Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tour de Fleece: Day 1

This is my first year actually participating in Tour de Fleece (for those of you who don't spin, this means that I'm spinning along with the Tour de France, setting personal goals regarding amount and types of yarn that I'm making. It's a challenge for spinners at the same time the 'spinners' - bicyclists - in France are challenging themselves too!) It's exciting for me for so many reasons. Last year, I was in Uruguay. The year before, I didn't have a wheel, only a spindle, and I had a very small fiber stash (this is no longer a problem.)

For the first day of the Tour, I finished off some bobbins that I had started the night before -- fluffy, dk-weight singles that will eventually pair with some Malabrigo yarn to become an Inspira Cowl. The fiber is Hello Yarn Targhee in the colorway 'Hidden Trail'. It has just the right mix of sweet pink, dirty yellow-green, and navy to keep me happy. I am not really excellent at spinning singles, especially with shorter fibers, but I think these went well. I only had two breaks when I went back through to take some of the twist out. We'll see how well it knits up - I plan on starting this project tonight!

As soon as those were off the bobbins, I started my biggest challenge for the Tour: spinning three super-thin singles so that I can make a sock-weight 3-ply. 3-ply yarns are one of the bounciest, most beautiful yarns for socks, if spun correctly, but they certainly take some practice. This will be only my second 3-ply, but I feel confident that if I remain patient, it will come out exactly as I want. I am mixing two plies of Hello Yarn Polworth 'Cauldron' with one ply of Funky Carolina Falklands in 'Kermit'. As you can see, I didn't get very far on my bobbin today -- this is about 4 hours of spinning - but I did other things (like pitting cherries, and balling some watermelon, and baking a mulberry cobbler), so I think I'm excused.

One of my favorite things about the tour is that not only does it challenge me to think ahead, prepare and execute ideas, and work hard at things that are difficult, but it makes me slow down and enjoy small pleasures. The sound of the spinning wheel. The color of fiber slipping through my fingers and lining up in little rows on the bobbin. The surprise of looking down and seeing a bit of blush peeking through golden brown. I hope that I continue to enjoy the Tour this way. It makes me wonder if the guys who are actually cycling during Tour de France enjoy their sights and sounds.

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