Sunday, July 26, 2015

Yellow Jersey Day

Today marks the end of the Tour de Fleece, and while I didn't spin everything I'd set aside for the Tour (there's about 8 oz. untouched plus another 4 oz. that are in progess), I think I did well enough to earn a yellow jersey.

For one thing, I've finished two more skeins in the past three days -- the most recent one in just a day. On Thursday night, I plied the Shock and Awe singles. After washing, the yarn ended up being approximately DK weight (with a few thicker and a few thinner spots) and 194.5 yards.

The appearance of the finished yarn was a bit of a surprise -- I really thought the hot pink would be more prominent. But I love the tweedy effect from the blending of the colors.

On a bit of a whim, I decided yesterday afternoon to start spinning my other Fat Cat Knits blended top in Ice Princess (this one had a bit of sparkle in it). I knew how long it had taken me to spin and ply the first skein, so I figured if I could spin one bobbin in the afternoon and another after putting Rainbow to bed, I'd have plenty of time to ply today. As it turned out, I was right.

This photo is prebath -- the skein is soaking now, and I expect it will puff up a bit after the finishing process. I think this skein is a bit shorter than the first one, but they should be a good match; the plan all along was to spin them up more or less the same and use them together in something for Rainbow.

All in all, I spun up five skeins during the Tour, for a total of 21 ounces and more than 1,137 yards, plus whatever this last skein ends up being. I think I've probably spun more in years past, but given how busy the past few weeks have been, I'm calling this Tour a victory.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

All Kinds of Happy

Happiness is finishing projects, like these socks!

Pattern: Plain vanilla worked over 70 stitches with a 3x2 ribbed cuff, heel flap and gusset, and wedge toe
Yarn: Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce (80% superwash merino/20% nylon) in Advance to Go!
Needles: 40 in. US 0 (2.0 mm) Addi Sock Rockets
Started/Completed: June 29/July 21

There's not too much to say about these except that I love them. They are quite obviously fraternal socks; I didn't even bother trying to get them to match with an eight-stripe sequence. The yarn was wonderful, as expected, and I know these will get a lot of wear this fall and winter.

I also finished a giant skein of handspun!

This is the plied and washed Fat Cat Knits superwash Targhee that I've been spinning since the beginning of the Tour de Fleece. Even using my miniSpinner, it still took three plying sessions to get it all done. I know my default singles are pretty fine, but I guess they were a bit finer than usual, because there's a whopping 424.5 yards of three-ply fingering weight (heck, you could even call it light fingering weight) in this skein. I love it, too, and I hope to make some awesome socks with it.

I am hoping there will be some more finishing this week. Now that the socks are done, I've been taking the Helena to work to try to finish it, and I'm just about there. I'm also still spinning up a storm to try to get at least one more skein done before the end of the Tour. Last night I finished the second bobbin of Fat Cat Knits blended merino top:

Tonight's mission will be to ply it all, if I can (I'm pretty sure today is the second TdF challenge day, so that would be appropriate).

I am looking forward to this weekend, when -- for once -- we have very little scheduled and I can actually get in some decent crafting time!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

End in Sight

If all goes according to plan, this week will be all about finishing things.

My Helena is getting very close to being finished. One sleeve is done (except for sewing up the picot hem), so all that remains to be done is the second sleeve and the button bands/collar. I even found the perfect buttons at my LYS over the weekend.

My Boy Sweater will need some attention this week as well, as its recipient made his arrival this past Friday. I have not knit a stitch on it since you last saw it, but given the fairly large gauge, I do not think it will take me all that much time to knit a couple of sleeves and a collar (as I recall, I have only half a round and a bind off to do on the body).

As if that wasn't enough, I'm also very close to finishing my super stripey socks, with just the toe to finish on sock number two.

This have been such an addictive knit that I'm kind of sad that they're almost done -- but let's not forget that there's plenty of self-striping sock yarn to be had should I feel the urge.

Of course, this week is also the final week in the Tour de Fleece, and I am trying to finish at least two more skeins before the week is over. I am nearly finished with my Fat Cat Knits superwash Targhee (in Sapphire Cove), which I started plying on Sunday and spent a good two and a half hours on last night. It's still not done, but I'm hopeful that I can finish up the last of it this evening.

There's another good thing to come out of all this finishing -- I'm going to have a lot of meterage to add to my Stash Dash total!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Picking Up Speed

There is one week left in the Tour de Fleece, and I'm determined to make a good showing. This week seemed to be more productive.

First, I finished my second skein, a two-ply sport-to-DK weight in Southern Cross Fibre superwash merino in Dom Pedro, approximately 253 yards.

I finished another bobbin of Fat Cat Knits superwash Targhee singles:

And now there are three (which have already begun to be plied, but it was too dark to get a picture):

And yesterday, I spun up one bobbin (2 oz.) of FCK blended merino top in Shock and Awe on the miniSpinner (and it's apparently bright enough that my camera didn't want to focus on it).

Once the plying is done, I'll spin up the second bobbin to match this one. With any luck, I should have at least two more finished skeins by the end of the Tour!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Behind Pace

Before the start of the Tour de Fleece, I had grand plans for what I was going accomplish. Admittedly, the pile of fiber I had set aside to spin was a huge amount, but I thought I would at least make a dent. And now here I am, roughly halfway through, and I feel like I've barely done any spinning at all. I suppose circumstances haven't totally been in my favor, but I really thought I would have done more by now. Oh well.

I did manage to finish up one project last night, though I stayed up a little late in order to do it. After spinning the second bobbin of my Southern Cross Fibre superwash merino singles on Monday night, I sat down and plied them last night. Thank goodness for my miniSpinner -- it made it all fast and fairly effortless.

Once I get Rainbow to bed tonight, I will skein and wash this yarn. It looks like it will end up being mostly in the DK range, though it's possible it might plump up a bit more in the wash. I mentioned before that I didn't love spinning this fiber, oddly, so I'm happy to have it done.

After the skeining is done, I will turn my attention back to my Fat Cat Knits superwash Targhee. I'm on the third and final bobbin now, and I'm confident that I will have all the singles spun by tomorrow night, which means I should be able to ply this weekend. I just barely started this bobbin the other evening, so there's still most of it to spin, probably a good three to four hours' worth of spinning time.

I'm hoping to try to catch up on my TdF pile a bit this weekend, but I still have some knitting to attend to as well. I actually didn't spin at all on Tuesday night and instead spent a bit of time working on the Helena. I didn't make a whole lot of progress (mainly because I had some business-y stuff to attend to and didn't actually have much time to knit), but the picot hem on the body is nearly done. I'm really hoping I can whoosh through the sleeves this weekend at some point.

I'm also still working on my Monopoly-inspired socks during my lunch break. The second sock is now at the heel, so I'll soon be in the home stretch.

At some point I'm going to need to do a cull of the sock drawers and get rid of the socks that I don't like or that are really about ready to fall apart in order to make room for these and the other stripey socks I've knit recently, because right now there isn't room for them. I suppose having a lot of hand-knit socks can be both a blessing and a curse!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Catching Up

In case you were wondering, a bachelorette weekend at the spa does not make for good knitting time. I took plenty of knitting with over the weekend, as I usually do whenever I travel, but I completed very little. The only knitting I did at all, in fact, was done in the car to and from our destination, so I'm not nearly as far along on the baby sweater as I had hoped. I did, however, finish the lace portion, so all that's left to do on the body is the picot hem.

I expect that the knitting that's still to be done will go rather quickly (small sleeves knit in stockinette in the round? -- oh yes), so perhaps I'll be able to finish this up this week.

Meanwhile, because I missed a day of Tour de Fleece spinning on Saturday, I tried to make up for lost time the past two evenings. I finished the second of three bobbins of my Fat Cat Knits superwash Targhee:

and I managed to spin the entire second bobbin of Southern Cross Fibre superwash merino in one sitting last night:

I did (just barely) start the third bobbin of FCK singles last night, but it was really only about 10 minutes' worth of spinning, so there's not much to see. The SCF singles are now ready to be plied, but I may let them sit for one more day. I do have to say that I didn't love spinning the singles, which was unexpected. Usually I love spinning superwash merino, but this batch was weirdly clumpy and even perhaps a bit felted in some spots, which made it hard to draft evenly. I'm not sure what was going on there. In any case, I'm happy to be nearly done with it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Short & Sweet

I'm going to keep tonight's post very short and to the point because frankly I'm exhausted from a weekend away (from which I got back less than two hours ago). I was away from my spinning wheels, too, so not much progress has been made on my Tour de Fleece spinning in the past 48 hours. I did spend some time with my Lendrum on Friday night, and I'm moving along on bobbin number two of my Fat Cat Knits superwash Targhee.

I'm hoping to spend a bit more time on this bobbin this evening, provided I can keep my eyes open. Once it's done, I plan on spinning the second bobbin of my Southern Cross Fibre superwash merino.

I do have a finished skein to show from earlier in the week, a skein that ended up taking a lot longer than I'd anticipated. You saw it on the bobbin last week. Unfortunately, after it was washed and dried, I discovered that I'd put too much twist in it, so on Monday evening, I wound it into a center-pull ball, attached the end to my miniSpinner, and ran it back through the wheel quickly to take out some of the excess twist. Then I washed and soaked it again.

This is Fat Cat Knits Polwarth/black Alpaca -- it was my last Transformations theme club shipment. After the plying do-over and reskeining, it ended up being approximately DK weight and roughly 265 yards. It's pretty darn squooshy, too!