Saturday, 2 July 2011

Tour De Fleece

As you'll know by now, I'm not the spinner in this set up. That title belongs firmly to the lovely GuzziSue. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate it, if you've been into the shop you'll have seen how I hanker after the handspun gorgeousness that we sell and to be fair my personal stash has a fairly high ratio of handspun to commercial (buying it faster than I can knit... I know you know how I feel...).

I do spin, occasionally. In fact, I actually started spinning before young Pete did - I was his inspiration believe it or not... The problem I have is that I'm not very good at spinning but I am at knitting so I stick to what I know. It sort of works out well for the shop because when Pete and Sue are chatting I'm reminded what it must feel like to a beginner knitter when I'm going on and on and using ridiculous terms. But that doesn't mean I don't want to get better and here's my impetus:

Tour De Fleece.

There's tonnes more info on there but I'll tell you what I know - while the Tour De France is running, spinners set themselves a challenge to complete on the days when the bikers are racing. The challenge can literally be anything - learn to spin, spin a jumper's worth, work down the fibre stash - anything!

I've decided to splash out on some fancier fibre (inspired by the lovely fluff I keep seeing Sue and Pete working with) and spin myself a laceweight single (more on that for the non-spinners in a minute). Part of the challenge for me is to spin every day, I'm aiming for around an hour a day but if I'm to spin all the fibre I've bought then I reckon I'll need to do a fair bit more some days.

So - the fibre is this, a merino/silk blend in the aquarius colourway - 400 whole grams of it! Somehow my computer screen showed those colours plus a couple of reds, the reds didn't materialise and I'm not that fussed. I really should have known given the name.... Anyway, here are some photos:

Lovely isn't it?! About the size of a football... scared!? Never!

Here's the inspiration (sorry about the fuzziness of the photo, I'm gonna say that's the yarn - definitely not my camera skills...):

It's a sample for a commission Pete did a couple of weeks ago. It's a hand-dyed, laceweight, single in blue-faced leicester. A laceweight, for the uninitiated, simply means very, very thin - around about a 2-ply in old money which is, funnily enough half of a 4-ply. Here's another photo for scale:

Yowser! But I love it!!! I've also been inspired by one of the ladies at Knit Club, Laura, (who has the most fabulous tattoo on her leg but I won't give any details in case there are any axe murderers out there just waiting to put a tattoo to a name....). She knitted the Featherweight Cardi in her own handspun in a divine forest green colour. Absolutely gorgeous!

A single means that the yarn is simply fibre spun up. Not plied with anything. So if you untwist it you get straight back to fibre again - like the Riot DK in the shop. Sue says it'll make the fabric bias somewhat when I'm knitting it, I say 'bugger it!'. :)

So that's the idea. This is the practice - a little underspun:

This is the spindle:

This is the kit:

And you'll notice there's nothing on that spindle yet, so I'm off. Wish me luck!!

Eleanor. :)

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