Tour de Fleece 2018

I have two main crafts - knitting and drop spindling. Knitting is number one, with spinning trailing several yards behind. My only experience with spinning - despite the fact that I've been doing it for years - is picking up fiber and a spindle and going at it for a few minutes once a month or so, with no real regard for what I was doing or why.

As I mentioned before though, I just had a baby, and that baby loves watching my drop spindle. It's mesmerizing for little baby brains that haven't ever seen much of anything. I found myself choosing to spin instead of knit. Turns out that if you spin for more than five minutes every few months, things actually get finished. And I did some reading and found out that there is more than one way to spin, and there is such a thing as color management. That's how this skein came about:

Handspun yarn

This is fiber from Created by Elsie B in the colorway "Unicorns." It is a two-ply fractal spin, and I flew through it because I was so excited to see how it would turn out.

 That sparkle though...

That sparkle though...

Once this skein was finished, I ordered 8 ounces of this gorgeous fiber from Inglenook Fibers:

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The colorway is "Nautilus," and it's part of their Summer Blend Series. Made of merino, silk, pearl fiber, and silver stellina, it's insanely soft and has a beautiful sheen. I originally only ordered 4 oz, but once it came I needed more. It was so beautiful that I knew I would want it to be a bigger project with more yardage. 

I wasn't planning on participating in the Tour de Fleece this year, but trying to get through 8 oz of fiber on a drop spindle (making it my biggest spinning project to date) with a newborn seemed like a pretty good challenge. I used my Golding spindle because that was the one that was available (it's all very scientific over here).

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My intent was a two-ply worsted spun, at whatever weight it ended up being. I'm not going to pretend like I have the experience or energy to plan ahead for a specific weight. And as I learned from the Craftsy class I recently watched on drafting, a woolen draft is my default. Not just my default, but the only drafting method I've ever used. So I had no idea what to expect from a worsted draft.

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By the end of the Tour, I completed the full 8 ounces of singles.

 Singles complete with background cattle dog and box of liquor. 

Singles complete with background cattle dog and box of liquor. 

They still need to be plied, and while I was hoping to complete that step during the Tour, I think finishing the singles is not too shabby a result. And my kid was thoroughly entertained by the spindle for the month of July.

The Tour de Fleece was an awesome way to ignite my spinning mojo. It worked so well that I think spinning has moved up closer to knitting on my craft priorities list. I don't think knitting will ever be knocked out of the number one slot, but at the moment all I want to do is keep spinning.

Tour de Fleece 2016 - Small Successes

I’m terrible at committing myself to anything with a deadline that is meant to be recreational. Knit-alongs, Stash Dash, Ravellenic Games, Tour de Fleece, whatever. Working on something I love alongside other people who share that same passion seems like a great idea. But the second I commit to it, it turns into a chore. Now I have to do it by a certain date, or else. I’m the least competitive person in the world, which doesn’t help. As soon as something gets competitive, my eyes glaze over. I’m the worst person to play board games with.

I tried recently to participate in the Cookie Jar KAL, held by the hosts of the Pinfeathers and Purls and The Fawn Knits podcasts, where all I had to do was to knit a pair of socks by Cookie A. I had a good start with my No-Purl Monkey Socks in Hedgehog Fibres Sock in the Genie colorway. I was excited, I was motived, I was determined. For about two days. Then I was all, “I have to finish TWO WHOLE SOCKS in a MONTH? Is this a JOKE?” Never mind that I finish socks in that time frame all the time. This voluntary KAL turned into a chore thrust upon me against my will. I got belligerent.

“Oh, this KAL is going to force me to knit socks? When actually what I want to be doing is knitting OTHER socks? Who do they think they are?”

Needless to say, that deadline has passed and those socks are no more done than they were pre-temper tantrum.

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So no one was more surprised than me when I met my Tour de Fleece goal. Albeit, one day late, but that still feels like it counts, especially since I wasn’t officially participating.

I was smart this time. I didn’t announce that I was doing it. I didn’t even really plan it. It just so happened that the day the Tour started, I got a package in the mail from Hobbledehoy (battlings in the Crater Lake colorway) and my favorite spindle (from Tina's Angoras) was free.

I wondered if I could spin and ply this 2 ounce package of battlings during the Tour, just to see if I could. It seemed like I should be able to. 2 ounces is NOT a big commitment, though spare time is hard to come by these days.

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And at only one day late, those battlings (which ended up being over 2 ounces, thank you very much) were spun and plied!

Great success!