Friday, July 08, 2011

The Tour de Fleece


For the past few years, the online community of handspinners have participated in something called the Tour de Fleece. It's a fun event, where spinners challenge themselves to spin every day of the the Tour de France bicycle race. There are wheels, spinning round and round all over the planet.

I'm not usually not big on joining these sorts of online shenanigans, but I decided that this would be a good opportunity for me to do a lot of spinning, and work toward improving my skills.

I had my share of technical difficulties, right from the start. I'm spinning on a rather rickety antique spinning wheel, which presents quite a few challenges. First, the driveband that spins the wheel kept falling off. Like, every four seconds. Then, my bobbin split into pieces.

Robb learned quite a bit about tuning up my spinning wheels, while I practiced my swearing.

I got this lovely undyed wool through my handspinning group. It was astonishingly cheap, which was very liberating. I wasn't worried about ruining expensive raw materials. I could "mess around" without fear. If I screwed up, it was no big deal.

This is freshly spun wool, wound as a little cake. There's only one strand of fiber at this point.

Here's the same fiber, plied into yarn. Do you see how it has a rope-like quality? This gives more structure and strength to the final product.

Now that I'm (almost) finished with this project, I have to decide what to work on next. I tried spinning the alpaca fiber that both Edwin and Annalisa sent me, but it's painfully clear that I need a lesson in working with this unique animal fiber.

I think the next thing I'm going to work on is either some wool that Mel sent me, or the gigantic fleece I bought recently. It's from a sheep named Ziggy, and everyone who has been over to the house in the past week has seen this fleece hanging around the back yard. It looks like I have been murdering and scalping rastafarians.


Stefaneener said...

It looks lovely. I'm having trouble with my spinning evenness. I'm not willing to do short forward draw, but my longdraw is giving me lumpy stuff. Go figure. More practice, probably.

Gina said...

So cool!

knitica said...

Gorgeous! I remember bringing a chrysalis inside when I was a little kid. Now I want to do it again.

You're spinning looks lovely. I wish I was there with you to join in. Maybe we can make a phone spinning date?

Stefaneener said...

And of course I just realized my comment is all me, me, me. Your spinning is wonderful, and even more impressive that you keep going in the face of technical challenges. Pretty wool. Doing your own fleece prep is crazypants, but you go, girl!

Guzzisue said...

very pretty wheel, hope you are enjoying tour de fleece :-)


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