Poorly Spun, Results

Well, here she is. My poorly spun loop bump. She’s 551 yards of 2 ply. Most of it is about light fingering weight. But that entire section of blue is quite a bit larger, perhaps a DK. My big consolation is that I’ll be able to divide the yarn into 2 skeins to get usable yarn.



The good news is that my Autumn Lake bumps are plying up very nicely. The yarn I’ll have from those will be amazing. The process is long though, I am on bobbin #2 of what I suspect to be 4 bobbins total. I bet it takes me through the weekend to finish up!


I am amazed that I managed 3 days of posting in a row here. Considering my recent track record, that’s impressive.

Summer is always a bit transitional in our lives, with school being out and so on. It is also my biking season, the time I most want to be on the bike. So, it is true that my crafting suffers.

This week marked a major milestone for me. After spending a ton of time this spring and summer working on my mountain biking skills, I’ve finally got to a point where I am comfortable. Never has something bike related come so slowly for me. Never have I worked so hard for so little reward. I’ve had moments of pure frustration where my brain just won’t allow me to do what I want to do. I’ve had major moments of frustration when my brain wants to do something my skill level won’t allow. Some days my lungs and legs won’t catch up, and suffer later on in the evening. There have been times when I am just sure it isn’t for me, and that I’ll never get it.

And then every once in awhile, there was that moment of bike bliss, where everything came together for a moment or two, making me feel like perhaps these skills are attainable for me after all. Usually that would be followed by a trail that would take me down a peg or two, quite literally. I could not even begin to count the number of spills I’ve taken on my mountain bike this spring and summer.

But then something changed. It started over a week ago, with a typical thursday night bike ride, on a regular bike. I rode so strong, and felt so strong, and never had that moment of not being able to keep up with my group. I immediately knew that I was feeling stronger and more aggressive than ever, and that I really needed to get out on the dirt trails at that point when I felt strong and aggressive. But it didn’t happen.

Instead, that weekend I rode a 50 mile gravel ride overnight. It took all I had in me to complete that ride. With muscles aching and my exhaustion and attempts to get back on an appropriate sleep schedule, I didn’t bike again until Tuesday, and that was a regular ride again. I started that ride feeling weak from the gravel ride, but ended the ride feeling strong and comfortable again. One day off and I *knew* it was time for a mountain bike ride.

Which I took, at a park I’ve never been to before. I’d been told that this new trail was far more technical than what I was used to riding, but instead, I just had no trouble with it at all! I felt strong, and comfortable on my bike, and really nothing tripped me up. I blamed it on the new trail. So when we planned the next night to do a group ride on the trail I have been practicing, I fully expected my self confidence to waver yet again. Except that didn’t happen. Instead, I owned that trail, having no problem at all with it. I didn’t do all of it, but I again knew I was riding strong and confident. And now? We’ve created a monster because I want to ride dirt All Of The Time.

And now for the spinning news. I won a new spindle! A tahkli style spindle with 2 oz. of cotton. It is a lovely little piece, from hipstrings. Very fast spinner and nice and lightweight. While cotton spinning is a learning curve, I am enjoying the learning!


Poorly Done

When I started spinning my first loop bump on spindles, it took quite awhile to get the hang of it. Since loop fiber doesn’t precisely act like commercial top, I struggled a bit to get it even. And then as I got it more even, I spun thinner. And then I realized how thin I’d gotten my singles, and started thickening them up a bit again. So, as I am plying, I can tell that this skein is just plain poorly done. That’s ok though, I am sure I can find something, or somethings, to make it into for Bug, since these are precisely her colors. What I am proud of is that plying is happening, which means progress is finally being made!


Over but not done with

Tour de Fleece may be over but as I’ve not a skein of yarn to show for it, I am still plugging away at all my TdF projects. I’ve managed to finish spinning the singles of the Autumn Lake and Autumn Lake coordinate bumps, more than 10 ounces of singles on two bobbins. They are just lovely, fat, full bobbins with such gorgeous colors on them. Plying may take some time, but I suspect it will be more than worth the time spent.




Spindle Spinning

Tour de Fleece ended this weekend and I have NO skeins to show for it. However, I did manage to spin about a pound of singles. Those yarns may not be completed, but they are on their way toward it.  That being said, since we are right in the middle of summer, I am right in the middle of biking season and my desire to be inside and crafting is pretty much gone. It just isn’t my season and I cannot get motivated to do it. When I am forced to be inside, I choose other activities anyhow. Cleaning, organizing, purging the house of useless items. Not crafting.

Of course, this kind of means I don’t have much to show you, so instead I am going to attempt to start a series of posts I’ve been considering writing for quite some time.

You see, my good friend Marja decided she would like to try to learn to spin. She does not knit, crochet, or weave. So this was my opportunity to work with a blank slate. Someone who knew nothing about yarn and the terminology for spinning and associated crafts.

I started her out with one of my trindles, the drop style not the support style. Then I asked her to please choose some kauni “preyarn.” My hope here was to get her accustomed to the idea of spinning a spindle clockwise without throwing her for a loop by teaching her how to draft as well. The pre yarn is great for this, as the only thing required is to add twist to it.

This then gave us the opportunity to explore plying methods before drafting was even learned. With the preyarn she was able to create a 2 ply, a 3 ply, and a chain ply with little trouble at all. And also learn terms like hank and skein and how to wash and finish her yarn.



This was her first yarn, a 2 ply. We didn’t try to make the colors do anything at all in particular, it was simply a learning experience.

I believe our next was the rainbow, which was logical to chain ply.



We then discussed 3 ply yarns and she ended up with some very lovely 3 ply yarns.

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I believe that getting the feel of a spindle and learning to ply even before drafting gave her the confidence she needed to learn to draft. It also gave her yarn that immediately looked like yarn, rather than struggling through a mess of stuff that just doesn’t actually look very nice or usable.

I don’t know that learning with preyarn would work for everyone, but I think I can prove in future posts that it did work for Marja.


Doesn’t even begin to cover it.

This morning I put Miss Bug on a plane for her annual trip to spend time with my parents. It will be a shorter than usual trip this year, but she will love it even so.

I’ve been busy biking and training myself to ride differently. I am at the strongest I’ve been all year which is exciting. So tonight I embark on an all night gravel ride which should be good and challenging fun.

Not as much spinning as I would have hoped, but I do have all my singles on the daydreamer bump spun up. I just don’t have an empty wheel to use for plying.


Weekend Progress

This weekend was full of biking, live music, friends, and crowded events. I also spent most of my free time working around the house, rather than crafting in any way. This sets me up for what feels like a pretty successful weekend. I did manage to take some time out for some Tour spinning as well.

I spent some downtime yesterday working on some spindle spinning, this is coming right along.



And I had a phone date with a girlfriend, during which I did some wheel spinning, so that feels like it is coming right along as well.



That bobbin really is filling right up. I rather hope I may have time to finish this one during the week actually. Then it will be the very long task of plying more than 10 oz. of handspun singles.

Biking with Bug

Miss Bug has taken to wanting to ride bikes with me from time to time. This is, of course, a very happy thing for me. We just ride locally, generally down to see a garden, and then up to a nearby trail, and then we do a bit of the trail. She’s going to need a new bike next year, but for now we are making this one work.



This is the view I get from my bike as I follow her along. 

On this particular day, she discovered the trails running alongside the paved trail and needed to check them out. 

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Since she does some trail running with her father, she was loving this. 

We also went to the rose garden and took some photos. 

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And then we had to cut the trip for the emergency of needing to use the bathroom. It was a quick trip home!



Endings and Beginnings

With bug away at camp last week, I was able to have a bunch of time to do stuff that I enjoy. Biking, music, gardening, spinning, hanging with friends. Now she is home, and I am adjusting to the fact that it is time to get back into a routine for a couple weeks. The ending of a busy but great week, the beginning of a new routine.

In the end, simply the fact that Bug was at camp felt like an ending and a beginning. The ending of her young childhood, the beginning of her more “tween” years, a fact I’ve been trying to deal with for about 6 or 7 months. Not that she isn’t a little girl, she is. She still plays little girl games. But it isn’t the same. And her maturity at camp and her love of it, and her desire to stay another week just highlighted that even more.

I’ve always said that I enjoy her more every year, because it gets easier every year. But I find myself, this year, looking back at the ages of 6 and 7 and feeling a bit melancholy. Wishing I could go back to that for a bit. Revisit it. Simply for the fun that was then, even though now is also fun. She’s close to 9 now, which means we are close to some big changes. And she is so mature this year that I am consistently surprised over it.

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed gardening this week had something to do with that time for reflection we rarely give ourselves. I can’t passively reflect, it has to be an active endeavor. I need to be moving. If I am moving, I can think and reflect. Thankfully, the simple act of pulling weeds, hands in the dirt, attempting to avoid the bugs, was movement enough for me this weekend. Very pleasant.

Perhaps with Bug back home I’ll find more spinning time. That seems likely. But, as for now, it doesn’t seem I am getting much done. I’ve got the brown and orange loop bump moving into the second color.


And then there’s the tiny bit of spinning I have been working on in my spare time on the pastel loop bump. I am working on my fourth spindle full, and it is coming along. Not quickly, but we are getting there.



So, I’ve kept a garden for a few years now. I’ve always said that I don’t actually like gardening, but I like what gardening produces. I do not typically plant flowers, preferring my herbs and veggies. My general rule is do the bare minimum. Weeds take over, and I only week haphazardly if they are choking out my produce. I don’t mulch, I maybe feed once a year, all the typical smart gardening things I just can’t be bothered with.

Until this year. I do NOT know what got into me this year. However, I’ve been spending these vast amounts of time on my garden. There are flowers in there this year. I’ve mulched. I’ve weeded and weeded and weeded and then weeded some more. And what is more? I find myself actually enjoying the process. Rather than being irritable at having to do it, I sit there for long periods of time, obsessively pulling every weed out by the root. And sometimes taking a break and looking around the neighborhood. Sometimes just thinking. Sometimes listening to music. For the first time ever, the world of gardening actually feels like a quiet, comfortable, zen place to be. And I am loving it.

I still have mostly herbs and veggies. I still have some more weeding to do. But, my garden as of yesterday evening.

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There are parts of this garden that were almost completely overgrown with weeds. Now I have a lovely place to weed and the job shouldn’t be nearly as big and overwhelming.

Tour Updates

So, since it is a weekend, I have a little more time to devote to my tour spinning. I’ve been surprisingly uninspired about it actually, and keep choosing gardening over spinning, which is certainly a bit odd. Nonetheless, I am enjoying making progress.

First up, I’ll show off my pastel spindle spin progress. I finished another spindle full, wound that off, and started on the fourth.



It is going fairly smoothly indeed.

I would have shown you how I moved into the next color on the bump I have at work, but managed to leave my phone at home on Friday and then remembered I’d need it in order to actually take a picture. That will have to wait.

Then there is the larger, over 10 oz project, the Autumn Lake and Autumn Lake Coordinate. This morning I had almost a full bobbin.



I wasn’t quite sure how much of the 5 oz. I would get on a 4 oz. bobbin, imagine my surprise when it all fit!



So, of course, I started the second bump right away. This one I saved because the color runs are shorter and I think that will add interest.



While I have been doing a lot of spinning avoidance, I still think these are all indicative of fantastic progress, and time devoted to it.

This was actually started at our local once a month knitting meet up. Today was a great day to be there, as we had friends, new and old, and much laughter, in a very busy shop. A great day out.

A Century

I think I mentioned yesterday that I intended to ride quite a few miles during my day off. The big plan was to ride my very first hilly gravel ride. I had been convinced to do this with my favorite riding partner, who has been asking me to ride gravel for some time now. There is an upcoming area organized gravel ride that he is one of the organizers for, and we had decided to ride out to the start of the route, ride the shorter route, and take notes on any big problems that might need to be rectified prior to the official ride. We also took along the person who will be the ride leader for that route, an experienced gravel rider I had not met before.

I figured I’d use the blog as a way to sum up my first ride, as it was a very exciting day for me. My friend and I left my place at 8 to head to a park and meet up with the person who will lead the ride. We then rode over to the starting point, and I found myself already getting nervous. You see, I can’t keep up with these guys no matter how hard I try, and I was so desperate to keep up in the city and not get lost, that I was pushing myself very hard.

We got to the starting point and I was given a cue sheet, something I’ve never used before. Ideally these would be used with a bike computer. But, I do not use a bike computer anymore, as it makes me a nervous rider. I constantly look to see how fast I am going, how far I’ve gone, how much farther I have to go, and so on. All of these things take away from my enjoyment of the ride, I stress instead of looking around, seeing the sights, and just enjoying being on my bike. I loved eliminating the bike computer from my life.


However, with the cue sheet, you are to reset your computer at the start of the ride, and then follow the cues, at the appropriate mileage. I was worried about this too, as my sense of direction is pretty much full of fail. But, the little indicators show what kind of turn or road crossing you are to do. Very simplistic, very easy to read, and I no longer had an overwhelming sense of dread over getting lost.


And then it was time for gravel! I was indeed a bit nervous and hesitant at first. But I had two experienced people giving me tips and instructions and looking out for me. With the confidence of the cue sheet, I was free to take my own pace on the hills, and I eventually found that when I stopped trying to keep up, I actually rode faster and was able to catch up again more quickly.


We ran into a few snags here and there. One being a farmer who was oiling the gravel road in front of his house with his truck. The oil spilled out of a tank in the back of his truck, and it smelled extremely foul. It was all over the gravel, and he was still applying it. He was clearly uninterested in taking a break from this job as we rode through. We got into the ditch at the side of the road and rode that way, even though it was very difficult. I’d gotten a bit behind again, and had a very scary moment when his large white truck was attempting to make a turn, and seemed to care not in the least I was in front of him. Perhaps he knew I was there, and perhaps he knew he would not hit me. However, the nose of a large white truck coming so close to me and my bike was very unnerving. After this, we were absolutely coated in this rancid oil, and of course then the gravel began to stick to us and our bikes. Not the most pleasant experience.

As we continued on I became more and more comfortable with the gravel. I could tell where my bike needed to be in order to be most efficient. I became more comfortable in my lower gears as the gravel provides quite a bit of resistance in the ride. Sadly, my bike, needing a tune up, would not allow me to stay in the lowest gear, it would just pop back out. I suspect after a tune up, I might do even better.

We then came upon a section of the ride where we were to ride a limestone trail. A trail that not one of us has ridden all season. We counted the poles at the entrance that would need reflective tape, and got started. Turns out that this trail is SO overgrown right now that it was tough to see where the trail was, as opposed to the surrounding fields. I am talking about thigh high weeds, completely overgrown. I remember yelling at the guys as we all suffered through that mess that I’d take gravel any day over what we were trying to ride now! I guess this was the point of riding the route, as now there is time to have something done about it.

I learned a few things yesterday. One of them being that when you are so far out in the middle of nowhere, water is a problem. There just isn’t a gas station or convenience store nearby to get to. I am going to have to make some changes for the actual ride, in an attempt to be able to complete with enough water, as it is my intention to ride the longer route.

As we finished up our recon and headed home, we were all quite tired and hungry. Thing is, due to the holiday, not much of anything was open. We’d passed a few places with no luck. As we came to the turn where my friend and I could leave the ride leader and head back, or go on with him and look for food, I was asked what I’d prefer to do. All I could think was that if we rode on, we’d end up seeing a lot more places that would be closed, and my need for a meal was getting desperate. So I could not stop thinking of the leftovers in my fridge. I emphatically said “I want to go home now!” Which earned me the response “Wow, you so rarely have a preference on a bike ride, but when you do, you let me know it!”

Unfortunately the last leg of my journey became increasingly slow. Out of curiosity, I asked how many miles we’d been. I was told 60 miles, and considering I do not ride with a computer, I was absolutely startled! To this, my friend said “Yep, once we do our evening ride, we just may have a century in.” Of course, as such things do, I immediately could not let go of that thought.

As we rode back, we began discussing the evening ride. We were both headed home to do some cooking so that we could enjoy some food on the evening ride. As our normal Thursday ride wasn’t going to work out as it normally would, we decided to meet up with some friends ahead of time and then head out. The original plan was for my place, but as I got home, got a shower, changed, and started cooking, I’d already been invited to his house for grilling and food. So, we called everyone up, gave them the plan change, and took our time with the evening ride.

I am not sure I was too eager to get back on my bike for an additional 40 or more miles. However, once headed out, I realized that having an afternoon to recover really made a huge difference. I was tired, but I didn’t have too much trouble keeping up. And with the addition of other more social, slower riders, it gave us a chance to spend time with new people. Once we arrived at our destination, on a surprisingly deserted trail, we set up food and just hung around and chatted the evening away, with fireworks going off all around. I, again, wasn’t eager to get on my bike to head home, but also had the confidence I’d get there and that my very long day was almost done.

100 miles in one beautiful day. It was just what I needed.




Tour Update day #5

My spinning time for the tour has certainly been hard to come by this week. By working on my wheel during what little time I had between work and a bike ride, I was able to move into the third color on my Autumn Lake bump.



The richness of the blue on this bump is really quite lovely. This is one of the bumps that is slightly more textured than many of the bumps from Loop. I am really enjoying that fact.

I also worked a bit more on the brown/orange bump that I have at work. This one has been slow and difficult going, but next time I work on it, I’ll be moving into the next color range.



My plan today is to spin on a bike, pretty much all day. Any guesses to how many miles I’ll have when I am done? Even I cannot know this information at this point!

No Discernible Progress

There has been spinning on day 4. There hasn’t been enough spinning or changes to post. So, I figured I’d get something else out of the way. You see, last weekend I had the time to finish and block a scarf. I used a handspun 3 ply I finished recently. I couldn’t get over the colors and wanted something that would show them off, but would be small enough to use my entire skein.

I chose a pattern called Maluka. It has an interesting construction. First the border is knit, then the border stitches picked up. The stockinette portion is created using short rows. It was a simple pattern, but it was also one with enough interest to keep me happy. On top of all that, my handspun this time was just about perfect. So beautifully balanced of a 3 ply that those stockinette stitches just defined themselves in nice neat and tidy lines. I loved it!

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One more thing I love about knitting is that sometimes a particular project, worked on in a particular place, ends up holding a special place in your heart simply for holding a particular memory. This shawl I worked on during our camping trip when I had a spare moment. It should technically smell of wood smoke, and it does in my imagination. What project holds a special place in your heart for you, and why?

TdF Day #3 update

Well, yesterday was somewhat less productive than the weekend, but I suppose that is to be expected. I managed to do a little spindle spinning on the pastel colored loop bump, I am almost done with my third spindle full.


Then I decided to make sure I had some spindle spinning at work for the tour. I took a loop bump I had in stash, a spindle, and an extra bowl.

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I found out something quite sad about this bump. I purchased it off a destash. It is terribly felted. This is not going to be the most fun spin, that’s for sure! I have had the intention to ply this bump with some silk I have yet to spin.  We will see how things are coming along toward the end of the tour.

I’ve been enjoying the updates of all the participating spinners. I enjoy that the tour gives us something to focus on for a time.

Day #2 Tour de Fleece

On day #1 of Tour de Fleece, I did manage to find some time to do some wheel spinning. I started my Autumn Lake bump. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.


The main project worked on for day #2 was my wheel spinning. I’d not yet moved into the second color when I finished Day #1. I woke up quite early, was on my porch spinning with coffee before 7 am, and an hour in, I’d moved into the second color.


When I finally quit at the wheel, I had almost a bobbin full of singles.


I feel really good about the progress so far. But, then my progress had to stop so I could feed Bug and send her off to camp.


(This is what she looks like when you make her pesto and she is convinced you put hot peppers in it. There were no hot peppers in it.)

Once she was off to camp, my evening was spent taking a couple women on a bike ride longer than they’d ever done before. These women are predominately runners, and had never done more than 20 miles on the bike. We shot for 30 miles. On an absolutely stunning, fairly cool for the summer evening. We ended up with 34 miles. And we had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning sunset.

I may just have to start a new Loop bump for Monday and keep it at work. All spinning, all the time.