only a little fiber on it and no more near it. I am clueless as to what I intended for that one.   On the right in that basket in the baggie are items going to the Garage Sale at guild in September (yes, I will be parting with some UFO's that I finally admitted will never be finished) and the dark bag will be made into thin singles to add to Finger Knittin's Sept sock yarn.
Bottom right contains skeins and balls of yarn that were hidden for who knows how long.  At least now I can see it.  Need to spin the second Fairy Batt (see it peeping out of the bottom left basket in green/gold/maroon?) as the first one sits patiently waiting as does the Black Cherry singles it will be plied with.
Bottom left contains 4 oz of some fairly fulled/felted angora merino in Amelia's choice.

This one will be a challenge just to keep myself from tossing it all.  I have about half an ounce of tediously spun singles so far.  The colors are so pretty I really want to get it spun up to knit who knows what.  Have I mentioned I am a process knitter but a project oriented spinner.   That's another challenge for this year.

So all has been going along quite well.  Made a short 44 yard skein from the leftover Butterfly Bush bfl/silk and some leftover maroon merino singles I found in a basket.

Then I started the cashmere.  No sweat.  My experience includes spinning many sheep plus angora, alpaca, cashgora, camel, yak fluff, llama and silk.  How hard could this be?  De Nile is not only a river in Egypt, but a big crevasse spinners and knitters seem to fall in to.  The cashmere is from a Fondle This Kit and since the object of the club is to spin to spec, I thought I should spin the yarn to meet the specs on the pattern.  Needed is a 2 ply fingering yarn.

I started on my wheel. If I spun at 30 wpi I didn't have much trouble except to remember this darn fluff is really really really short stapled.  Oh and that in this heat, no matter that the house is a cool 75, my hand started sweating big time.  We know cashmere is warm but in July I like to ignore that fact.
But 30 wpi will not ply to a fingering yarn.  It needs it to be more like 40 wpi.  OK!  I treadled faster with bit of success but not enough.  Then I switched to the faster whorl and got a few inches before the whole thing broke down.  I tried this, I tried that, I replaced the brake band.  I tightened up the drive band.  I tightened up the scotch tension, then I loosened it. Nada would work for more than a few inches.

AHA!!  Why didn't I think of a spindle?  I always spin thinner on a spindle.  I looked at my spindle collection but sadly don't have one at 1 ounce or less.  Jim was amazed. How can the wife of a spindle maker not have one in almost every weight?  He then offered me a nice 1 ounce walnut and maple bowl spindle with a rosewood shaft.  Hard to refuse.

I started right in with my customary surety and immediately relearned the meaning of drop spindle.  Jim sat by me giving me suggestions and pointers.  Once I understood I had to spin that sucker really fast things picked up and I spun a few feet successfully.  Nice, then I packed it up to take to Knit Knite.

It was rather warm upstairs at Wegman's last night.  Really too warm to hold cashmere in my hand.  Plus with all the distractions I did not concentrate well and dropped the spindle more than I spun with it.  At one point T gave me an idea.  Why not spin and park?   That way there will not be any weight on the almost frog hair single.   Thank you T.  This method is working as long as I keep calm and concentrate.  It will be my big uphill mountain challenge for this year.

May the Fleece be with you.

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