Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tour Prep

I've been thinking a lot about whether or not I'm going to participate in the Tour de Fleece this year.  I'm nervous that my plans for what I would spin are going to take up more time than I have to dedicate to spinning.  The thing is, the day after the Tour is over I will be shoving my apartment into a U-Haul and moving back to Minnesota.  This means that the weeks leading up to that day should be spent packing and organizing, not spinning.  But doesn't it seem to be the nature of our craft that the more we have to do in our day, the more often we find ourselves instead stealing away to knit, spin, crochet, whatever?  And if I spend the time I'm pretending I don't have to pack spinning instead of, say, playing Angry Birds or eating ice cream then at least I would still be productive, despite the fact that I would still not be doing what I should be doing.  (Wow, I'm not sure that sentence made any sort of sense.  I hope you can figure out what I mean to say.)  So I'll tell you what my plans are for the Tour de Fleece and then I'll also tell you about what I'm thinking about doing instead (which would be cheating, but only a little bit.)

Last year when I visited Joan we went a little crazy and dyed up a bunch of fiber and then turned it into a ton of batts so that I could spin enough yarn for a sweater.  And you know how our Joan does thing.  We didn't just dye a solid color and call it a day.  No, we dyed five different vibrant colors and then blended them all together to make really beautiful batts that still read "brown" if you squint, but are much, much more than brown.

Plus, the fiber that we dyed was mixed BFL, which means that the undyed fiber itself was several different natural colors, giving each color we dyed a depth that adds to the complexity of the final batts.

They're super colorful, but the resulting yarn isn't unwearable because spinning further blends the colors together and makes the whole thing incredibly amazing.  I know this because yesterday in preparation for the Tour I decided to spin one of the batts up as a sample to see if I could produce the kind of yarn I intend to make with these batts.  I'm still not incredibly confident in my spinning abilities and I didn't want to dive right in and muck everything up.  But I love the yarn that I ended up with.

I can't help but spin carded fiber using the long-draw technique because I am over the moon in love with the light, lofty, airy, soft, springy, warm yarn that it produces.  An added bonus is that I can spin long draw much faster than I can spin a smoother, denser yarn which makes my goal of spinning enough yarn for a sweater in about three weeks more achievable.  So the tentative goal is that all of these batts will have been turned into yarn by July 22.

So now onto how I plan on cheating making things a bit easier for me.  Because I have to be ready to vacate my apartment the day after the Tour is over and I don't want to stress myself out and I do want to spin up all these batts this month, I'm thinking about starting NOW, a couple of days earlier and then simply spinning along in the spirit of the Tour, but not really participating.  Of course, I came up with this idea last weekend which, had I begun last weekend would have given me an entire extra week to spin, but as it stands, I'd only gain three and a half days.  But listen, three and a half days could make or break this project.  So what do you think, should I wait?  Should I just start now?  Do you think I can get those all spun up in time?  Let's not forget that I'm also supposed to be spending my days practicing.  Practicing and packing, that's what I need to be doing.  But this batts are so pretty, aren't they?  How could I say no....


  1. What if you spend the early days packing everything up except for the couple of things you need to get through those days? Put up some food for those days following, get in some good practice, pack it all up, and then jus spin baby spin...

  2. Why not start after the move instead, and participate in spirit... just later rather than early?

    Either way, I say you spin like wind.


    I think what you made is a really wonderful yarn. I just love BFL and those batts are scrupmtious!

  4. Just start. This is not a life or death decision and it sounds like you REALLY want to start. Permission granted. Go for it!

  5. I do recognize your description of “stealing away” in busy times. Nowadays I make it no secret that in times like that I NEED to knit or spin – it gives me balance and works like meditation. About your choices regarding spinning - choose the alternative that will give you the most balanced yarn. The result of spinning (and making music) is after all also a product of the situation/mind-set during which it was done. Your batts are fantastic, as is your yarn!

  6. So first off, being of great experience in the moving department, packing and moving finished skeins of yarn will take up less space than moving the fiber itself. (enabler reason #1).

    You cannot pack and organize 24 hours a day. You have a month - that's MORE than enough time to devote some of it to spinning (enabler reason #2).

    I also think you should start now. What if there is a blizzard on the drive to MN? You'd want to have yarn available to start a warm sweater while parked on the interstate to wait it out, right? I know you have no other yarn. So get going. (Enabler reason #3).

    Cupcake. Enough said. (Enabler reason #4).

  7. People who follow all the rules might not have put those colors together - I say start now.

    I love the yarn and I am so proud of you!


  8. I agree with everyone and suggest starting now. Pack a little each day first and then your reward is some spinning time :)

  9. Do it! Start now! I love the fiber you and Joan dyed. Amazing color(s)!

  10. Oh my god, my jaw just hit the floor. Those are the loveliest batts ever! How have you not been spinning them before now? Start now! You NEED that sweater.

  11. That post is why I will never be a fiber blending artiste - I'd never have put those colors together and look at what you'd have missed out on if you relied on me.
    (I dunno if it's my screen or the yarn but it looks green to me.)

  12. I trust you have begun spinning by now. You could always pack a box or two in the morning and again before bed. Might keep you from burning out with all that packing. ;^)

    Btw, if you can say no to those batts, there's something wrong with you. I'm just sayin'...