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.


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.


Autumn Candy Corn!

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Droppin’ some wooly knowledge.

Recently, my friend Wendy brought her drum carder to my place so we could card the fleeces I have lying around. Just another thing to help me avoid working on any of my knitting at Friday Night Knitting.

We set that bad boy up right away and Courtney started showing my minis how to use it. With any luck, I can get them to card my fleece for their allowance!


Teaching the boy to use the carder.


And the girl…


Not too shabby!

Of course, it wouldn’t be Friday Night Knitting without some sort of mishap. This time, we took a fair chunk of knitting time and tried to break into a bottle of wine.


It finally took a screwdriver and a hammer to get into it.

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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.*




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.


Courtney playing with the hand carders.


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.


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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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.


Bella on the scale.

But I can explain…


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.


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.


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”.


Starting to sort the fleece.


Proud parents!


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.


Lingerie bags are ready!


Soak #1 with plain water…


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.


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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Summer is coming…

…so why am I looking for alpaca projects? I do live in Southern California after all…

Lots of things happening around here. I wish more were fiber related, but we have been super busy and my folks came out to stay with us for a couple weeks to help celebrate the twins’ fourth birthday. There have been trips all over the place, including Disneyland (which I hear will not allow needles in the park…good thing I didn’t have any down time there)!

So, it started with the Cookie A class I took after meeting her at Unwind. I designed my first pair of socks! Of course I am still test knitting them…so we’ll see how they turn out. Then my folks came bearing gifts from Frankenmuth.

PIctures from my parents trip to Frankenmuth

Pictures from my parents trip to Frankenmuth

My folks scored me 2 3/4 pounds of fluff!

1lb. white combed top, 1 lb. white alpaca, 3/4 lb. of dyed alpaca

1lb. white combed top, 1 lb. white alpaca, 3/4 lb. of dyed alpaca

I am now swimming in alpaca and I have no idea what to make with it. The hot weather is here, but the office has been in deep freeze, so I might have a good reason to make some alpaca garments. I still have the bag of alpaca and bunny that my mom got me on her last trip to the mill. That will be the next thing I spin. I have some yarn on the bobbins right now that has just been chillin’ there. One of the bobbins is a surprise project I can’t write about here….the others have just been waiting for me to get some time to dump my photos onto any random computer I can find so I can make room to take proper, non-mobile phone pictures.

Once the parents left I went a little cuckoos mcgoos. The last two days I have spent dyeing fiber after the kids have gone to bed.

Messin around with acid dye

Messin' around with acid dye

I dyed some mills ends wool with some Jacquard acid dyes. I was messing around with dye to try and find my groove. I am new to this.

Then I decided to take that pound of alpaca my folks brought and hit it with some black food coloring. It turned out gorgeous!

Alpaca in purty greens and purples...

Alpaca in purty greens and purples...

Of course, this whirlwind of crazy doesn’t include all the stuff I did last night which included handcarding some other stuff I dyed and making goodies for my Fiber Collective Swap Partner. But those are secret….shhhhh…..

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In my spinning phase…

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 | blah blah blah, fiber, spinning, yarn | 2 Comments

Ok, I promise I have not been slacking off!

This week was my first week of work. I was a little nervous, but so far the new job freakin’ rocks! My first day was orientation…and I won a couple of little things being a super nerd and I got to hold a real life Oscar (they are pretty heavy). I set up my new workspace, went to a couple of meetings and a class, attended a couple of office celebrations and won a raffle prize…I am even the crisis group leader. It was a pretty exciting week. I am still getting settled, but everyone on the crew is super cool. I just hope that I can remember the names of the folks I met this week!

So, I haven’t been much in the mood to knit. I think maybe I am headed back into a spinning phase. I am loving the spinning! I only have my KAL socks to really get done as far as the knitting is concerned….and a pair of crazy ass 80’s legwarmers I just re-cast on. I will try and get photos once I get some stripes completed.

Blue and Orange wool, 2 ply

Blue and Orange wool, 2 ply

I spun up 2 skeins of Blue and Orange 100% wool. The colors are gorgeous, but it is definitely not “next to the skin”soft. I think this wants to be some felted clogs or something. I have a pound of the stuff, so there is a lot more left to spin.

Playboy Bunny, 2 ply

"Playboy Bunny", 2 ply

I thought the next skein reminded me of underwear, so I named it “Playboy Bunny”. It is gorgeous black alpaca and navy nylon with a flesh colored angora and some firestar. It is sparkly and oh so soft! It was a small batt, so I decided to kick it drop spindle style (and the bobbins for my wheel were full). I ended up with only 100 yards. Maybe enough to make a little cowl?

Mystery skein, single ply

Mystery skein, single ply

Then there is the Mystery skein. I didn’t spin this one recently, but I had it hanging up in my room forever and I never took a picture of it. I got the fiber at Stitch Cafe, and although I was told it was superwash, I can assure you it is not. I am not sure what the fiber is, but it is a blend. It is much more “hairy” than anything I had gotten there before. It is super soft though…I am going to have to figure out how much yardage I’ve got.

Color changes in the hand dyed fiber

Color changes in the hand dyed fiber

Now to my newest project! While at Felt Club, my friend Krista’s mom bought a little bag of fiber from one of the vendors (I am not sure which one, but it I do I will make mention of it). She had asked me to spin it up, so I decided to start it last night. The bag was labeled “VISCOUNT 100% Faux Cashmere (nylon)  3.9 oz.” Always up for a challenge, I decided to give it a try. The fiber was very slick, and I had a few difficulties when I started it, but once I got the hang of it, I was just cranking away. I finished the entire bag today and got close to a full bobbin. The color changes were very interesting. I am going to let it sit on the bobbin for a few days before I try and figure out how I am going to approach the plying. Since it was so slick, I did some overtwisting, but to be honest, I have never spun nylon before… since it isn’t a natural fiber, I am not quite sure how to set the twist. Oh well, I guess that is what the internet is for!!

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