Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tour de Fleece recap...

It seems that I go through phases in my fiber art life. Right now I'm in a spinning phase and having a wonderful time!  Just finished Tour de Fleece, which I have never done before.  I had not heard of it until recently, but it is a self-directed spinning challenge that runs at the same time as the Tour de France bicycle race.  Having no interest in sports, I did the challenge for the personal satisfaction.

I participated in three teams, the first one was Knit Picks and I chose to spin a three ply yarn to complete the singles I had spun of "Blue Fleck" colorway from AlohaBlu that I received in a spinning swap a while back. 
Spin swap from AlohaBlu, the Blue Fleck custom dyed roving is in the middle

When I get those precious braids of handpainted roving I like to plan a yarn around them to show their beauty. This particular roving was about two ounces, and I like to have more yarn than that in the event I want more than an accent of the handpaint.  So I made up more batts to match. In this case, I wanted a subtle blend of blues and teals so I combined these fibers into batts: some gray Corriedale from a sheep named "Sierra", some wool top in a colorway "Bluebell" and some hand dyed Firestar in blue and teal.  All of this came from my stash (how cool is that!) so it made me feel extra good about the yarn I was making!  Here's the picture of the finished "Blue Fleck" singles and the stash of the other fibers.
Blue Fleck singles, Bluebell top, Firestar in blue and teal
Sierra Corridale

The finished batts looked like this:
I made four of these at 33 grams each so that I would have two bobbins with well over two ounces each for plying.  I prefer not to have to try and match batts after the fact, because it seems to be like dye lots, where even if I use the same materials and in the same ratios it never looks identical.

Then I started the spinning.  It seemed to take forever since I wanted the final yarn to be pretty fine.  I finished a bit early, which was a relief and did the plying and got this yarn:
It ended up being 600 yards, 160 grams or 5.6 ounces!  No wonder it felt like I had been spinning forever!  I ended up with quite a bit of the blended singles left, so I did an experiment with embellished yarn using sequins strung on sewing thread.  I chain plied it with the two strands held together, very fiddly and time consuming, but I really like the resulting yarn:
It is 36 grams or 1.3 ounces and 92 yards.  At this point, I'm planning to use this yarn set for some kind of outerwear with the sequined yarn for trim.  It isn't soft enough for next to the skin, but it is gorgeous and will wear well.  Haven't decided on knitting or weaving yet, or even what form of garment.  So into the stash it goes for the time being.