I'll get to the Tour de Fleece update in a minute - first I have some huge news - my younger brother and his wife are expecting a baby!! I have 2 nieces already thanks to my older brother, but my younger brother and his wife have been trying for quite some time to have a baby without success, so it's pretty awesome that I am going to be an uncle again :D I went and bought myself a set of KnitPro fine interchangeable Symfonie needles to celebrate, because I am likely to be knitting a lot for my new niece/nephew-to-be ;)Now that I have that out of the way, today was Day 21, the Challenge Day of the Tour de Fleece. And Team Ixchelbunny's challenge, set by Charly, was wire core spinning (something I had never done before!) So after a quick look on youtube for instructions on basic corespinning (I couldn't find any videos specifically for wire core spinning, but the principle is the same and Charly did give team members some instructions, so I figured it out), I attached the fine wire that Charly had supplied in the Ixchel TdF Team pack to my leader and off I went. It took a while and was a bit tricky, but I ended up with this:
22.5m/25yds of wire core spun yarn using a BFL/Bunny/silk (I *think*) braid which had no name tag on it (having had a look at Charly's flickr to see if I could find out what it was, I believe it may be "Misty Morning"). I quite enjoyed this challenge - I have no idea what I'll actually do with the finished yarn, but it was fun to make it! This small skein brings my total for the Tour so far up to 3065m/3405yds of completed yarn in 21 days (17 days of actual spinning, because there were a few days where I couldn't spin due to my hand, and the rest day that I actually took LOL). I'm stoked at the impressive yardage I have managed to produce in such a short time - here's a group shot of all the yarn I have spun so far (there are still 2 days to go) - excuse the dodgy webcam pic, but it's almost 1am here and the light in this room is not good for photos right now, never mind the very dark wood floor ;)
That's a lot of yarn to play with once the Tour is over, no? :D I may even use some of it to knit for my future niece/nephew, as the green yarn with the Cashmere Fling in it in particular is extremely soft and very suitable for bebehs (providing of course that I can persuade my inner magpie to let it go, I am rather fond of the sparkle!)
Here is my effort for Day 21 - ok, so I didn't spin the top skein today, it's the unruly mass of wayward curls that I spun on Day 18 (laceweight singles), but I thought it deserved a beauty shot now that it has been washed and is behaving much better ;)
2 more days of the Tour to go, and I have had an absolute blast this year - I managed to spin almost every day of the Tour and have got through quite a lot of my Ixchel fibre stash (there is still a heck of a lot left, but I have made room for more! :D) I'm looking forward to playing with my new Symfonie needles (the packaging and organisation made my OCD Virgo self SQUEEEE in pure delight), and sometime in the next week or so I will be getting another new set of needles - this time I have really indulged myself in some top quality knitting gear and splashed out on a full set of Blackthorn DPNs in a storage case. If you haven't seen Blackthorns, you really have to take a looksee - they are made of carbon fibre, the same material used in the Boeing 787 aircraft and the Blackbird Stealth Jet! They don't bend like normal DPNs - they actually flex and are warm to the touch. I am SO looking forward to receiving this set of needles because with my fibromyalgia, ordinary DPNs make my hands hurt terribly because they are cold (aluminium/steel needles) or they have no flexibility in them, so they put a lot of pressure on my hands and end up permanently bent when I use them, which makes them very awkward to knit with :( Bamboo or wooden needles are lighter and warmer to the touch, but still have the problem of being very "sticky" (they grab the yarn too much for my liking and make my knitting slower), and smaller sizes have a horrible tendency to break easily (they don't come any smaller than about 2.5mm for that reason).
The Blackthorns also have the added bonus of coming in sets of 5 needles rather than the usual 4 - the standard length is 6 inches but they are also available in 4", 5", 8" and custom lengths. They are quite expensive, but to my way of thinking they are top quality tools that will last a very long time (they don't break, either) and make knitting much more comfortable and pleasant, so they are well worth the price. The set that I have splashed out on has 8 different sized sets of 6 inch DPNs, ranging from 1.25mm (US0000) to 3.5mm (US4) in a sturdy leather case with pockets for each set and a slot for a needle gauge, and an extra pocket for future sizes of Blackthorn DPNs. I am SO excited about getting these needles, I can hardly wait!
I am also keen to use my new KnitPro Symfonie needle set - I went to my LYS today with the intention of actually buying a set of Addi Click interchangeables (because I am a fan of the Addi Turbo circular needles), but decided to have a look at all the different sets the store owner had in stock (KA Bamboo, Addi Click, Denise, KnitPro Symfonie full set and the Fine set I ended up purchasing). I'm glad I did that, because the Addi Click set looked nice, but I just don't think I'd ever use the largest sizes and there were only 3 cables (and the Addi cables are quite thick and tend to coil back up on themselves a lot, which is my only real beef with them - I own several Addi circulars and love the needles, just not the cables so much). The KA bamboo set was also very nice, but I am not a fan of bamboo needles (although I DID like the swivel joins....but I can't have everything lol). So I ended up with the Symfonie Fine set, because it has all of the sizes I use most often and I can purchase the larger tips if I really need them at a later date. Also, the aforementioned Blackthorne DPNs will cover most of what I use the really tiny sized needles for, and I have a couple of Addi Turbo circs in the smaller sizes for lace knitting if I feel so inclined, so I think I'm pretty well covered ;)
In spindle news, I am currently playing with some design ideas for a new line of lightweight spindles for spinning laceweight and cobweb yarns - this can be done on my current spindles without any trouble, but I have been asked about dedicated laceweight spindles, so I am working on it ;) I'm also working on a couple of spinning accessories - I will be posting details of those on the Whorled Domination! facebook page and Ravelry group as they happen :)