Spin Thesis: Tour de Fleece 2015

Welp … Tour de Fleece 2015 has come to an end (on Sunday).  Although I signed up for one team — October House — I mostly spun along with my friends in the KnitPicks (and more) Stashdown Ravelry group.  It was an informal spinning team and we had a blast.  At least I did. :D

The tour was great in so many ways and I learned so much in my short 6 week journey as a new spinner.  Even with my dislocated thumb, I enjoyed spinning so much, I think I’ve found my sweet spot in yarn crafts.  Don’t get me wrong, knitting and crochet are not going anywhere, but there’s just this feeling I get when I put the spinning techniques together (even as a learner) and see a continuous thread unfold from a cloud of fiber.   Just like some people only want to knit lace (oye!) or socks, or blankets, or sweaters, or hats … I just want to spin!  Not to make anything, but just to see the thread emerge.  I think I’m that spinner who’s F.O.s are the skeins themselves and not the item made from those skeins.

For the tour, I:

  • learned to use bootleg hand combs and hackles aka dog combs and rakes to prepare fibers.  They work, but the tines on my combs are loose after two uses.  I should have known it might have been a bust since two of the tines were already shaking when  I opened the packet.  Plus while they do a decent job opening the fiber, the ones I have pull, rather than separate so I lost 2 ozs of fiber my first go around on a dyed braid.  It could have been my technique or it could have been the brand of dog combs I used. Since I can’t afford to lose so much again, real fiber hand combs are on their way to me right now.
  • learned how to use hand cards
  • spun 600 yds of fiber
  • salvaged a matted braid of fiber and made bird’s nests
  • dyed four braids of fiber.  I got success with all these … none of them ended up matted or felted.  Every skein fluffed back up after drying and is usable.  I was very excited about this since I’d only dyed yarn before … never fiber.   I’ll show you those in my next Dyepot Stories post.

Tour De Fleece 2015 Finish LineThis pic represents most of my efforts during this year’s TdF, and I’m immensely proud.  The Wensleydale I dyed during the tour has been shipped to my friend already, but I’ll find a pic somewhere and post it later.  My wheel spinning start took a while to actually take off but now that it has, it’s like Super Grover — “up, up and awwwwwway”  :D

source

For my TdF2015 efforts, I’ve been “rewarded” by my friend Elisa with 1lb of sheep.  Yes, I said sheep.  And notice the quotes around the word rewarded.  LOLOLOL!!!  Her gift is making me start from one step up from scratch.  I can’t raise the sheep in my apt, but she’s sent me 1lb of amazing bfl locks that I’ll have to scour, process, spin then knit.   That’ll give me a head-start and some practice before I start my sheep to sweater project in 2016.   Since that’s it’s own adventure, I’ll update you on that once I get it.   :D

Hope you are all well, with lots of crafty, happy things keeping you occupied this summer.  Talk to me in the comments and let me know how you’ve been.  <3

The MapMaker’s Children

“We can’t force life to do what we want when we want it.  We can’t change yesterday or control tomorrow.  We can only live for today as best we can.  And it might turn out better than expected.” – The Mapmaker’s Children

If I had to describe “The Mapmaker’s Children” in one quote, it would be the above.  The quote embodies the life journeys of Sarah and Eden fully.  While each of them makes different choices regarding how to best “live only for today”, their choices chronicle their lives and eventual connection to each other in a relatable, human way.   If any of us have had to let go of preconceived ideas of what life is all about and embrace an entirely different perspective,  the stories of both women will resonate deeply.

I have to admit, parts of this book took a little growing on me before I really got into it.  Sarah’s story bounced off the pages immediately for me. The historical narration had me with the book in one hand and my tablet in the other googling some of the events I wasn’t very familiar with.  In real life her choices made her a champion though now forgotten trailblazer.  Painter, feminist, abolitionist — these are who she became when she put her past to bed and did the best she could day by day.  And the creative license the author took with the love story between her and Freddy made for the most engaging read.

Eden (fictional) on the other hand had to grow on me and she frustrated me to no end.  Even now I’m at the end of the book, I’m still not sure how I feel about her.  I found myself thinking about her story today and wondered if I was sympathetic enough.  I found her a little spoiled, self-centered and petulant … almost annoyingly so.

Without giving away any of the storyline details, I’ll admit — in addition to the historical slant, the characteristics which frustrated me about both women are what kept me reading.  I just had to find out how each of their stories ended!  I eventually enjoyed the fact that although none of the two had perfect lives, they each decided if/when they were going to let go of what they thought life was supposed to be for them and just live.  Those decisions made at different times (and centuries) took them both to paths that were so very different from what was supposed to be, but they were courageous, they loved in the moment and the best way they could.  Those decisions also connected them in unimaginable ways. What’s inspiring about both ladies is that they kept moving until the unexpected turned out to be just right for each of them.

If you’re a reader who totally engages with the characters (I mean like talking to them like they can hear you … LOLOL), even when they frustrate you, I’d encourage you to take a read.  When you’re done, come back and let me know how you feel about them. :D

Author: Sarah Mc Coy

More Info

My favourite book from Sarah Mc Coy: The Baker’s Daughter

disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.

Spin Thesis: Larkspur in BFL

So … I decided to give Spinderella back her name and come up with my own spin themed post header.  How did I do?  :D

I don’t only want to document the finished items, but I want the posts to be educational for me and new spinners who might be searching for answers.  So I’ll be documenting the good, the bad and the ugly with these posts and wanted the header to reflect that.

Now that you’ve thought about that, here’s what the result of my last spin is.

Larkspur BFL Done 715(pre-wash)

(post wash)
Second spin of Tour De Fleece.
Project Details

Issues

  • Soft spots & inconsistent weight.  One section drafted apart while making a skein and now has a knot.  Additionally, the skein is thick and thin.
  • Corkscrews.  These evened out for the most part after washing and thwacking but the areas are still tightly twisted.
  • Slubby joins

Fixes To Test

  • For consistency in yarn weight — pay attention to tension,treadling, distance of drafting and drafting area
  • Increase tension once bobbin starts getting heavier.
  • Practice Jacey Boggs joining technique.

Right now, my Tour de Fleece run is done because of a dislocated thumb. I’m off crafting for the next week and a half.   So in the meantime, I’ve been dyeing more while still going through my Craftsy spinning course by Jacey Boggs.  More on that later.

I’m also inspired to start planning for Fall/winter crafting by my e-pal Dana (Yards of Happiness), who’s a knitting machine and has already made out her Fall knitting list.  I really don’t blame her … can y’all believe July is almost done?

Have you started your Fall/Winter craft planning?  Talk to me in the comments.  :D

Spinderella: Corkscrews

Yes … for any of you who know the rap group Salt n Pepa … I’m stealing DJ Spinderella’s name.  Once you see it, you know the post is a spinning post; I wonder if she’ll sue me for the use of her name?  :D

So … now that’s been made clear … let’s talk corkscrews … at least for those of you who spin …

Larkspur II

So I added another braid of fiber to my Tour De Fleece 2015 list.  It’s colorway Larkspur from Robin at October House Fiber Arts.  This spin has definitely been a learning experience but more on that later.

The spin was going fine until I got almost to the end, then I started to get these corkscrew things.  A quick drive-by of Ravelry showed it could be the fact that since the bobbin was getting heavier, I needed to increase my brake band tension for a quicker uptake.  Some people said not to worry about it as plying will sort this out, but I’m not plying this single.  I’m hoping when I wash and thwack it the corkscrews would relax.  Some people also said that they got these things until they were more proficient at spinning;  I know it’s only been two weeks for me but since I’m pretty much learning on my own, I need y’all to help me please.  :D

But in the mean time … this spin is done.  I finished it on Saturday and left the bobbin to rest  until Monday and will post later this week what it looks like.

That’s it for now crafty friends … and I promise, you wouldn’t only be getting spinning posts.  I promise.  :D

In the mean time … here’s a throwback Salt n Pepa video … one of the lesser known ones but with a great message … thank me later … ;)