Yesterday marked the start of a very special and important fixture in the sporting calendar; the start of the Tour de Fleece 2010 in which spinners around the world challenge themselves to all sorts of spinning feats including most importantly, the commitment to spin each day of the tour; 3 -25 July 2010 (with a few rest days thrown in for good measure and to prevent ankle and shin injuries from too much furious pedalling).
Rather sportingly, a group of cyclists have decided to play along too and have set off on a little road trip around France! And if you think I might have got that the wrong way around, just remember – who had wheels first – the spinners (13th century) or the bikers (19th century) – clearly it’s Fleece before France.
Seeing as this is my first year spinning the tour and I have also got a number of baby blankets to make, both for the little Bear and friends and relatives, I’ve tried not to set myself too many aims, but for the sake of posterity (and so that we can all have a good giggle when I crash and burn on Day 3), here we go:
1 – Spin every day of the tour (rest days on 12 and 21 July).
2 – Spin from the stash, with particular focus on the mini batts and other fun bits and pieces that I don’t really know what I want to knit with them; spin just to make pretty yarn.
3 – Spin a singles yarn.
4 – Don’t just spin sock yarn.
So far I’ve spun on Days 1 and 2 (otherwise I would deny all knowledge of participation), and in keeping with aim number 2, I started with a sparkly mini batt:
It’s the one on the far left, from Faith’s shop Purldrop Studios, called Florida Tidepools which is a blend of merino and firestar for added twinkle.
I opened the batt up, divided it into two by weight and then spun each half from pale green to deep turquoise. The original batt reminded me so much of a wave arching over you to break and I wanted to preserve that feeling in the finished yarn.
I’ve spun these singles fairly thickly to give a nice bouncy 2ply and (having ignored all knowledge of the merits of letting yarn rest on the bobbin on the basis that it had all been spun within the previous 24 hours), I did a little plying:
You can see from the bobbin how the finished yarn runs through the colour wave. Most of the intense turquoise is underneath but basically one end is that deep peacocky colour and then it blends and fades to this pale soft green, sparkling in the sunlight all the way.
This isn’t the best picture of the finished yarn because I hadn’t washed and blocked it yet, but you get the idea. I have 96 yarns of what I think is aran weight (it was 1.4 oz of fibre so that seems about right) and if I can find the right contrast colour then I’m thinking some sort of faux fairisle might be in its future so make the most of the colour shift.
The fibre spun like a dream and was beautifully prepared so I’m really looking forward to trying out the other two.
And the best bit – after my two previous trips to Florida were, well I was going to say ‘interesting and unusual’ but I ended up in hospital both times so I’m going with ‘disastrous’, it’s nice to have something beautiful to remind me of the good bits. Hey, Sunshine State – third time lucky eh!