Monday, July 18, 2011

Spinning, Touring, Fleece & Flowers

If you are a fiber person, especially if you like to spin and are on the internet at all, you have probably already heard of the "Tour de Fleece" - basically people around the world join together to spin during the Tour de France bicycling event and challenge themselves to spin in various ways (and possibly even earn prizes).  I don't go overboard in joining groups to do this because I don't have the time to spend on the computer.  But I do like to spin along, its nice to have a goal, and this year I am playing along with two of my favorite Ravelry groups - Knitters Book of Wool and Ennea Collective.  I am even contributing a prize!

I've been really good about staying on task this year!  I decided that I wanted to commit to spinning every day of the "tour", at least ten minutes.  I decided that I wanted to focus on spinning my own fibers from here at the farm (Corriedale) and that my goal was to spin yarn for a specific project - in this case Anne's lovely Currach Stole from the April 2011 edition of Ennea.  I've had my eye on this pattern since its release because I thought it would be a lovely way to showcase the variety of Corriedale colors we have in our flock.  I originally thought I would wash, hand comb and then spin Ainsley's multi color fleece:
Ainsley's fleece has pale grey, charcoal grey and smokey brown colors plus is very soft and fine
But a troublesome arm and shoulder did away with that idea and I decided instead to spin from rovings I already had in natural colors.  A call from my friend Pat to see if I could get away for a night at the lakeside cottage gave me a perfect place to start the tour!  Peaceful, pretty, quiet and with only four of us there (all spinners and knitters) I knew I would easily be on my way to success!

Haha ~ I was also easily sidetracked ;)  I loaded up all of my pretty natural color rovings and my wheel, then at the last minute threw in a small amount of dyed Corriedale top that had been sitting around just because I wanted to turn it into something and get it out of my spinning basket.  Add to that a jeweled tone of Coopworth/Silk roving called "Leopard Frog" from Carol's Hidden Valley Woolen Mill (Carol is our hostess at the cabin) and I was off and spinning the two fibers together!  Spinning Day 1 and 2 of the Tour resulted in the yarn you see pictured at the opening of this post.  Here is another "in progress" photo ~

When all was said and done, I have about 220 yards of 2-ply Corriedale-Coopworth-Silk yarn, spun and plyed on my Louet S-45 wheel.
We returned home on the fourth of July, the third day of the TDF, and I returned to my planned spinning, the natural colored Corriedale.  I had weighed out one ounce bumps of each, and found that I could spin half an ounce in the ten to fifteen minutes per day I was challanging myself to.  Then in the evenings I could ply and keep myself quite consistent.  I am spinning this yarn on the Louet S-17, aiming for a yarn that is something like a Cascade 220.  I'm pretty close, although Corriedale does "pouf" when washed!

Anyway, enough talking - how about another finished yarn photo?  Here are the first skeins, pictured with their rovings...From left to right, the white includes wool from Charlotte, Autry, Amanda and other white sheep in our flock.  The silvery grey is from some of the "Verlee Corriedales" - Violet, Bree and Eve; the smokey charcoal grey is mostly Carson and his sister Carley while the rich brown is Colette and her daughter Elizabeth.  Anne's pattern was made with three different colors of wool, but I wanted to use these four.  This is going to be a warm and snuggly wrap!  I'm having to sit on my hands to keep from picking up the needles and pattern and start knitting, when I know I need to keep spinning - although I have nearly convinced myself that I should do a small swatch to be sure the yarn is a good match, LOL!

I've been spinning mostly in the early mornings, sitting on the back porch while the air is still cool.  This is also the perfect time for some morning prayers and devotions!  I am surrounded by the farm - all I have to do is look around me and see scenes like this from the flower beds ~

I can look to my left and see this bed of daylilies, Asiatic lilies, purple spiderwort and fading lavender.  The Oriental lilies and tall phlox will open soon!
Maybe tomorrow I can show you some more of the flowers in bloom, but for now I'll end this post.  The spinning wheel is calling me!


Jody said...

Lovely spinning and wool!
I have started spinning Glenna but had to put her aside because I have other projects to prepare for an upcoming show. She is lovely though :-)
Can't wait for this horrible heatwave to subside!

Anonymous said...

Amazing spinning! And you have such a beautiful view. I had no idea there was so much color variation amongst your flock!!

Inky077 said...

Nice post! Have been willing myself the nerve to try spinning. Don't even know where to start....