Sunday, 29 July 2012

I'm preparing for minor surgery and will return to post another blog entry in a week.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012 results

I completed the Tour de Fleece in Ravelry for the first time, achieving my goal of spinning a little every day (except rest days). Team members helped keep me motivated and I am pleased as punch with my results: a skein of 3 ply wool and a skein of 2 ply Pima cotton.

Hand-spinning wool for Tour de Fleece 
I used my Ashford Traditional wheel to spin handpainted wool top from Kathy's Fibres in the "Strelitzia" colourway. Kathy's coloured wool top is a joy to spin. I used Sarah Anderson's technique for Navajo plying to produce a 3 ply yarn with a grist of 2700m/kg. I found Sarah's technique works best for me when I place the lazy kate (holding the full bobbin of single) on the floor beside me.

Hand-spinning cotton for Tour de Fleece
Using Easy To Spin Pima cotton top from Cotton Clouds, I did a little spinning with a support spindle but mainly I used my Ashford Traditional wheel. I have grown ever more confident at spinning cotton on the Ashford. I did discover that I prefer spinning a cotton single onto a fat core bobbin.

Cotton single (top) on regular bobbin;
cotton single (bottom) on fat core bobbin.
Equal amounts of cotton on each bobbin.

Now that the Tour is completed, I really must do something about all those dust bunnies that have accumulated in the corners since housework fell off the priority list....

We had a grand time with the twins last week.

On the way home we saw a double rainbow over Mareeba. Handcraft activities make me happy. So do grandchildren and rainbows.

Post by M in JaM
Pix by JaM

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Slow and Simple

On reflection I have come to the conclusion that spinning and weaving (and handcrafts in general) comprise excellent examples of activities one can include in a slow and simple life. I've begun weaving.

Beginning of weaving with slubby cotton weft on cottolin warp 

I'm using a set of remarkable new bobbins, designed by DH. A friend with a 3D printer (MakerBot Replicator) produced the bobbin ends in ABS plastic. The connecting shaft is carbon fibre. I'm not sure how these tools fit into a slow and simple life, but you must agree it is a “charming mix of old and new technological wonders” - according to MakerGuy.

Bobbins of ABS and carbon fibre (wood bobbin on right)

We've had 22mm rain (almost one inch) this month. Unusual for July. The warm weather continues. Grevilleas are blooming like crazy and attracting a variety of honey eaters – sugar gliders at night, bees and friar birds during the day.

Honey Gem Grevillea blossoms in front of tall grass tree (Xanthorrhoea)

We've signed up for twin-sitting again. Slow and simple gets shelved on that day.

Post by M in JaM
Pix by JaM

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Busy Hands

Handspinning cotton on Ashford Traditional wheel and on JaM support spindle
as participant in Tour de Fleece.
~Easy to Spin Pima cotton top from Cotton Clouds~

Craftwork continues as my primary focus these days. I'm meeting my goal of handspinning a bit every day during Ravelry's Tour de Fleece and we keep abreast of SBS's streamed highlights of the Tour de France. Go, Cadel Evans!

The loom is dressed!
I've also finished dressing the loom with some helping hands from DH.

Weather has changed again. We got 11mm rain last night (almost 1/2”). A female bower bird danced and trilled along the edge of the railing of the balcony as I was working on the loom a few feet away. Skinks skitter across the kitchen floor. Definitely, a change in weather and such.

Working industriously on more projects than I can shake a stick at, I wonder why I feel so compelled to be busy.... and determine to reflect on my claim to a “slow and simple” life.

Post by M in JaM
Pix by J in JaM

Monday, 2 July 2012

Spin me around

The plans multipled again, like a plague of rabbits, but more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Though I have plenty to do, I found myself casting on yet another pair of toddler socks and this time I'm doing colourwork! I just couldn't resist even though I kept telling myself to focus on this:

Gilmore 4-harnass loom being dressed with cottolin warp
Progress does continue weaving-wise, that is, I'm making progress in dressing the loom. I finished threading the heddles while sitting on the tiger stool, such a handy height. That's how things will stay until we get back from indulging in a day of twin-sitting... and then recover....

In between times over the next two weeks, I'll handspin daily as a member of Team I Spin Cotton in Ravelry's Tour de Fleece (did I mention that I also joined Team Australia and Team Kathy's Fibres?)

Plying cotton from two support spindles (in background)
 using 12:1 ratio on 70s Ashford Traditional spinning wheel
with standard sliding hook flyer

I plied previously spun cotton singles from two support spindles in order to have empty spindles to start afresh spinning cotton for the Tour-de-Fleece. 

I decided I might want an occasional change from spinning white cotton. I'm also spinning handpainted wool from Kathy's Fibres, an Australian independent dyer and supplier.

Ashford Traditional standard sliding hook flyer, with ratio 12:1.
Handpainted fibre from Kathy's Fibres in "Strelitzia" colourway.

We don't get regular reception for SBS, the tv channel that carries the Tour de France. We can get the program streamed live via satellite, starting at 10pm and lasting about four hours, but much too late for us. Lucky for us, SBS archives a streamed Highlights version (24 min), available the following day.

Before today is over, I better get to spinning my wheel, look forward to having fun with grandsons tomorrow and wish everyone: Happy Independence Day!

post by M in JaM
pix by JaM