Have you ever had some beautiful OOAK fibre go missing in the mail? Now imagine that's happened three times in the last month :(

Something's going very, very wrong with the mail in Spain lately... Beautiful batts from CountessAblaze - MIA. It's quite odd because I ordered from fibre the week after, and it arrived within a couple of days. Then batts and locks and rolags from Siobhan Crafts - MIA. And on top of it all, yarn for a sweater (that's like 6 skeins of sock yarn, guys!!) from Fondant Fibre, custom dyed - MIA. Screaming intensifies. I also had some face oils go missing but the replacements arrived - but whatever, it's not OOAK wool, yo.

Generally, I feel quite awful because these are all one-woman shops and I don't want to burden them with what's quite clearly a Spanish mail problem... A few more days until they're deemed officially missing by Royal Mail - and we'll see what happens.

On top of that - another disappointment! The Xisqueta wool I ordered is a let down. It's been washed so awfully that it's really felted together, and any attempts to card it result in a tube of sponge instead of a rolag. Maybe that's due to the natural crimp of the wool anyway, but it's still not what I expected. Maybe I'm comparing it to long and straight merino fibres... But I've really got no idea what to do with it next. Hmm.



Until then, I've been spinning some lovely superfine Shetland in Sherbert Dip by Fondant Fibre - I'm trying a fractal spin so should have some nice matchy-matchy bits and some lovely crazy barberpoling. I split the braid halfway lengthways and spun one bit as is, and the other half I've split into about 8 more thin strips which I'm working on today. I've plonked myself down in front of the telly, catching up on last night's X Factor, and sipping on a nice cuppa as I spin. Small pleasures.


I've been meaning to post this for a long, long time. But then I was moving house... And the lack of internet made it impossible... And then I started working... And then it seemed like TDF was all too far away for it to matter anymore. But, really, when I think about it, why should three weeks of solid effort be ignored? So here's what I managed to chuck together this year :)

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They say there's nothing quite so detrimental to publishing a blog as a lack of internet connection. And they say that there's no customer service quite so slow as Spanish customer service. You can probably see where I'm heading with this...

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This week's been fairly quiet... At least on the yarn front! I've been running around like a crazy woman, sorting out ID numbers and social security and bank accounts, not to mention viewing various flats around Barcelona. We actually saw one near the Santa Maria del Mar church - great location - that had zero windows. Not. A. Single. Window. I don't know how the tenants there deal with the humidity, and I don't even want to think about what happens inside the sweatbox when someone has too many beans on their toast in the morning. No escape.

Anyway! This week's project has been more spindle spinning at the mister's house, and working on Pigging Out, my combo spin of Cherry Bakewell and Pigs. By the end of Friday 17th, the end of the second week, I'd make a good start on the braid of Pigs, but not much more! Time for some more gratifying spins to finish up the last week, something nice and quick and chunky I think.






Everything is ready: an overflowing stash, a nicely oiled wheel, empty spindles... I'm ready to go! I'm part of the Fondant Fibre team this year, my first TdF, so I'm spinning predominantly FF fibre, with possibly some Spin City or some Nunoco, maybe some Countess Ablaze if I run out of FF or if I just fancy a change. I'll be spinning mostly on Zelda, my Ashford electric spinner, though weekends I'll be spindle spinning because that's when I'm at my boyfriend's place and Zelda is just too clunky to move back and forth! 

The Tour guidelines are as follows:

  • Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 4 through Sunday July 26th. Days of rest: Monday, July 13th and Tuesday, July 21st. (Just like the actual tour.)
  • Spin something challenging on the challenge day (usually the toughest high mountain stage: this year, it’s Stage 18, on Thursday, July 23rd, when they will climb 5 mountains, including the 1,924m high Col du Glandon).
  • Wear yellow on Sunday July 26th to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful? (Yellow is the color of the race leader in the Tour - but here we are all ‘race leaders’) Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter - think FAST), Polka-dot (climber - as in uphill), and white (rookie).

My own personal goals:

  • Spin at least 30 minutes each day, Saturday 4th to Saturday 26th
  • Take a rest day 13th and 21st
  • Post a weekly update on the blog, showing work in progress and finished handspun
  • Post in the Ravelry group for my team - Team Fondant Fibre!
  • Challenge: spinning punis backwards long draw - I find this difficult and want to practice more!
And with all that said: ready, set, spin! :)


So, here we are! It's already July, Tour de Fleece is starting tomorrow, and I've got a pile of handspun skeins that are yet to be photographed and written about. As it happens, June has just been insane. The school year finished so the girls were driving me crazy occupying more of my time; I've been job hunting and filling in applications and doing online tests and attending interviews left right and centre; and although weekends are my prime spinning time, it's also the only time I have to spend with my boyfriend lately. So! As a result, these lovely handspun skeins have been languishing in the cupboard, waiting for some attention.

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Okay, so I missed it by a week. Oops.

Early June 2014, I ordered a "learn to spin" kit online. Inside, a clunky wooden spindle, and a few balls of natural Finn wool (it's still one of my favourites breeds, even now). A few YouTube videos later, and I was park-and-drafting, and making some kind of super slubby rope that wouldn't really come in handy for anything in particular. A few days later, the slubs started to even out, and I was spinning some kind of fairly-even-if-a-little-fat rope. And then, 10th June 2014, I plied, washed, skeined and photographed my first handspun yarn. I called it Cappucino. Super bulky, probably underplied, but even now it's stashed away in London as a reminder of where I started.

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Technically, most of these were spun in April. I've been ridiculously busy with preparations for a big family party abroad (more on that in another post!) and spinning got pushed to the side. I had four lovely skeins all ready to reskein and photograph, and they just got waylaid... Not to mention my #spin15in15 goal - I've been so good with it, only missing about four days so far, and then bam! over a week with no spinning...

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So, I have a ton of wool. I have a ton of wool that's just squished up in a box, waiting to be spun, and no time to do it all. So what do I do? I buy more wool. I'm nothing if not totally pragmatic and logical.*

*Wool is considered an exception to the "must act reasonably" rule, and as such it is completely allowed, obligatory even, to increase the stash at any given opportunity.

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I'd been meaning to go to a Holi celebration for years now. It's the Hindu festival of colours, celebrating the beginning of spring, where people dance, laugh, have fun and, most recognisably, throw coloured powder at each other. As luck would have it, there's a big celebration in Barcelona every year. We donned our white t-shirts and prepared to get messy.

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On Saturday, we took a day trip to Blanes. Querube was desperate to go to the Costa Brava, and Blanes is the first town along that coastline (it's also conveniently on the train line that passes Masnou, which made things easy-breezy for me...). Forecast was good, sun was shining... We packed our bags and headed out.

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Normally, we spend Easter with family - eating, drinking, going to church, eating some more... The last two years have been somewhat different. Last year, I spent Easter with friends in Uruguay, relaxing on a gorgeous farm in a little town called Mercedes, and being bitten to death by mosquitoes. This year, what with my host family not being religious, Easter was a very low key affair that really was nothing more than a lazy weekend - and it was fabulous.

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A little while back, I saw an Instagram post from Greta and the Fibers that they'd been busy dyeing some sock blanks for All You Knit Is Love - and there and then, I knew I'd have to have them. While my parents were visiting me in Barcelona, we popped in briefly, where a gorgeous grey, teal and turqouise sock blank caught my eye.

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On Monday, the weather cleared up nicely. Still a little cloudy, but the sun was so desperately trying to break through that we got a few rays here and there. I was working during the day (I live for the lunchtime school runs) but we managed to get together for one last dinner before the Doks headed home.

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After Saturday spent eating, drinking, and wandering around... we did the exact same thing on Sunday. The lovely part about having seen all the major sights already was that we could wander wherever, with no time pressures, no rush to see anything specific... Just spending time together and talking about anything and everything.

This post is photo heavy!

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Mama and Papa Doks lead pretty busy lives. They're either out at the gym, or at a zumba class, playing cards, enjoying dinner with friends, various parties and get togethers, weekends away, barbecuing, watching the opera, or entertaining guests, or even catching up on a million TV shows they've got recorded. As such, it was tricky finding a weekend that would work for a quick trip to Barcelona to see their favourite (read: only) daughter, but somehow we managed, and all had a really fantastic few days.

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Well, this weekend was super happy and super sad at the same time. I spent a great weekend with all the girls - drinking, dancing, gossiping and brunching - to celebrate Emma's last weekend in Barcelona. She's moved back to Wisconsin (cheese state, can I get a what what!) to go to college and see her family and generally get her shit together after Barcelona Baby-adulthood, and we're really, really going to miss her.

The sheep is Pam. Named after the fabulous Pam Poovey. Bear claw rawr-rawr!

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Another happy mail day: I got my fibre from February's Odyssey Trail update at Countess Ablaze, a Turkish spindle, and some 40" circular needles for making socks (I'm learning to knit two-at-a-time magic loop, but more on that in an upcoming post).

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I recently treated myself to some goodies from Hilltop Cloud - a shop I'd been ogling for a long time, but never ended up buying anything for some reason. I bought Imbolc and The Valleys, as well as a little wooden WPI gauge. My lovely little parcel arrived on the same day as the gorgeous invitation for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary party that's happening this May. Everyone's super-mega-excited and scrambling to find an outfit - the whole family will be there (and my granddad is one of ten children so that's a lot of cousins and second cousins...) and you gotta look your best!

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I'm living in the Temple of Disease and Pestilence. A couple weeks ago, Littlest Bug had chicken pox, closely followed by stomach flu (let me tell you, you can never quite unsee the moment when something so little manages to barf up the Pacific Ocean...). Everything seemed fine... until the early hours of Friday morning, when all hell broke loose. Stomach flu snuck up on me, and made its surprise appearance very well known by 3am. Bigger Bug now has chicken pox. And Littlest Bug is battling another round of bronchitis. Basically, a terrible weekend had by all.



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There's nothing better than a relaxing weekend spent gossiping with friends. Except for a relaxing three-day-weekend spent gossiping with friends. I never really know when Spanish fiesta days pop up, so it's always a lovely surprise when I get an extra day off for no real reason except for the fact that some saint somewhere did something somewhat notable at some point in the past. M'agrada molt*.

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I told myself that this year, I'd purchase something from each monthly update of Countess Ablaze's new collection: The Odyssey Trail. As usual, updates are rough. You essentially have about one minute and seventeen seconds to put everything in your basket and click through to checkout, and even then you don't manage to score everything you had your eye on. I actually really wanted some superwash Merino in a black/orange/pink/red colourway, but by the time I'd hit checkout it was sold out. Wow. Luckily, I also quite fancied this braid of Southdown and managed to get my grubby mitts on it just in time.


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The postlady waddled up to my door yesterday with an extra bag attached to her little trolley. Inside, two big parcels - just for me! That's dedication, and I told her so in my weird mix of Spanish and Catalan (Spanalan?) - she briefly laughed and went on her way, while I closed the door as nonchalantly as I could, before sprinting upstairs to rip open the packaging.

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Have you ever caught a virus from a child? They're evil mutant diseases that take hold, and don't let go for ever and ever a good couple of weeks. Recently, I caught bronchitis from the kids. Two weeks of a deliciously mucusy hacking cough that puts so much pressure on your head, your eyes feel like exploding. I've spent a lot of time sleeping - coupled with eye strain, that meant very little time spent on spinning. The fifteen minutes of daily spinning I looked forward to began to feel like a chore. I slowed right down - instead of managing four or five batt strips in that quarter hour, I was only halfway through the second when the timer beeped. I was picking up the spindle with a sigh, rather than a smile. It made me sad that I didn't even look forward to my favourite activity anymore. I'd been working on Hen for a long time - my only current spinning project. Maybe putting Hen aside, and starting something new in the meantime would pick me up?

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I'd never spun from a batt before - I'd always been somewhat scared of "ruining" it by stripping the fibre apart. What can I say? I love them. No predrafting required (my nemesis, it's so boring), the colours fade beautifully, and they're like little clouds of fluffy fibrey goodness to play with. What's not to love? I like big batts and I cannot lie. 



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Lately I've been working through my Nunoco stash - previously afraid of stripping the beautiful batts and "ruining" them, I've really grown to love how easily they draft, the gorgeous colour progressions, the subtle texture. I've been working on Hen and Speckled Egg - one a silky neutral, the other a bright and textured cloud of fluff - but both thoroughly enjoyable.

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I intended January to be a month of cold-sheeping (a slightly fluffier, less gobble-gobbley cold turkey). Now, I know some people just cannot hold back when it comes to wool, no willpower or thoughts of actual money management... What? No! Who does that? Yeah. Okay. I lasted ten days. Nunoco opened after their Christmas break, and my self-restraint is that of a peanut. -1 responsbility. Boo.



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I first picked up a spindle in May 2014. A clunky wooden thing, nothing extraordinary, yet it opened up a whole world of possibility. Spinning soon became my way to unwind and relax - the ultimate stress-buster - and I got serious about it from August, when I moved to Barcelona. From August to December, I managed to spin 1,495m from 1.04kg of fibre. Nothing too amazing, all on spindles, but still - it would take about 18 minutes to walk from end to end, and I think that's pretty damn cool.

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Going back to London for Christmas was fantastic. "Only hand luggage" was not. I got some really lovely things for Christmas, and even more in the Boxing Day sales, and there was just no way to lug it all back in my teeny little Apfelgrun suitcase. This is the part where Mama and Daddy came to the rescue - I got a knock at the door today, with a UPS man bearing an incredibly large, incredibly heavy parcel.


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