Thursday, August 4, 2016

July Wrap Up

July was alternately so miserably hot and so torrentially rainy and there was so much negative stuff going on off the blog that the month seemed interminably longer than usual. And then it was over without any blogging. Well, let me catch up with an interminably long wrap up post.

At first I balked at writing this and wanted to insert various qualifiers, but on reflection this year's Tour de Fleece was a success, unqualified.Tour de Fleece button I accomplished my goal of finishing a half-braid of fiber using a new-to-me technique, sampled a luscious new-to-me fiber, and spun another sample using another new-to-me technique. All cause for happiness and satisfaction, but it's only in retrospect that this has sunk in.

The half-braid of Gale's Art Polwarth, colorway Sweetness and Light, turned into 297 yds (271 m) of fractal-spun 2-ply with 63 yd (57 m) of plied-against-itself 2-ply left over. I was surprised by the way the colors of the fractal-spun aligned – there were far more sections of solid color and far fewer sections of barberpole than generally occur in random spinning. I'm curious to see how the yarn will knit up.

Finished fractal-spun and random spun

The luxurious Victory Farm Paco-Vicuña also was a surprise. I had expected the downy-feeling fiber would be difficult to spin, so spun it July 9, one of the challenge days. It turned out the lovely fiber spun so easily and beautifully the only challenge was stopping with a 12-yd (11-m) sample skein. The results remind me of baby camel – I'm going to have to rummage through my stash to find that sample skein and compare the two.

Sample skein of Paco-Vicuna

While I'm glad I tried ply on the fly and I'm pleased with the end product, I did find the three steps forward, two steps back process more time-consuming than I like. There's 52 yds (47 m) of ply on the fly and 72 yds (65 m) of ordinary 2-ply spun from Zarzuela's Fibers SW Merino, colorway Santa's Coming! pictured below. Unsurprisingly, the ply on the fly has long segments of pure color while the ordinary 2-ply has delightful barberpole effects. I do rather like the barberpole effects. Somewhat surprisingly, the POTF felt like a crepe yarn while it was getting its finishing bath, a difference I don't notice when it's dry.

Ply on the fly and 2-ply

At some point in the spinning action, the hook on my (apparently camera-shy) birdseye maple Bosworth got bent, which of course made it spin eccentrically. I was afraid I might have to send it back to Journeywheel for repairs, but was able to straighten it out with (padded) heavy pliers. Whew! I love my Bossies – the longer I spin, the more I prefer them. Indeed, while mousing around the Journeywheel website, I noticed this beauty, a 30 g pau amarillo midi...

30 g pau amarillo midi spindle

... and clicked. A new bright yellow spindle, reminiscent of the Maillot Jaune, seemed a fitting conclusion to my TdF.

Having watched the Republican National Convention, of course I watched the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Inspired by the most moving speech of the convention, I made myself a pocket U.S. Constitution. As my puny stapler can't possibly secure so many sheets of paper (mighty in thickness however small in size), I sewed the pages together.

Pocket U.S. Constitution

I also blocked and seamed my July Camp Loopy project, Simple Straight Skirt by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, knit in Cascade 220 colorway 4002 Jet. I dislike finishing, but also hate to see anything less than the full effect. In this case, mattress stitch seams.

Skirt seam

Blocking, seaming, and the addition of waistband elastic transformed the skirt from a vaguely skirt-shaped lumpy mass into an honest-to-goodness skirt that fits perfectly. What an excellent pattern – well-written and perfect results. I don't know why I've had such a mental block about knitting skirts, but now I want to Knit All the Skirts! It's too hot right now to comfortably model a wool skirt, I'll have to remember to do that when it cools down.

Skirt FO

Last but not least, another singleton sock came down from the Clothesline of Shame, Clouds by Rebecca A., worked in Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fasset, colorway 4261 Landscape Caribbean. A fun pattern and a fun yarn, it's just everything that intervened that made it take so long to finish the pair. One sock uses wrap and turn short rows, the other uses Japanese short rows.

Clouds Socks FO

Now it's on to the Ravellenic Games 2016. I needed some jollying along – the antipathy I've harbored against the Sports Event That Shall Not Be Named has only increased in two years, and the multiple hazards of the host country and my own general state of blah were formidable obstacles. Sometime this week that turned around (hence the need to wrap up July). I've joined Team Loopy 2016 and Team BBMF 2016 (rated M), and am ready for the Mass Cast on tomorrow!

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