Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tour de Fleece

There are times when I set goals, I work hard, and I totally blow myself away with my success. I'm hoping that in the near future this will be the story of my dissertation, but for right now it was the 2013 Tour de Fleece.

I set myself an impressive goal for the tour, based on my track record with spinning style and time needed per ounce. I usually spin my fiber into very fine plies, because I like fine yarns, like getting maximum "mileage" out of my fiber, and because I find it way easier to be consistent. So for this year, I challenged myself to spin a nice 3 ply worsted yarn. Making it 3 ply meant that the singles didn't have to be super thick in order to get a worsted finish, but still much thicker than what I spin for 3 ply fingering weight. Also, I usually spin in 4 ounce chunks, but earlier this year I won 8 ounces of a beautiful Polworth/silk, and I wanted to up my game.

So on the first day of the Tour I sat down at my Lendrum and started spinning up the lovely fiber.

I ended up with 320 yards of a lovely Navajo plied blue striping yarn in my target worsted weight. And I finished it in 8 days. 8 days!! This was supposed to take me all tour!

So I went stash diving and pulled out a coordinated combo of 1 oz mystery wool and 1 ounce silk sliver. I spun them separately for a target 2 ply sport weight.

Final product was 190 yards of sport weight, with about 10 yards left over of 3ply wool that I plied up on my Delight. And still a week of the Tour left.

At this point I'd far surpassed my goals and expectations, so rather than stash diving again I decided to go for the guilt free option of taking up a spinning WIP that I set aside at the beginning of the Tour. It was 132 grams of a merino/tencel/firestar blend intended to be a 3 ply fingering weight.

I ended up doing a 2 ply when I was finished spinning, I didn't think the fine singles would hold up to the friction and stress of a Navajo ply. I got 750-ish yards of fingering weight yarn (despite Westley's continued helping during the plying stage. In the bottom right collage picture he's laying on both plies and the Blu-Ray remote. So helpful.) I finished it almost at the end of the Tour.

Also, during this whole wheel spinning decathlon, I was working on a drop spindle spinning project (goal: do as much as I got done). It is a new spindle and fiber that I got at this year's Black Sheep. The spindle is a Jenkins Lark in Burmese Blackwood. The fiber is Dicentra, 2 ounces of a 60/20/20 merino/yak/cultivated silk in color "Strong Heart."

I am so in love with how beautiful the fiber is against the spindle. I keep taking pictures of it. I got about 0.3 ounces spun during the Tour, with the intention of a 3 ply heavy lace weight finish.

So this was my Tour, and what a doozy it turned out to be.

Next post: County Fair results.

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