Tour de Fleece: Week 1

The last week has been a huge upheaval in my crafting schedule. While my knitting has been moved to car knitting and social visits, I did manage to get to the cuff of my first sleeve before needle switching held me up. (Sure I have a perfectly fine 20" US6 I could magic loop the 1.5 inch sleeve cuffs, but I would rather spend three days searching project bags for my missing 9" US6 needle.) With the start of Tour de Fleece, a spinning challenge where you spin everyday the bikers ride the Tour de France, my spinning has really taken off (and taken over the house).

Last blog installment, I strategized that I would finish spinning my gorgeous silk/yak blend from Greenwood Fiberworks. That blog post was not even published before I changed my mind and decided to try to finish it before the Tour began. I spun for all I was worth. It took an entire day to ply (with breaks, I wasn't chained to the wheel or anything). I tried to count yardage using my electric skeiner by putting tape on one arm and counting the number of times it came to the bottom. Turns out, my attention span is not so good and I missed a few counts. My best estimate though is that it is at least 600 yards of fingering weight.

Prewash

Prewash

Postwash

Postwash

I took pictures of the beauty just in case I managed to ruin it while washing and finishing the yarn. I did have a split second where my mind ran away with me and I pictured myself dropping this amazing yarn in the sink and watching it dissolve like powder. Better safe than sorry you didn't take a picture. I fulled the yarn,  by washing it in hot and cold baths, back and forth four times. I did not thwack the yarn, but I did snap the yarn, putting my hands in the hank and snapping it to move the twist more evenly around the skein. When it dried, it was even better than it had been (as is the case for yarn spun woolen, the true yarn is not revealed until it is finished, but when you suspect it might turn to powder in the sink you are pleasantly surprised).

With my bobbins empty, I could focus on my sweater quantity for Tour de Fleece. I had 1.9 pounds of fiber which I rolled them into 1 ounce bumps.  I had quite the stack when I was done, but I wasn't daunted. I could spin one bump a day with extras as my weekends allowed. 

More fiber than child here, but to be fair she is a rather small 9 year old.

More fiber than child here, but to be fair she is a rather small 9 year old.

Tour de Fleece started Saturday, the same Saturday we were hosting my son's birthday party for my family. Cakes had to be made, the house had to be cleaned top to bottom, and food had to be prepped for guests. As soon as most of the house guests had taken their leave, I grabbed my wheel. I spun 2 ounces that night, but noted that while my chair height was wonderful for long spinning, the comfort of said chair left a lot to be desired. I could barely move, old bones such as I have, I laid on the floor an moaned pathetically for a while. One ounce of fiber took around two hours to spin and I realized that my goal of one bump a day was going to take serious dedication.

 
One bobbin spun in one evening....uggggghhhhh

One bobbin spun in one evening....uggggghhhhh

 

Day 2 I decided to try another chair. I had been out all morning with the family so after a quick supper, I sat down to spin. Only 1 ounce spun, but it still met my minimum needed. While my dining room chair was more comfortable in some places, it was so tall I hunched over my wheel. My neck and shoulders ached. My search for better seating continued.

The 4th of July we gloriously laid about the house with no plans. I spun a personal best of 3 ounces that day. That is at least 6 hours of spinning! I took a lot of breaks, pausing to put a quick lemon meringue pie together. I find that baking is a great companion to spinning as you need to get up a few times during the course of the activity and at the end you have a delicious treat.

The real test of the Tour de Fleece will come this week when I try to spin an ounce during the weekdays. So many things that can go wrong here... stay tuned.