Tour de Fleece 2013: The Final Reckoning

The stats:
1615 yds/30.6 oz total finished yarn spun.
783 yds of 3-ply, for 2349 yds of singles.
832 yds of 2-ply, for 1664 yds of singles.

Total singles length: 4013 yds, 3.7 km, 2.3 miles spun over 23 days.

The yarns: top left corner is 607 yds/14.4 oz of 3-ply bulky black Shetland, spun from drum carded batts, from a fleece that I bought at Wonderwool Wales this past April. This was my second fleece-to-hadnspun-sweaterlot I've done for Tour de Fleece - my first was last year, and it was a total failure. I credit this year's success to the fact that I was able to borrow a drum carder, which made the fiber prep so much easier! The finished yarn is soft and squishy, and is going to make a really cozy sweater. I'm hoping there's enough yardage for a full jumper, but we'll see! Top down sweater knitting is going to be my friend on this one.

Circling around to the right side is my project specific spin: Hello Yarn Finn in "Winter Storage"
I split the multi-colored top into 6 groups and spun a 2-ply sport/fingering weight to knit Brenda's Now in a Minute shawl. I think I might have to cast on this week. It's lovely soft stuff, 590 yds/7.8 oz - I'm about 10 yds short of the amount called for in the pattern, but I think it will be ok. We will see...

Next up: I had to take a break in the middle of the never-ending Shetland spin to do something with color, so I spun up a bag of ends of my own Euglena Suffolk.

One skein of 2-ply, 229 yds/3.3 oz, and one mini-skein of chain ply from the left over singles. It's about 14 wpi, so fingering weight, and is going to make some seriously awesome green socks.

The final yarn, singles started on Thursday, yarn plied and finished on Saturday:

Spunky Eclectic Bluefaced Leicester in "Autumn". I bought this top in a whirlwind stash enhancing trip to Amy's shop in August 2009, and it's been marinating in my stash ever since. I've got one more braid left from that trip, so I think I'll need to be stocking up again next month when we visit my parents.

I managed to make a collage for every day I spun during the Tour, and I've uploaded them all to a flickr set here if you're interested.

My only TdF letdown this year? I didn't manage to get as much spindling done as I wanted to.

I only managed to get through 10 gr (of 78 gr) of cashmere carding waste. But I've made a good start on it, so I'm going to keep trucking!

So how did your Tour de Fleece come out? Did you meet your goals? And are you going to keep spinning? My wrist is due for a bit of a rest, although spindling is ok, so I think I'm going to get back to that knitting thing and start using up some of this new stash. 

Impending deadlines!

Today is a big day. First off: today is the last day to buy one of my Travelling Hat patterns and have the proceeds go to One Fund Boston - more details here.

Second: today is also the last day to enter my contest to win a copy of American Sock Knitting. All you've got to do is go to this post and leave a comment about your favorite place and/or the kind of sock that would be inspired by your favorite place. So far there are only three entries, so your chances are good - go comment!

Third: not an immediate deadline, but yesterday I finished the second bobbin of Shetland and started the third as Chris Froome annihilated Mount Ventoux.

TdF Day 16

I am getting very interested in going back to some fiber with color...but have to finish off the third bobbin and get plying - the end of Le Tour is next Sunday!

Back to the spinning

This week I've been working on the black (brown, really) Shetland fleece I got at Wonderwool in April. I scoured it and began carding on my borrowed drum carder before the first stage, and today I finished the second pass of carding.

The fleece was really two colors: one a deep, dark black, the other more of a chocolate brown and grey mixed together. I originally thought I was going to keep the colors separate, but as I went through the first carding pass, I decided that this fiber needed to be a sweater, and in order to have enough yardage, I needed to combine the colors.

The yarn is coming out a beautiful final color, and I'm hoping for some really fabulous 3-ply at the end of it.

Bobbin 1 is done, and bobbin 2 is underway.

I've also managed to finish off my Hello Yarn Fiber Club spin for Brenda's Now in a Minute Shawl.
I'm thrilled with how this came out - I'm short by about 10 yds, and it's a bit heavier then called for by the pattern, but I think it will work fine.

So that's what the Tour de Fleece has generated in these parts - hopefully by the end of the race, I should have a sweater's worth of 3-ply Shetland to play with. And maybe a few other bits and bobs - the Shetland is going quickly, but I may feel the need for some color sometime soon! What's on your wheel for the Tour?

PS - If you are in London, or might be in London on or around the 21st of September, and you're interested in joining us in the inaugural Yarn in the City: The Great London Yarn Crawl, head over to the website and get your tickets now!

Tour de Fleece: Beginnings

Happy Fourth of July! This week has been some kind of perfect storm of the end of the school year, plus rushing to get a bunch of stuff done at work before school ends next week, divided by my desire to spend every waking moment spinning my brains out for the Tour de Fleece. So far, I have managed to spin...not so much. I have, however, been keeping up with taking pictures and posting updates in various Ravelry forum threads. To recap:

That, right there, in pictorial form, is all the spinning I've managed over the past 6 days. It's not a lot, but there's been a lot of other stuff going on. However, I have grand hopes for next week, when the girls finally finish school, which means no more working for me, and Himself will be away on a business trip, so I won't have to be a grown up when the girls are in bed. Plans for next week include the Shetland fleece, and whatever other bits I fit in around the edges when I get tired of carded Shetland. How's your TdF going?

Action plan

This blog is about to become an all-spinning, all-the-time zone, and for those of you with absolutely no interest in yarn making, I apologize! But Saturday is the first stage of the this year's edition of the Tour de France. Which also means that Saturday is the start of my favoritist -along of all time: the Tour de Fleece.

I've been participating in the Tour de Fleece since 2010, and each year I try to set some goals. In 2010, I had a list of fibers I wanted to spin. In 2011, my goal was to spin more fiber (measured by weight) then in 2010. Last year my output was somewhat hampered by the fact that I spent a week actually in the Pyrenees doing spinning of a different sort, so my trend of increasing weight of fiber spun came to a crashing halt.

This year I have again come up with some goals for the Tour de Fleece, and in the interests of accountability, here they are:

1) For Team Hello Yarn/Southern Cross Fibre/Spunky Eclectic, my plan is to spin up my Winter Storage Finn (of which I have 1.25 lbs...)
Winter Storage
into 6x100 yd skeins of single colored yarns for Brenda's Now in a Minute shawl.

I will also (for variation and instant gratification amongst the other goals) spin up some more of my Amy stash. Maybe some Shetland in Tundra?
Shetland top
Or this BFL? (The name of the colorway escapes me at the moment...)
BFL top

2) For my other team, Team Craftlit: spin up my "black"* Shetland fleece into a 3-ply sweater yarn.
Grey-black Shetland fleece
All of the fleece is washed, and last night I drove two hours round trip (and a grand total of 40 miles - thanks London!) to borrow a drum carder. And then I stayed up until midnight playing around with said carder, giving me a lovely sleep-deprived day, but that's a different problem**.

I split the fleece into two main colors before washing - black and grey/brown. Probably a third of the fleece was black, and I'm about one third of the way through the first pass on the grey/brown, so this isn't going to be an early player in the Tour for me this year. I still need to decide whether I'm going to keep the colors separate or blend them together. Initially I wanted to keep them separate, but now I'm thinking that I'll need the yardage I'll get from combining them. Hmmm...

3) also for Team Craftlit: some silk top on my new spindle, as a running around, mobile project.
Mother's day shopping
IST Turkish Spindle

So that's it. Hah. Clearly last year's raw fleece failure experiment wasn't enough to deter me from doing it again this year. Or maybe I've just blocked it out...the drum carder should make things move quite a bit faster then the hand cards.

I hope.

Anyone else have truly ludicrous goals for the Tour de Fleece this year? Or am I the only insane one out here?

* I say "black" because after carding a bunch of it, it's really more of a dark, dark brown/grey mix.
** My other problem is that now I want to get the white fleece washed up so I can get it carded as well before I have to give the carder back - aargh!