Spinning de Tour

(Edited July 7 Apparently this post, written on the 5th, didn’t get “published”. It wasn’t until I was stats that I realized the oversight. Meanwhile, I’ve put in 1 hour, 10 minutes of plying over the past couple days.)
Get Spinning!
2008 Tour de Fleece has begun
Tour de Fleece
Tour de Fleece

For the second year I’m attempting the steep hills and sharp curves of the Tour de Fleece. Though the wheels (and spindles) are set in motion today, anyone can join at any time.

Dark Corriedale Single

My challenge this year is to first ply the chocolate corriedale single with the corriedale/baby camel single.

Corriedale and Baby Camel

I’ll get into gear with this easy spin, then it’s on to spinning up some of the woefully neglected stash. My goal this Tour de Fleece is to spin all the variegated merino roving that’s been worked on in spurts and bits for the hairpin lace ruana started too long ago.

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Growing Season

Ed has been wanting to plant heirloom, non-hybrid seeds, an internet search brought up:

Victory Seeds, a family run seed business that turned out to be in our area. I sent the order and the next day the seeds were in our mailbox. I love that the seeds are packaged in a small zip-lock bag inside of the paper packets, any seeds left over are carefully sealed and stored for next year. There was also an information sheet on how to properly store the seeds over time. We’re very pleased to have found this great seed company. All you who love gardening, take some time to browse their site.

For the past week or so I’ve gotten into a rhythm of working in the garden or yard at least an hour every day but Sunday. It’s been good to putter around watering, pulling weeds, mowing, even tackling the blackberry brambles that threaten to overtake home and shop. (Seriously)

Sugar pea tendrils reaching for the light.

Dew crowned Brussel sprout leaf.Dew Drops

Tomato Leaves

Rippening Montmorency Pie Cherries under the waning moon.

Ripening Cherries under a waning moon

A slow deep watering Saturday morning before the thermometer reached 100 degrees, now every thing is rapidly growing.

Warp Woes

Saturday afternoon at the loom proved a disaster.

The warp had been threaded through the heddles and sleyed through the reed at 6epi, the ratio I normally use for weaving rugs. But this time I’d threaded the linen warp in a 2-1 pattern (two threads through a single heddle, then one thread through the next) threading through shafts 4 and 3 with the next thread suspended between shafts 1 and 2. Something felt wrong.

At the end of February I’d spent some time with Mr B who weaves magnificent weft-faced rugs using the shaft-switching technique. Having never taught the subject he wasn’t adept at teaching the concepts, nor was I able to actually sit down at his loom and work through the process with my hands. I purchased the recommended Jason Collingwood dvd which I’ve watched numerous times but there are still crucial gaps. (And Mr B. has significantly modified JC’s process. Mr B had JC in his home this past May, I’m curious as to what JC thought.)

Saturday I set out to re-sley the warp to 4epi. Once the warp was set at the correct 4epi I went to the back of the loom to remove all the extra, miscalculated warp. Leaning forward something caught my eye. What in the world? A missed warp thread?

Scooting the loom away from the wall to get behind it and disentangle the wayward warp, I tried to find the loose warp end but it continued on around the beam, under and over other warp threads. My heart sank.

Somehow a thread had gotten wrapped around a section of the warp then threaded and sleyed along with the others, thoroughly mucking up the works. The entire warp needs to be unsleyed, unthreaded, unreeled from the back beam and evenly spread out again. One huge advantage is that the lease sticks are still holding the cross so it won’t be the total nightmare it could have been. In fact this may turn out to be a very good thing in the long run for I’d been fretting that the beamed warp didn’t seem to have equal tension across the warp.

Feather’s swears she had nothing to do with the errant thread! (see June 18th post)

Black Sheep Gathering

Friday Ed and I took several hours off from work to drive down to the Black Sheep Gathering.

Okay, he’s not black, but such a rich, dark chocolate coat and he was so big compared to most of the other sheep, had such a captivating face, he’s my representative for the BSG. I didn’t write down his breed, which was posted above his pen, thinking that I’d remember such a thing. I didn’t.
He was either Romboulliet or Romney.

We arrived shortly after 10 am and soon met up with Granny Linda from the Siskiyou Spinners who’d driven up the day before and set up camp for the weekend. It was great meeting her and spending the next couple hours hanging out together as we walked the aisles gazing at all the fiber goodies.

We stopped a bit at Woodland Woolworks booth and chatted with owner Diane, and employee Wanda. Wanda has several of our shuttles and is also the happy owner of some of Ed’s Turkish spindles. Ed wanted to surprise her with one of our new Baby Delight Turkish spindles that he’d made for her.

Linda lead me astray from my well laid plans of buying only some rug yarn, she’s the one who saw these bags and thought it’d be fun to dye and spin the cocoons.

2 ounces of Silk Cocoons with a packet of soda wash and instructions on what to do with them.

MC, wanna come play some day with dyeing them?

One booth had some lovely throw rugs woven from the vendor’s llamas. I had to stroke and admire them, contemplating that it’d be nice to buy one. We like to support vendors, knowing the long, often hard hours put into preparing, setting up and selling at these shows.

We ended up in the sheep barn in search of a sheep raising, spinning friend of Marianne from Oklahoma. Though we found one pen with Teeswaters sheep, which is what I understand Kate to raise, sadly we found no trace of Kate. 😦

I briefly stopped and watched this class of fine looking Jacob sheep.

By that time Ed’s back was aching and he was having a hard time remaining on his feet. Car rides are the bane of his back, even when he’s the passenger, which is almost always. So though I loved the idea of following Linda across the creek to her campsite for some good spinning time, it wasn’t to be. I’d love to meet up with you again. Maybe OFFF? 🙂

On the way out I snatched up a cone of tencel and a cone of bamboo. Just couldn’t resist such great buys with thoughts of weaving some curtains and maybe a shirt or two.

We headed to the car, stopping to chat with a driver who sported the bumper sticker, “War is not the Answer”, Ed has one on his pickup bumper. Popping the trunk to throw in the cones of yarn I spied Ed’s purchase for the house:

Safe / At the Creek

The Family of Four (see post below) were rear-ended this morning while stopped during road construction. A young man wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see that traffic had come to a standstill. J saw him barreling towards them and stomped on the brake hoping the impact wouldn’t send them into the car ahead. It did. Their Honda was accordianed, babies strapped into car seats in back, J&M in front. M’s seat buckled and broke. Miraculously no one was seriously injured. J&M are getting more stiff and sore as the hours wear on but we’re all so extremely thankful the babies and parents were unharmed.


The WeeOne at fourteen days.

And Feathers, who was enthralled with “helping” me warp the loom.

Sad to say, I’ve made little progress beyond this stage. The plan is a linen warped, weft faced rug – my first.

Walk With Me Wednesday and gaze at Butte Creek , taken just around the block from our house.

EDITED:6.19 I hadn’t realized that the youtube video had lost the sound, and the picture quality was poor. Will try again. In the meanwhile will a couple pictures suffice?


After taking the mail to the PO I wandered on down to the creek for a moment’s reflection and saw these ducks only when the female stood up and flapped her wings. Running back home I snatched up the camera. By the time I returned they’d settled down and the colorful plumage of the male had faded with the shifting sun.

Moseying on upstream a ways I was slightly astonished to see these and ran onto the bridge for a better shot:

Little did they realize who’s peace they were about to disturb.

Mostly Spinning

Last weekend we were vendors at the NWRS conference. It was great to get out among spinners and fiber people. Our Turkish spindles were well received though sometimes it was hard convincing people that yes, you can spin lace-weight yarn. One woman trying to decide which spindle to buy was concerned about the weight. She liked spinning fine yarn. Finally I handed my spindle that I’d been spinning very fine silk on for bookmarks. As soon as she spun it she fell totally in love with it, exclaiming over the balance and ease of spinning the silk. After spinning a few yards she asked what wood it was, then the price. She really wanted it. I let her know she could buy it. Then she asked that lethal question, “How much does it weigh?” I shouldn’t have answered. As soon as I said, “2.5oz” she put it down as fast as a hot coal. She ended up buying one that weighed 2.1oz but even as I wrapped it she glanced back at the silk laden one.

We set up across from Susan of Abstract Fibers, a terrific fiber dyer and a fun person to be around.

Susan’s booth assistant and spinning friend, Gail spun an amazing amount of yarn during the four day conference. She’s only been spinning a few months. Another delightful person!

I missed the best photo opt of the packed circles of spinners scattered all across the middle of the large gymnasium Thursday and Friday. By Sunday, when I finally got my camera out, many of the spinners had already packed up headed for home.

I was able to take a Friday morning workshop on spinning for color with sock yarn. Great class though there wasn’t enough time to cover all the steps and details the instructor had planned to walk us through. I did learn to Navajo ply on my spindle! 🙂 And I’ve been playing around with spinning dyed fiber in various ways to emphasis or bring out different color schemes.

So far I’ve managed to spin up a couple samples. On the Baby Delight I spun the tuft of sample fiber Abstract Fibers, Susan, had tucked in the welcome bag. Since it was a very small amount I spun it fine and used the center pull method to ply back on itself. This ended up being 28wpi after plyed, set and dried. The Baby Delight has the plyed yarn; singles still in process on the big Turk below.

From the roving we purchased in the class I split my long repeat patterned dyed roving in half crosswise then split each of the halves into six thin rovings. I’ve spun two of the matching splits starting at the red end ending with the blue then joining the blue to blue and spinning out to the red.

Today, while waiting at a hospital during a friend’s surgery, I finished spinning that sample and plyed the ends together, again using the center-pull method, with the intent of matching the colors. My spinning wasn’t totally consistent so there’s some overalpping and barber-poling but on the whole I’m pleased. I need to take it out of it’s soaking and put it on the warping board to dry and measure.

Would you like to see Wesley at one week?