Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Tour de Fleece day 4

I woke up early so I made a start on a bag of cheviot that I carded a couple of weeks ago, quick, thick ,'rustic' spin. 

110 g of rather creamy cheviot which will probably be dyed at some point.

and into the wash bag it goes., here you can see how creamy it looks compared to the Balwen/Texel from earlier this week.

In case you are wondering how I tell the whites apart, I colour code them with a bit of coloured yarn round the skein and also through a separate label with the breed on. This way I can just match them up once washed.

I'm not sure what to spin next, whatever it is, I'll be having to prep it tonight !


I've decided, I'll have a bash at the Zwartble fleece :-)

How could I resist???

Safe spinning xx

Monday, 29 June 2020

Tour de Fleece day 3


Its been wet and wild day outside today so I knuckled down and finish the first bobbin of Jacob, did some music practice then finished the second bobbin.

I forgot to take a photo until I was already plying the yarn.

Anyway, here is the finished skein to add to the wash bag :-)

As usual, I will check yardage etc once washed.

Todays listening was:-

the final chapters of Wednesday's Child by Peter Robinson

The Prehistory Guys podcast #14 from May 2019

The first few chapters of Frost at Christmas by R D Wingfield

You may have spotted the common denominator with the books, they are both easy listening detective stories.

Now to sort our some fluff to spin tomorrow :-)

Safe spinning xx

Sunday, 28 June 2020

TDF Day 2


I forgot to say in last nights blog, I'm trying to make a point of listening to podcasts and audiobook whilst spinning instead of bingeing on stuff on Amazon Prime! 

So far I'm listening to Wednesday's Child by Peter Robinson whist spinning and generally pottering round the house.

Bobbin no 4 on the wheel earlier this morning, I have now plyed the bobbins into 2 skeins of  which I think will be 2ply DK after washing. I will post at the end, once I've had a major wash and measure session as to the exact details. As I said, this is not the softest yarn but it will be used.

Next up is some Jacob, aiming  for a 4 ply this time :-)

Have a good evening everybody, safe spinning xx

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Tour de Fleece, day 1


The first day of TDF, I had plans to spend the whole day spinning as hubby was due to be out on his motorbike all day. Unfortunately , the Great British Summer Weather put paid to that as its been raining on and off most of the day. So its been a lazy day, catching up on some YouTube together and as it's about teatime I don't think I will be spinning anymore today.

Todays spin has been Balwen/Texel, this years fleece, bought at the farm gate (unseen by me) certainly not the softest but washed up nicely apart from pesky short dark fibres dotted around. I have previously spun about 250gm of this fleece which I have dyed but It really didn't take the dye as well as I hoped.

fibre once carded

This morning it was the turn of the e-spinner, quicker, easier on my legs and bigger bobbins. I generally aim for 60g per bobbin so I have finished skeins of 115-120g. If I sell the skein then its comfortably more than the 100g people look for as I think that when you see a skein at 95ish it creates a bit of doubt even when the length is listed. Maybe I'm wrong? but I've had similar feedback from others.

Here we are, approx.

180g of singles, not a bad start for 2020 TDF

Friday, 26 June 2020

Tour de Fleece Eve

Its Friday morning and the heat in the bedroom woke me up rather early, I even caught the remnants of sunrise.

It looks like another hot day today (UK based, we don't have air con ) but thunderstorms are forecast for most of tomorrow so no outdoor spinning to start Tour de Fleece this year.

So, a quick catch up on the week and a brief look forward to TDF.

The weather has been excellent, a little too hot but good for drying both fleece and clothes, I mean, everyones line looks like this. Doesn't it ?

This is some mystery fleece from the Isle of Skye. I bought it back last year because I quite like the colours. I'm not really sure what it is, its not soft but not Herdwick coarse and rather reminds me of a Jacob? Since my friends on the croft had no idea either, I'm just going to see how it spins.

When I'm not washing , I've been carding , combing and generally prodding the fleece into submission ready for Saturday.

The other Manx has now been washed, doesn't look too bad so I'll see how the ends comb with the dog comb and maybe pop it through the drum carder.

As you may recall, I retired in May. Called it a day after working for nearly forty two years for the same company. Tuesday evening there is a virtual knock at the door and a work colleague is on the doorstep with my leaving presents. I know its been a month but these items were specially ordered, as you can see.

The spindle is from  IST crafts and weighs in at 17gm, there are small weights in the arms to help it spin faster and longer. The bobbins are from Chris Parsons I already have several of his bobbins and these will make a lovely addition to my dark bobbin collection. I wanted something to remind me of my time there but not the usual watch type thing so these fit the bill perfectly.

I'm still knitting the BFL/Swaledale, so far we have the mitts ( see previous blog) a hat and I've started on another mitts pattern.

Just incase you are wondering about the photo quality these days, I'm tending to use my phone as my camera isn't keen on speaking to the computer at the moment !!

                                             TDF news ...

I haven't yet decided what to spin tomorrow, maybe something easy? I have around 450gm of Balwen/Texel carded ready, its white so not an exciting spin plus it doesn't seem to like dyes very much but it will be good as hats with a simple pattern on them. I also have Cheviot, Romney, Portland, Jacob, Shetland and Zwartbles prepped and plenty of empty bobbins for all of the wheels.

The new spindle will probably get its first outing during TDF as I have a skein of Merino/baby camel that has been suiting around for years, hand dyed by Felt Studio UK its just begging to be spun fine. It will be a long term, ongoing project.


Take care, speak soon, watch out for the daily (hopefully) TDF blogs starting tomorrow.


Sunday, 21 June 2020

TDF countdown is on :-) 6-5-4-3-2-1


I hope you have all had a good week ? The weather here has not been kind so very little fleece washing has taken place. This means I am welcoming this weeks forecast of sunshine and reasonable temperatures.

My plans for last week really went out of the window around the middle of the week, all was going fine until I realized that something was going on with my eyesight and promptly phoned my optician. After a full exam it appears that it isn't as serious as first though and should clear up but I've been told not to bungee jump and I have some new glasses on order ( I was due to upgrade just as lockdown started) Not really new glasses, more new lens into old frames due to there being a shortage of frames at my opticians.

I did receive a parcel at the beginning of the week.

containing ..

Yep, a really small fleece !! this had been added to my order simply to make the weight up as the postage came in as more than the fleece cost!

This is the main fleece, slightly dark and still to be unwrapped, hopefully it will be as soft as the first one although processing the first one is a little tedious due to a break/natural rise in the locks.

However the results are definitely spinnable ...

I have also finally got round to picking up my knitting and have finished a very rustic looking pair of mitts and I'm well on the way with knitting a hat Both items are being knit with the bfl/swaledale fleece.

my early morning work desk, yep coffee is still hot .

In other news, we have started to clean the inside and outside of the camper ready for use although she will probably be serviced before we stay in her overnight. However it was really good to get back in even if just for 50 miles to check all was well.

That's about it for this week, take care, stay safe xx

Sunday, 14 June 2020

did I say no more fleece?

Hi, I had decided that I had enough fleece fot the time being but fate had other ideas. Firstly my mate Pete popped round with a Kent Romney that he had been storing for himself but has now decided that he won't get round to spinning it due to having so many other good fleeces. Then I won £25 in fleece vouchers from my usual supplier so I'm waiting for a nice coloured ryeland to be shorn and finally I spotted manx Loughton fleece for sale and couldn't resist the colour :-)

Whilst I'm waiting on the Manx, I've made a start on the Romney. It really doesn't look very promising in the bag, blue marker on it, needs a bit more skirting and the lanolin looks like it may have set. I will post washed pics once it's out of the bucket.

Edited to add post wash pic

certainly an improvement.

I've finished the Shetland, about 60 gm or so, it's on the line at the moment having had a soak earlier.

                         edit, now washed and dry, also in pic is BFL/Swaledale.

Going through the fleece stash, I found a bag of Shetland x Romney which has been hanging around for a while. Nice fleece but the natural rise means that you have to pull off the last inch or so of each lock which makes processing a fiddly job. However, I had a play with one of my spindles and it does spin up nicely so I may keep it as a spindle project to chip away at over the summer.

That's about it for this week, housework and baking took up the rest of my time :-) Next week looks like it will be mask making, we have some disposable ones but I will make a few more washable ones so we have a good supply as it looks like they will be needed more over the next few months especially as we now need them on public transport etc. It would be good to have a few extra just in case anyone gets desperate for one.

Take care, safe soon, more chat next weekend xx

Monday, 8 June 2020

TDF - homework and training


First a note to anyone who doesn't spin or knit. This blog may get a little boring for you over the next couple of months.

For everyone else.....

The TDF prep continues but the weather has turned and I'm waiting for it to get dry again before washing any more fleece. I did manage to wash the Jacob and most of the zwartbles last week and spun a sample of each to see how they behave.

It's looking promising :-) the zwartbles is soft and very dark so will be useful in my fairisle knitting when I pick that up again. the same with the Jacob which, as you can see, is a very light grey.

I spun up a couple of skeins of the BFL/Swaledale mule and they are waiting for a wash and soak.

Both skeins are around 115 g and will probably be dyed over the summer so that I have some nice and easy hat/mitten knitting for when we are away. If the campsites reopen and things have settled down , we plan to get back in the van for some more adventures.

On the wheel is the last of the dark Shetland, at least I think it's the last ! Every time I get to the end of a bag I discover another :-)

In the evenings I have been prepping fibre for the start of the TDF, so far Jacob, Shetland, Portland, Balwen x texel . I'm trying to have a around 120g of each prepared either on the combs or the drum carder. I don't have a specific amount as a target for the TDF, I'm just aiming to spin every day.

Other than that I've been busy with housework and starting to sift through years of accumulated work related stuff that I need to shred, maybe not a huge amount but enough to keep me busy for a while. I'm still baking, still losing the odd pound in weight, still binge watching stuff whilst spinning etc.

My terrible mandolin playing is probably driving the neighbours crazy! but check out the handwoven strap :-) and ignore the background of bags of fleece.

 And I may have found out why we no longer get many birds in the garden, someone thinks he's found a new dinner table.

That's about it for this weeks round up, take care everyone, speak soon xx

Monday, 1 June 2020

Its June and time to prepare !! Tour de Fleece is getting closer.

Even though things are a little different this year and the Tour de France has been cancelled, the Tour de Fleece , a major spinning event in my calendar is still going ahead.

Never heard of it? the event is open to all spinners no matter how experienced and is hosted on Ravelry. These days many facebook groups also take part. Challenges are set for those who want to push themselves, rest days for those who want to take a breather. The usually starts and finishes on the Tour de France dates and many spinners watch the race whilst spinning. A major difference this year is that the event will have two parts as it will resume when the postponed Tour de France takes place in September ( obviously this may still change)

 Many spinners set their own challenge, anything from spin every day, learn and master a new technique to spinning  a large quantity for a jumper.

This year the dates are 27 June through to 19 July so a 3 week period of spinning every day for me. Historically I have spun at festivals for at least two of these weekend so this year will be different. I may have to challenge myself as to where to spin that I can reach on foot from where I live. The drop spindles may have to get some exercise.

                                                         TDF spinning 2019

I first took part in this in 2010 !! you can find posts for the previouse events here , some years I was very productive as you can see. Looking back, it looks like although I did spin last year. I didn't document it, In fact I didn't post much on this blog last year for various reasons.

So, what am I doing at the moment? I'm getting prepared, washing fleece, prepping fleece, emptying bobbins of oddments that have been hanging around, still spinning some bits as I go. I intend to document everyday during TDF, we will see how that goes :-)

Garden prep station 

Two more bags of fleece arrived this week and I suspect that these may be the last for the time being. Not whole fleeces just a kilo or so of a nice zwartbles and 500 gm Jacob which makes up an order that was dispatched incorrectly.

I have prepped around 200gm of the BFL cross purchased a couple of weeks ago and will probably spin it up over the coming week
All of this helps build my stock of yarn up for knitting and the occasional sale, plus keeps me out of trouble ( apparently)