Tour de Fleece Wrap Up

Ignore the part where that says “This Year”. That 6 miles worth of spinning happened all within the last 23 days. And is not a completely accurate totally. You’ll excuse me while I fall over from the ded…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been fascinated by spinning wheels for as far back as I can remember  I wanted to know how to use one before I even knew what it was supposed to do.  So I finally crossed one off the bucket list last fall, took some lessons and bought my first wheel. Funny thing is, I made a joke shortly after purchasing my Schacht Sidekick that no one should tell Mr.Me I said she was my first because that would lend toward acquiring a second…  Well, thing is, I wasn’t joking.  Wasn’t but 4 months later before I had a second.

Next leap of faith was deciding to participate in the 2012 Tour de Fleece on Ravelry.  Basically, you challenge yourself to do something spinning related every day of the 23 day Tour de France bicycle race.  Goal setting is arbitrary and personal (good thing since I’m an arbitrary person!). Given that the whole work thing gets in the way of my play time, I decided to keep my goals simple- primarily to spend time at my wheel every day of the race (21 of the total 23 days).  My hope was for 30 minutes. There were only 2 days where I didn’t get there. I got in some time, just 15-20 minutes, not 30.  And almost every other day I had an hour or more. Since we had 3 Civil War events during the Tour, I had opportunity to put in 6-8 hours or more at the wheel those days. So it’s safe to say, that goal was easily met!

My secondary goal was to try to get through a nearly 12 oz bump of Merino I bought right around the time I took my lessons.  IT is a LOT of fiber. Previously, the most I’d ever done was 6oz of the same fiber and I was totally sick of seeing it by the time I finished.  So I wasn’t going to pressure myself, just see if I could. Turns out I ended up with a little more than 900 yards of Sport Weight from that bump!  Which is even more exciting than just having finished it as I was hoping when I started spinning it to end up with a 2ply sport-ish weight yarn. I am more than a little excited for having accomplished this one!

This weekend I decided to play a little.  One of my primary intents with spinning has become using it as a demonstration tool when we’re reenacting.  It gives me something to do to pass the time which is key to retaining what little bit of sanity I posses, and it turns out it’s interesting for the spectators, so it gives me something to talk about.  One of the things I’ve struggled with is really demonstrating the art of plying.  If I’m spinning singles, it doesn’t really click with folks what I’m talking about when I say plying. If I am plying and all singles are the same color, you can’t really see the change from single to yarn. So I decided to use three different colors of roving to create a demonstration skein of 3 ply.

This turned into three skeins of yarn I really really love! The middle skein was the sum total of Saturday’s spinning, singles & ply were all done during the event hours.  The top & bottom skeins were a combination of Sunday’s spinning plus a couple of bobbins done during our last event.  I have a bit of the bray single left over but otherwise used up a LOT of fiber in these skeins!

Then we got home and I took a picture of my total “loot” from the tour.

That’s 8 skeins of finished yarn (admittedly, only the dark blue merino is technically finished- the rest still need a bath and thwacking. The white will likely get a dye bat, too) for a total of 2465 yards of finished yarn! HORY CLAP!

And just cuz sometimes I am a total geek, I did the math.  8455 yards of fiber passed through my fingers during the 23 day Tour de Fleece! That’s SIX MILES people! Actually even more since, as I mentioned, I have some leftovers from today, plus I started some silk/wool blend on the wheel at home that hasn’t grown into anything yet. SIX MILES! Whoa! That was fun! And I’m overall quite happy with my spinning.  My consistency isn’t perfect but it’s pretty good.  And my finished yarn is totally knit able. Or at least it will be once I decide what to make with it. This may prove the death of my Year of Projects list…  Not sure I planned in any additions for my own yarn. YIKES!

But for the moment, I”m not going to worry about that. I’m just going to pet my big pile of new pretties and dream big things for my little skeins.  At least that’s what I plan to do as soon as I dust myself off from the falling over with shock.

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5 responses to “Tour de Fleece Wrap Up

  1. I am so impressed with your mileage! I think the most yardage of any one fiber I’ve gotten was maybe 200-250 yds… I mostly have 4 oz/100 gram bumps and braids, but even so, you might be my star-in-the-sky goal-setting example! Good on you!

    • I have this problem where I’ve finally gotten able to consistently spin thin so suddenly I keep overachieving! Still need to work on that! But it’s all part of the learning process, right?

  2. What an amazing haul, and it’s so cool looking at that and going ‘all my own work’ 🙂 I love the blue particularly, but it sounds like you’re going to have a great time knitting from all of that. Lovely!

  3. You’ve got some awesome fiber there all lined up, nicely done. I didn’t know you were into Civil War re-inacting. Have you been at it very long?

    • Thanks! Can’t wait to decide what I’m going to knit out of it!

      As for reenacting, this is my 15th year. Gettysburg next year will be my 4th trip out there for a 5 year anniversary event. YIKES

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