Posts Tagged ‘Tour de Fleece’

Summer is almost done, so I thought it might be time to look at some of this summer’s projects.  There might also have been a few hints from friends and family that my blog has been eerily quiet.  =)  So, time to get back to posting what’s been going on in my everyday life.


Spinning has been on my mind a lot lately, so I guess I’ll start with that.  Tour de France was this past month and those in the fiber world know what that means – Tour de Fleece!!  Basically, the Tour de Fleece is the spinner’s version of the Knitting Olympics.  Every day that the bikers cycle their way around France, those of us who spin – well, spin!  I was a member of two teams this year – Team Sasquatch (where people who listen to certain podcasts join together and form a spinning team) and Team Raw Power (a team made up of those who enjoy working with raw fleece and wanted to incorporate that into the Tour).  So, my goal for Team Sasquatch was to simply spin for at least 30 minutes every day.  My goal for Team Raw Power was to start with a pound of fleece and process it and spin it.  There was some discussion about starting with dirty fleece, but due to some of the team members living in very humid conditions where it can take a week for fleece to dry, it was decided that the fleece could be washed before the Tour started.  Here is the pound of some lovely Cormo wool that I decided to tackle for this Tour.  It was a lovely mocha brown, but the staple length was about an inch (unstretched) so I had been spending a lot of time trying to figure out the best method of processing the fleece.  I finally decided that simple carding made the most sense since getting the short staples onto my large combs would have been a bit more of a challenge than I was prepared for.  In the end, I did try combing about an ounce of the fiber.  I loved how that skein turned out, but it really was just too much work for the amount of time I had.  The rest of the pound (minus 2 ounces, more on that later) I carded on my carder.  As for the final 2 ounces of the wool, well, that got carded with some lovely silver gray angora I purchased while at the Snake River Fiber Fair!  The picture to the left is of my drum carder.  The picture below is of the wool batts I made on the carder.  The round piles of wool are rovings I made after combing the wool.  These were all spun up into 2-ply yarns.  The combed fiber turned into a finer yarn (maybe DK weight) and the rest were spun into a heavier yarn (probably a heavy worsted weight yarn).  All yarns were spun with a long draw, or woolen.  The darker skein that you see in the middle is an extra skein I spun during the Tour of a blend of alpaca, wool, cotton, and some other fibers (lost the band) that had been sitting around since October.  I had already spun 2 ounces, so I figured it was past time to finish up the last 2 ounces.  That particular skein is destined to be knit into some lovely, warm, and incredibly soft gloves!


Speaking of knitting …. I have been doing quite a bit of knitting this summer.  I started knitting a shawl in spring for a knit-a-long that was themed around The Fellowship of the Ring.  The first pattern in the series was a mystery knit-a-long in which one section of the pattern is released every 2 weeks or so.  The pattern was the Evenstar Shawl (designer’s blog here) and I posted a picture of the gauge swatch probably back in March.  There’s a picture of the finished shawl as it is blocking below.  I know you can’t see much detail from here, but you can kind of get an idea of how huge it is!  I’ll post a better picture of it later (when I can convince someone to model it for me!). 

Today’s Project

Finally, here’s what I’m working on today – fleece.  I got two Shetland fleeces from a lovely shepherd out in Oregon (there farm here).  These are some of the loveliest fleeces I’ve ever seen!  One was a white with bits of gray fleece and the other was a mostly gray fleece.

Here are pictures of the process of sorting and dividing the fleece into manageable pieces, soaking, and drying.  After the fleece has dried, I’ll be pulling out my carder again and processing the fleece with that.  

Our poodle, Bailey, is helping, with picking over the fleece and dividing it up, as you can see below!   

Okay, so maybe Bailey isn’t really helping so much as sunbathing!

The next picture is of the fleece soaking in the utility sink.

And, finally, there is a picture of the fleece drying on two old window screens that I found under our deck. 

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer!


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