Three Squishy Skeins

As I continue in my quest to write my way through my finished projects, I thought today would be a fun day to share a little pre-Tour de Fleece spinning. You see, a couple days before the Tour de Fleece kicked off I found myself battling some bad migraines that left me not feeling like doing much. One night, I finally felt ok enough to do some spinning, but didn’t have the energy or attention span to do anything super technical so I grabbed 3 braids of fiber that I had intended to spin in simple squishy 2-ply yarns and just started spinning.

First, was a gradient from Fiber Optic Yarns that I picked up a few years (yup — years…) back at the WI Sheep & Wool Festival.

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Originally I’d planned to spin this merino + silk blend of ‘Thunder – Lightning’ as a lightweight gradient, but as time passed I thought twice about that. The colors I love, but I couldn’t really imagine using them as a gradient yarn. So I went with that squishy 2-ply plan…

fiber opticsAnd I really adore how the fiber spun up. I can easily see this knit into a very fun winter hat.

Next, I grabbed my last braid of Spun Right Round fiber…

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This was 100% Targhee named ‘Mutant Flamino’ and this one, well, I knew it would be a great chunky yarn.

srr skeinAnd it so is!

SRR detI don’t know why, but I just so often end up spinning chunky 2-ply yarns with my Spun Right Round braids. Can you blame me? The merino & targhee bases lend themselves especially well to this handling and the colorways are always fun and funky which make for very unique skeins.

And last but not least, I pulled another gradient from my stash…

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‘Dubstep’ dyed on a shetland + silk blend by Northbound Knitting was from their fiber club I tried one spring. I knew from the start that I wouldn’t spin this as a gradient mostly because I had the sneaking suspicion that I would really love it plied.

NBK skeinI was totally right.

NBK detI don’t know why I love this one so much, but I really do. It’s bright and a little crazy and I could squish this one for hours — it’s just got a great feel and is so well-balanced.

The craziest part, is that all three of these skeins I whipped up in less than a day. I completed all but the last bobbin of singles in an evening and then finished that and plied the following day. Obviously there’s been more spinning practice the last few months which makes the process go faster, but specifically I think these actually flew off my wheel because I had a much better feel for which whorl would allow me to spin most efficiently. Most notably this does not mean I picked the fastest whorl, but the one that gave me the right amount of twist that coordinated properly with my most comfortable speed of treadling. I don’t recall thinking this through in such detail in the past and clearly it made a very big difference in efficiency as well as the resulting yarns.

Since all three skeins were kind of whipped through in the last couple days before the Tour de Fleece began, I haven’t taken the time to measure, weight, or tag these skeins in any way. My best educated guess is that they’re all chunky weight and in the 100-140yard range. I’ll be adding it to the last — oh — dozen or so handspun skeins I have yet to remeasure and properly tag. I think that sounds like an excellent fall or winter project, don’t you? For now, I think I’m just going to go ahead and continue to enjoy this summertime spinning. And maybe squish these skeins squishy skeins just one more time.

TdF Week 2, Recap (belated)

I’m officially a whole week late posting these photos, but that’s life sometimes isn’t it? Especially in summer things get so busy and I’m of the school of thought that sometimes it’s good to just be busy doing stuff, living life. A big reason I love my blog is that I don’t punch a clock here — I try very hard to be timely with posts and keep fresh writing & photographs coming, but I can also let life unfold and enjoy experiences that come my way and while I do the blog can wait a bit. And I thank all of you for hanging with me through it all!

So at long last, I’m sitting down to share my week two skeins from the Tour de Fleece — I won’t beat around the bush, but let me just take you right into introductions with my four new handspun skeins.

First up was a gradient from Northbound Knitting. This BFL/Silk top was named Moonlight.

nbkmoonlight I spun and n-plied it into about 170yds of roughly sport weight yarn. I LOVE the cool blues and greys and purples.

nbkmoonlightdetThis was the first NorthBound Knitting fiber I’ve ever spun and I really could not tell from the braid exactly how this would turn out, but I really adore this yarn. It is gorgeous and I’m forever assured that Lisa at NorthBound Knitting dyes amazing fiber (not that I ever doubted it). My only regret is that I didn’t manage to eek out a little more yardage in the spinning process, but considering the yardage I’ve got this skein will undoubtedly make a lovely Zuzu’s PetalsĀ  one day.

My next skein I spun from a couple batts from Classy Squid Fiber Co. I caught wind of this shop via Handmade by Stefanie and grabbed a little over 4oz (2 batts of 2+oz) of the Cloudy with a Chance of BFL colorway.

CSFC wholeI’m relatively new to handling batts and this project was a real treat. The rich mix of black, grey, and navy with little punches of color were really inspiring.

CSFC detIt’s not the most even yarn I’ve spun and I only produced about 275yds of a 2-ply heavy sport weight yarn with these batts, but they are so very special for how unique they turned out.

CSFO detI just love how different this skein is from all my other skeins and I’m really, really, really looking forward to grabbing another couple batts from this shop when the ‘ol budget allows.

Next, I have another gradient from Northbound Knitting. This time the colorway Stormy Skies was dyed on llama top. It was another that I didn’t quite get how it’d look when I spun it, especially since I’d only spun once before with llama.

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As with the skein of NBK that I mentioned earlier in this post, I’m ready to blindly trust Lisa from Northbound Knitting with her dyeing inspirations. This colorway is a neutral that is 100% to-die-for.

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It turned out to be a DK-ish weight and I got about 144yards of n-plied yarn. It feels substantial in my hand so it’s kind of hard to believe it’s only 144yards, but I counted the yardage twice and that’s all she wrote. I’m afraid it might make finding the “right” pattern a little difficult, but I’m confident it’s out there and I’ll find it. Eventually.

And last, but certainly not least, I have something completely different. After spinning a fair bit of neutral & tonal fibers, my June Fiber Club installment arrived from Cloudlover.

IMG_9964And I knew I had to spin it immediately.

cloudlover O'ahudetAnd I did.

I got about 345 yards of a roughly sport weight (maybe DK, I haven’t checked since washing) yarn in this BFL wool. It’s probably one of the most even, professional looking skeins I’ve ever spun and I’m most definitely going to go for socks with this yarn.

Cloudlover O'ahuIt’s so bright and fun. I foresee this yarn and the future socks I intend to make as a major pick-me-up in the dead of winter.

As you might expect, I’m going to be a little behind in sharing my week 3 spins, too, but they’ll be worth the wait. Some fun brights and firsts are in the works and I could not be happier with the progress I’ve made as a spinner during this Tour. Here’s the the Tour de Fleece for getting me inspired and motivated to finish strong!