A Priest Crafts: Episode 4, How TDF Went

Slightly belatedly, here are my reflections on Tour de Fleece 2017 – my first time participating. I focused on one big (for me) spin, which challenged me in a couple of ways. I’m happy about how it went, and hope you’ll check out my thoughts about it, and that you share your thoughts as well!

Show Notes

These original three braids are all one-of-a-kind braids from Woolgatherings. For easy reference I call them “blue,” “orange,” and “pink.” They were purchased in May 2010, at the Cloverhill Yarn Shop booth at the Maryland Sheep & Wool festival. (OK true confessions: I think they were actually purchased at the shop, before the festival, when the box arrived and we started unpacking it.) I had actually always envisioned putting them together in some kind of massively multicolor gradient.

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Spreading out the top. Isn’t that floofy BFL crimp just gorgeous? I was actually surprised at the amount of VM still present. This was quite comforting; I hope this means it was processed in a relatively low-impact manner. The silk was, for the most part, well-blended in, though there were cut bits of silk I had to pull out at times. There were some nepps as well, but I blame that on how long I left these poor dears in my stash. Two thumbs up; I would definitely recommend woolgatherings! They’re still doing handpainted tops, but have branched out into some interesting color blends and breed specific rovings.

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Stripping away on a hot June day in Maryland, while getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.

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Top left: Ply #1: 4 bumps blue, 3 orange, 2 pink.
Top right: Ply #2: 3 blue, 3 orange, 3 pink.
Bottom: Ply #3: 2 blue, 3 orange, 4 pink.

I absolutely filled my instagram and ravelry accounts with bobbin shots of this spin, so I will not re-post them here. If you’re interested in more details, here’s the ravelry page for this spin.

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The Nerd Numbers:

  • Total yardage: 884 yards
  • Total weight: 11.7 oz
  • Grist: 1208 YPP
  • Finished by soaking and snapping
  • WPI (finished): 12 WPI, or about DK-weight
  • TPI (plied & finished): 3.5
  • Twist angle: ~35 degrees

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Thanks so much for watching and reading.

A Priest Crafts – Episode 3: TDF is coming!

I wanted to do a short vlog while I am down south on fast internet, and it’s turning out quite short! Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.

In this video I talk about Tour de Fleece – that’s when yarn spinners around the world rally around the awesome cyclists pushing themselves to the limit in France, by pushing our spinning skills to new heights.

I’ve always wanted to participate, but I haven’t managed to get it together enough to plan my project. This year I have the additional stumbling block of traveling for the first third of the Tour, but in the video I talk about how I’ve structured my Tour spin around overcoming this obstacle!

The Tour is July 1-23, and we follow the rest days and challenge days as well. I’ll be migrating the first rest day from July 10th to July 7th, since I’ll spend that entire day in airplanes, and I’m not going to test my luck by putting an antique wheel in my carry-on.


My current spin is 50/50 BFL/Tussah silk from Woolgatherings, in the colorway “Modern Love.” Purchased less than a month ago at Cloverhill. I’m spinning it for a Navajo-ply worsted-ish weight, in the ridiculous hope that it will be enough for a circular shawl-vest for my 4 year old.


My TDF spin is the same fiber – 50/50 BFL/Tussah silk from Woolgatherings, purchased something like seven years ago at Cloverhill (under different management). I’ll be spinning it for a traditional 3-ply staggered gradient, worsted-ish weight.

As usual, I will imagine putting it into a fair isle sweater. As usual, it’ll be much better in a shawl.


My wheel is an antique castle wheel of unknown provenance, lovingly called “Doris,” and anyone with guesses as to her make, please let me know your thoughts!

I will be on Team Wool n’ Spinning. See you on Ravelry!

 

A Priest Crafts: Episode 2 – Striped Top Study

UPDATE: the final project has been completed and the in-depth color analysis posted! You can read about it here.

Hello friends! Episode 2 of my new blog is ready for your viewing pleasure. This month I play with a new-to-me preparation. I did something a little different with this video: make a plan and show you the process from idea to singles to finished yarn.

Links:

Nebula Medallion Vest:

Rachel Smith’s tutorials on:

If I find anything more about the top, where it came from or what it’s called, I’ll add it here.

Ravelry page for this spinning project

I ended up with ten mini skeins, all of the same wpi, but using different drafting techniques to get the singles, and plying them together differently to get subtle variations in how the colors mixed. The next step will be take the yarn all the way to finished product, where I can get really down in the weeds with what the colors are doing with each variable. (It’ll be in a blog post, in case you want to skim!)

UPDATE: The in-depth color analysis is complete. Click here to read it.

I’d like to commit to six months with these videos. Probably posted early in the month. I’m not sure where this medium is going for me, so I’ll play around with some different styles. After September I’ll evaluate.

Please leave your thoughts and corrections and ideas; they are deeply appreciated! Thanks for watching.

A Priest Crafts: Episode 1 – Intros and Corespinning

So after all my wailing and gnashing of teeth last week, I’ve decided to go ahead and do it. I used some of my birthday money to register Wondershare Filmora, and recorded my first video on my birthday. After I finished re-recording the last bit, I was immediately bulldozed by a headcold that has left me trapped on the couch. I hope this isn’t a sign. Anyway, this couch time gave me time to edit, but means that I am now missing the Palm Sunday service.

I hope you like the title I came up with at 6 am today. It’s nicely tongue-in-cheek, as “priestcraft” is generally a negative term according to google. Our beloved Mother Martha always used it to just describe what priests do. For me it captures an important reality that I am a priest first, a maker second. I make in the context of my priestly calling, not the other way around.

So, check it out! It was super fun to make, though also quite humbling. I apologize that the audio is kind of quiet. I think I know what went wrong, and hopefully I can fix it next month.

Here’s some links to what I talked about:

frostyarn’s etsy shop (Please note her shop is locked because she is prepping for a show in June, but if you don’t mind a little PG-13 rated language, follow her on Instagram. Her work is the bomb.)

Esther Rodger’s corespinning videos (1 of 5) And here is Esther’s website. I actually just remembered that I got to meet Esther once when we were both selling in the Cloverhill booth at Maryland Sheep & Wool, back in 2009 or something. She was wearing a giant circular sleeveless sweater just like the one I’m making, made entirely of artyarn, so I guess I was subconsciously copying her!

Here’s the ravelry page for this spin. You will find all the Nerd Numbers there, including grist for each skein.

Candy Clouds #1 and #2. 

What I didn’t mention in the video because of all my excitement were the aspects that didn’t work. I was happy for this yarn to be thick and thin, which is a good thing, because I’m not very practiced at drafting merino, so there was no way it was going to be even. The downside of this is that my wheel is not really built to handle this kind of artyarn spinning. The yarn liked to get stuck in the oriface at every thick point, and the bumps sometimes got stretched out in the squeeze through, or they caught on the guide hooks. If I try corespinning again on this wheel, I’ll do it with a fiber I feel more comfortable drafting evenly, and/or with a less fluffy, out of control core. I’m already pondering the possibility of someday investing in a portable wheel with large oriface and bobbins for easier artyarn spinning. I could suffer through these difficulties for one spin, but I would hate doing this all the time. Ya need the right tools for the job.

Stay tuned for the last stages of knitting the sweater; I have high hopes of wearing it for Easter morning and being able to write about it. Now I’m off to make some tea, read the Bible, and kick this cold, because I need to be on my feet by Tuesday for the last night of my Big Work Thing. God’s provided for every stage of the Thing so far, so I’m not even worried about it.

Have an amazing Holy Week, and may you see all your dreams surrendered to die with Christ rise again with him someday.