Category Archives: TourDeFleece2011

Le Tour de Fleece 2011: Day Twenty-One

Another Tour comes to the end. This has been good fun, and a great motivator to do a bit more spinning and blogging. I have made a start sorting out photographs so hopefully I shall be filling you in shortly on the knitting things I have been up to over the last few months, although not as frequently as during the last three weeks!

Today was City and Guilds class, hopefully I didn’t annoy them all too badly with my sniffing. I am ready for this cold to just get better now, the novelty has definitely worn off. My project is coming along well, it is really enjoyable to knit, I just need to find some more hours in the day 🙂

I finished off my last skein of alpaca/merino this evening, but I haven’t caught up with the cycle race yet. I shall hopefully watch that tomorrow.

The last skein is 136g and 270m, so I have a grand total of 616g and 1173m. It feels lovely and squishy and I am looking forward to knitting with it, though I still haven’t made the final decision what it is going to be.

Le Tour de Fleece 2011: Day Twenty

No post yesterday because we went to see the in-laws and then went out to the theatre with them to help celebrate their birthdays. In the afternoon we got to watch Le Tour in HD, which we don’t have here. Very impressive scenery! In the evening we went up to Stratford to see the Merchant of Venice. The RSC productions are always innovative and interesting, and encourage you to look at Shakespeare in a new way. For this production they set it in modern Las Vegas and drew out the parallels between Shakespeare’s Venetian merchants and modern gamblers and the recent banking crisis. The bit where Portia’s suitors have to choose which casket contains her image was done as a TV games show and was absolutely hilarious. Some bits were a little weird, but all in all a fun evening out, and very thought provoking.

We came home this afternoon and watched the time trial which we had recorded and I finished the plying and finishing on my second skein of alpaca/merino:

Skein number two has 245g and 477m.

One more load of plying to go. It is looking increasingly unlikely that I will have enough yardage (metreage?) for the Sleeves in Your Pi shawl/cardi. So I think these are my options:

  1. Change the pattern so it uses fewer metres
  2. Use a contrasting yarn for the edging (or somehow combine another yarn)
  3. See if I can get hold of more of the same fibre, unfortunately John Arbon has sold out
  4. Choose another pattern for this yarn and find another yarn to make the Sleeves in Your Pi, preferably one which is actually the weight that the pattern calls for this time

I shall think on it.

I’ve still got a cold, sniffy and stuffed up and achey, though at least it is just annoying rather than seriously debilitating. I think Joanne is right that I probably picked it up either at Knit Nation last weekend, or on the train going and coming.

Le Tour de Fleece 2011: Day Eighteen

Disappointingly I think I am coming down with a cold. I have been sniffy and stuffed up with a sore throat since last night. I am hoping that ignoring it will make it go away, not sure how successful that has been so far.

Today has been a day of stocking up here, I went and did the supermarket shop this morning, so we are unlikely to starve for some time. This afternoon Paul had a half day holiday so he has made a big batch of chilli for the freezer, thus staving off even further the likelihood of starvation.

Then while the chilli cooked we watched today’s stage of Le Tour and I washed and measured and weighed my first skein of alpaca/merino. The racing was very exciting, I think it is going to be very close right up to the end.

I am very pleased with how the yarn has come out:

This is 70% alpaca, 30% merino, in Cappuccino (a blend of natural colours of alpaca with white merino) from John Arbon. It is a 2ply construction and about a DK weight in thickness. My first skein has 235g and 426m.

I have been toying with using this for the Sleeves in Your Pi pattern, which is sort of a cross between a shawl and a cardigan. The original pattern uses a slightly heavier yarn, but hopefully shouldn’t be too hard to adjust. However I am a bit concerned that I am not going to have enough yarn. I shall have to see how it goes once I have finished the plying.

Today’s coin is a New Jersey state quarter. Paul worked there for a few months many years ago, so my first visit to the US was to NJ to see him.


Le Tour de Fleece 2011: Day Seventeen

I plied up my first bobbin of alpaca/merino today:

I love how this is coming out. It isn’t totally even, I spun it rather quickly, and without as much attention to detail as I used on my previous yarn, but it was good fun 🙂 Even if I did have to spin it straight out of the plastic bag to avoid becoming covered in it.

Today’s coin is a New York state quarter, the other half has a collection of US state quarters so you might be seeing a few more of them over the coming days.

Tomorrow I shall skein this bobbin up and measure it, and hopefully if I have time get started on plying the next.

Le Tour de Fleece 2011: Days Thirteen, Fourteen, and Fifteen

No posts on Friday or Saturday (and no spinning progress either) because I was out at Knit Nation, attending some fantastic classes and generally having a great time. My last class was this morning, and I got home just in time for tea, I am now absolutely shattered! I will do a proper post about it soon when I have recovered.

We recorded all the cycling so I have quite a lot of that to catch up with. I have made a start on that and made a good start with my second bobbin of alpaca/merino.

Today’s coin is a South African 1 Rand.

I think I shall have a very early night tonight.

Le Tour de Fleece 2011: Day Twelve

Bastille day and the cyclists ride into the Pyrenees for the start of the serious mountains. Slightly surprising in who did well and who did badly today, it looked hard work for all concerned.

I have had fun cramming as much yarn as possible onto my bobbin 🙂

Today’s coin is a £2 celebrating the Commonwealth Games.

Le Tour de Fleece 2011: Day Eleven

More beautiful scenery as the cyclists go through the Tarn region, although rotten weather for the finish. It has been cold and grey here but luckily not wet. I haven’t been to this area of France but it looks lovely, another place to add to the list of nice places to visit.

It was spinning group at Seale today so the spinning progressed well. We spin in the Manor Farm Craft Centre Tea Room which was not quite as busy today as it sometimes is. They make lovely homemade soups and cakes so I had tomato, celery and lentil soup for lunch and carrot cake and tea for a treat afterwards 🙂

In amongst all that eating I did manage to spin a bit more on the alpaca/merino:

I think the colour is growing on me.

Today’s coin is a Japanese 100 yen.

Tomorrow I get to play the fun game where I see how much yarn I can pack onto the bobbin (its a game that never gets old 🙂 ).


Le Tour de Fleece 2011: Day Ten

A good day here. I managed to finish the current stage of a work project, and then it was an exciting race for the cyclists, with no major crashes.

Also last night was a speaker meeting at spinning group with Teresinha Roberts talking about Woad and Indigo. Really interesting talk, I hadn’t realised there were so many different kinds of indigo, and Teresinha was a very good and knowledgeable speaker. She also let me have a go on her rakestraw spinner which was great fun!

I managed to do a bit of spinning today too. I am now working on the 70% alpaca, 30% merino fibre in Cappuccino that I bought from John Arbon last October. I have about 600g and the plan is to spin a 2ply to a thickness of somewhere between a commercial 4ply and DK, and make a nice big soft squishy shawl. Here is my progress so far:

The coin is a £2 celebrating the discovery of DNA.

I thought I would give your eyes a rest after the searing orange of the last week, but I am a little concerned about the beige-ness of the current yarn. I think I like it, but I’m not totally sure yet.

I also realised today that I had forgotten to photograph my new tool for becoming a more consistent spinner. I have been making myself little record cards, which I think I shall do for any project over about 100g. The idea being that I write down what I am doing and attach a sample to the card and then I can keep comparing the stuff I am spinning to my sample. It usually takes me months and months to actually finish things, so I thought this would be a good memory jogger.

So here we have my first two sample cards:

At the top I have information on what the fibre is, where I got it from and what ratio I am using on my wheel. Then there is a sample of the single, a sample of the plied yarn, and at the bottom the plied yarn after it has been washed.

The only problem I have had so far has been finding suitable record cards. The ones I bought are a bit flimsy and more paper-like than card-like. For these two sample cards I have created my own laminate by sticking three layers of record cards together to make something a bit more rigid. It has worked ok but is not ideal. I think next I might try finding some card and cutting it down to a reasonable size.


Le Tour de Fleece 2011: Day Nine

The Bremen 2 Euro coin makes its triumphant return today. After some crawling around in the garden with the secateurs this morning I liberated it! It seems to be none the worse for its night outside, but I have given it a nice wash. To celebrate the retrieval it is staring in today’s photo as well as yesterday’s.

My first finished skein of this year’s Tour de Fleece.

This is 70% merino, 30% silk from Wingham Wool Work. It is about the thickness of a British commercial 4ply weight (American fingering weight), which should be a good weight for knitting socks. I spun it at a ratio of 13:1, which is the 4th speed on my Majacraft Suzie Pro. There is 231g and 892m.

It is a slightly odd weight of yarn because I bought this when I visited Wingham. When you buy fibre in person you put it yourself into the bags they supply, then they weigh it and you pay for exactly the amount you have chosen, so it doesn’t have to be in multiples of 100g. Me being my paranoid self I thought I had better add a bit more than 100g to be on the safe side, and got a bit carried away. I probably have enough here for two pairs of socks!

I think I am going to make the Cathedral socks from an old issue of Knitty. I think I shall probably make the middle size, but I might alter the ribbing so it is a bit wider as I have wide legs 🙂

During tomorrow’s rest day I shall make the difficult decision of what to start spinning next.

The cyclists had a rather dramatic day with all the crashes, it makes me doubly glad that I am at home watching it all on the telly rather than out there cycling.