Sunday, July 23, 2017

TdF 2017, in conclusion ... and day lilies ...

What a grand time this has been. To spin with thousands of people the world over and meet through the modern miracle known as the internet. Oh, there has been some beautiful spinning this year. Seeing the fruit of everyone's efforts has been truly inspirational. Mind you, there is never any pressure in TdF: One sets one's own goals.

The only goals I set myself were to spin some 2-ply yarn, and to try something a bit more challenging on the challenge days. I'm very pleased with my personal achievement this year: 986 yds. of skeined, 2-ply yarn--which does not include the singles still on the great wheel--so I'm rounding up to 1000 yds. Not bad at all considering the rest of life has had to continue as smoothly as possible.

Feeling a little after-glow this evening and I'm celebrating with some lovely Chardonnay. Here is my group portrait of TdF 2017 (click to enlarge):

The blue matted roving which I carded up came in at 280 yds. of 2-ply. These yarns are intended for weaving.

Although no longer part of TdF I started in today on some of the luscious caramel colored top I picked up a few weeks ago.

Today was a big day on another front: The day lily plants that I have grown from seed these past 3 years are blossoming! The first blossom opened this morning. You may recall these seeds were the result of some hand pollinating I did at my friend's extensive day lily garden in MA. Yes, I'm a proud parent of a new hybrid; it's quite exciting really. Here it is:

Friday, July 14, 2017

Tour de Fleece, continuing ...

We are at the end of the 2nd week of TdF. Here are this week's accomplishments; not a lot of time these past few days for treadling, but at least half an hour each day. (BTW, for anyone who is unfamiliar with Tour de Fleece: It is an international spinning event which takes place during the Tour de France. There are several teams which one can join if one wishes; this year I'm spinning with Team Warped Weavers and Team Spinning Men. [My favorite team name of all time is Team Russian Underpants! :)] Many of the teams are set up on Ravelry and that's where I joined. So we spin every day the cyclists pedal, and on the days they have challenges, we set ourselves a challenge. It's a great motivator, and very inspirational to see everyone's progress on a daily basis.)

The green is finished: 244 yds., 2-ply. (click on pictures to enlarge them.)

Last Sunday was a challenge day, so I took the great wheel out of the closet, gave it a little tune up and did some spinning "from the fold". It was a nice day and I was able to take it out on the deck where I spun in the glorious sunshine and bird song. It was uplifting. "Spinning from the fold" is a way of spinning long-stapled wool one-handed which is necessary on the great wheel because the other hand is turning the wheel. Wool with shorter staple lengths can be spun "long draw" but I need a few hands-on lessons in that technique. I've done some long-draw with cotton on an Indian charka, but I would greatly benefit from working with an experienced spinner in this matter. One of these days, I'll sit with someone for some guidance. Spinning from the fold creates a semi-worsted yarn, long-draw typically creates a woolen yarn, and short-draw (and it's permutations) usually create worsted yarn. (Woolen yarn is where the fibers in the yarn are arranged haphazardly, it is lofty, light, and warm. Worsted yarn is where the fibers of the wool all line up parallel to one another, it is strong and warm, but not as warm as woolen spun yarn.)

A few years ago I found a "minors" head for my wheel. It is an accelerator wheel. It makes me laugh to use it because it adds so much twist so quickly. A quarter turn of the big wheel puts in more twist than you can imagine. My first "cop" (a wound of spun singles) isn't quite done, and I plan on spinning a second, then plying them together.

This week I've set to work on the blue, matted top I had in my stash. Running it through the drum carder did a great job of resuscitating it and making it viable for spinning. I'm near finished on my first bobbin full. It will also become 2-ply yarn.

I was at a wonderful newish local yarn store this afternoon, Scratch in Lebanon, NH and found some absolutely delicious merino/tussah silk blend which looks like something you'd find on a hot fudge sundae! I can't wait to spin this gorgeous fiber. I also found some brilliant red silk hankies to spin.

A garden post coming soon.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


Ah yes, ain't it nice! We are having a nice summer; plenty of rain to keep the gardens happy, plenty of sunshine to urge the plants to grow. It felt like quite a rocky start this year, but we are well under way now.

It's hard to believe the 4th of July has come and gone! At this rate, it seems autumn will be around the corner in no time! I will have to find a better way of thinking about this... let's see... there are still a good 2 (probably 3) months of summer. OK, that works.

It has been a busy month, rushed off my feet really. I participated in a chamber music workshop at the Upper Valley Music Center in the middle of June. I was assigned to a Beethoven quartet: My first time ever performing in a quartet and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We will be playing the piece again in September for the grand opening celebration of the music school's new building.

On the heels of the workshop, I hosted the same two Fresh Air boys I hosted last year. They both wanted to come back this year, and again: I can't believe they've come and gone already! A week was spent in preparation--cleaning house top to bottom, and they were then here a week. We had a lovely time and I hope to see them again next year.

Our orchestra has spent the past 5 Wednesdays rehearsing for our concert next Sunday. We are playing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", Copland's "Billy The Kid Suite", and Steve Reich's "Duet for 2 Violins and Strings". It's a terrific, challenging program, made more so by the short time frame. I made a poster for the concert:

Beginning July 1, I've been spinning away as part of "Tour de Fleece". I hadn't participated in a few years and it's nice to be back at it this year. But before I show pics of my TdF progress, here's a picture of the 8 ~50 gram ea. samples I finally finished spinning up. I spun 2 of them the first 2 days of TdF:

The colors are really lovely, I think--all natural. I must find something special to make of them.

My TdF progress so far (we are today on day 8, it runs through the 23rd):