Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010
Plans Gone Happily Awry

Well, here we are on the final day of the Tour de Fleece. It's been a fun run for me, but one that completely did not turn out the way I expected for two major reasons.

The first reason that things came out very differently this time around is that early on, the nature of the Tour changed. Last year, winners each day were determined by votes on the daily thread. In order to do this, you had to be willing to go through several hundred posts of pictures and vote on each one. People that were more adept at photography, or used more brilliant, eye-catching colors in their spinning, or posted earlier in the thread before you were exhausted at looking at all the yarn, or those that just plain had more friends were far more likely to win in this setting (and they did). By the end of last Tour, I'd gotten my stride in taking some really interesting pictures and had hopes of finally winning something this time around. In fact, I'd specifically saved some very special, very colorful fiber just for this year's spinning (seen above). So when it was announced on the second day that voting would no longer be occurring (because people couldn't be trusted to NOT VOTE until the day was over, even when clearly instructed to hold off), all of a sudden these careful plans of brilliant photography and color went out the window. Now it was all about random numbers. This was a bit of an annoyance (after all, I'd been planning a year how to "work the system") but even more of a relief. No more stressing about pictures. No more stressing about popularity. Now I could just stress.. about the yarn. And my own, personal goals.

Color Carding Class
The second unexpected event popped up due to an earlier purchase. A couple of weeks ago, I got a wheel. I tell you I love spinning on a spindle, but the call of the wheel was overpowering. It's new, it's shiny, it's fun, and I've been really curious to put it through it's paces. I'd already started by trying to spin three bobbins as full as they could go with fiber I had on hand, and seeing how much yarn that would make. I made one honkin' big skein and it was fun. Then I dug into some of my stash for fibers I hadn't really figured out how to use and spun them up just for kicks. The wheel is a wonderful tool for a technique known as "long draw" which creates a much more fluffy yarn and these fibers had been made with long-draw in mind. It was a joy to get to work on a new skill.

Lots and Lots of White Wool
Then, yet another unexpected thing popped up on my radar, Sandi Wiseheart's sweater KAL/class. I didn't really intend to participate, but I poked around the edges of the group out of curiosity. Sandi was brilliant and offered the first chapter of the "class" for free, and I was hooked, but I still didn't want to buy sweater-quantities of yarn. Then I noticed that they yarn they were going to use was the same weight as that first huge skein I spun (or at least I thought it was the same) and I came up with A Plan.

Rather than spend my days going crazy spinning bright colors and trying to figure out fabulous photography, I would use the Tour to spin enough yarn to make a sweater. That's a lot of yarn! Sandi's first lesson put me with an estimated yardage of 1800. A lot of yarn. But I had a lot of wool with no clue how to use it, and now I had a goal. In fact I had two supporting goals between the Sweater KAL/SAL and the Tour. Whenever one goal wasn't quite enough to keep me spinning the same thing day after day after day, the other goal popped up and said, "Hey, shouldn't you get a little bit done on this project?"

Tour de Fleece - 7/4
And after all of that, I've done it.

The final three bobbins are waiting to be plied, true. But they've been spun and this last batch should easily put me over my yardage needs. The yarn is a heavier weight than I'd planned, true. But it's still within the KAL's gauge, and I really like the yarn anyway. I learned a lot about long-draw, and about spinning to get a particular type of yarn (or not). I learned how to slip spinning into my day so it didn't interfere with anyone else, and I still made progress. I learned that I still like my spindles and they're really nice to have around so I can have an on-the-go project, too.

I learned that I love spinning, and I still love knitting, and that the fiber arts are just awesome all around.

It's been a great Tour. I hope you all had fun, too!

1 comment:

Araignee said...

What a fantastic accomplishment. Congrats on a great tour!