Saturday, July 29, 2017

Tour de Fleece 2017 Recap

I thought now that the tour was over, it would be a good idea to take a look at what I accomplished during the tour this year.
Here are the 4 skeins I managed to finish this tour. While I feel like these are great skeins and I'm very happy with them, I definitely feel like I could have done more this tour.
I really didn't do much spindle-spinning (barely any as a matter of fact) and I feel like I could have spent more time at my wheel.
Oh well, it is what it is. I am very happy with the skeins I finished and I definitely feel like focusing on spinning makes me want to do more so maybe it will bring it more to the forefront of my mind and get me to actually do it.
I think of these skeins, the only one I hadn't mentioned before is the front one. The Verdant merino from Gritty Knits.
I chose it to be a sort of palette cleanse when I finished the fine yarn in the back. I just split it in two the long way, did a mild drafting and let the fiber be what it wanted to be.
I came up with a decent 2-ply and I think it turned out well. Of course, I technically finished the plying after the end of the tour but I think it still counts. 
I did start the second braid of the Champs Élysées fiber so that will be on the wheel for awhile. Hopefully I can keep motivated to get it done.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bad Influences Require Decisions

A couple of my knitting group friends are terrible influences. They both started the Starting Point wrap and spent one Knit Night talking about it and how great it was so I, of course, started pondering it myself.
When I received my June 2017 nom of the month club skein, the deal was set.
The skein had so many colors in it that I thought I could find many colors to go with it in my stash. Being in the nom club for as long as I have been, and not knitting up my skein every month, has allowed me to build a nice little stash of the gorgeous stuff. Many of them are semi solids which works very well for colorwork projects and stripey things. I love shopping from stash for things like that. So, when I was rooting around in the stash looking for things to bring to our stash swap, I also dug through and found some contenders.
I ended up with these 5 colors.

I love how the variegated has bits of each of the colors in it. I really felt like that would tie them all together. Of course a large, looming problem stood in my way. I had to wind 5 skeins of yarn! Yikes. It sat for a couple of weeks while I worked away on my spinning for Tour de Fleece and then the other evening, while watching TV with the husband, I didn't feel like spinning and felt utterly bored with my current knitting projects so I decided to wind the yarn. I've been really trying to focus on finishing up projects rather than starting new ones but I decided it was time to at least wind the yarn. 
I really found the variegated skein to be unusual-looking once it was wound. Almost like a speckled yarn rather than a traditional variegated.
Of course, once the yarn was wound it was only a matter of time until it was on the needles. 
I squished the 5 skeins of yarn into my knitting bag and off I went this morning. Rather than cleaning the house like I was supposed to be doing. Oops.
I designated the colors (in clockwise order starting with the yellow in the lower right) Butter: color 1, Steam: color 2, June 2017(unnamed): color 3, Ashburton: color 4 and Khaki: color 5.
Since I wasn't too concerned about gauge as this is a wrap and not a fitted garment, I decided to just cast on and use that as a swatch to see if I liked the colors together. It starts pretty small after all. 
Away I knit, until I had this. So, I'm having 2 issues with it. The first is this.
So many ends already! This I can easily fix by weaving them in as I go along rather than leaving them all to the end. The second is a little bit more frustrating and one that I need your help with. Yes, YOU dear reader. I'm concerned that the variegated is too bold and is taking away from the other colors.

In the pictures, it even doesn't seem as bad as it does in real life. It's so bright, with a few pops of fluorescent color even, that I think it might be taking away from the contrast that's between the other colors. The contrast that you need with this kind of project. So I need to make a decision. A difficult-to-make decision. That's where I would like your help. 
Leave me a comment telling me to either continue onward or rip and find something else to be color 3. 
I truly don't seem to be able to make a decision on my own so tell me what you think!
Option A: knit onward! It seems fine or will still work.
Option B: Rip it! Find something else to use as the variegated and keep that skein for something simple like a Hitchhiker or something.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Tour de Fleece has Begun

It's not Tuesday but it is Tour de Fleece so let's talk spinning.
Once again I'm spinning along with the Tour de France in the Tour de Fleece. I've joined just 2 teams this time. My local team; St. Cloud Knitters and the Gritty Knits team.
My local team had a lovely kickoff party again and I brought my Vespera electric wheel. I was pretty happy with the progress I made too! I worked on my partial bobbin, finishing up the spinning on it.

This is Serenity on Merino from Gritty Knits. I managed to finish up the singles at the party on Saturday.
I also managed to spin up the singles of this lovely Gritty Knits Merino called Engram.
Technically I think I finished them up on Sunday and I'm not sure that I even took a picture of the finished singles. The yarn is plied now and will be getting its bath in the next couple of days so you can take a look at it then.
I plied the Serenity on Sunday and started some lovely Polwarth that I purchased from a friend/local dyer called Champs Elysees. I have 8 ounces so it's going to take some time, especially since it's spinning so lovely and fine.

I really like how the Serenity turned out, although towards the end I got impatient to spin something else and ended up spinning my singles a bit thicker than I had at the beginning. Since I chain-plied it I got less yardage than I had hoped and ended up with a little bit thicker yarn on one end than the other. That's okay, I will make it work. It's still lovely handspun.
I'm really proud of myself for sticking with the spinning every day thing. Yesterday was quite a day. After work in the morning I had to make a bunch of phone calls regarding my car which needed some work (the bane of my existence, phone calls) and then rearrange our living room (by myself before the husband got home from work) and clean up under the couch so the couch could go out to the curb for large goods pickup on Saturday. When he got home we carried it out. I'm so glad it's leaving honestly! I was so tired after all that in the heat of the day that I was so proud of myself for sitting down at the wheel after supper when we decided to watch a little TV. I'm about half done with the first braid of Polwarth so if I stick to this progress, soon I should have the first 4 ounces of the Polwarth finished and ready for plying. I'm hoping it won't take the rest of the tour and I can get some other spinning in too! Although the Vespera e-spinner is currently empty. I could start something on that!