Lightning did it again!!

Yep, last Tuesday, June 21st, we had another bad lightning and thunderstorm. It knocked out my phone and internet once again. I am sitting at Dunkin Donuts enjoying a delicious cup of java and using their free wi-fi. I did finally get my home phone back yesterday but still waiting on the internet. It's a good thing I didn't have a 911 emergency as I would not have been able to call since we don't have cell service out there either.
Anyway, I have taken the opportunity to work on some knitted projects. Two of which the knitting is complete but now need to do some seaming and some blocking.
Also still spinning on the polwarth, I love that stuff. I need to finish this one before Saturday so that I can start the Tour de Fleece on Saturday with fresh empty bobbins!
I'll hopefully have internet back by the 4th so I can post some updates to the Tour de Fleece.
Until later!

Tour de Fleece and the annual Tour de France

DH & I have been preparing for the Tour de France by watching the Criterium de Dauphine as well as most of the Tour de Suisse, both shown on Versus. The Tour de Suisse had an exciting end this year. At the beginning of yesterday's final stage (a time trial), American Levi Leipheimer was in 4th place overall and 1 minute, 59 seconds behind the leader. He rode such a great time trial that he ended up winning the Tour de Suisse with 4 seconds lead over the 2nd place winner, Damiano Cunego, who had worn yellow for many days. It was awesome!!!Since I have been spinning more in 2011, I have decided to participate in the annual Tour de Fleece spin-along that occurs during the Tour de France. The concept is simple..... they spin, we spin. A real spinning themed spin-along.

The Guidelines (not rules) for participation as shown in the TdF Ravelry group:

1. Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 2nd through Sunday July 24th. Days of rest: Monday July 11th, Monday July 18st. (Just like the actual tour)

2. Spin something challenging Friday July 22nd. (The Tour’s toughest mountain stage over the Col du Galibier for the second time, and finishing up on Alpe d’Huez.)

3. Wear yellow on Sunday July 24th to announce victory.

The personal challenge I have selected is to spin this glorious 8 ounces of Polwarth that I purchased from Greenwood Farms on Etsy. The colorway is called Arcade. My other challenge is to practice spinning with Batts. These are mini-batts weighing in at 1 oz a piece. I have 4 of them and they are gloriously soft!

This is going to be a fun challenge. Not only is this part of the Tour de Fleece challenge but I am also a member of the Team Footloose 2011, which is the Hansen MiniSpinner TdF group. They have their own mini-challenges with prizes.

Updates will be posted during the Tour.

Playing with color

A welcome sight.........some dark clouds which gave us a pretty good shower. My grass was thirsty. :-) One of the first batts I spun was purchased from Adair Fiber at the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival. I didn't find it nearly as soft as say a BFL or a merino. I only had 2 oz of it so I didn't really want to Navajo ply it, so I thought I would ply it with some cream colored alpaca I also bought at the festival. Then I thought it would be fun to add in some YLI Pearly Crown Rayon for some added color. I had miscalculated how many yards of single I would have in my 2 oz batt, so my 200 yards of Magenta colored YLI Pearly Crown didn't go as far as planned. So...........I thought it would be fun to play with a different color of YLI to see what kind of effect it would give.

The first skein I did was with the Magenta colored YLI Rayon. I ended up with about 180 yards.

The second skein was plied with a teal color in the YLI Rayon. You can see the differences pretty easily and it's fun to see what adding different colored fibers will do to a finished skein.

Google - Check it out

Seriously, you have to go to Google home page TODAY! Instead of the Google name, they have a guitar that you can play and record your tune. Awesomeness!

More spun fiber

This past Saturday was spent taking a Fiber Prep class. It was fabulous fun and we were able to play with all kinds of fiber tools. Such as: carding combs (flat and curved), pet brushes, hair combs, detangle combs, hackle combs, hackle, a diz and two different carders. All of that packed into 5 hours. One word......fabulous!!!

I 've also been busy spinning on the Hansen. Both of these were from braids that I purchased at Stitches in April 2011. Both are chain-plied.

This one was purchased from Creatively Dyed Yarn. She has beautiful work, both in hand dyed yarn as well as fiber. This is from a 4 oz braid of 20% cashmere, 20% silk and 60% merino. Total of 380 yards.
This next one was purchased from Jazz Turtle Creations. This 4 oz braid is a combination of alpaca, merino and mulberry silk. The precentages of each were not on the tag. Total yardage came to a little over 400 yards.

A long term project that I am involved in is the mini mitred square sock yarn blanket. This is a project that I keep in my purse at all times. It's done on small dpn's, maybe 4-5 inch long, size 3, so they don't take up much room and anytime I'm stuck somewhere, they are easy to pull out of my purse and work on. They don't take much brain power and I always have leftover sock yarn. Some of my knitsibs have even given some leftover sock yarn to me. I did an inventory today of what I had completed and I have 50 small squares done. I'm not even a quarter of the way there, but that's ok, I'm in it for the long run. Showing my squares so far:

Fiber Festivals

Before I get to the topic of this post, I wanted to share some scenes from the home place. This young fellow was right outside my window Wednesday evening. He was so adorable. He saw me looking at him but he just kept eating. Many times in the late evening, DH and I will go out on the back deck to look at the stars and you'll see baby deer sleeping in the yard. It's almost like their parents will leave them with us to babysit and keep them safe from the coyotes while they themselves go off and eat. The lights are on in the house and I assume they think the coyotes won't come too close ..............who knows. This gray cat is Maddux. She is one of two kittens we picked out a couple of years ago when our blue eyed tom disappeared and never returned. They have really kept the mice and moles away (probably in their bellies). They are good hunters. They even killed a baby snake and left it on the concrete for us to see.

OK, on to the topic. The Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival is held every year Memorial Day weekend. In addition to fiber goodies to purchase, there are some good classes offered. From dyeing, spinning, knitting, crochet, etc. You can watch sheep get sheared, learn about and buy angora bunnies, the list goes on.

I took a class on wrapping coiled baskets. Of course, you can use fabric but this class was about wrapping with yarn or even unspun fiber. We used Cotton Fleece in the class and class time didn't really allow for a basket, but I did get a very sturdy coaster made. It was fun although it does irritate my left arthritic thumb if I do it too long. I stopped by KMart on my way home and bought some cotton cord and decided to use some of my own Corriedale handspun. I purchased this fiber to practice with and it's a little rough next to the skin so I thought it would be perfect to wrap with. This is the result so far. I haven't turned up the sides yet, I'm still working on the base.

As for goodies I purchased. I've never spun from Batts, so this year I focused on them.

From Adair Fiber:

Some gloriously soft and beautifully dyed alpaca locks from Coldwater Alpaca Ranch.

Frabjous Fibers

Yarnadoodledoo! (3 batts from Molly)

The Wooden Spinner

I can't wait to get started on these. woot woot!!!!

This weekend I'm taking a class on Fiber Prep. Mainly discussing carding with a drum carder and carding combs. Gotta keep on learning, right?