Monday, July 28, 2008

Tour de Fleece Wrap up special

Tour de Fleece Yarn
With nearly 500 participants in this year's Tour de Fleece, I have to declare this year to be a success... in many ways.

I've been keeping tabs on many of the other spinners and I'm impressed with the quality and quantity of production out there. My goal was smaller, to recapture my lost spinning mojo. I'm happy to say that I have started spinning again, after a long hiatus.

HOWEVER, as one mojo returns, another starts to slip away. Perhaps it is already obvious which mojo I am hinting at: Blogging mojo.

I don't know what kind of meta-universe I am living in where I can say I've lost blogging mojo in an actual blog post, but here we are.

It's not like I'm not having adventures to write about, either. I'm falling in love with my new town, Portland. Evidence:

Tanner Springs Park
Exhibit A: Tanner Springs Park, in the Pearl district. Classic Portland - ecologically sane and sustainable resource park. Plus it looks cool.

Llama princess
I have no explanation for the llama I ran into in front of Hot Lips pizza in the Pearl. I love her sparkled headgear.

Hitched horse
Another great city feature: old metal rings embedded into the curbs to hitch your horse. Imagine my joy at spotting someone did just that: hitched their horse right on up.

Fat Kitty Falafel
Over on SE Division there is a falafel cart called Fat Kitty. The falafels are fantastic and made to order. While you wait, you can check out the review on the counter. (click on this to read the post-it)

Devil bubble guy
Even the most hard-hearted of souls has to feel a little softening at the sight of a devil bubble man making giant bubbles for the kids on SE Clinton, in front of Dot's.

So you see, I am still here. I am knitting and spinning, working, dreaming and eating. I still love the Tour de Fleece, and I love Portland.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stage 17: July 23, 2008 - Challenge Day!

Stage 17: Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Embrun to L'Alpe-d'Huez

Welcome to Challenge Day!

The cyclists climb 4 mountains today:
Cote de Sainte-Marguerite
Col du Galibier
Col de la Croix de Fer

The last 3 are beyond classification climbs, and Alpe-d-Huez is probably the most famous climb in Tour history. It means something to a cyclist to make this journey, and in some ways it symbolizes the Tour de France itself. Cyclists know what it takes to survive it, and it bonds them in a unique way. To me, that is the heart of our challenge day. I can't wait to see what you make of it!

I'm going to spin/ply roving for 6 hours. That's my challenge, considering I have a day job and plans for Wednesday evening. I'll have to get up early to do it. I'm looking forward to it because the actual Tour airs at 3:30 in the morning here on the west coast (!) The other part of my challenge will come later, when I knit myself something from this yarn to be.

Today is our day to really challenge ourselves. What are you going to do?/What are you doing/What did you do?

I thought I'd pop a picture in here of what I spun on last year's challenge day: It's a rainbow yarn with a lot of bright feathers. It was a challenging technique for me. It was my personal Col l'Aubisque.

Challenge Day


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tour de Fleece - week two underway

How about a very quick check-in?

Sauvie berries

After a fantastic day trip to Sauvie Island for some berry picking, inspiration hit hard in the form of rainier cherries and boysenberries. (delicious, by the way)

July 2008 roving

I dyed some roving in the style of berries. I spun it up and finally finished plying it today. I look forward to showing it off soon!

Pyrenees in July

I finally finished all 220 yards of the green yarn. See the pretty roving in the post below this one here.

I know this is quick, please bear with me as I adjust to a new job, house guests, test knitting, designing, and watching three to six hours of Tour de France every day. (!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tour de Fleece - Days 3-5

I think it's about time to check in regarding all things tour related. Yes, it's been a busy week but I do have some spinning to show off.

This year's tour is really different. Instead of a skein a day or more (I really did 8 skeins a week) I am only doing 2 skeins this first week.

What happened? I'm not doing bulky singles this time.


The last few days I've been working on this roving I picked up at the Black Sheep Gathering this year. It's pretty, soft, and easy to spin.

Tour de Fleece days 3 - 5

I took a little over 4 oz, split it in half, and spun up two fine singles. I started plying them together yesterday and hope to finish that today.

Yes, I've slowed down, sort of. It's okay. I think I'm spinning about the same yardage per day though since I'm aiming for fingering weight now.

I'm looking forward to a great weekend of spinning some roving I dyed recently and perhaps a bit of berry picking as well.

Happy Fiber Friday!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tour de Fleece - opening weekend

I'm spinning again! After a long hiatus I'm happy to report that some real spinning happened this weekend.

Day 1: July 5, 2008: Brest to Plumelec

Despite opening day jitters, I sat down at the wheel and started spinning up some fiber as if I hadn't just taken a break for the better part of a year. Just like riding a bike, it came back to me.

Wool blend

The fiber is a blend of mohair, wool and alpaca in a natural charcoal color. I bought it from Bear Dog Fiber at this year's Black Sheep Gathering. It's soft, fluffy, and easy to spin.

Tour de Fleece 2008 Day 1

I split the roving in half and spun up two singles as thin as I could do them on my bulky flyer. I used a trick I had read about where you zigzag the yarn through the hook to slow the draw... it works!

This is all rather shocking because:

1. I haven't spun in ages

2. I never spin thin or consistent

3. I rarely spin just one kind of fiber

4. I usually spin art yarns

So, my style is evolving. I thought this might happen after such a long break.

Day 2: July 5, 2008: Auray to Saint-Brieuc

A day for plying. I sat down at the wheel and watched the Tour de France and plyed the charcoal yarn.

Tour de Fleece 2008 Day 2

I think it looks good. I'll have a better idea how I feel about this yarn tomorrow when I wind it onto the niddy noddy and can count the yards.

In summary:

Just like in the actual Tour de France, I declare my own spinning challenge to be off to a great start!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Tour de Fleece Eve

Can you believe it? The Tour starts tomorrow! This is what I spun on the opening day of last year's tour:

Tour de Fleece day one

This year? Some things are still the same:

1. I love yarn

2. I love the Tour de France (despite the organization's intentions otherwise)

3. I love reading about what everyone is up to with their spinning

4. I love seeing pictures of what other people are spinning

5. I love the idea that we can turn a haircut into a wearable garment with a few steps

6. Homespun yarn is cool

7. Community is cool

8. I am still here

9. You are still here

10. We are still friends

Good luck tomorrow! See you on the finish line!