Category Archives: Spinning

Tour de Fleece 2020 – part 2 review

We were lucky enough to get two attempts at Tour de Fleece this year. The first during the originally scheduled dates (which I wrote about here). The second during the actual delayed Tour de France, which nobody was sure was going to happen, but culminated with a very exciting hilly time trial.

I still had some beautiful gradient packs from Hilltop Cloud, leftover from the first Tour, and these were the perfect amount of fibre to spin over the 3 weeks, including taking rest days this time.

6 packs of gradient fibre

Two packs of 3 different colourways (Atoll, Shepherds Delight, and Hawaiian Sunset), allowed me to spin each colourway separately, then ply them together to maintain the gradient.

First up was 299g of Atoll, which became 1,720 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn.

Blue-green gradient yarn

Second I spun 288g of Shepherds Delight, which became 1,638 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn.

Red gradient yarn

Finally I spun 299g of Hawaiian Sunset, which became 1,710 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn.

Purple, green, blue and brown yarn

In total, 886g of fibre spun, resulting in 5,068 yards of yarn.

Three gradient yarns
6 packs of gradient fibre

Tour de Fleece 2020 – part 2

Against all expectations, the Tour de France is actually starting on 29th August, and so we get a second bout of spinning with Tour de Fleece.

I still have 6 gradient packs left of Hilltop Cloud gradient fibre (in Atoll, Shepherds Delight, and Hawaiian Sunset), so these will be my fibres for take 2 of TdF. I would like to take my rest days this time around, and not stay up spinning too late into the night, so shall have to see how much of the 840g of fibre over the 21 stages.

Tour de Fleece 2020 – part 1?

Tour de Fleece was a bit different this year. Normally following the schedule of the Tour de France, with coronavirus postponing the cycling it was decided to follow the original schedule, as the rescheduled bike ride may not happen later in August/September.

So I dug out my fibre (all from Hilltop Cloud) and set to work.

A table full of hand-dyed fibre.

Starting with a gradient pack of Parrakeet (50% merino, 32.5% South American Wool, 12.5% baby llama, 5% viscose tweed nepps), I spun the first pack over days 1 and 2, the second on days 3 and 4, plying them together on day 5.

1,398 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn.

A close-up of purple-green gradient handspun yarn.

Day 6 and I started on 3 braids of a Rambouillet gradient (100g each). I began by splitting the braid lengthways 4 times, so that I could ply two lengths together for sweater sleeves. I spun one quarter braid on day 6, and two more on day 7. On day 8 I spun the final quarter braid, plied the first two quarters together, and started spinning a full braid. Day 9 continued the spinning of the first full braid, which was completed on day 10 along with plying the second two quarters together. The remaining full braid was spun over days 11 and 12, and plied across days 13 and 14.

2,032 yards of light fingering/lace weight 2ply yarn.

A close-up of blue-orange-purple gradient handspun yarn.

Day 15 I split a braid of 75% Blue Faced Leicesters, 25% ramie gradient lengthways 4 times and spun 3 of the quarter braids up. I then took a rest day the following day (originally scheduled for much earlier) before finishing the 4th quarter on day 16. I also plied two quarters on day 16 and started on a full braid of the gradient. I finished spinning that braid on day 17. Day 18 was spent plying the remaining two quarters and spinning about half of a final braid. This braid was finished on day 19, and plied on day 20. This left me with just the skeining to do on day 21, taking the final Sunday as the second rest day with just photos and project updating to do.

1,476 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn.

A close-up of blue-green handspun yarn.

A total of 902g of fibre spun up into 4,906 yards of yarn.

Multiple skeins of handspun gradient yarns.

Still plenty of fibre left if the Tour does go ahead later in the summer.

Tour de Fleece 2018

I had a relatively quiet Tour de Fleece this year, mostly because I was away for a week towards the end of it, so I knew I wouldn’t get much done.

I initially got out all of my fibre with the intention of spinning it up:

This included (going anti-clockwise from the right) 291g of Raven’s Wing gradient, 302g of Dephinium gradient, 293g of Hummingbird gradient, 280g of Mermaid’s Lair gradient, 280g of Mineralise gradient and 300g of a cashmere, silk and BFL gradient.

I have made a collage of my daily progress pics:

And the finished skeins came out like this:

 

1,376 yards of 2-ply fingering weight Raven’s Wing gradient.

 

 

946 yards of 2-ply DK weight Delphinium gradient.

 

1,178 yards of 2-ply fingering weight Hummingbird gradient.

 

A total of 3,500 yards spun up over the course of the Tour de France/Fleece.

2018 Stashdown – late year update

From you have I been absent since the spring. Oops.

I have been busy knitting and spinning, but I’ve managed to completely fail to update here (mostly because I’ve been rubbish at getting photos done). I will cover Tour de Fleece in its own post, but will just summarise here that I turned 886g of fibre into 3,500 yards of yarn during the TdF period.

So, what have I been otherwise up to since April?

After finishing Abisko (the last recorded stashdown entry), I worked my Winged Fancy gradient into a short-sleeved pullover (Cullum), using up 904 yards in the process:

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/cullum

I stayed working with handspun to complete another short-sleeved top (Bayside), which took another 918 yards out of service.

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/bayside-pullover

Next up was a quick baby jumper for my hairdresser, using 467 yards of stash:

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/seamless-baby-sweater-10

This was followed by a stranded cardigan which mixed handspun and Wollmeise, for a total of 1,191 yards (and which I only added the buttons to yesterday):

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/116-9-frozen-cherries

This took me up to the start of Tour de Fleece, where (as I said) I turned 886g of fibre into 3,500 yards of yarn:

I also managed to spin another 280g of fibre into 1,584 yards of 2-ply light-fingering weight yarn, but finished this after Tour de Fleece had finished:

https://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/mermaids-lair

I immediately started working with this new handspun, starting with a long waterfall cardigan (Bienvenidas), which used up 1,376 yards of yarn:

 

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/bienvenidas-cardigan

Then I got stuck into another gradient sweater, using up 946 yards of yarn:

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/daisy-sweater

That was September. I ran an overseas marathon in September (Berlin) and another in October (Chicago), so was a bit busy with those, before tackling another gradient sweater, this time a version of Elfe without any striping, using up 1,148 yards of handspun:

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/elfe-3

I still had a fair bit of the Mermaid’s Lair gradient left after that so threw together a cowldana design (part cowl, part bandana) which used up 169 yards in the first iteration:

And 260 yards in the second:

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/strobilus-cowldana-2

That brings me to, since April:

Yarn out:  8,468 yards, 2,013g
Yarn in: 5,084 yards, 1,166g

Net yarn decrease: 3,384 yards, 847g

Fibre stash reduction: 1,166g.


Updated stash figures as at today (and before I get a new fibre delivery):

Yarn stash:  48,129.2 yards (just over 29 miles).
Yarn stash: 11,377g

Fibre stash: 600g

The eagle-eyed may spot that my figures don’t quite tally from the Q1 update, that is because I have marked some small scraps of yarn all used up as they will be used for tying up skeins, etc.

2018 Stashdown – first quarter update

I started 2018 with 54,562.1 yards or 13,076g of yarn in stash and 1,680g of fibre. My aim for 2018 is still to try and work through as much of this as possible, whilst limiting my purchases (but not going the full ‘cold sheep’). Ravelry has also included a ‘challenge’ feature in which I have committed to try and complete 12 knitting projects during the year, and I’m going to try and make them all sweaters (all the better to use up yarn). Alas there isn’t also a spinning challenge option, but Tour de Fleece will be coming up again in July and I’ve probably not got enough fibre for the duration (shame, and I won a gift voucher from my favourite dyer too).

I started the stashdown by spinning up some fibre (promptly giving myself a ganglion cyst having been away from the wheel for so long). 280g of fibre somehow turned into 292g of yarn, a 2-ply gradient in ‘Winged Fancy’ colourway. 904 yards total.

https://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/winged-fancy

I then thought I’d better get stuck into the stashed yarn, having just increased my net stash, so pulled out some Wollmeise and got stuck into a sweater. Miranda’s Mom used up a full 2 skeins, so 1,150 yards (300g).

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/mirandas-mom

Another sweater quickly followed, this time Mesmeric, which used up another 2 skeins of Wollmeise, this time 300g gave me 1,020 yards of yarn.

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/mesmeric-pullover

Marathon training was kicking in at this stage, and I didn’t want to add in treadling to already tired legs, so I kept up the sweater-knitting kick and used up another 880 yards (or 258g) of yarn in Hyperion.

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/mesmeric-pullover

One last sweater to finish off the quarter, this time I turned the Abisko sweater upside down (and lengthening the sleeves) so that I could just keep working until I ran out of yarn. This turned out to be quite a long way, given the lace, turning the sweater into a dress and using up 300g or 1,150 yards of yarn.

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/abisko-pullover

Q1 yarn out:  4,200 yards, 1,158g
Q1 yarn in: 904 yards, 292g

Q1 yarn decrease:  3,296 yards, 866g

Q1 fibre stash reduction: 280g.


Updated stash figures at the end of Q1:

Yarn stash: 51,266.1 yards (just over 29 miles).
Yarn stash: 12,210g

Fibre stash: 1,400g

 

 

 

 

Stashdown 2017 – August progress

August saw my first yarn purchase in over 2 years when I needed to buy some additional yarn to finish the following sweater (which used a total of 1,834 yards of yarn):

 

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/krone

That added 374 yards to my stash (before finishing the sweater).

I also carded and then spun some alpaca fibre into 348 yards of light fingering weight yarn, losing some of the fibre along the way (I started with 100g but ended up with 87g). There was a lot of grease in the fibre which led to some gentle felting whilst washing it out, but I’m pretty happy with the end result.

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/cotswolds-alpaca

 

Total monthly yarn out:  1,834 yards, 367g
Total monthly yarn in:  722 yards, 162g

Net monthly yarn decrease:  1,122 yards, 205g

Monthly fibre stash reduction: 100g.


Total yarn out ytd: 12,769.5 yards, 4,507g
Total yarn in ytd: 13,750 yards, 3,180g

Net yarn increase ytd: 980.5 yards, (1,327)g

Fibre stash reduction ytd: 3,050g.

Stashdown 2017 – July progress

July was dominated by Tour de Fleece. Although I did also knit a sweater the fit wasn’t quite right and it got ripped out and re-worked, not counting for July yardage. Instead all I managed to do was add to my stash as follows:

  • 300g of Little Owl Crafts Wensleydale in natural grey became 1,080 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/wensleydale

  • 100g of Sara’s Texture Crafts BFL in Strawberry colourway became 502 yards of 2-ply light-fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/strawberry-bfl

  • 200g of Sara’s Texture Crafts Merino & Silk in Heathered Highlands colourway became 1,074 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/heathered-highlands

  • 500g of Jamieson & Smith Shetland in natural fawn became 2,036 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/fawn-shetland

  • 100g of Wildcraft Romney in Purple Topshells colourway became 446 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/purple-topshells

  • 130g of Hilltop Cloud Suffolk in Winter Moss colourway became 506 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/winter-moss

  • 100g of Wildcraft Jacob in The Night Circus colourway became 336 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/the-night-circus

  • 120g of Hilltop Cloud Exmoor Blueface in Eclipse colourway became 424 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/eclipse

  • 100g of The Double Ewe Whitefaced Woodland in Easter Brunch colourway became 306 yards of 2-ply sport weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/easter-brunch

A grand total of 1.65kg of fibre was turned into 6,710 yards of mostly 2-ply fingering weight yarn (sometimes a light fingering, sometimes a sport).

Total monthly yarn out:  0 yards, 0g
Total monthly yarn in: 6,710 yards, 1,663g

Net monthly yarn increase: 6,710 yards, 1,663g

Monthly fibre stash reduction: 1,650g.


Total yarn out ytd: 10,935.5 yards, 4,140g
Total yarn in ytd: 13,028 yards, 3,018g

Net yarn increase ytd: 2,092.5 yards, (1,122)g

Fibre stash reduction ytd: 2,950g.

Tour de Fleece 2017 – the victory lap

Just as Chris Froome only had to finish the final stage to with the Tour de France, I managed to complete my spinning in advance of the final day.

I had gone from

TDF 2017 – start

to

TDF 2017 – finish

Spinning up the following fibre:

  • 300g of Little Owl Crafts Wensleydale in natural grey became 1,080 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/wensleydale

  • 100g of Sara’s Texture Crafts BFL in Strawberry colourway became 502 yards of 2-ply light-fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/strawberry-bfl

  • 200g of Sara’s Texture Crafts Merino & Silk in Heathered Highlands colourway became 1,074 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/heathered-highlands

  • 500g of Jamieson & Smith Shetland in natural fawn became 2,036 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/fawn-shetland

  • 100g of Wildcraft Romney in Purple Topshells colourway became 446 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/purple-topshells

  • 130g of Hilltop Cloud Suffolk in Winter Moss colourway became 506 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/winter-moss

  • 100g of Wildcraft Jacob in The Night Circus colourway became 336 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/the-night-circus

  • 120g of Hilltop Cloud Exmoor Blueface in Eclipse colourway became 424 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/eclipse

  • 100g of The Double Ewe Whitefaced Woodland in Easter Brunch colourway became 306 yards of 2-ply sport weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/easter-brunch

A grand total of 1.65kg of fibre was turned into 6,710 yards of mostly 2-ply fingering weight yarn (sometimes a light fingering, sometimes a sport). Not bad for a few weeks’ work.

Stashdown 2017 – June progress

June, the halfway point in the year, saw the completion of both knitting and spinning projects, both decreasing and increasing my stash. Let’s see how it all played out.

It began with the completion of another Viajante (aka giant vagina) which I had been working on at Bungay. This used up a total of 2,078 yards.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/viajante-2

I also did a little pre-Tour spinning, turning 100g of Oatmeal BFL into 526 yards (and 113g) of a light fingering weight 2-ply yarn:

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/oatmeal-bfl

Another 100g of BFL, this time in a natural brown, was turned into 498 yards (and 101g) of light fingering weight 2-ply:

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/brown-bfl-2

The rest of June was spent working on another knitting project that is still a WIP as the Tour de Fleece takes over in July.

Total monthly yarn out:  2,078 yards, 176g
Total monthly yarn in: 1,024 yards, 214g

Net monthly yarn decrease: 1,054 yards, (38)g

Monthly fibre stash reduction: 200g.


Total yarn out ytd: 10,935.5 yards, 4,140g
Total yarn in ytd: 6,318 yards, 1,355g

Net yarn decrease ytd: 4,617.5 yards, 2,805g

Fibre stash reduction ytd: 1,300g.