Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Ramblings

I decided to cover some pics I've been posting over the last couple of weeks, especially during Tour de Fleece, which ends tonight at midnight Pacific Daylight Time. My goal for TdF was to spin for an hour a day, trying to make some good progress on my white Border Leicester x Corriedale fleece I bought at Black Sheep Gathering two summers ago. So far, I've finished one skein of 574 yards, filling three bobbins and then plying them on my Louet wheel with the 8 ounce bobbins. I much prefer to knit with fewer joins in my yarns, so the larger skeins suit me. So all those pics of my spinning wheel and the bobbins are chronicling my progress. I almost filled a second bobbin yesterday and am hoping to fill it today. It dawned on me at breakfast yesterday that I was still using the slowest whorl on my Hitchhiker, so I changed to the fastest whorl and it made a big difference in my progress yesterday. 

I've also been spinning on two of my spindles - my Woodland Woolworks black walnut Turkish spindle and my Schacht Hi-Lo spindle. The Turkish has Three Fates Yarns hand dyed BFL roving on it and the Hi-Lo has Blue Moon Truly, Madly, Deeply roving on it. I'm using the Schacht in its top whorl mode and trying a different way of winding the cop on, to see how stable the spindle is and how much singles I can wind on. By the way, even though it's a singular object, the plural form of the word is used, being as it came from Old English. 

Needless to say, with the heavy emphasis on spinning, I haven't been getting much knitting done lately. I've been doing a round or two here and there on my Harvest Dew socks, the second quarter free pattern KAL on the Socks That Rock group on Ravelry. Here's my progress so far on the first sock. 

What looks like a dark blue is actually a dark forest green, my iPhone tends to change colors sometimes, a software issue. The colorway is Sigur Ros, STR in lightweight. I bought it at Twisted in Portland on the Knittin' the Rails yarn crawl on Memorial Day weekend. I definitely plan to go back to that shop and explore more of their wall of sock yarns - yumm!

This is the last weekend before Sock Summit 2011 starts on Thursday and I'm sure lots of folks are scrambling to get things ready in time. I delivered 10 copies of my Fates Summit sock pattern to Steph yesterday for her to sell in her Three Fates Yarns booth and will take my memory stick with me in case she sells out and needs more. I'll be helping Steph in her booth each day except Sunday, when I have classes all day. I've got two of her yarns in hand to knit Pisqu, a stranded sock pattern that I'm really looking forward to. I just need to wind the skeins into center pull balls and set up a bag for the project. I'm also spinning some of her roving on my Turkish spindle, so I can demo both products for customers. 

I've also volunteered to help at the Summit and will be in the Sock Museum Friday afternoon from 3-6 pm, so I have Harvest Dew on my needles in STR yarn and BMFA roving on my Hi-Lo spindle, so I can demo those products while I'm a docent in the Museum. 

The Dim Sum luncheon on Saturday has really taken off, from the posts I've read we might have as many as 100 people coming for it! I've volunteered to be a guide to help folks get from the Convention Center to the restaurant, Fong Chong, on NW 4th Ave. We're going in groups of about 25 at a time so we don't overload MAX on any one run. Sure hope folks are wearing their SS11 badges or mini socks, so we can show Portland just how popular sock knitting is!

As to work, last Tuesday afternoon the Postmaster asked me to set up an unveiling ceremony for the Oregon State flag stamps that go on sale August 11. So for the next three days I was frantically calling and emailing folks to get a representative for the Governor, since he will be out of his office that week, a location and time set up. Now I can announce that it will be at 11 am, on Thursday, August 11th, in the Capitol Galleria on the south side of the Capitol. The Secretary of State, Kate Brown, will stand in for the Governor, there will be very short historical vignettes illustrating the history of the flag, and Costco will be donating and serving cake and punch. We'll have a collectible cancellation available at the Salem Main Office that day, so stamp collectors are very happy. I basically worked on this project 24 hours a day, since my brain was working on it while I was trying to sleep, so by Friday I came home totally exhausted. But I still spun until I filled the first bobbin, and it actually came out looking pretty good. 

Okay, now a bit of eye candy to share. 

This is my Fates Summit sock pattern, which has been running as a free pattern for a KAL on the Three Fates Yarn group on Ravelry. On Wednesday, when I leave for SS11, it will come down as a free pattern and go up as a for-sale pattern. So if you're interested in a free copy, go to Ravelry and download it right away!

This is the skein I finished last weekend, dripping in the shower before I laid it out on the plastic drying rack.

So, I've been a bit busy in the last couple of weeks, now to kick back a bit and enjoy my week off work. Happy knitting to all!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fates Summit Socks

Fates Summit Socks by BlueDragon2
Fates Summit Socks, a photo by BlueDragon2 on Flickr.

My Fates Summit sock pattern, creates to celebrate my friend Stephania vending at Sock Summit 2011! Come see her beautiful yarns and rovings in booth 1025!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 21 - Challenge of filling the bobbin met!

I challenged myself to finish filling this bobbin tonight after work, and I succeeded! Tour de Fleece is over on Sunday, not sure what time yet, so I'm going to see how far I can get on the next bobbin this weekend. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Emptied one bobbin so finished for the day!

When I empty one of three bobbins being plied together, I'm done for the day.

Spinning progress Day 15

Spinning progress Day 15 by BlueDragon2
Spinning progress Day 15, a photo by BlueDragon2 on Flickr.

Spun until the treadle connection broke. Got over half the bobbin filled!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday morning progress

Thursday morning progress by BlueDragon2
Thursday morning progress, a photo by BlueDragon2 on Flickr.

Didn't get last night's progress posted, got up and spun another handful of locks. Now the bobbin is definitely full!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Summing Up

I figured it was time to gather some random pics and comments together to fill out some details for folks. So here is a summing up post, to tie things together and make sense of the pics I've been posting lately.

First, I joined the Tour de Fleece event on Ravelry as incentive to get some of my white Border Leicester X fleece spun up. I'm spinning it on my Merlin Tree Hitchhiker until I get three bobbins full, then I'm plying it on my Louet with the 8 ounce bobbins. The long term goal is to get a round three-ply yarn to use for a self-designed Aran cardigan for myself, maybe started next year if I get this fleece spun up by the end of the year (God willing, sooner than that!). There are several Aran ideas floating around in my head that I want to play around with, including having the main front and back cable designs different. This way I could center the front main cable on each front, instead of having to find a way to divide it in half at the front opening. I'm not a fan personally of asymmetrical openings on sweaters for me, they tend to emphasize my fluffy shape too much. So here are some progress pics of my TdF spinning to share with you.

First up is an almost full bobbin on my Hitchhiker of the BLx, which I filled later and swapped out for the third bobbin to spin on today at the Marion County, OR, Fair.

The first day, we held a potluck at our home for the local Salem Area Ravelers group and a few of our personal friends. I got some spindle spinning done.

This is Blue Moon Fiber Arts roving in the Truly, Madly Deeply colorway, which I really love. The blue in the basket is some Colonial roving I bought at a shop in Lincoln Beach, OR a couple of years ago. I bought a pound, so it's taking a while to spin up, lol. The lavender on my Black Walnut Turkish spindle is from Three Fates Yarns on My friend Stephania owns the shop and she does amazing yarn and roving colorways. If you check my Ravelry projects pages, you'll see lots of her yarns used in my projects. 

On Sunday, July 3rd, we held our weekly spinning get together at my home, so we could enjoy the cool backyard and eat some of the leftovers from Saturday. Since my DH went fishing, I decided to spin the roving I had bought the previous weekend at Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR on my Louet, which my DH uses mostly, using the new Wooly Winder he had bought at BSG. I wanted to see how it worked and whether I would remember to change my hand positions regularly to avoid cramping (I didn't do very well at that). Here's the start photo.

And here's the full bobbin.

Here's the yarn after being plied.

I'd like to get busy and skein off the yarn, so I can wash and dry it to mark it off my to-do list. I might get it done before I leave for the County Fair today, or later this evening. 

Then I did some more spinning on the 4th of July, since I had the day off and knew my spinning time the rest of the week would be marginal.

This is some roving that I had previously spun up and plied. 

Here's the skein tied and ready to be washed and hung outside in the shade to dry.

I ended up with about 158 yards of three plied yarn and will decide on a project for it later. The gauge is about knitting worsted weight. Pretty, yes?

Here are some pics of my drop spindle spinning, using a Schacht Hi-Lo 1.1 ounce spindle, which I am really enjoying. It's balanced, a good length, nicely formed, and a dream to spin on.

This last picture is after I wound the singles off the full spindle, onto a tp roll I had already wound the first full spindle-full on, and started spinning again. 

Here's the first skein after being washed and dried, yumm!

Here is a fun picture I took at knitting yesterday, when I happened to set my skein down next to my Hibiscus/Peppermint tea bag. Pretty cool colors!

Needless to say, with all this spinning going on, not much knitting is getting done, but it feels really good to take a break from the intense knitting I've been doing the last year or so. These are DH's Father's Day socks, plain 2 x 2 ribbed socks in Three Fates Yarns Triceratops colorway. DH really likes the colorway, as it will go with several of his shirts. DH is one of those folks who are diligent in matching socks and shirts (not me, though!). 

I've been thinking that I wanted to finish my Salida socks to wear at Sock Summit and I've been feeling guilty that I'm spending so much time spinning instead of knitting. Last night, while I was pulling locks to take to the Fair today, I decided that I wasn't going to stress about the socks. I've got four new pairs I haven't worn yet, including Glynis which has one sock on display at Teaselwick Wools at Mission Mill Museum. So even if I don't get Salida finished before I get there, I'll still have new socks to wear the four days of the summit. I plan to wear my Orion socks on Wednesday when I arrive, as that is the pair on the SS logo. So I'm covered and I can sit back and enjoy my spinning now. Aaahhhhhhh.

In other areas of my life, work is getting more stressful, as Congress isn't budging on refunding the humongous overpayment of money to both Civil Service and FERS systems. If we got part of the 11 BILLION dollar overpayment refunded, we could buy new computer systems for the windowline clerks to speed things up and avoid so much downtime with machine malfunctions. We could hire enough clerks and carriers to actually improve delivery times. I still haven't gotten over management's game of 'improving delivery standards' to eastern Oregon by setting the delivery standard to two days, instead of overnight. More corporate game playing with numbers and more ignoring the customers' needs. So by slowing down delivery, we are on time more often, so they say we are giving better service (?!?!)? In whose dreams?

But today I'm going to join friends at the county Fair and spin for a few hours. Last night I brought a card table in from the garage and set it up in our fiber workroom. I put a couple of plastic bags over the table and spread out the white fleece, so it will be easier to pull locks to spin. I can leave the fleece spread out and it will stay cool in the house, instead of getting hot in the garage. Now I have two plastic bags full of locks to spin, should be enough to fill a bobbin completely. Then I'll be able to ply them together into a skein, wash and dry the skein, and do it all over again. But it will be a large skein, probably over 500 yards, and a chunk of the fleece spun up. 

Oh, and the most important thing? Sock Summit is just seventeen days away!!! Do you think I'm getting excited yet? 

Happy knitting and spinning!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Spindle was starting to backspin

So I wound it off onto the roll I had already started and am spinning more on the spindle.

Friday, July 08, 2011

First finished skein!

First finished skein! by BlueDragon2
First finished skein!, a photo by BlueDragon2 on Flickr.

Now to find the label so I can put it with the skein.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Sunday, July 03, 2011

4 ounces of Mountain Colors roving in Spring Eclipse colorway

100% Targhee Wool purchased at Carolina Homespun at BSG last weekend. All spun today!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Aaannndddd we're off!

Tour de Fleece begins today, so the Salem Area Ravelers had a potluck at my home to kick things off, and to hang out on the holiday weekend. Here's a pic of my progress, after I tipped my wheel over and broke the flyer. Fortunately I had Superglue on hand so was able to fix it. While it dried, I spun on a drop spindle some gorgeous Blue Moon Fiber Arts roving in the Truly, Madly Deeply colorway. 

You can see the white line on the flyer where I glued it. Next time I'll catch the wheel and let my cup of iced tea fall, lol. I didn't realize that simply falling over could break the flyer so easily, especially landing on soft grass. 

Here's my drop spindle with the singles on it. I have quite a ways still to go, but have wound off one length of spun singles already onto an empty toilet paper roll. By the way, what's in the bag is just a fraction of the roving I have left. I pulled it off and pre-drafted some to carry with me in the basket, the rest is in a bag in my den closet.

My friend Steve came to the potluck and brought his partner Buddy. He told folks about his specially built trike and several wanted to see it. So he drove his car home and came back in a few minutes on his trike. Buddy just loves going places on it with Steve, they drive to Las Vegas at least once a month in the summer.

The KAL for the Three Fates Mystery Sock pattern started yesterday and over a hundred people downloaded the pattern the first day! I also uploaded a scan of my notes for my Twelve Months of Christmas vest - last time I checked, this morning, almost two hundred had downloaded the file! Last night when I got home I checked and there were 68 Favorites for my vest - I was in tears. This morning even more and I'll be getting on in a while to see how things are going tonight. The pattern is free on Ravelry until Sock Summit begins, at that point it will be for sale for $5.00.

Tonight I'm knitting on DH's Father's Day socks while watching a Dr. Who DVD. Once his second sock is done I'll be able to get back to knitting on my Salida socks to wear at Sock Summit. I need to stop by Teaselwick Wools on Monday to pick up the one Glynis sock I had there as a class sample so I can wear that pair at SS11, too. 

The weather today was gorgeous - 80 degrees, clear and sunny. By the time folks started arriving for the potluck, the sun had moved far enough westward that our neighbor's maple tree shaded the backyard so we could eat, spin, and knit in comfortable shade. I'm hoping that the weather is just as good tomorrow for the Spin In. 

Hope everyone has a great Fourth of July, safe and sane and patriotic!

Happy knitting and spinning!