It’s day five of Tour de Fleece, the online spin-along event where spinners (of fiber) challenge themselves to spin along with the cyclists of Tour de France. The overall dates are the same; the challenge is up to each spinner. There are teams on Ravelry and unofficial groups on Ravelry, Facebook, and probably elsewhere as well. I signed up for two teams on Ravelry: Team Rookies (for first-time Tour de Fleece participants) and another team sponsored by a spinning group I’m in on Ravelry. I also joined the Facebook Tour de Fleece group, which is very supportive.
My goals are simple: Spin an average of 15 minutes per day throughout the Tour, and for my challenge, try something I haven’t spun before: a breed of wool, a nonwool fiber, a blend, a prep (like rolags or batts), a type of yarn (like art yarn.)
So far I’m doing pretty well. I spun at least 30 minutes on Day 1, 5 minutes on Day 2, and at least 30 minutes on Day 4. (I haven’t been great about keeping track of the time, so Days 1 and 4 could have been more like 45 minutes each.) On Day 3, I didn’t spin, but I did skirt the lamb fleece I was given. “Skirting” is picking off the bits that aren’t worth cleaning: too matted, too dirty or dung-encrusted, too short, or poor-quality wool. I’ve never worked with a raw fleece before, so I probably kept more “too short” wool than I should, but it’s all a learning experience. Next step is to wash it—or rather, to wash some of it, then card it and try to spin it.
Fleece prep wasn’t part of my original goals, but I figure that it counts, since for many spinners it is part of the process. So that’s another 90 minutes on Day 4.
The fiber I’m currently spinning is a very fine merino, hand-dyed by Becoming Art. I spun half of it before Tour de Fleece began. I’ll probably finish the second half tonight, and ply it tomorrow and the next day.
I haven’t knit much on my socks or neckwarmer this week; I’ve been getting ready for and starting Tour de Fleece instead. But with my niece’s baby Isabelle due in late August, I decided I had better get moving on the baby blanket. So in the last few days, I’ve been swatching, doing the math, and writing up my planned modifications to Tilly’s Blanket pattern. I’m using a soft acrylic worsted instead of the DK weight called for by the pattern. I also plan to do the borders in seed stitch rather than garter stitch. Tonight, I’ll cast on “for reals.” Photos next week (or whenever I next post a WIP Wednesday.)