Tour de Fleece Days 3, 4, & 5

Whoops. Got a bit busy there.SONY DSC

Herself investigating the box that so vexed her earlier–I put her up on the perch and she couldn’t figure out how to get down. At the moment, she’s giving a twist tie to the Drowned God, which is much funnier, but I don’t have the light for a moving cat photo. And I don’t like to encourage her on the Drowned God front. Carpets end up soggy.

Twoflower is the Queen in this house, in case that wasn’t eminently clear. She still gets me to say the words.

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Monday was a pretty poor spinning day because Monday was Bottling Day. More on that shortly.

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Tuesday was a better spinning day, but I didn’t finish that bobbin until after midnight, hence the handful of fluff hanging off the flyer in the daily progress shot.

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Immediately after I finished the second bobbin of stripy singles, I started the semisolid grey–but just a bit.

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The bobbin in the foreground has much longer repeats of the grey and turquoise stripes–twice as long, in fact, because regular stripe patterns lend themselves handily to fractal spinning.

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The semisolid ply is moving right along with around an ounce and a half on the bobbin and two and a quarter left to spin. It’ll be done by Friday, I think, then all the little Hitchhiker bobbins will be rewound onto Stella bobbins for plying. The built-in lazy kate on the Hitchhiker only has two shafts, which won’t do for a 3-ply, and anyway I like to rewind my bobbins before plying to help even out the twist distribution and head off any problem areas caused by messy bobbin winding while spinning.

You may have noticed the wheel has “DON’T PANIC” painted on it in large, friendly letters. It’s not done yet; I need to repaint the dot over the I in something lighter, then mask off the lettering and give it a dark background. Inky blue-black, I should think.

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I’ve been working daily on the baby camel on the Russian supported spindle–often while reading–but for all the time I’ve given it, two or three hours, there’s only two grams on that little cop. I’m not happy with the singles diameter yet; I need it to come out to fingering weight, maybe light fingering at the finest, in a 3-ply with some merino/silk I’ve got lined up after the polwarth sweater spin. The easiest way to get thicker (…ish) singles seems to be a long draw–which is what something as short as camel down needs anyway–but I haven’t figured out how to draft while the spindle is spinning yet.

There’s got to be a better way to do it, but my hands haven’t sorted it out yet. And, bonus: if I’ve been spinning too fine for the last two grams, it’s only two grams of about 113. Plenty of fiber left to work on it.

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And here we have some of the results of Bottling Day. Turns out being a one-woman bottling party for five gallons of beer cuts into the spinning time by a few hours. Designing the labels on Tuesday took considerably less time, though my printing assistant let the printer resize them.

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I’m sure there’s a better way to affix labels than my rejected-printer-paper-and-magic-tape method but I don’t know what that is either. I want them to come off as easily as they go on so the bottles only need a quick wash before they’re ready to be sanitized and reused. I know Northern Brewery sells reusable labels but their usefulness appears to hinge on making the same beers a number of times greater than one.

Which is silly, why do that when you can do science?

Tomorrow we’re going to try our first all-grain brew instead of basking in the blinding light of our freedom (or, as a facet thereof).

More on that tomorrow if I can get the light. And more on the Navelgazer Wheat and Raspberry Wheat Ales in a couple weeks, after bottle-conditioning.

A shiny gold star for anyone who works out the jokes in the beer name without having been explained the thing.*

*the gold star is figurative

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