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Saturday, 8 August 2015

Tour de Fleece 2015 - Week 3

Finally, I'm getting round to posting the results of TdF's week 3 (about time too!)  Just a little warning - this is a picture-heavy post.  It was a fun and busy week though, so maybe that's a good enough excuse.

First I plied the mohair and alpaca for the boucle yarn.  I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to push the loops up the alpaca core because it was a bit fluffy.  It worked perfectly however, so here it's ready for the binding thread to hold all the loops in place.

After plying this, I realised I had much more yardage than I thought I would have.  I estimated that my home grown silk that I spun (the violet) was no-where near long enough to use as the binder for this, so decided to spin some commercial silk and dye it.

This is spun "Z" (clockwise) and is going to be plied "Z" which effectively puts more twist into the yarn, so I tried to put as little twist into the spinning as I could.

I made this into a centre-pull ball and soaked it overnight

then dyed it in the microwave whilst still in the ball, which wasn't as successful as I'd hoped - the dye didn't penetrate right through to the centre.  I hand-painted the undyed bits and stuck it in the microwave again.

This is the finished boucle, plied with the blue and mauve silk :-

As it turned out, I used far less of the silk for this than I'd anticipated, so maybe the home-grown silk would have been enough after all.  I'm happier with the colour of this one though, I think the viole(n)t would have been a bit too much!

Next, I carried on with singles for the multi-ply challenge.  This is Merino dyed with cherry flavoured Kool Aid :-

I threaded the beads onto some of the locks of wool

then spun them into the yarn

Oops - didn't foresee this though - the beads were a bit of a tight fit going through the orifice.  I had to push each one through each time before it would go on the bobbin.

All sorted now :-

Then it was the turn of some merino which I dyed last year.  Again, beads were threaded onto the locks of wool

and spun in.  Smaller beads this time so they fit perfectly.

Then it was time to pl(a)y!  First, I "S" (anti-clockwise) plied :-

2 bobbins of madder-dyed merino
2 bobbins of madder/grape Kool Aid dyed merino
and 1 bobbin of cherry Kool Aid merino with beads

This was made into a centre-pull ball (every time I came to a bead on the ball winder I had to unhitch it, pull the bead through and re-hitch it!) and plied "Z" (clockwise again) from either end.

It was then "S" plied (back to anti-clockwise) with the thick and thin beaded woad-dyed merino,

made into a centre-pull ball again and "Z" plied back on itself from either end :-

It was my intention then to wrap the blue and mauve silk around it.  First attempt failed because the silk was too fine and just got lost in the folds of the main yarn, so I 3-plied it.  Second attempt failed because my wheel had come to its limit for drawing in the yarn and kept getting knotted up.  I know I could have solved this by making adjustments to the tension bands on the wheel, but I didn't want to fiddle with it too much because I'm more than halfway through another project on it and didn't want to mess that up.  Instead, I called this finished :-

and named it "Rapunzel".

The final measurements for my yarns are :- 

Boucle (85g) 45 yds/41m, 
Rapunzel (150g) 16 yes/15m, and 
Mystere (60g) 80 yes/73m

 - which makes it look like I've been sitting around doing nothing for the last 3 weeks!  Good fun though!  Roll on next year!

Edit : I worked out that with all the different plies and doubling back on itself, the Rapunzel yarn ended up having 22 strands!  My fattest yarn ever.


  1. Oh wow! You look like you had great fun and lots of adventures there! I particularly love the boucle. I started spinning for the TdeF (my first time doing so) with every good intention, but got waylaid trying to knit a cardigan that I've now frogged! There's always next year I guess!

    1. Thank you - the boucle turned out a little bit wild and disorganized, which isn't how I would normally spin, but I like it for that very reason. I agree it's easy to get waylaid during the TdF, the second week life was particularly busy for me but I managed to scrape through. Which team were you with?