handspun

Belated 2014 Tour de Fleece Roundup

Oh look! Another seriously belated post. Go figure!

But hey, I’m one step closer to clearing all those drafts out!

Here is what I completed this year for Tour de Fleece. I wasn’t spinning with a team or anything, so it really is NBD…but I thought maybe someone out there might wanna see what I had spun up.

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My completed skeins.

That’s pretty much all of it (well, minus a skein I had spun pre- tour and plied during the tour).

Pictured above is 2 skeins of Creatively Dyed (that I purchased at Stitches West a few years back) 20 milk protein/ 20 seacell/ 60 wool, try 3-ply, 729 yards total and 1 skein of wool/silk/abunchofotherstuff, 2 ply (ply only), 95 yards.

Also, just for fun, I figured I would show off a skein of non-tour yarn. Below is the yarn I spun for Courtney for her birthday. I called it Autumn Candy Corn and it is 80 Merino/ 20 Silk from Bee Mice Elf Fiber (purchased at CogKNITive Fiber Retreat last year), 2 ply, 390 yards.

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Autumn Candy Corn!

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My handspun…all growed up.

There really is something special about seeing folks create projects with yarn that you have spun.

Last CogKNITive Fiber Retreat, I had donated some yarn for raffle prizes. The stuff you see below was from that donation. My friend Loretta (who is seriously one of the sweetest people I have ever met in my life and is amazing with a crochet hook) got her hands on it and made the lovely cowl you see below.

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Look at it! It’s so….pretty!

These are her photos from her Ravelry page. The pattern is the Danube DK Shell Cowl by Cathy Campbell.

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It really turned out lovely.

This really has me wanting to make something with my own hand spun. I haven’t made anything with my own yarn in awhile…I should do that.

(Well, when I am done with all of my current WIP’s).

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Tour de Fleece, Days 2 and 3

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 | fiber, handspun, spinning, stash busting, weaving, yarn | No Comments

I started off Tour de Fleece with a bang, getting quite a lot done. I knew I couldn’t keep up that pace though. Maybe I was overachieving to prepare for the dip in productivity during the work week?

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Tour de Fleece, Day 2 progress.

Not bad progress for day two of the tour. Day three was a different story. Monday I got all of 5 minutes of spinning in. It was a crazy day…and with the kids and our parents coming out to Los Angeles, this week might be light on spinning time.

I’ve been trying to get other projects done too though. I decided I want to try weaving and needle felting things I love. I had a friend that was in need of a good luck charm…so I made this.

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An attempt at a black hole.

I should have taken this picture next to something else for size reference. It was tough, because it is small (I think maybe it had a 4 inch diameter). I did the weaving first, then I needle felted on top of it. I think my friend liked it. After making it, I thought of a couple of improvements I could make. I am planning on taking another shot at it, but in a bigger size.

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Tour de Fleece 2014 – Day 1

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Some itty bitty crafting.

Ok, so my participation in Tour de Fleece this year is a little half-assed. I know I have serious stash to spin down, and honestly, the Tour is a good reason to do it.

For those of you unaware, Tour de Fleece is an event that spinners participate in on Ravelry during the Tour de France. There are actual rules for it, most based on what your team affiliation is. Different groups have different rules. I’m not a fan of rules, so we can call this Team KnitHitsTheFan, party of 1.

I waited until late afternoon to start my spinning. I spent the morning straightening up my project corner so I would be ready for that art project I am waiting to start (my twine is in the mail). I found some unassembled hearts, so I seamed and stuffed them. I also did a little bit of weaving. That’s that round thing in the picture above. Trust me, it’ll look better once I get more stuff on it.

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First Day Tour projects.

Since the holiday was on a Friday, I moved knit night to Saturday. It was a good reason to get together and start the Tour off right. Court brought her supported spindle to spin on, and I rocked Lucy all evening.

I guess my first day wasn’t too shabby. I thread plied 176 yards of wool single that I had sitting on a bobbin from about a week ago. I also busted through 4 ounces of 20% Milk protein/20% Seacell/60% Wool that I got from Creatively Dyed a few years back. I have three 4 ounce braids, so I am planning on spinning them all, then plying all three together.

I hope to come up with a plan of attack for my fiber, but I know how ADD I am. I’ll just end up pulling things out of the stash willy-nilly and and if I get bored spinning a color, I’ll switch to another. That is pretty much how I operate.

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TBT…Fleece edition.

I have a confession to make…

I sometimes shove a load of pictures from my phone into blank posts and save them as drafts, only to forget they exist. I can’t tell you how many of these “pictures only” drafts I’ve deleted from my blog after looking at them and not remembering what I wanted to write.

It just so happens that this is one of those posts.*

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Fleece!

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Hand carding! Making Rolags! Excitement! Adventure!

I can tell you that these were the pictures I took at Friday Night Knitting when Courtney brought over the fleece we bought at Stitches West. We dumped it on a bed sheet, separated and weighed it.

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Courtney playing with the hand carders.

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These big clear bins are great for keeping my fluff in.

After making some rolags, I tried spinning some of it. It’s nice and soft.

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I thought I would try spinning some of it.

I can tell you this…I am not done carding it. Carding this stuff is one of my least favorite things. I mean, I dislike brushing my own hair, why would I enjoy brushing sheep? It’s pretty sad…but on Friday nights when my friends come over to knit, I’ve been recruiting them to do it for me. I’m lazy, really. I did hit up a friend that just moved in nearby to see if I could use her drum carder to finish this stuff. I know I’ll make a mess, but it’ll be way more speedy than how I am doing it (or not doing it) right now.

Hopefully she can find it among all of her moving boxes. Keep your fingers crossed!

(*These pictures are over 2 months old. I had a lot of drafts that were FAR OLDER than this.)

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I’ll get there eventually…

I am sure that everyone has different ways of calculating the enormity of their stash. I believe mine boils down to volume. I’m constantly justifying it by saying things like “Once it’s spun down, it won’t take up nearly as much space”. The problem is that I haven’t been spending much time (until recently) spinning it down.

I live in a condo with three other humans that also have stashes of their own. From sports cards to toys, it all takes up space. Space we don’t seem to have. Sure, I have an armoire dedicated to my yarn (and some beads and other craft supplies), but I also have a pile of garbage bags behind my closet door filled with fiber. I have it jammed in a cabinet in my dining room and in the closet by the front door. It’s everywhere and it is starting to feel overwhelming.

(There you go…I’m sharing my fiber hoarding secrets with you…)

I am also starting to feel like I should be making more things with my hand spun yarn. I haven’t done much with what I have so far yet. I’ve sold some, or given it as gifts, but I should really be making things with it too.

On the other hand, I am trying not to beat myself up about all of my fluffy things. I will get there. I am skipping yarn crawl…so maybe that might be a good weekend to binge spin.

In the meantime…you can take a look at my new pretties… all dry and skeined up! They’re just waiting to be tagged and placed in the space I made in that armoire for my very own yarn.

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This is some scratchier fiber I spun up. I am not sure what to do with it yet. (I’ll take suggestions…)

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Blarney Yarn Fiber, Red Fish Dyeworks and Octarine Fibers!

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Operation Spin Down…

So, I think it’s time I make a confession…

I have a lot of fiber in my stash.

I feel incredibly guilty about this. It’s really taken over my stash. I even have it hidden in weird places around the house. It’s making me feel like I can’t breathe. This is how I know it’s time to really start spinning again. It’s a good thing this feeling is coming on now, post Stitches West, when I still have the momentum to get things made. This is also one of the reasons I decided to skip Los Angeles Yarn Crawl this year…

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Lazy weekend ball winding setup.

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A couple of singles…

To start, I decided to clear off some bobbins that had been full and ply some of my singles. One of these (the blue and orange one) was a gift from a coworker. I’m excited to share how it looks once it’s spun and set.

For now, it looks like this…

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Hung up to dry over my kitchen sink.

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Let’s Talk Crafty Christmas…Part 3

Ashley’s presents were all Hannibal themed this year.

Last year, For Ash’ birthday, I had made her a shoe box Hannibal Lecter Playset by modding a few Mini Mochi patterns. It included Hannibal and a stag in Hannibal’s office. I told her I would try and make her more characters. I didn’t realize how difficult they would be. It is hard to make characters that you can actually identify when knitting so small. I tried to get as close as possible, but Will Graham’s hair was a serious challenge for me.

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Like I gave his little tiny soul a fright!

Yes, I put in al the little hairs individually…like a crazy person.

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This is what I ended up.

I also decided to weave her a nice sized scarf with a combination of some of my hand spun singles and commercial yarn I had in my stash.

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A woven scarf…

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…and a really awful picture of the felted stag head detail.

I think she really liked them! Hopefully at some point I will get a picture of all of her little Hannibal characters together!

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Working those bobbins…

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 | blah blah blah, fiber, handspun, spinning, WIP, yarn, yarn snobbery | No Comments

Now that I’m home from Stitches West and will very soon be in possession of more fleece, I figured it was as good a time as any to start trying to spin down my fiber stash. Here are some of my pretties…

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Spinning some Laufeyson Merino from Octarine Fibers

Of course they aren’t quite done yet. I plan on plying them.

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I can’t wait to see what this looks like plied.

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Started a new bobbin with fiber from my friend, Adrienne.

Over the weekend I worked on chain plying some Red Fish Fiber too!

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Here I’m using my mouth to splice my yarn together mid-ply.

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Plied!

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Stitches West 2014: Adventures in Fleece

It was a few years ago when I had convinced myself that I wanted to adopt a fleece. I had gone through this whole phase of wanting to go from sheep to garment. This involved me bringing home a dirty fleece once. A really dirty fleece. So dirty that I gunked up my kids’ bathtub and then my husband instating a Renfroe household rule banning me from bringing dirty fleece into the house.

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Bella on the scale.

But I can explain…

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Walking the floor with two bags of fleece.

The household rule banning my possession of dirty fleece is common knowledge amongst my knitting group. But Courtney is a smart girl, and adept at getting around the rules. So months ago she told me she had an idea.

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Courtney and David with Bella and Lucky.

Courtney did her homework and came up with the perfect plan for us to wash a fleece in the hotel bathroom. She knew exactly how to sell it to me… my husband couldn’t possibly get upset with me if I brought home clean fleece.

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The bag of Bella fleece.

So David, Courtney and I went to Judy’s Novelty Wool booth and we split 2 fleeces, three ways. Now, Bella was already cleaned, so no problem there. She was greasier than David liked, but I don’t mind my fleeces slightly buttery. That lanolin is good for my skin. So half of the work was done and Bella was tossed aside. Lucky, however, was our dirty one. The three of us put down a shower curtain on the floor, dumped the fleece out, and started to sort pieces into “dirty” and “less dirty”.

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Starting to sort the fleece.

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Proud parents!

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I actually took this picture by accident when trying to take some video.

We stuffed the fleece into lingerie bags to soak in the tub.

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Lingerie bags are ready!

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Soak #1 with plain water…

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Check out that water! Here is where I let Courtney know she is making me nervous holding her phone over the tub.

We soaked the fleece for twenty minutes in plain hot water. Then we soaked in hot soapy water. Of course there were multiple soaks, but I passed out on one of the hotel beds sometime before 1 a.m. I hear that Court and David were up until 4 a.m. They let me sleep because I had to drive us home from Santa Clara and they knew I needed the rest. Of course, this means I don’t have any photographic evidence of David breaking one of the salad spinners that they used to dry the fleece when they were done. Sorry, I’m no journalist.

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Courtney and Dawn.

Now, this isn’t the end of the story (or process). While I have Bella here at home, Lucky is still at Courtney’s house. Lucky was dry enough to bring home in the van, but she still needs some work. I am hoping to get together with Courtney sometime soon so we can finish work on her and get her ready to spin!

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