Fiber Friday: In Search of a Yellow Jersey

Fiber Friday: In Search of a Yellow Jersey

yel·low jer·sey


  1. (in a cycling race involving stages, especially the Tour de France) a yellow jersey worn by the overall leader in a cycle race, at the end of any one day, and ultimately presented to the winner.

I have been spinning up a storm in week one of the Tour. I have spun up the Columbia rolags, the Merino/Yak roving, and the Gotland roving. I am working through the vintage batts, and I have to tell you, while I was skeptical about how this would look at the start, I am LOVING how this looks spun up!

Still to come: Montadale top and Coopworth roving.

I am not sure how much time I will get to spin this weekend, and day one of “rest” comes on Monday.

The next rest day is July 19, but there is plenty of time yet to spin.

Let’s talk about spinning and plying for a minute. I think that I have been in a real spinning rut – same kind of yarn spun every time had pretty much been my modus operandi. However, I broke out of that shell significantly over the last year in the Sheepspot Fiber Club. I tried new things, spun fibers differently, and generally learned that not all fiber should be spun the same way. While, in theory this might make sense – it did not to me. I had my preferred rhythm and drafting method – don’t move my cheese, right?

Well, it moved and I found I liked it in the new spot!

I envisioned this Merino/Yak spun in a worsted weight yarn that would be soft and squishy, like the fiber was. I think I nailed it. I wish you could feel how soft it is. I have not set the twist yet, because I think I am going to re-ply, it could be better and more uniform.

That gets me to plying…that was truly my log jam in spinning. I can spin a nice single, however plying is a hit and miss prospect for me. More misses than hits. I have tried plying with Scotch Tension, but it really is awkward for me. The take up is sometimes too hard, and I think that does not allow enough twist into the yarns.

But, I watched a couple of videos last week that really were huge “aha” moments for me. One by Rachel Smith, aka welfordpurls (which will be available to the public in a couple of weeks) and one by Sasha Torres, aka Sheepspot.

So, I sat down at my wheel and left it in double drive and tried the things that Rachel and Sasha talked about. And, guess what…THEY WORKED!! I am so excited by this, you just cannot imagine and it has really spurred me to finish up the spinning project for my sweater. I have the singles spun, but I have been holding off because of my inept plying abilities! I will definitely be plying those singles up ASAP. The fear has been vanquished!

Update on TTL MKAL – I finished clue #4 – I know! YES! I have not started clue #5 but I am sure I will at some time this weekend.

All in all, it was a fantastic week in fiber!

Friday Linkage:

That’s all I have for this week, I have miles to go in search of that elusive yellow jersey!! Have a fantastic weekend! See you back here on Monday!



An Update, More or Less

An Update, More or Less

The first half of the year is behind us, and I thought it was a good time to check in with this post and see how I am doing on the things I want to do less and the things I want to do more.

Starting off with the weighing less and moving more – there is indeed less of me (almost 20 pounds less of me), which means there has been more moving. This is such a good thing and I am enjoying wearing clothes that did not fit (or did not fit well)! I have more energy, and feel better about myself.

This also means that the focus on healthier eating is definitely in the win column.

I am sorry to say that hand stitching has fallen by the wayside, which makes me sad – especially seeing the beautiful stitching that Bonnie Sennott does each day. I am going to get back on track with this by adding stitching to my daily calendar and I also moved my stitching to my desk – so it is visible to me. I am hoping that the combination of these things will help.

However, in spite of the lack of stitching, there has been lots of making in the first half of the year!

PicMonkey Collage

I am feeling much more organized, but there are still some places in my life that need a bit of Kon-Mari. I am not sure that will happen yet this summer, but maybe if there are a couple of good rainy days it might get started! It is not easy to work in the basement when it is so glorious outside.

Now the hard part – the complaining/gratitude balance in my life. As you know, I have struggled with this. It seems that being grateful is a difficult process, at least for me. So, I started a daily gratitude page in my journal. I am just writing a simple word or phrase about something I am grateful for that day. It does not happen every day, but it is happening more than it did! I am not sure this is eliminating the complaining in my life, but it is causing me to stop and think.

Did you make resolutions this year? How are you doing on them?

Fiber Friday – Tour de Fleece

Fiber Friday – Tour de Fleece

Le Tour starts tomorrow, and that means spinners everywhere will be joining in to spin in le Tour de Fleece. That’s right teams of spinners will be spinning as the biking teams ride! It is really so much fun, and excellent preparation for Spinzilla!

I will be spinning with the Wool n’ Spinning Group, and as you can see – much of my fiber that I hope to get done is Sheepspot wool. I don’t think I have goals that are unreasonable, and they should be achievable if I am spinning on Tour Days!

Things I would like to get spun:

Tour de Fleece

  1. Sheepspot Columbia Rolags
  2. Vintage Crosspatch Creations Batts
  3. Spunky Eclectic Merino Yak Top
  4. Spunky Eclectic Gotland Top
  5. Sheepspot Montadale Top
  6. Sheepspot Coopworth Roving

I think this will keep me busy during the month!

Up next is a little wheel tune-up complete with drive band replacement and oiling all the moving parts!


In my frenzy to empty bobbins for le Tour, I plied up the lace-weight Targhee and I am so happy with how all 618 yds, 100 grams turned out!

Friday Links:

So, tell me Gentle Reader – will you be watching any of le Tour while you spin? Oh, and Happy FriYAY which ushers in a weekend filled with YAY’s! See you back here on Monday.


Weekending, A Little Bit of This and That

Weekending, A Little Bit of This and That

It was a warm summer weekend here in the ‘Burgh. Our usual Friday snacks were done Al Fresco, including a Bee’s Knees Cocktail, and it was so nice to have a spot on the cool porch to sit. There were beautiful breezes though, which made sitting under the pergola after we had eaten a real treat.

The Fireflies even put on a light show. It was really a lovely evening.

Saturday was Mt. Lebanon Farmer Market and a visit to our favorite farmer. He still has strawberries and we got some raspberries as well. I turned both fruits into jams – another batch of Judy’s Oven Roasted Strawberry Jam and Nigella Lawson’s “Hand’s Free Raspberry Jam.” I have not tried the raspberry jam as yet, but I will give it points in simplicity. I am not sure how it will set up but, worst case scenario – it will be perfect in plain Greek yogurt. I will let you know when I have tried it.**

Saturday also saw us spending another good chunk of the day in the gardens. There were some things that still needed planting (3 Weigela bushes and 4 Salvia plants, to be exact) all of which required the expansion of a garden bed.

I also began working on the clue number four for the mystery shawl – however, I think my brain was done in by the heat from earlier in the day – I kept making the same mistake over and over. If you like me are having some issues with the Knit 5 Together’s – I think Lorilee Beltman has something that might help you – it certainly helped me!

Some easier knitting was in order in the form of Carole’s Picot Edge Socks! A pair completed and I immediately cast on another pair. This is really my favorite knit.

Sunday we decided to make the early trek to Mount Washington to cross an item off my Summer Bucket List – a sunrise was beautiful and the skies were clear. It made getting up at the crack of dawn so worthwhile!

I love standing above the Monongahela River with a view of how it winds into Pittsburgh. The confluence is visible also from our vantage point, the merging of the Mon with the Allegheny to create the Ohio River. Magnificent views that I never get tired of!
The remainder of the day was filled with a flurry of activity and poof! It was over before I was ready for it to be over. The only saving grace is knowing that next weekend will be a nice long one.

Hope your Monday is over before you realize it and it is filled with a little of this and that.

**The worst case scenario is really excellent on yogurt. Oh man, so excellent!

Fiber Friday, June 24th

Fiber Friday, June 24th

The spinning this week continues. I have been working patiently though this gorgeous Targhee from Sheepspot Fiber Club.

This is a serious spin – as in counting treadles and lacing my flyer to get a nice lace-weight yarn – these things are not things I have done before for any project! I have half spun up and have half to go. This is such beautiful fiber – I have never spun Targhee and so this was a real treat! It has so much spring and the fiber drafts beautifully – practically by itself! Truly, this is drafting so easily, I am able to pull just a few fibers out at a time getting a nice fine single. I am using the 15:1 whorl on my Schacht Matchless, so I am putting a good bit of twist into the single. I love how my ply back sample looks and this is what I will be aiming for when I ply this up. This will bloom drastically in the wash so my goal is a light fingering weight, heavy lace weight and I think I will achieve it! Stay Tuned!

Friday Link Ups:

For the book lovers out there when a book appears in your vision, not once but three times in a week it is a message from the Book Gods! I heeded their call and have queued it up on my Kindle to read. I also finished Still Life and loved it! My bingo card is getting close to my first bingo! Summer reading FTW!

That’s all I have this week, have the Happiest of FriYAY’s! I will see you back here on Monday – and Tuesday there will be a special update on the Summer Knit Along that you won’t want to miss!



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