Friday, July 23, 2010

High Fiber, Spinning Out of Control!

Several of us have been participating in the Tour de Fleece. Today is a day of rest, so I can type up my blog and do a few other things. Here's what I've been working on:

The fiber is Corriedale, a breed of sheep. The dark chocolate color and white are both natural. The blue, orange and taupe are dyed by me with Koolaid and a little food coloring, about a year ago. The resulting yarn is about sport weight, and Navajo plyed, which means its a three ply, using a technique that is kind of like chaining in crochet, only the loops are as long as you can make them comfortably.
I spin using a modified long draw method. this is what it looks like when I do it, which is a little different from the way many people do it.

I'm right handed, but this is more comfortable for me, although it is supposed to be a left-handed technique. My friend Lynda spins this way, but right-handed, so she holds the fiber supply in the left hand, and the right hand is in front of the orifice. The fiber hand holds the fiber supply gently, like a baby bird. Occasionally some pinching might be required if there are lumps in the fiber. Otherwise, its very loose and relaxed. The other hand holds the fiber and keeps it from going onto the bobbin until the correct amount of twist is felt. If the singles (spun fiber) is too thick, the orifice hand can untwist the fiber slightly, allowing the fiber to thin out. If there's a lump, you can stop the spinning and untwist the fiber using both hands, allow the twist to move back into the untwisted fiber, and you're off again. Most people who do modified long-draw hold the twisted fiber from beneath, but I find its easier for me this way. I do pretty much the same thing with the drop spindle, only the spun fiber goes down to the spindle, and I have to do it standing up.
What do I plan to make with this yarn? I have plans for a cardigan, probably top-down and knit in the round, with all of the colors in the yoke and then the chocolate down the sleeves and body. I'm working on the white now, and there's about two pounds of the chocolate to go, probably more than I need! Whoopee! This is fun!
When I wasn't spinning this week, I did some dyeing, using Neon green food coloring and the sun-tea method, which is basically putting it in a jar in the sun instead of microwaving it. Here's what I got:

It's actually a little darker than it appears here, a nice lime green. The yarn is KP's bare sock yarn with Donegal. I'll make socks with it, I guess.
I also completed the bonnet to go with the Avery Christening Gown for Daphne:

That's not Daphne modeling it. Daphne is many miles away, so her mother measured her head for me, and I blew up a balloon to fit. This was taken before blocking. It's blocked now, and should be ready to go. The bonnet pattern is improvised using the pattern for the bodice of the gown.

Saturday we participated in the Summit Park Sprint to the Summit, a 12 K run/walk that happens every year. I was ready to go with my new orthotics, and my feet held up well for about 10 K. I don't know whether I'll do it again next year. I was really sore and wiped out afterwards. It took us nearly three hours, but we still won prizes. I got first for women 60 yrs. and up. (I was the only one in that category.) DH came in second--out of two--for men over 60. We impressed the kids with what geezers can do!

In a bit of computer news, DH bought a little Acer netbook for the two of us to share. I don't like using it, but it makes it possible for me to do a blog with photos. (I discovered I can do a quick blog with no photos with the iPad. I may try that out next week, while we're at the wedding!) I can also use the new computer to sync my iPad, so I have a backup of my contacts, appointment book, and anything else I want to hang on to. But a new device to learn! [Sigh!] It weighs about 2 1/2 lbs. and is pretty small. I'm making DH a tote bag for it, similar to the bag I made for my iPad, but with handles instead of straps. I had already bought the WotA Bulky in neutral colors for a tea cozy, so I can just order more for that.

What's my app of the week? Speaking of the iPad, my app of the week is Photogene. I can load my photos onto the iPad and then open them up with Photogene and crop, change exposure, reduce size, etc., and can mail them to FB or KP directly from Photogene. One of the things I like about it is, it shows you the latest photos downloaded first, so you don't have to scroll through a bunch of photos you've already processed. Its very easy for my old brain to figure out, too!
What's on my iPod: Finished The Gold Coast yesterday. Now I'm reading Dragon's Kin, by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey, both downloaded to my computer before I was able to download to the iPad from Audible, which is turning out to be a good value. The iPad actually has a much longer battery life, so I will probably be using it more for audiobooks as well as eBooks. I can carry it around the house using my tote bag, hands free for [shudder] housework!
What's on my iPad: Various podcasts and lots of fun stuff!
A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the "Pocket Pond." I discovered it was lots of fun for babies and toddlers. Well look what I found:
Enjoy! Happy spinning, all you TdF participants, and happy knitting everyone!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad