This is the time of year when I usually don't get much knitting done, and so far, this year's Tour de Fleece is proving to be very much the norm. Since it began on Saturday, I've knit only a little bit and having been spending the vast majority of my time spinning. I've been sure to give both wheels and my spindles a workout, and that variety has kept me from getting bored of any one thing.
I began in earnest on Saturday afternoon, while waiting for Rainbow to fall asleep for her nap so I could head over to my LYS, as I do almost every Saturday. We're now, for the most part, putting her down in her crib and then leaving the room to let her fall asleep on her own, so I was listening to her talk to herself, which was really cute. In the span of about 20 or so minutes, I started the June shipment from the Crown Mountain Farms fiber club -- Perendale in a shockingly bright colorway called the Fifth Element.
I'm spinning this using a modified/supported long draw; the fiber prep is actually roving, rather than top, for a change. I'm having a few issues as I get used to a spinning style that I don't usually use, but one of my spinning goals for the year was to work on my long draw, so I feel good about the effort. I'm hoping that this will result in a lighter, loftier yarn than what I usually spin.
Once Rainbow was asleep, I packed up my miniSpinner and headed over to Natural Stitches, where I started in on some stunning Mountain Colors Targhee top that I'd picked up there several weeks ago. I split the top for a two-ply fractal yarn, meaning that I split it in half lengthwise and then split one of the halves in half again. This means I'll be following the color sequence for both plies, but one ply will have much shorter color repeats than the other and will go through the sequence twice rather than once. This has been really fun to spin on the miniSpinner because the WooLee Winder creates layers of colors as I spin, so I can watch each color in the sequence overtake and cover up the previous color. One bobbin is complete and the second will be started shortly.
Finally, there's a yarn that is, despite its plain appearance, quite an accomplishment for me as a spinner. Two years ago, back when voting was still allowed in the TdF, I was lucky enough to win a couple prizes. One of those was a beautiful spindle with a glass whorl. Last year during the Tour, I decided that I should really get my spindling skills up to par, so I pulled it out along with some undyed mixed BFL and got going. I was a lot more successful on this attempt, but alas, after the Tour ended, the spindle sat for a long time. Earlier this year I had some renewed interest in spindling again and pulled it out to spin a second cop, and yesterday I plied the two.
This meager skein represents my first spindle-spun yarn -- and by that I mean that I spun the singles and plied them on a spindle. (I'm not counting my first attempts at spinning as a finished yarn, though they're probably still somewhere in my stash in a small tangle.) I'm very proud of this yarn, and not least because it was a yearlong process to finish it. I discovered that what really makes me enjoy spindle spinning is a good spindle; specifically I like a spindle with a notch, which the glass whorl spindle does not have. Because my yarn kept slipping, I kept getting frustrated with that particular spindle, and that's why I kept putting it down.
Spinning is likely to continue at a high rate of activity for a few more weeks, so bear with me if you're not here for the spinning stuff. There is some knitting to come, as I have some baby gifts to knit!