Sunday, 13 July 2008

Tour update, Week 1

Week 1 of the Tour de Fleece has passed, and I've done a lot of spindle spinning. I think I've spindled more in this past week than in my entire spinning career to date!

My main project this week was a batch of Superwash BFL roving (100g in total), in 'Apple Blossom' colours, which is now looking like this:

Spindle Spun BFL

It's become 225 metres of around dk weight yarn. It's turned out just as I hoped, tightly twisted and with a slight sheen to it. I'm still deciding how best to use the yarn. I'm down to a choice between the socks that I originally intended to make, or a Morning Surf scarf, like the ones in the Summer 2008 issue of Spin Off magazine.

As soon as that yarn was complete, I started on the 'Last of the Lavender' Shetland roving that I'd set aside for TdF. This fibre told me it wanted to be bulky (yes, I often talk with fibre), so I took its advice and have started spinning this:


2-plied it's a lovely and squooshy bulky weight yarn, I've done about 70 metres so far, and still have over 1/2 of the roving left. I think it will become a cosy hat for me, just right for pootling up the lane to visit the horses later this year when it's chilly and autumnal.

And while those two were on the go, I was also spinning this:

Spindle Spun

Which is a blend of merino, tussah silk and alpaca, which I originally drumcarded for spinning on my wheel. It's been loitering in my stash for ages as I find these plain colours boring to spin on the wheel, but it's spindling up beautifully, and not nearly as boring when done in little sessions. I have two other batts of the same fibre blend in slightly different shades of turquoise. One I've already spun up on the wheel, so as soon as I've finished the last batch I can three-ply them as I originally intended.

So here's roll call of all my spindling from the week. Pretty eh?

Tour de Fleece Week 1

I've been pleasantly surprised by how quickly these spindled yarns are working up. I think it's because I can pick up the spindle for very brief sessions of spinning, whereas I only tend to sit at the wheel when I know I have at least 1/2 free to devote to it. Which is why I've only completed a tiny bit of the laceweight I'm planning to wheel-spin for the Tour, really must get on and get some more of that done... My only regret with the spindled yarns is that they do tend to end up as smaller skeins than the wheel-spun ones, because my spindles don't hold as much fibre in one go. Which means more joining when I knit the yarns up, one of my least favourite exercises in knitting.

Speaking of knitting, after some serious trauma (involving much frogging and tinking, and some yelling and stomping) I have at last made excellent progress on my Swallowtail shawl.

Swallowtail Shawl

I've finally made it beyond the first 15 rows, hurrah! Many thanks to Queen of the Froggers for her tip on using stitch markers to mark the pattern repeats. It was after putting the markers in that the pattern finally started to make sense, I'm going to use them in every lace project from now on (yes, that means that I'm actually considering other lace projects, so it must be good!).

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted an unintended hole in the knitting, on the left about halfway down. For the not so eagle-eyed, it's here:

Swallowtail booboo

I spotted it when I laid the shawl out to take the photo, at which point I rushed to find a safety pin and perform a rescue operation.

Swallowtail - the rescue

It looks as though one of my decrease stitches wasn't as secure as it should have been, and then I mistakenly lifted a stitch in the row above it so my stitch count didn't show the problem. Left without rescue, this could have sabotaged the whole project, as I think it could have ravelled a long way down. Thankfully, the safety pin held the problem in check until I could perform surgery. I've now managed to graft the hole together again and it barely shows. I'd show photos, but I'd put the camera away by that time so I could concentrate on the delicate repair operation (it was like a knitting version of ER).

I'm now forging ahead with knitting the border, surprisingly the 'nupps' (little bobbles, very cute looking) are working up really well. I'm using a tip I found on Ravelry to knit them sl3, p2tog, instead of the pattern's recommended p5tog which could have been very messy. Don't want to sound over-confident, but I'm hoping I'll have a finished shawl to show you soon!

I'm also hoping I'll have cute foal pics to show, as Krissie and Inara are coming home tomorrow, yay! In view of the stress I had when loading Krissie to travel to the stud, I've booked a horse transporter with a lorry to bring them home. He sounds fab, and the stud staff have said I don't even need to be there to help load the horses up. They seem confident that they can get even a sticky loader to box ok, and they've been so professional about everything else that I have no reason to doubt it. So all I have to do is wait for mare and foal to arrive home tomorrow lunch time. I can't wait!

Oh and before I finish, here's a sneak preview of the wools I've dyed for the Wildcraft shop this weekend.

Wildcraft Rovings Wildcraft Rovings

This batch's colour themes were: heathlands, coasts and skies. I'll be putting them up in the shop during the next couple of days, along with the long-promised drop spindles.


Kai said...

Your spindling is looking great! And I talk to fibre as well. :D

*hugs* on the Swallowtail. It's looking gorgeous though.

Can't wait to see piccies of the horses.

Bea said...

Fabulous spindled yarn pics. Very impressed with the shawl - I'm inspired but not ready to jump in and try lace knitting yet ;-) Can't wait to meet Inara and possibly be tempted to more roving and a spindle!

Queen of the froggers said...

That was a lucky find, the hole in the shawl. It won't notice at all and it is looking great. the spun yarn is so pretty, I finished my Shetland from you at the weekend and I love the colours!

~ P ~ said...

Your Apple Blossum is still my favorite. I love those colors.
You really do a nice job drop spinning. By the way those are some nice looking spindles.

~ P ~ said...

I just found the link to your online shop and ordered one of those beautiful drop spindles. Your mom does a great job. I also found the Wildcraft Ravelry group. I think I am a full blown Wildcraft fan now.
Will you be selling the apple blossom color in you shop?

Anonymous said...

oh no, that was a close escape with your swallowtail. It's looking fabby though - I always use stitch markers like that too ;)

and what fantastic spindling, so neat and consistent.