Saturday, July 19, 2008

More Tour de Fleece

I haven't been doing much for the Tour de Fleece, but I didn't set myself a very difficult goal, either. I have been doing a bit of spinning, although not as regularly as I'd like. But I'm starting to get back into the swing of things.

After a look around today, I found a total of four regular (plastic) bobbins for my Majacraft Rose wheel. I had one, and bought one at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and found two more today. 

I am spinning my current project on the baby bobbins, and I've discovered that I don't like the fact that the center of the bobbin is so thin. No matter how much I back off on the Scotch tension, when I first start on an empty bobbin, the choice is between tug-of-war or no intake onto the bobbin at all. Once I ply the current batch on the baby bobbins, I'm going to see if I can find something to make the center section a bit thicker. I was looking at the photo of the baby bobbins in the link I provided above, and it looks like the updated bobbins have a thicker center, so that probably won't be a problem with the new ones.

While on the Majacraft site, looking at the baby bobbins and their improvements, I found another improvement. Majacraft has out a spindle that works with their wheels, and even has a bobbin that works with it.

Photos tomorrow.

As I said, I seem to be picking up speed, volume, and interest on this spinning project for le Tour de Fleece. While finding the bobbins, I found some pretty roving, some wool (in a soft blue and other colors), some wool and Tencel (in a very soft light and very dark green), and some pastel multicolored silk (really beautiful stuff). 

I was reading over the article in the Spring issue of Spin-Off about wrapped yarn. The woman in the article uses cotton crochet thread for a core, but it strikes me that wooly nylon might be a better core, and I'm thinking about trying that. If you're not familiar with wooly nylon, the photos at that link won't give you a clue. It's nylon thread, suitable for sewing (on a sewing machine or serger) with. When under tension, it looks like regular thread. But when the tension is released, it bulks up a bit, and looks remarkably like wool (hence the name). It's strong, and has elasticity that's very similar to wool. If you're interested, check it out in a fabric store.

I'm getting down to the end on the triangular shawl I'm knitting in Knit Pick's Telemark (royal heather). The royal heather color looks darker in person than I anticipated from both the printed and on-line swatches.

After ordering this yarn and knitting with it, I realize that Knit Picks doesn't really carry any sport weight yarn. Telemark is listed as a sport weight, but I'm finding it isn't really.

If you look at the yardage for their worsted yarns, they average around 110 yards for 50 grams. Skip to their DK weight yarns, and you get more like 160 yards for 50 grams. DK is thinner than worsted, so the finer yarn yields more yardage. So, you would naturally expect the sport weight yarns to have even more yardage per 50 grams. 

Wrong. Telemark is listed at 103 yards. I thought that was a typo, and that there was actually more yardage, since it's even finer than DK. So, I ordered the amount of yarn by weight, expecting to have a generous amount of yardage, but I think that what they did was take their worsted weight yarn and just give it more twist to make it thinner (and shorter). The yardage they claim is probably correct, and the shawl is turning out kind of skimpy. It's also stiff, being over-spun/plyed, scratchier than a more softly spun yarn would be, and still really worsted weight. I usually use a size 6 needle with sport weight, and get 6 stitches per inch, but a size 6 needle was giving me something that would stop bullets with this yarn. I had to go up to a size 8, and the resulting fabric is still stiff. I'm hoping that blocking will cure it, but I'm not happy about blocking because it isn't necessary with this pattern (my simple triangular shawl pattern).

Oh, well. Photos real soon now.

Doctor Who on Friday evening was outstanding! The episode they showed was Turn Left. I hope you got to see it, but I won't discuss it in case you didn't, except to say that Rose was back, and it's starting to build up to the season finale.

My granddaughter, Malaia, is moving to Baltimore tomorrow, and I'm really excited about it. Her aunt, Heather, is very upset that she's moving away from Toledo.

Oh, and John corrected me on my post about him yesterday. He will be at the National Cartoonist's Society Booth #1307 at Comic Con, and "I'll be hanging out there off and on when I'm at the con. Laura is tagging along with a big HD camera and is going to videotape the panel and stuff for me to use on the DVDs." 

Laura is my friend from so far back it's hard to remember. She's the reason I have a computer to blog on instead of my phone. She's been at a lot of the SF Cons I've gone to, and worked on one of the movies I worked on. I cannot wait to hear about it all!

I hope you're all having a great weekend!

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