Saturday, July 02, 2011

A big weekend all round

When you have younger people in your life, birthdays are significant events. I can understand that, when you have only ever had 11 birthdays, and I'm pretty sure the first few are kind of fuzzy and the memory is probably only the photos in the family album and stories you have been told, the number 12 is significant. Tomorrow my eldest, Toby, aka 'the toad', or 'tobe' turns 12. We try to be responsible parents, no first-person-shooter games, no playing with matches, and making a point of not letting go of what is on offer unless the please and thank-yous are said. That said kids develop interests that plain confound me, The littlest cub is into ballet, so I find myself doing ballet-hair, a bun, twice a week. The eldest cub finds WWII planes fascinating - who knew? That is all part of this weekend, then there is the start of the Tour, not the tour de France, but the tour de Fleece, with all the preparation and false starts that go with that. This weekend and there are knitted objects that relate to the tour, and knitting objects that might even be closer to being finished than they were a few days ago!

This is my 'birthday boy', with his new toys. I am thankful that Bear has insight into the tings that this 12 year old boy likes - as I never would have guessed that teeny tiny miniature planes that are used with a board game replicating the movements of World War II airplane engagements would the perfect present. Me, I supplied blank comic book drawing pads, A3 drawing paper and blocks of A4 210gsm cartridge paper because he is always wanting to use my supplies. I also provided a FC Tk9400 2mm clutch pencil, nice soft black lead refills and a Fabre Castel lead pointer. His sister supplied a vintage style slinky, and an environ science kit. If that boy even hints he is bored in the next few days .... I can't even imagine my surprised reaction. Equally how he will fit all that new stuff into his already full and tiny bedroom is a mystery that only he can solve.

This year I am again on tour, the Tour de Fleece, spinning along with the Tour de France, resting on rest days and trying to challenge myself. This is pink combed perendale that I dyed last year. This year I am spinning on my vintage Pippy wheel, I've not used this much since the two new wheels arrived and every time I visit the back room I admire it and think I shouldn't be ignoring it. So Friday I rearranged the family room, gave the wheel a dust and an oil (silicon spray really), and pre-drafted the fibre.
In any event of the size of the Tour (france and fleece), there are bound to be false starts. My participation started disappointingly. The Pippy and I had to get reacquainted, for I thought I had her all adjusted and drawing in nicely ... but in truth I forgot that treadling with one treadle is very different to treadling with two. Of course any coach will stress how important it is to train with your competition equipment so you are familiar with it, and I didn't. My first 11 grams were thicker than I wanted .. but I have 160g to use. So I thought about it overnight, and decided to sacrifice the 11 grams, and start again. The second start was much smoother, the wheel and I are not quite one, but my hands and feet are more in tune with my spinning and the wheel.

In prepareation for the Tour I spun up the lovely cross breed that KathyR gifted me. I was aiming at lace ... and I'm closer than I have ever been to lace weight yarn. And I do think this my spinning is becoming more even. Once I was compelled to spin three ply yarn - only because I knew the averaging out of three plies would even up my yarn, now I happily spin two ply knowing that my control is improved the point that there is not as much difference between the thicks and thins. Details, fine fingering, 2 ply, shifting from pale to darker over its length, 115g, and 550m. I am still thinking of a a shawl or blanket that uses the transitioning shades to add drama, with the dark as the final outside lace edge. Thank you again Kathy!

With the tour looming I felt the need to knit up some of my previous tour spinning. 2010 I spun 3 skeins of texel fleece into a sweater weight of yarn. This year I plan to turn that into a simple sweater for Toby. He has outgrown the gansey I knit him way back in early 2009. Time for a new one, and as he is a boy with boy traits peer fashion dictates it be plain and simple and serviceable. Bang goes my idea of embellishing the front and back with Barbara Walkers spider or some such crazy motif. The things we knitters do to hold back for the ones we love, like knitting a plain sweater when a patterned one would be so much more fun to make. So I have swatched a gansey edge, a few rounds of garter, then a 2x2 rib, followed by another garter band and three sections knit on needles increasing in size from 3.75 to 4.5mm. I think I like the 4mm best now the swatch is washed. I tried to hide a slip stitch chain pattern along the top ... but I'm not sure it will stay in the final design although in the photo it looks tidier than the garter bands.

And lastly I have finally finished the tip of the second mitten, only of course as I won't be using the first mitten this is technically the first mitten. This will be the third time I have finished this tip ....... only a thumb and a whole n'other mitten to go and I will have a matched pair. I assume that there are other projects like this out there, in terms of the frogging and the redoing and all? The thumb is looking a little puckered as I have a knitters safety pin holding the stitches. I do like the evil owls more than the running dogs ... and the double knitting chart reading has become much much more fluent.

So I'm off to complete other computery things, upload photos and tidy up things that need tidying up. I submitted my second article to Entangled this last week, but I still need to prepare and send thru the images. then there is some long overdue correspondence to catch up on, a pen or two to prepare to send away for repair, two favorites. There was a good frost this morning, which means a sunny clear crisp day - a good day to work thru things inside - before returning to the wheel for more spinning.

take care, if you are touring, may your wheel fly, and your fibre flow, if not please cheer on spinners and cyclists in your circle of crafters.

1 comment:

adriene said...

I'm loving the pink of that laceweight you are spinning. I spin with a spindle myself, so I had no idea that one treadle would be so different from two. I also always assumed that you didn't have to predraft with a spinning wheel. Do you always predraft, or does it depend on the fibre?