Monday, July 4, 2011

Tour de Fleece 2011: Day 1 and 2

I'm desperately trying to keep up with posting pictures of what I'm spinning, spinning itself, and posting new things in my etsy shop. I'm pretty sure if I let it pile up, it will be too overwhelming to tackle! I started off Saturday morning of TdF with a treat, a llama and angora luxury batt from Plum Crazy Ranch ( that I bought at Black Sheep Gathering last weekend. ( I'm not sure what the deal is with blogger lately, but between being unable to load photos about 75% of the time lately, and now not allowing me to highlight and hyperlink properly, I'm tempted to switch blog hosts.)
Anyway, back to the point, I really enjoyed this stuff, there was only one ounce of it, and very textured, which is why I started with it. I tend to get stuck in the rut that many spinners seem to, spinning thinner and thinner yarns just because we can. I firmly believe that we as handspinners should be doing what we do best, which is create something a machine cannot. I understand that there is a sense of accomplishment in having the skill to spin a very fine yarn, I do it sometimes myself, and I understand that sometimes it is appropriate to what we are spinning for, perhaps a lace shawl, or socks, which require finer gauge yarns. I just spun a laceweight single ply for a shawl, and got great color sequences, so I'm not knocking the spinning of fine yarns in general, just saying that in my own spinning life, I'm at the point where I'm trying to develop range. I want to be able to spin a variety of styles and weights of yarn, and since I tend to be a little obsessive when I get focused on something, this batt was intended to break me out of my thinner and thinner yarn rut, and it did, with a bang. This yarn is bumpy and colorful and probably the softest stuff I have even spun. And fluffy, poufy, just all around WOW! My pictures don't do it justice, but then, when do pictures ever adequately capture yarn, it must be touched as well as seen to be fully experience, but since I can't hand it to you through the computer monitor, you'll just have to trust me.
Next I spun some angora and silk, and I haven't got the picture for that right here, but I bring it up because although it was equally soft, though much smoother while I spun it, when I soaked it and hung to dry to set the twist it got hard and stiff. Does anyone know what happened? I'm going to look into it.
On day 2 I opened up my 1 lb bag of wooly cupcakes and sorted them into colors that sort of went together, and then I started with this batch. I am the kind of person who always saves the best for last, so this is what looked like my least favorite colors.
Oddly enough, they turned out a beautiful yarn. This is why I am on my second one lb bag of these things. They have produced some of my loveliest handspun ever, though I can't take the credit. If you want some for yourself, go on over to Wool Peddler on etsy, she'll set you up.
I tried a new thing with this yarn that was suggested by the Plum Crazy Ranch lady (owner?) at Black Sheep Gathering, I was bemoaning the high cost of extra bobbins for the Hansen mini Spinners (49$! do you believe it?), and looking at a pretty electric spinner she had there in the booth, and she said she never plies from the bobbins anyway, she likes to ply with the fiber in the same direction as it was spun in, so she winds each ply off the bobbin into a ball and plys from the outside of the ball. She said it creates a more balanced and softer/smoother yarn. I did that with this yarn, and it is very lovely, though since I didn't do any of it my usual way, I don't have something to compare to. This yarn is extremely sproingy and soft, as are all the cupcakes I have spun up so far. They are always a mix of BFL, fine merino, and sometimes tencel. I have one more skein from Day 2, but the pictures aren't great yet, so I'll save it for the next post.
Happy Spinning everyone, I'm having a blast participating in my first Tour de Fleece. I keep looking at all the pretty fiber, clicking through to the fiber shop, and then talking myself out of more fiber, I'm pretty sure I have 3-4 lbs of fiber to go before I actually need more!

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