Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Post Tour

The Tour de Fleece is behind us, and even though I am taking a small break from spinning, I couldn'n not ply this yarn up... It was just shouting out at me. So here's the French sheep, n-ply, around 230-ish meters in sock-yarn thickness.
I love the way that the variegated colours all blend together when you ply it.
It ended up as a nice mixed up brown, with silky white and burnt omber highlights and nearly black lowlights.
Now the hunt is on for a nice pattern for this lovely soft yarn...
Wood, merino, soy silk, diamond bamboo, 100 grams, De Spinners
And being a true perfectionist, just buying a new box for my spinnings wasn't enough, I had to properly label them as well...
There's still plenty of room in the box for more! Not tonight though, I'm knitting...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 23

WE DID IT!!!
Cadel Evans won the Tour de France, and I won my own Tour de Fleece! 23 days of spinning (with 2 days off...) resulting in 1476 grams of spun yarn and lots of material to knit sweaters, scarves, socks, hats etc. with. I had a blast! I am so going to miss my Maillot Orange team on Ravelry... hope we'll keep in touch on the regular spinning forum! I met loads of new friends and found out I actually quite like spinning. A lot.
Yesterday was quite a marathon session for me, and while the cyclists were already on their fifth bottle of champagne, I was still spinning away at my wood/merino/soy silk/diamond bamboo mix. 100 grams is a lot if you want to spin it lace weight. I will n-ply this and turn it and the other love mixes I got into mittens or a chique scarf for the winter...
I hope I'll keep up the spinning, but maybe not every day... And even though it's very tempting to start plying that last bobbin, and start on something new, I'm taking today off.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 22

The last 'real' day of the Tour de Fleece competition, and I was following the time trials with one eye, while keeping another on the drum carder... In the end I carded nearly 200 grams of pink/purple fleece, turning it into a great little stash of batts for spinning later. The bag I got when I bought my Namaste Zuma bag comes in very handy to store these soft fluffy bits of goodness.
Later at night, I attempted some lace weight spinning with the wood/merino/soy silk/black diamond bamboo roving, failing miserably as I was laughing so loud while watching Kick Ass. Really, big LOL. It is definitely a 16 movie though... However funny and comicky it is, the kids won't be watching it. Too much gore...
I will try and give the lace weight another go later today. First it's clean-up time... There's nowhere to go in this weather, so we'll just give the house a spruse up before sitting down in front of another cool movie with the kids...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 21

I can see the finish line... Last night, the second half of the French sheep was spun up. It went so quickly, unbelievable! So while we were switching from the news (Oslo/Norway, speechless...) to Holland's Got Talent (also speechless, but in a different way) and back, I also turned it into a 2-ply soft, bulky yarn. I didn't get round to carding, that's on the program for today.
Today is also decision day, what will I spin? I have three natural-looking blends which are ready to go, or I can get the drum carder in full swing and card enough colourful roving to get me through the evening. Or, I can get a start on the funky yarn I bought at the Weversmarkt... Dilemma's...
Coffee first, I think...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 20

We're nearly in Paris... The cyclists are crossing the Alps and I almost went to bits today... Well, as a figure of speech, that is! It was such a busy day: first getting the kids to school for their last day before the Summer Holidays, baking pancakes, dropping them off at school, getting our own lunch ready, then back to school for the class performances...
But I never got to that last one. Work put a bit of a spanner in the wheels, in the form of a software glitch, which meant I spent 2 hours cleaning a document up that I had to hand in that afternoon. So no performances for me, but luckily hubby was able to go and take some pictures. While the kids celebrated their first free afternoon, I got on with the rest of the translation jobs in my queue, some cleaning, some cooking, lots of laundry etcetera... to finally sit down to some relaxing and spinning around Question Time...
I first n-plied the yarn I spun yesterday, and then got to work on the French (yes, French, not Fresh...) sheep I bought in Hoorn. This will be spun up nice and thick and then turned into a 2-ply yarn for nice cushions. I got a lovely book with amazing cable patterns, so the ideas are flowing again...


Oh yeah, and if I didn't have enough stash yet, my roving from De Spinners arrived. With some teal dye, which I have some exciting plans for...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 19

Shock Horror! There was NO spinning yesterday! But I have a good excuse, because it was Challenge Day. While the Tour de France cyclists were facing their biggest challenge, we were 'challenged' to face ours. And mine was quite simple: go to the Weversmarkt and resist all the goodies on offer there. Well, I failed. Big time.
I came home with a drum carder*, which I had bought online from another Raveler, Nelleke. She had taken the carder with her from Tiel to Hoorn on the train, left it with my friend Marieke who had a stand there yesterday, and we picked it up and brought it home to Leeuwarden.
I did manage to succeed waiting until the kids had gone up to bed to take the big, dangerous, spikey contraption out of the bag and attach it to the table. And then the fun started. With all the fluff I had bought, I created a nice colourful batt, and then I got to work on the raw sheep I have lying about. SUCCESS! People, I have seen the light! No more rough sheep for me! See how much *crap* came out of that fleece I had already washed? This baby is going to smooth all those straggly hairs until they are as smooth and as soft as an angel baby. I am in LOVE!



* The drum carder is a Louet Junior, by the way. A small carder, just big enough for me :D

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 18

Yesterday, I didn't get any time to spin until late at night, again. It's busy at Babylonia Vertalingen, which is good, of course, but does mean I don't get as much time to work on our new venture, Moss Stitch, as I would like. I also still had some mending to do for school - it's the last day of school before the summer holidays tomorrow!
So, last night, some more Schoonebeeker sheep spun up, after first N-plying the previous bobbin. It goes quickly, that stuff!
Today, I went to the Weversmarkt in Hoorn with hubby and the kids and bought lots more goodies for spinning. I also picked up the drum carder I bought from Nelleke, so some of the yarnies we can start carding up tonight. If I can find that box of energy, because I am well and truly spent...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 17

After two days of spinning white, today, on the rest day, it was time for some colour. Not that the weather co-operated in making it a colourful day, though! It rained, and rained, and rained... Several roads were blocked because the sewers couldn't handle it, a water mains pipe burst because of the pressure (not here, luckily), and I'd say roofers and plumbers will be busy today.
But we, we knitted. We as in me and hubby. Yes, he did it! I'm so proud! He knit a few rows and despite still finding it a bit fiddly, he has great technique. He has already promised mermaid a pen roll, so we'll see how quickly that gets finished.
I got to grips with the 'Expectations' pattern, and while watching one revelation after another unfold on the tv (both in the hacking scandal and the football club buying scandal - which was, obviously, not covered at all on the other programs) I managed to get quite a bit done. The yarn is lovely and shiny, which you can't really see yet. It needs more sun to be able to show it in all its glory!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 16

On a day where wind, rain and sun were fighting over domination in the sky, hubby took the kids to the pool and I struggled to finish another deadline (what's new there), I actually got some spinning done. We decided to watch Avatar, and there's nothing better to do while watching a sensitive, visually stunning movie like that than spinning. Knitting is no use when your eyes are glued to the screen... The bobbin was n-plied straight away, so all I need to do today, on our 'day of rest' is to give it a wee bath... Knitting tonight! With hubby, who decided it is time for him to learn!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 15

It was party time! In between all the cooking, cleaning and partying, there was only a little bit of time for spinning... And I already like the white, natural Schoonebeeker that's on my wheel. More of this will be spun today, and then tomorrow, when the cyclists are taking a break, I will try and get this yarn softened up to combine it with the other white wool I already spun. That will be a challenge ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 14

The end of week 2 and all the merino-silk is spun up. The second 150 gram skein needs a wash, a dry and then can be wound into balls to start knitting a nice Haapsalu shawl. To get into the shawl groove, I started a Dutch Knitting Design-design with my sparkly Easyknits yarn during Batmans last swimming lesson. They were allowed to come to class dressed up, so in between the princesses and ballerina's were a Batman, a vampire and a football player. Boys have a bit more variation when it comes to dress-up, it seems ;)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 13

Another boring post, I'm, afraid... All I did yesterday, was spin up another 50 grams of merino/silk. That's it... Busy busy busy... But, I finished the book I had to finish today, so we're almost back up to speed, which means more time for spinning. As a reward, I also ordered some more roving for next week, with some exciting new fibres. If my planning is correct, I'll be ready with the merino/silk today, then I've got the weekend and the beginning of next week to do some 'wild' yarn straight off the sheep and then my new stash should arrive... Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 12


I really looked forward to yesterday! After a long working day, receiving a cool Postcrossing card with a spinning wheel stamp and getting confirmation that my new cookbooks would be arriving, I got in my car with 'Loes' and set off for Oosterwolde. It was the second meeting of the new 'local' spinning group, and it was great location to work on some Tour de Fleece stash. I brought some more of my merino/silk mix and spun up 50 grams. There was  a lot more to see though! Gea and Feikje were spinning flax, and we even had international visitors, enjoying a cosy night in a Dutch farm kitchen. And the wheels, the wheels... Lovely! 'Loes' almost felt a bit overwhelmed by it all, but didn't give a peep ;) I think she's secretly in love, but as she fell asleep on the late trip home, I didn't get a chance to ask her...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 11

More of the same yesterday, I'm afraid... Some rough sheep, dyed purple, spun and plied just before nodding off... It was a long day... Babylonia Vertalingen is busy busy busy, and add to that a kindergartner who has decided that the holidays should have started this week (we still have 6 days of school to go) and is behaving accordingly (out comes the Good Behaviour Chart again... sigh), a house that seems to get itself very dirty but refuses to clean itself and several people that need fed, watered and cleaned occasionally. Busy ;)
Today the heavens opened, which means the office has moved back indoor for now. It feels very autumnal, and I'm very tempted to make Nutella Cake in a Mug again (resistance is futile...).
My spinning from last night!
This is around 80 meters of thick n-ply rough yarn, which needs a nice soak in Woollite and will then join the other sheep yarn to knit stuffed toys. Batman has decided he wants a dinosaur, well, assuming he prefers one that is NOT purple, that means I should spin up the still white sheep and give that a colour bath later this week (or next week...).
Back to work!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 10

On this 'day of rest' in the Tour de Fleece/France there was still a lot of television. We followed Commons Debate on the phone hacking closely, absolutely flabbergasted at every new revelation made. Unbelievable...
How suitable that I was knitting a 'whiter than white' and innocent winter hat...

This morning, during Gordon Brown's interview, I sewed it up, and here is the tadaaaaaaa moment...
Caught by the papparazzi
Soft and fluffy, funny and wintry...
Close-up of the brainholder...
This is size L, which again proves I have a large head... :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 9

What a day... I haven't seen this many crashes, broken bones and bad drivers in a long time... Today, a day of reflection, I think. Not only in the Tour de France...
Luckily, I also saw some finished projects! While out to the museum yesterday, I finished my Astilbe sweater, knit after the Cable yoke pullover pattern by Norah Gaughan. I wore it proudly to school this morning, to show to Batmans teacher, but to be honest, it can use a wee Woollite wash. Still 'slightly' itchy ;)
And because I don't have enough purple yet, I spun some more during a great show on Eddie Izzard, our hero. Did you know he lived in Bangor, Northern Ireland, and feels those were the happiest years of his life? Now can you understand why we want to move there?
Just to reiterate, we have a lovely house for sale here in Leeuwarden. Please retweet/send on this link to people who are looking for a roomy end-house in a child-friendly area. I will bake a chocolate cake in a mug for prospective buyers!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 8

To start the second week of the Tour de Fleece, I went white. White to celebrate the fact that Robert Gesink won the white jersey the day before. The mixtures of all types of white fibers - Wensleydale, angora goat, mohair, silk and merino - was twined with white sewing yarn. A total of 150 grams of wool was turned into around 280 meters of the softest yarn possible... What to make from it? I have no idea yet... But I think it might be nice for a warm, woolly winter hat...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 7

Yeah! We made the first week! We just watched Atlantis take off successfully, there's a nice kid's movie in the new BluRay-player (it's hubby's birthday today and that was his present), and I'm getting ready for a night of knitting. Yes, knitting! I've done my spinning and plying for today, and I've deserved a break. More precisely, my LEG deserves a break. Yesterday and today I spun a total of 125 grams of Schoonebeeker fleece, the one I dyed a few weeks ago. After Navajo plying, I ended up with 76 turns on the 'umbrella', which comes down to around 120 meters (10 wpi). I will be spinning some more of this, as I still have a bag full of the stuff, and there will be some cuddly toys created from this pastelly yarn. But first, it needs a bath!

Time for a birthday drink. On Steve, who's 40 today!!!

Tour de Fleece - day 6

What. A. Day!
As we are total news junkies, we have been glued to the television and tinternets since the 'first' news about the NotW phone hacking broke a few days ago, and today was a day to remember. This day for me was one of dirt (coming out of my fleece), tears (both tears from the eyes - with several falls from our kids and tears from tiredness, we can't wait for the summer holidays to start - and tears in clothes and this little doll from school I'll be fixing up later today) and the End of the World. Total drama! I can assure you, it spins really quickly when you're watching news programme after news programme, way too late into the night...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 5

Day 5 was Stitch 'n Bitch day! Off we went, Loes and I, in the car. I had forgotten that the boot was all full with groceries for tonight's Thank You for Volunteering-Night at school, so Loes had to sit in a child seat. I was a bad mommy, as I didn't strap her in...
We had a great night, starting outside on the terrace and moving inside when it got a bit too chilly. Loes had a great night, she squeeled with delight and sneezed a few times when the rough 'straight from the sheep' fiber got into her nose. She also loved the cookies that came with the cappuccino!
We had a few newcomers last night, most famously our favourite Ysolda, represented by her book 'Little Red in the City', hot off the press, which was passed around by greedy hands... Still debating whether to buy the paper or e-book version, but it looks like a nice book to have anyway!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 4

After a nice soak and a read, I did crawl behind the spinning wheel last night... I had planned to use one of my spindles for my last remaining grams of silk, but alas... I remembered I had thrown them out in one of my clearing sessions. What a shame, I'll have to buy one of these soon then ;)
It only took me about half an hour, but I did end up with 2 (!) blisters. Silk is incredibly strong, and my skin is quite delicate, apparently... Still, the 7 grams of silk (5 or so hankies) was spun into 70 meters of silk yarn, which will probably be turned into a nice bracelet with sparkly beads and bangles. The creative juices are flowing...
And up close:

Tonight, Stitch 'n Bitch, WITH my wheel Loesje... See you there! I still have to decide what bag of roving to bring...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 3

On day 3 I spun another 50 grams of the merino/silk blend and then skeined the singles. As you can see, there is a bit too much twist, but from experience I know that does relax a bit more once it is knit up. It is an unmentionable large number of yards/meters. I think I stopped counting at around 600 turns of the wheel, times 1.60 m. Lots ;) Definitely enough for a huge Haapsalu shawl!
Tour de Fleece - day 3
And today is day 4, which was spent mostly in the sunshine in a playground knitting a few rows of my wool sweater while watching kids play about. It was hot though! As I was away today, it means I should be working tonight... But maybe I'll get time to do a bit of silk spinning... After a nice meal and a nice hot bath!
Bye bye!!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 2

On day 2, I moved on to laceweight. There's 300 grams of this lovely merino/silk blend to be spun, so I'm not done yet... But, with the help of Aurelio Zen on Tivo and a glass of lovely South African wine, the first two of six balls have already been spun up. It works like a dream! I have plans to knit this into a huge Haapsalu shawl, and then to twine the remaining singles to knit a nice lacy top. There's enough for both, I think!
Progress on day 2 of the Tour de Fleece

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tour de Fleece - day 1

With the start of the Tour de France, we also started the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry. A yearly spinning event, with the aim to spin as much as you can, spin new fibers or just spin a few meters every day, to end up with an empty stash ;)
I started day 1 with my Wensleydale, turning this:
into this... Around 120 grams, 240 meters, 13wpi. Sock yarn on the thick side.
And a close-up:

Today will be a quiet day: the balling up counted as my work for today. But you never know, maybe tonight I suddenly feel like spinning up part of a sheep...