Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tour de Fleece 2015

The 2015 Tour de Fleece has come to a close as of Sunday.  This is my second time participating in this event, and I really enjoyed myself!  Though my shoulder would say otherwise...I incurred a spinning injury and am having to take a few days off spinning to let it rest.  How do you get a spinning injury from using a spinning wheel?  I honestly don't know!  But it happened.  hahaha

This year I was team captain of Team HAPL (Healing After Pregnancy Loss) and I was a member of Team Pandia's Jewels.  

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Tour de Fleece, it is the annual spinning event on where you spin while the Tour de France rides.  If you are on, and if you aren't I highly recommend joining, you can go to the main group's page by CLICKING HERE.  

Every year, I try to come up with goals that I want to accomplish during the event.  This year, my goals were to finish spinning the Gotland commission I had been working on, to try a new fiber, and to spin up at least one of my prizes from last time I participated.  Happily, I met all of my goals!

The Gotland wool commission was something I have been working on for a friend.  She gave me 4 pounds of Gotland wool and wanted me to spin it up for her.  It was my first time spinning that amount of wool from one fiber!

By the time I was done with this spinning commission, I had turned 4 pounds of wool into 1,764 yards of 2 ply, DK weight yarn!  It made me so happy to ship off a box stuffed full of yarn to the owner at the end of last week.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what she makes with it!  It has a lovely shimmer to it.

Throughout the TDF event, we have a couple of challenge days, that correspond to the challenge days of Tour de France.  One of the challenges I chose for myself was to try my hand at using a drop spindle.  Before getting my spinning wheel, I took a class on spindling and used a very heavy, awkward drop spindle.  Though I put a lot of effort into it, I just didn't get it.  When I got my wheel, spinning clicked for me.  However, I have always wanted to go back to the spindle again and see if I could figure it out.  A friend of mine, Eileen, helped me get my drop spindle going with some BFL wool I have in my stash.  This time, I used a lighter drop spindle that has a top whorl to it (my old one has a bottom whorl) and I did much better! I even enjoyed it!

Spinning on a drop spindle compared to a wheel is much slower.  When I was working on the small amount you see above, I just kept thinking how amazing the men and women were in the past who used mostly spindles to make their clothing and other items!  The time, the effort, the patience, it all amazes me!  I now have a much deeper appreciation for this craft.

Another goal I set for myself during this event was spinning from a batt.  I was gifted these two lovelies from a friend in HAPL.  They are fiber batts from Corgi Hill Farm.  The fiber included in these are Merino, Camel, Silk and Firestar (which makes it sparkle).  When you unroll them, you get this...

I was quite surprised by how much fiber was rolled up inside the labels!  It's super soft, and the colors in it are just GORGEOUS!  Plus I've never spun anything with sparkle before, so was interested to see what that would be like.

Spinning from a batt with this fiber content takes time and patience as it can be very slippery at times.  I wanted to spin it a bit thicker so the resulting yarn would be more of a worsted weight.  I fit each batt on one bobbin (see picture above).  I plied the two bobbins together and ended up with 194 yards of Worsted weight yarn!

This picture doesn't even do it justice!  In certain light, the purple tones come out more, and in other light, it's more blue.  The silk and firestar make it shimmer and shine.  It's super soft and squishy!  I'm still looking at patterns to decide what I will make with this beautiful yarn.

Finally, I wanted to show you my Pandia's Jewels fiber that I spun during this event.  I won this prize during Tour de Fleece 2013.  It's 100% Polwarth and was a dream to spin!  The colorway is "Princess Spinning Pants." 4 oz.

This fiber is very soft and easy to spin fine.  I was going for a light fingering weight yarn, and I succeeded!

398 yards of light fingering weight yarn!  2 ply.  This yarn can look more pinkish in certain light, and more purple in others.  Super soft and squishy too!  Not sure what I will knit this into, but I have a few ideas already.

I won another braid of fiber from Pandia's Jewels this year and I look forward to spinning it soon!  Check out "Expoding Tardis" colorway on Superwash Merino, Nylon, Stellina Fiber.

I very much enjoyed Tour de Fleece this year and I hope to participate in next year's event!  If you are a spinner, I highly recommend checking out the group on Ravelry and joining next year.

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