Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Week 2 of Tour de Fleece

After 2 weeks of spinning everyday I can see my wpi consistency increasing.  That's my goal for this race - to be able to make at least 150 yards of even yarn.  Well not commercially even but enough to satisfy me.

Right now I am spinning some boring undyed merino at 24-28 wpi and doing a good job.  I will see later today when I ply it with this if I have come close to goal.
This being a Novelty Batt.  When I make Pixie Batts I need to clean out the brushing cloth every few batts to make room in there and to change colors.  The gleanings are saved until they weigh about 2 ounces and then put through the carder again resulting in a multi color, multi fiber, very sparkly batt.  Since the fibers change and there are some neps and lots of angelina the diameter of the single varies but I am allowing myself leeway with this one since it should look novelty-ish. I will probably make a Basketweave beret with the yarn.  

My attempt at spinning fingering weight was only partially successful.  The resulting yarn (baby alpaca, merino and unspecified wool) is mostly fingering but it varies way too much for entering into the Troy Fair Show as I had hoped.
I was also hoping to make something out of it for my sister but, alas, the unspecified wool makes it a bit itchy.  DARN!

There are also now 2 skeins of Blymey (376 and 352 yards) in heavy fingering weight yarn.  Still not sure what I am going to do with it.  My thoughts go from a sweater to part of a sweater to learning to weave to forgetting it all for a while.  And then my knitting ADD takes over and I am ready to start something totally new from more recently spun yarn, like the beret.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tour de Fleece 2011

It's July and that means it's Tour de Fleece time again - self challenge time with spindles, wheels and fiber.  Plus daily random prizes on the general thread.  There are also general teams for rookies and spindlers and such.  I love this spinning spinning spinning with all its interchanges with other fiber enthusiasts.
For the past 3 years I have sponsored a Team Spinning Bunny.  For the past 2 years we have had a special exclusive Tour colorway.  Last year it was Bistro and this year it is Blymey.  In order to get the current color the spinner must join our group and then be sent the 'secret' page link.  Blymey comes in Woody, Polwarth and bfl/silk plus a matching but lime-less pixie batt option.  There are also weekly random prizes in our team.

We are now 6 days into the 'Race" which parallels the Tour de France in that we start and end on the same days, have suggested break days when they do and challenge ourselves a bit more on any day they climb steep hills.

So far my spinning has been thus.
Repeat from * to * until all fiber is turned into yarn.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th afternoon

Back when Jim and I got married in November of 2008, we were given a gift certificate to the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles (skinny atlas).  We had a great weekend stay there and came away with credit still on the GC.  We thought we'd use it for our first anniversary but alas something came up, probably weather, and the GC just sat on the fridge all these months (years).

During the summer we like to take day trips around the state.  Jim has a gps in his head and loves to just turn off a main road and meander around the countryside always coming out where we need to be. Summer is so lush, our state so pretty, almost anywhere is beautiful.  So for July 4th we decided to drive up to Skaneateles Lake, have a nice lunch on the 'porch' and then meander on home.  We saw lots of wildflowers, fields of corn and wheat and folks out enjoying themselves.
While we enjoyed our meal, folks were strolling by across the street by the lake, walking dogs, pushing carriages, flying balloons, paddling and in general relaxing on a nice sunny July 4th day.

It all reminded me of a Seurat painting "The Picnic",  minus the cars of course.
The food was excellent and the service way above average leaving us feeling sated and happy. I hardly ever drink but felt this was a special occasion so ordered a Blue Moon draft.  I may never drink it bottled again.  It was delicious.  Not as fizzy as normal bottled beer, not filtered either.  The orange slice on the glass was a perfect accompaniment.   I actually almost finished a whole glass.

 Jim decided he wanted to head home by going west on route 20 and then cut down route 89 on the west side of Cayuga Lake.  I joked that we were almost at 89 as we were going to cross 90.  He said, hmmmnnnn and turned left on 90.  We followed it for a while and it surprisingly led us down to Lock #1 at the top of Cayuga Lake.

Coincidentally, while we were meandering, my sister sent me a NYT story link about a photographer who recently paddled part of the Erie Canal.  She was way east of us and our lock is in much better repair but the story is interesting.
They are dredging this lock and doing some repairs.  It looks freshly painted too.
view looking north to canal

Years ago I paddled this end of the lake with some friends.  It's rather shallow so does not resemble the southern end where Ithaca is at all.
view looking south to lake

We drove through some lakeside towns down past Aurora where Wells College resides and south to Ithaca.
Such a lovely lovely day which was only made better by some spinning in the evening.
More details on this Tour de Fleece project tomorrow.