Wednesday, 30 June 2021

TDF day four, odd and ends

 First job this morning was to ply the texel, then weigh it. Now do you remember my saying that I generally spin 60gm to a bobbins so that I definitely got over 100gm in a skein ? well, it doesn't work when you miscount. Over 10gm left on one bobbin and a measly 104 gm skein 😂😂😂

My only challenge this year is to spin down the stash, not only the fresh fleece from this year but the ones that have been lurking in my workroom. I found a couple of pillow cases last week that had less than 100gm fleece in them but as it was a nice fleece I had hung onto them.

This is around 80gm of black welsh mountain x lleyn, a little darker than in the photo. I spun most of this one maybe two years ago and it was deliciously smooshy once spun.

This is more like the true colour, 74gm which will sit in my stash for a while apart from when I take it out to pet it.

This is some of 60odd gm of Shetland x Romney and I do think that I have some more somewhere however it will be enough for fingerless mitts. One bobbin's spun and the next ready to spin tomorrow morning.

Update on the power bank.

The level reached 50% last night and 15 min into my plying this morning I could notice a slowing down of the wheel. I've recharged it and will try again next week. I'm happy that it will last me for an afternoon spinning and chat which is what I was after.

And now for something different.

Last week I had arranged to meet some people for coffee and since I arrived a little early I had a quick look round the sensory garden on Carlton hill. This garden has been designed for the visually impaired, highly scented plants and the labels and information board have been produced in braille.

I thought that the bee was in mid flight when I looked at this, which I was happy with as I'd been stood there waiting for one to turn up, then I had a closer look.

he's actually balancing on the leaf/petal 😁

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

The thick and thin of it .. TDF day 3

 So, on we go to day three.

60 gm Jacob spun and then plied with yesterdays bobbin.

When I'm spinning, odd bits get discarded due to nepps, tangles caused by the odd bit of straw etc so the original 60gm of fibre always ends up weighing somewhat less. This skein weighs in at 109gm unwashed.

please excuse the bare feet !! I hadn't realised that they were in the photo. This yarn unwashed is 8WPi although after a good bath it will probably be more like 7 WPI so aran/bulky weight. I always measure the length when washed so will probably publish the end results once TDF finishes.

Next I spun another bobbin of texel white with a view to plying it tomorrow, this one looks like it will be about 17 wpi before washing, maybe a bit more like fingering weight once washed which is good news as it will be going into my fair isle knitting stash.

The unusual thing about today is that I can tell you how long I have spent spinning. I usually use the e-spinner at home or in the van running on mains/campsite electric but I would like to be able to take it out more so I bought a small power bank off eBay and I'm trying it out.

Today I have spun for 3hours and 50 min, obviously the fine spinning takes longer than the chunky, and the power bank is down to 50%. I'm going to use it ply the yarn tomorrow and see how it goes. Once I'm happy that it charges fully without a problem I will include more details about it. To be honest, I can't see me using it for more than an hour or two if I'm out which makes the price tag of £29.99 very reasonable.

As for now, I may have to settle down to a new cross stitch pattern having left my usual project it the van,.

More fibre stuff tomorrow plus maybe some pics of a quick trip out last week.

Monday, 28 June 2021

TDF day 2, back home again

 We are back home, an uneventful journey back to the storage yard, unloaded the van of food items and clothes and returned home. I remembered to bring my wheel and fibre home but my cross stitch project is still packed (accidently) ready for the next trip.

I forgot to mention yesterday that the red arrows flew past in formation as we walked down the avenue into Cirencester, I heard them coming but didn't have chance to grab the cameras.

Yesterdays charity shop finds ( other than a couple of cds )

Isle of Skye Jigsaw

and a book about needlework tools, this is a 1971 reprint of a 1928 book, absolutely fascinating as it contains not just history but rhythms, quotations and poems about needlework.

Now for the update that you have all been waiting for, TDF spinning ! I finished the 60 gm of white texel and also quickly spun 60gm of chunky Jacob. In case you are wondering, I tend to spin 55- 60 gm each bobbin as it guarantees that the weight of the finished skein, after washing, will be over 100gm.

Quick knitting update, I finished all four pairs of mitts and these have now arrived at their new home.

The purple at the bottom is a hat that accompanied them on their journey 😀

Sunday, 27 June 2021

And they are off !! Tour de fleece gets underway..

 .. and so do we ! We picked up the van, threw in a change of clothes and some food and drove down to the Cotswolds. This time we were staying on the Caravan and Motorhome club site at Cirencester where we stayed for a night on the way back from the Isle of Wight last year.

I did take one of my spinning wheels and a cross stitch project to work on Friday evening. The official start of the tour de Fleece is midnight local time, my start was somewhat later as we decided that breakfast was more important.

I did get to spin both in the morning for an hour and the same in the afternoon and completely forgot to take the customary photo of my wheel in action ! so I leave it to your imagination.

Around midday we wandered into town to do a little shopping and generally have a look around. The campsite is a simple walk from the town through the park. The driveway through the park is quite stunning and if it looks familiar its because it has been used as a film location several times.

                                       The Bathurst Estate and Cirencester Park as filming locations

The iron work above the gate is also quite stunning.

The large building to the left of the gates is the old barracks.

Ooops, a rare photo of my other half (hates having his photo taken, didn't even realise I had caught him in this one).

I didn't take anymore photos, just browsed the shops, bought a book in Oxfam which I will share next post and Ian spotted a jigsaw from the Isle of Skye so that came back with us as well. I think the fresh air got to as we were both asleep pretty much as soon as we got back to the van.

Saturday, day one spinning.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

A little more Tour de fleece prep (sort of ) and some knitting

Hi, I'm slowly coming up with a fingerless mitten pattern that works ok with my handspun. The coloured mitts are from a pattern on ravelry but I HATE knitting in thumbs !!

The light grey ones are a pattern that I've adapted before but its all 1x1 rib so I'm not keen but it has short thumbs that are knitted as you go.

The dark grey are Ryeland, different construction but the rib at the wrist need to be longer and the top rib shorter,

The brown are Shetland, better length but next time I need to pop in a couple of row before the thumb gusset.

They all fit but I'm looking for a 'go to ' pattern that's easy to knit, hopefully the next pair will fit the bill.


This has appeared on one of the spinning teams that I'm signed up for, whilst I'm not bothered about taking part to win anything, I think it would be fun to cross off a few of the squares as I go. Take a look at Team spinners study playground group on Facebook if you are interested. The fun starts next weekend so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good weather so I can spin outdoors.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

ok then, just one more :-)


A chance post on Facebook about free fleece and  a comment from a former work colleague resulted in a knock on the door Saturday afternoon. A large black bag was handed over with a very quizzical look, apparently the bag had been passed onto yet another colleague who lived nearer to me and she really had no idea what I would be doing with it.

Last time I had a Texel fleece to spin it was awful so I was keeping my fingers crossed that this one would prove to be better. First impressions were favorable, not felted, not too dirty, not too much vegetation and a 3-4 inch staple length.

So it was into the buckets, washed, pegged out on the line and then combed as I have a real fondness for hand combed fleece 😀

I couldn't resist spinning the first comb full, just a quick spin to see how it felt ....

and of course, after spinning the fluff, I had to knit it...right ?

Now all I have to do is make more of these !! 

This will probably be the fleece that I take camping with us next time so the spun and knitted samples will help me explain what the devil I'm doing when I switch on my e-spinner.

Monday, 14 June 2021

more from Scotland


Before I get completely distracted by the upcoming Tour de Fleece, I thought I would share a few more photos from Scotland. As you may remember, we were catching up with friends and one of them owns a shop in Portree which is the biggest town on Skye,

Portree is usually bustling with tourists but with covid restrictions only just starting to lift in Scotland, realty this year is a little different,

this is Portreet central square/car park and bus station at 10.45am on Tuesday 18 May, a ghost town ! We have never in all our 30 plus years of visiting seen the place so quiet

After a quick catch up with gossip and the purchase of a new skirt, we headed further down the Island to Broadford as we had two nights booked at Skye Camping.

I even managed some spinning with a view :-)

I have one more Scottish post to write at some point but I think the next couple are going to be very much about fleecy endeavors x

Friday, 11 June 2021

Quick Tour de Fleece prep update

 My room is in a complete mess, fleece everywhere !

so far  black cheviot 210gm          black jacob  270gm        shetland 190gm

           brown jacob   250 gm        white cheviot  290gm      dark brown jacob  110gm

all prepped ready to spin. I have some more shetland to work through, more fleece to wash and more on the way thanks to generous people.

I am frantically knitting fingerless gloves for a friend, will show once finished :-)

speak soon.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

fair exchange? and charity bargains again


 Firstly, my Scottish charity shop haul.

The fabric all came from the same shop on sky and will be so useful especially as I hope to volunteer again to work with young people doing crafts once things settle down again. The two books came from a shop in Moffat. I have now made a spreadsheet for all my fabrics to save me having to rummage through each time to check sizes.

I also had a call from a friend who wanted to know if I would like her grandmothers tapestry bits and pieces and I agreed on the condition that she exchanged them for my mothers card making equipment and papers ( my friend also makes cards )

In spite of being told that there was a box of threads, I was quite unprepared for what appeared on my doorstep !!

and a bag of threads, possibly enough to do most of these pictures ! These pictures are huge and there are a few yards on the bigger roll of canvas.

To be honest, I may make some of these up into kits and pass them on.

Anyway, I'm off back to my knitting as I've had a request for hats and gloves, hats I have been able to supply but I need to knit a few pairs of gloves in the next few days x