Is it a good idea to 'cartoon' while drunk?

When I awoke this morning, I remembered what I'd done, and opened the computer to check that I'd not done something completely embarrassing.

It's not bad. It's the best of about three ideas I wrote down after a couple of glasses of wine last night. Then drew and published while in that state.

I've no idea what the message is. It's a skit on the old chauvinist comment "make me a sandwich, love". I'm certainly not trying to say that complying with such behaviour should be rewarded. Nor that sticking to your feminist principles is cutting off your nose to spite your face. It's simply intended to raise a smile.

As always, Yvonne's latest adventure is here, where you can also subscribe to an occasional 'digest' email. She can also be found on Tapastic if you like that website.

Spinzilla 2016 - meet up for Hilltop Cloud and Hand Spinning News teams

Dragons and Pirates - what a legendary combination!

We're in the middle of Spinzilla week, a monster of a worldwide spinning competition. Although the event is managed online and team-mates can be from anywhere in the world,  meet-ups do happen and what better than taking the spinning to the people and enlightening (what turns out to be) a very naive public.

Today, members of team Hand Spinning News UK and Team Hilltop Cloud met in Nottingham (a central location for a number of members of two of the UK teams) at Stone Bridge City Farm.

300 yards of Shetland spun and plied; with plying credit that's 900 yards to my Spinzilla total which now stands at 7397.5 yards or 4.2 Monster Miles!!

Ravelympic Games (Ravellenics) finish line

I guess this is now a retrospective, but I did have had some work and sleep to catch up on!

The idea of the Ravellenics (originally Ravelympics, which is a much better name, but outlawed by the Olympic committe - thanks guys) is that you challenge yourself and then craft away while the Olympic Games are on. Ravelry has some clever functionality which recognises your achievement(s) and awards medals and laurels.

This time I decided to make Illas Cíes by Anne Hanson which I'd fallen in love with, finally decided to make in a pale grey colour as per the one on the pattern, and bought some silvery silk/alpaca for the purpose at Fibre East.

This meant that I could enter the  'Synchronised Spinning' and 'Sweater Triathlon'. If I finished, I'd qualify for the 'Fleece to FO' laurel (even though it was processed fibre rather than raw fleece).

Here's my progress in pictures. Initially I was working for half the day and crafting for the other half. During the last few days it became obvious that I needed to put in as much time as I could if I was to cross the finish line.

The beautiful fibre spun from the fold like molten silver:

A few hours' spinning while the opening ceremony was going on and the first complete bobbin (of 6)

I did all the spinning (1200 yds based on the yardage requirement printed in the pattern) before casting on. That happened on the first Weds.

Back and front done, first sleeve starting. There's a lot of fabric in a sleeve! Almost as much knitting as a front or back.

I did flag on the penultimate day. I sat up late feeling very tired and achey. Not fun any more.

Victory! Trying on the finished garment near the start of the closing ceremony. It even fits! (A little tighter than I'd like, but I'm hoping it'll give a little after blocking and then wearing a bit.)

Still ends to weave in here, but I thought I could get away with that.

It's a lovely looking jumper. The lace panels look really splendid and the design is perfect for me. I really wish now I'd chosen a seamless design for this event though. Purling and seaming are both a bit counter-productive when time isn't on your side.

Opening of Ravellenic Games and lace jumper project

Opening of Olympic games. You mean Olympics, right?

Well yes, the Olympics did open last night but alongside that is a massive knitting event which used to be called Ravelympics. in 2014 the Olympic committee objected, so our event is now called Ravellenics which isn't half such a good name.

But the good bit is that over 6,000 knitters were signed up and many of them will have cast-on when the lightshow started in Rio. A very moving occasion with the emphasis on the environment and efficiency. If I thought it would change anyone's ways I'd be even more happy.

Last week at Fibre East, I bought this alpaca/silk mix in the perfect silvery-grey colour.
At midnight our time, the opening ceremony started and so did my spinning (and the mass cast-on around the world). The fibre turned into liquid silver as I spun. It's a real pleasure to work with.
 By the time the teams were all in and the cauldron lit, I'd spun my first bobbin-ful. Tired but happy.
This is the pattern, Anne Hanson's Illas Cíes

fin - Tour de Fleece 2016

I can't really say that I've crossed the finish line, I've done much less than I'd hoped. But I did spin most days of the three weeks, and have found much pleasure in this project.

I've been dg-combing locks individually by hand (or rather a tuft of locks at a time). A method I was taught on my very first spinning lesson. The results are great, you have in your hand a lock with all fibres separated and completely parallel. I did try dizzing the result but that took too much time with no benefit really, spinning the combed locks works very well.
 Having said I've not done as much as I'd hoped, I really don't know what yardage I have there. The singles spun out very fine, and I went with that.

I've plied, washed and knit some samples. The top one is a 3-ply, still thinner than I'd like for the project I have in mind. The bottom one uses two strands of 2-ply (ie four plies) and that looks neater and is closer to the gauge that I want. But spinning 1200 yards of 4 plies - that's a lot more spinning!

I'm now less sure about the project. I do want to knit one of these, and while spinning I've been thinking this Shetland would be perfect. but now I'm not so sure. The colour of this yarn is a fairly nice fawn, but looks a bit rustic. I may keep looking for the perfect pattern for this fleece. And buy some fibre in a light grey at Fibre East. (The very light colour of the Illas Cíes shown in the pattern looks terrific and will suit me.)

Tour de Fleece, stage 9

The problem with sticking to one big project through an event is that the photos are much the same. I've tried a different angle here, showing the fleece.

I'm pulling locks from the raw, dirty, greasy fleece and dog-combing both ends of each, for a well-separated, parallel handful of fibres. This is a technique I was shown on my very first spinning lesson, and one I find more therapeutic than using the big combs, with much the same result.

The fleece isn't so dirty, my hands and wheel are staying pretty clean, and I'm sure the lanolin is doing my skin some good. I can't wait to see whether the colour lightens when the yarn is finally washed.

One interesting thing is the variation in shade from light to dark. I'm now planning to 3-ply the very fine singles, a true 3-ply rather than navajo, so that might blend that variation a bit.

I'm enjoying this so much, it was difficult to take a rest day yesterday (Monday) but today's stage (10) is 'hilly' so I'll start a new bobbin, put in a bit of effort later today and make some more progress.

Tour de Fleece 2016 day 5

Here we are at day 5 already. There doesn't look much on this bobbin but it's drawing out very fine. Not what I intended but I'm going with it - it may be the finest I've spun. And it's fun.
I decided to use the Tour de Fleece spinning time to spin this fleece. It came from Fibre East last year. A Shetland fleece in a nice colour, good locks, still in grease but very clean.

 I decided to use a technique I was taught on my first spinning lesson. It involves holding each lock, combing with a dog-comb, turning the lock around and combing the other end. I prefer the dog-comb to a flick-carder. The result is a well-separated and parallel lock.
It's not fast work, I'm combing as I go, but this isn't a race!!