I love Ravelry so much, not only does it have thousands of patterns, many of which are free, a database for your stash and projects, but it also has forums and groups. Whilst reading through the forums I found out about Tour de Fleece and joined The Corner of Knit and Tea blog’s team #CKT2018. There are lots of other teams on Ravelry as well (and lots of other themed groups too).
The idea is during the days of the Tour de France cycling race you spin! Not for the hours on end that they are on their bikes for, just for as long as you want to. When the cyclists have their rest days you do as well, and when they are having their tougher days cycling in the mountains you challenge yourself with your spinning. The level of challenge is up to you…I did consider teaching my husband to spin as a challenge!
It is such a nice idea, a great way to connect with other spinners and see what amazing yarn they are producing and you can ask questions and advice. I have found myself getting yarn envy as some of the yarns I am seeing are so beautiful and its interesting to see the different plying methods and the results you get.
Also spending time each day doing some spinning really does show your steady improvement 😁
I had some merino fibre from Gilliangladrag in the Ethereal Ether blend. I loved the look of it online and originally bought it for making some needle felted fairies, but I thought maybe it would be good for spinning. So I pre-drafted the whole 100g…this was a mistake!
I loved how the singles looked on the bobbin but when I have plied it the colours have lost their definition and almost created a greyish pink colour. I kept washing my hands thinking I was making the yarn dirty, but I think its just the colour combos when spun…or at least when spun by me!
I stopped after plying my first bobbin, so do still have lots of fibre left and I will most likely use it in wet felting instead. If I hadn’t pre-drafted it all I could have split the colours vertically and when made into a 3 ply they’d have kept their colour definition. Hey ho! (I haven’t set this yarn yet, so this isn’t a case of colours bleeding.)
Again, you’ll notice my spinning and plying are still uneven thickness.
Next I decided to use a gorgeous purple and gold blend of merino and bamboo from Kiki’s Craft Corner. The colours are really lovely and I can’t wait to see how much length I end up with so that I can search Ravelry for a pattern. Apologies for the terrible photo of the original blend.
My consistency has improved massively and I have managed to get a 3 ply that is about sport weight! I used short forward drafting again but something has just clicked and I am finally able to draft small amounts so when plied it isn’t so thick. It still is a little fluffy, I am knitting a cardigan with malabrigo yarn at the moment and I am wondering if they coat the yarn in something to stop it being fluffy (or having a halo). I love that my singles and 3 ply are still looking similar…unlike the ethereal blend.
What I have learned
- Don’t pre-draft all your fibre before you know what it is going to look like when its 2 or 3 ply!
- Ravelry is a great resource and a way to make friends from around the world
- Being part of a Team keeps you motivated
- Small amounts of spinning each day is easier on my arms and hands than a long session
- I really missed spinning on the first TDF rest day!