A Pre-Tour de Fleece Parade

It’s true, the Tour de Fleece started last Saturday and while I failed to manage to get a pre-Tour post together of my goals, I am spinning away these days and trying my best to keep up with my amazing teammates on Team Three Waters Farm. It’s such an inspiring team and I’m so humbled to be in their numbers!

In any case, I thought that before I started sharing what I’m currently spinning, it might be a good idea to clear the decks and share what I actually managed to finish before the Tour de Fleece started. You see, I went on a bit of a spinning tear just before the tour started. It began with a push to empty bobbins by finishing up two longer standing WIPs and then morphed into digging into my stash of “other” preps.¬† A couple quick “freestyle supported long draw” spins happened and then a day of finishing. And these are the fruits of those labors!

First, I have a very special spin to share.

img_1945¬†This skein is Three Waters Farm’s Giant Celosia on a 60/40 Polwarth/Tussah Silk base and the singles were entirely spindle spun. It took me just a couple weeks less than a full year to complete start to finish. I tried something new this time. Using the bobbin winder and weaving bobbins I got for my loom, as I filled spindles I would occasionally wind them off onto weaving bobbins. When I came to the end of my singles, this made it easy as pie to pop them on my AkerKate and ply with my wheel. I will definitely be doing this again as I found it super motivating!

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This was my take everywhere project the past year. I look at this skein and I think back to all the winter evenings in the kitchen spinning here and there while waiting for the water to boil and the moments out in nature spinning for a few moments while my family explored out on the trail as I sat and rested. It’s…. it’s a special skein to my heart. It’s fingering weight, I believe, and in that 300-400yard realm if I had to guess.

Next, another special skein. My first ever skein with my Jensen Tina 2.

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It’s Three Waters Farm Merry Poppies and it’s on the 40/40/20 Merino/Superwash Merino/Tussah Silk base. It’s spun as a 2-ply fingering weight yarn.

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It’s merry and it’s divine.

These were the two spins I needed to finish up to clear off my bobbins and knowing I only have a few days and feeling an urge to flex those freestyle supported long draw muscles again, I went to my stash…

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And found these 4oz of rolags in the Cape Cod colorway from Bumblebee Acres. Because of how these rolags are rolled with varying bands of fibers as you spin them, I find a pretty “freestyle” supported long draw to work nicely.

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I have to admit that I really enjoy this type of spinning and the resulting yarns I can create with it.

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It doesn’t have as much spring as an unsupported long draw, but it’s still got a lot of energy & life in it.

And I had enough time before the TdF kick-off for one more spin, so I went to my stash and found 2 – 4oz batts in the Inspired colorway from Classy Squid Fiber Co. They went from this…

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To this…

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I’d originally bought the batts with the intention of spinning like colors together in a big gradient, but when I started spinning for no real reason I just felt like jumbling all the colors together.

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So I did and I love the results. It’s squishy and colorful and just fun. When I came to the end of the bobbin, I found that the first bit of spinning was a little lighter than the rest and it was also entirely yellow and orange. Rather than have a weird monotone section on the skein, I broke it into two mini-skeins…

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I don’t really have a plan for this set…

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But I’m sure I’ll think of something.

And with this beautiful round of stash enhancement tucked away and shared with you, it’s time to get back to my current WIPs. There may just be 20oz of fiber already in progress… more on that soon!

A Simply Wonderful Wednesday

I started yesterday here…

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On our little balcony with my Jensen Tina 2, my new flyer & hi-speed bobbin, and a basket of Three Waters Farm “Flying Home”, the June Top of the Month Club fiber. If you look really close, you can get just a tiny glimpse of Moose — Mr. Knitting Sarah and coffee and all our wonderful yard birds (including a visit from the resident Cooper’s Hawk) were also present making the morning complete.

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The fiber is indeed a beauty — it’s 100% Corriedale, so I broke it up into little uneven nests — probably 1-5 grams each and will eventually chain ply them. If it winds up light enough, I will make it into socks when the time comes.

From our little slice of heaven, we took a little hike, as we often do on Mr. Knitting Sarah’s days off.

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We went to one of my favorite trails. It’s quiet and wide open and it always holds surprises. I didn’t take many photos, but I did find this little bumblebee…

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With his pockets full of pollen. He was very busy and could not hold still for a good picture. He had too much too do! We also had the joy of witnessing not one, but two American Bitterns fly in opposing circles around us and — after waiting a while to see if they’d take off again from the tall marsh grasses — we learned that like a Great Blue Heron, they do indeed make a noise when the take off. It is quiet and understated, as it should be for sure a quiet and understated bird.

With the sun starting to beat down on us and a flock of 40 or so White Pelicans circling on the thermals overhead, the Common Yellowthroats and Sedge Wrens (or Marsh Wrens, I’m not 100% sure) sung us back toward the car. There was a flock of Cedar Waxwings nibbling berries along the way that I stopped to admire. Mr. Knitting Sarah was hot, though and he forged ahead, about 10 feet in front of me. Just as we were almost to the gate near the parking area there was a sudden explosion almost directly under Mr. Knitting Sarah’s feet. He jumped, a little freaked out as I shouted, “Woodcock!!!!!” and sure enough, it was a pair of American Woodcock. The bouncing and dancing and fist bumps that ensued were to celebrate this experience because I’ve been trying to see a Woodcock for roughly 15 years and I’ve just never been in the right place at the right time. Until yesterday. That’s what we call a “life bird” in the birding world and when you’ve traveled a bit and you’ve been birding for 15 years, seeing something brand new is worthy of a lot of bouncing, dancing, and fist bumps. Trust me. And I won’t lie, the fact that it also made Mr. Knitting Sarah jump was kind of fun, too.

Elated from a wonderful morning on the trail, we headed home and grabbed the kiddos to go see the latest Jurassic World movie and then home again where I did a little spinning. The night before, I’d worked up another set of rolags from Bumblebee Acres

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And while I wasn’t in the mood to ply this project just yet, I’m still really into this whole “freestyle supported long draw” thing, so I grabbed a couple batts from my stash to experiment with the technique with batts. This is one of them…

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Which looks like this unrolled…

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It’s a little lighter than it’s sibling, but close enough to still work together. In any case, I’ve been pulling them apart into more manageable batt-lets according to color…

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And spinning from them with my fast and loose supported long draw…

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It’s really vibrant. Originally I had thought I’d spin them both lightly and then chain ply them, but now I’m thinking I may make a 2-ply and play a little more with the colors. We shall see.

For good measure, I also put a couple rows into my Rainbow Warrior…

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I believe I’m one row away from Section 7, about to start Row 130 out of 158. Not that I’m counting.

I don’t know about you, but being around all this excitement and action has tuckered Moose out.

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I suppose that’s what a simply wonderful Wednesday, full of all of my favorite things can do!