Spinning

Spinning: Tour de Fleece Training

What is it about summer that puts me in the mood to spin? If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll remember that last summer I began spinning. Sadly, I practiced only for a few weeks before I allowed my frustration, and lack of bobbins, to get the best of me and my new wheel went in to the closet.

Fast forward to last month with talk of the Tour de Fleece springing up around Ravelry, and those I follow on Instagram posting more and more photos of their handspun. Everyone was gearing up for the summer spinning season, and that excitement is contagious! I was feeling so motivated, I decided to finally sit down and watch The Building Blocks of Spinning with Sarah Anderson.

Watching Sarah spin and listening to her teach was inspiring and something just clicked this time. The next day I pulled my wheel from the closet, cleaned her up, and using the techniques I learned the night before, I began to spin. It took a little while to get the feel of my wheel again; I had to remind myself that my wheel is still new and that I didn’t actually spin enough to break her in last summer, but soon I was spinning along happily. She really is an easy wheel to love, and with my expectations of the finished yarn in check this time, I felt relaxed. Also, I realized that every time I allowed myself to over think what I was doing I would “mess up” so I tried to just let things flow and let the muscle memory take hold.

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Spinning across the top (left). Trying to keep an even bobbin (right).

First, I spun a couple of ounces of natural Corriedale, making an effort to fill my bobbin evenly. The one thing I did different this time around was to not pre-draft or split the fiber in to strips. I wanted to practice spinning across the top, because I want to just sit and spin without a lot of fussing. At least not yet, after I get the basics down to second nature, then I’ll start challenging myself with new techniques.

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Having a bath (left). Finished handspun (right).

I am pretty proud of this little skein. It’s soft and fluffy, and it’s an improvement, which is all I really wanted from this spin.

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Highland Handmades Masham in the Aughra’s Lair colorway.

Next, I really wanted to spin some color. My fiber stash isn’t very big, in fact I only have two braids of fiber left, and at the rate I’ve been spinning I’ll be out of fiber this week. If I’m going to take part in Tour de Fleece, I better start stocking up! Anyway, I decided to spin a lovely braid of Masham from Highland Handmades. The blues and browns are so rich, I just love this color combination. So pretty!

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Singles ready for plying (left). Plied handspun (right).

Now, I’m a new spinner and I’ve only ever spun Blue-Faced Leicester and Corriedale, but I gotta say, Masham spins like butter. Effortless. I forgot to weigh out equal amounts for each bobbin beforehand, so I ended up with quite a bit leftover after finishing the 2-ply. I’m planning on chain plying the leftover singles, but I need to re-watch a tutorial or two because I just can’t seem to get it started. It keeps breaking! Grumble.

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Finished handspun.

Gosh, isn’t it pretty. I have no idea what it’ll become yet. It looks to be Sport/DK in weight and I have 72½ yards, which really isn’t enough to do much with. We’ll see, maybe I’ll knit up one of Susan B. Anderson’s little bunnies for my son. I think that would be really cute! I’ll have to see how much I get from chain plying the leftovers too, maybe I’ll combine them both in the same project somehow. FUN!

I think you’ll be seeing more spinning from me from now on. I’ll be spinning on Team Blissful for TdF next month, so be sure to watch my Instagram for lots of spinning goodness. As for knitting, I’m nearly done with the baby blanket for my sister, and I have half a sock on the needles as well. Are you planning on doing Tour de Fleece next month? What will you be spinning? Seriously, I’d like to know because I need to up my fiber stash quick!

Until next time…

Happy knitting and spinning,

~Mandy

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2 thoughts on “Spinning: Tour de Fleece Training

  1. Your spinning is beautiful! I have some fiber in my stash (Blarney Yarn) that I want to ply like yours, with the same colors more or less lining up. Is that explained in “The Building Blocks of Spinning with Sarah Anderson” ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Honestly, I think the colors matching up (for the most part) on this skein was a happy accident. The color repeats on the braid of fiber were pretty even though, so that helped too. I do highly recommend The Building Blocks of Spinning, but when it comes to spinning for color I recommend Spinning Dyed Fibers with Felicia Lo on Craftsy. It’s a really excellent class!

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