Saturday, July 03, 2010

On tour!

Today marks the start of my first ever Tour de Fleece, for those of you who are not spinners .. this involves spinning along with the riders on the Tour de France. I've watched the tours (bike and spinning wheel) from the sidelines for many years, and a few years ago my uncle, then aged in his 70's, tripped to France and followed the tour by bicycle ... serious amateurs can ride the events the day after the competitors do which is what he did. I'm on leave from work, for two fantastic weeks, and the tour lasts for 3 weeks... so I have made plans accordingly. I've signed up on Ravelry to Team Aoteroa, and warned the family there will be spinning every day. For the next 3 weeks there will be as much spinning as knitting, probably more spinning, but there will be both. Today I have the start of my tour, sock progress and a whole new project begins.
so ......3, 2, 1 Go!

This is my tour shelf, the fibre I've set aside to spin. The largest bump is 500g of Texel (I forget from who, but I bought it at the Milton open day last year). Next to that is some Targhee dyed with Indigo from A verb for keeping warm, and under that and 80/20 merino silk blend from Craftykiwi in the last New Zealand fibre swap .. then along the end and probably way to optimistic to get to in this tour is 4 more fibre wheels, some merino and some perendale that I dyed earlier this year. I imagine I won't get to all of this, but I will spin the Texel at home on the Grace wheel, and the other bumps are for spinning out and about on Monday nights with the local spinning group on my little Gem.

Look! I've made a start already on the Texel, spun for a few hours already today. I'm hoping this will yield a sport weight 3 ply, and enough yardage for a cardigan/jacket for smallest bear. The blue is the same colour as both cubs eyes .. and the larger cub already scored a hand knit this year.

Last night was the elder cubs 11th birthday party, 8 of his best buddies came over and drank ginger bear, ate hot dogs with mustard and onions, and various other party food and watched Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. We fosicked around on the web prior to the party and found a few star wars themed quiz questions. The boys were divided into two teams, one team had to nominate some one to be the buzzer, they had to yell 'Buzz', the other 'Bing' if they knew the answer. I had forgotten how intensely 11 year old boys can be when following instructions, we had repeated choruses of Buzz-Buzz-Buzz and Bing-Bing-Bing as they competed for the judges attention ... great fun. I realized I needed a party style knit to get me thru the noise/night rather even attempt Nightingale .. so cast on for a baby singlet in lace-weight. This is the larger version of a Margaret Stove design I knit earlier this year. Yup - that is a ladder down the side, the Addi lace-weights I'm using have a stiff cable and the lace-weight yarn seems to pull open when worked on this circ ... but I love the points of these laceweights, my others in this size are all blunt Addi's. Perhaps Knitpics/Knitpro do have a more flexible cable, or perhaps lace-weight is unstable and just does that when knit on one long circ. I'm trusting the ladder shifts and closes up when I wet block it.

Lastly spurred on by finishing the first Nightingale and some positive feedback on it .. I've made a good start on the second sock. There was a little 6 round frogging incident early in the piece as I belatedly realized the pattern provided left and right charts so the socks would be mirrors of each other, Doh! Now I've got that sorted I'm well on my way, one bird down of 6, 5 to go .... and right now I'm ready to start the gussets.

Take care ... if you are touring .. happy safe spinning, or cycling
if not cheer a little for all the riders and spinners ...
na Stella


Knitting Linguist said...

I just love the nightingale socks; they are truly lovely, and I can imagine how much fun they're going to be to wear! Good luck with the spinning! We'll be watching the tour whenever we can (with Rick, how else?), but we're doing so much travelling during the first part of it that I didn't think I could sign up to spin. I'll join in whenever I can, though :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Stella, I was introduced to your blog by an interest in fair isle and twine knitting about a year back. I've been knitting for about 3 yrs. and can't express my love for it enough. Like many knitters (with the exception of family and work) if I'm not knitting I am reading about it, or thinking about it. Lately I've been researching spinning, and wonder "What's it about?" On the financial side, is it cheaper than buying a skein? Is it as obsessive a craft as knitting? I am hoping to take a spinning class one day soon, but in the meantime can you give me a little feedback. In all honesty I don't think I can handle another craft right now, but can't help the curiousity. Thank you. Oh, and big thanks for the youtube videos...priceless.

KathyR said...

It looks like you're off to a better start on the Tour than I am! I'm hoping to pick up as I go along, though.

Happy Birthday to T! Only two more years and you will have a teenager in the house. Lucky you!

Nightingale are coming along beautifully - I do so love that first bird!