Isn’t It Fitting?

It’s definitely that time.

The Tour de Fleece begins on Saturday and in my house it’s been a mad dash to get everything set in between all the things going on in life. Because it is summer and no matter how much I want summer to be relaxing, it is always so busy.

Don’t get me wrong, it is busy in the best ways. I mean I can’t complain when earlier this week we had the most beautiful family afternoon bike ride…

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Through the woods…

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And out along the Mead Wildlife Area.

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Where the only traffic jam we had to deal with was a couple of noisy Sandhill Cranes.

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I recently had my old bike tuned and nearly rebuilt by our local bike shop. It’s the same bike my dad bought for me the summer before I went to college… 19years ago! I rode it all over town throughout college and then I towed my kids all over town in the tow-behind when they were little. It was definitely due for some work and the folks at The Sport’s Den did an awesome job. It rides like new and I am so happy about that. With my limited hiking abilities, biking has proven a wonderful alternative for our family to be active together. Oh, and for those wondering, I had my spindle spinning inside the backpack for this ride — I swear it’s there!

And isn’t it fitting to be riding more with the impending Tour de Fleece? I’ve been as busy as ever checking in on the Three Waters Farm Team for which I’m co-captain. Everyone is so excited and getting prepped — it’s so inspiring. I’ve been behind on getting ready, but last night I made some great strides. I wound off all but one of my spindles onto weaving bobbins so I could start a new project with Three Waters Farm fiber. And for that, I took a 4oz braid of fiber and created this giant bowl of rolags.

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I’ve made fauxlags before, but never rolags so this was new for me. I started with this braid of the colorway Giant Celosia in a Polwarth + Silk 60/40 blend.

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It took a while for me to get the process down, but by the end I was really enjoying it.

img_6923And the rolags started to look like…

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Actual rolags! This process was one of the main reasons I bought hand cards last fall at the WI Sheep & Wool Festival because I really love to spin from rolags with spindles and I finally got around to trying it now so that I could have a travel TWF project for the Tour.

On the wheel, I have soooo many fibers pulled and such big dreams, but I’m thinking I will start with these braids.

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These are all Superfine Merino and the intention is to spin them all as yummy, plump 2-ply worsted weight yarns.  It’ll be a nice, easy, relaxing way to start the Tour. Although… who knows if I’ll diverge from this plan and throw another spin in there because as usual, just when I’m pretty sure I’m going to zag, I zig.

So before the Tour begins I have three main things on my to-do list.

First, finish up my Hawser ply.

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I’ve got two wildly up-plied bobbins just ready to go.

Second, I’ve got to finish and then wind off my lone spindle with spinning on it. Although if I’m being honest, this doesn’t necessarily have to happen before the Tour begins. I could just start with another spindle (can you hear me hedging because I have a feeling I’ll run out of time…) and wind this one off later.

And last, I’d like to wind my “franken bobbin” into a center pull ball and then ply it to free up the extra bobbin.

Considering we have company headed our way and a busy Friday & Saturday planned, I’m thinking I’ll be lucky if I finish up one out of three of these. But that is life and what I love best about knitting and spinning is that where ever life takes me, I can work my craft in and around it. And it’ll all get done… eventually.

18 responses to “Isn’t It Fitting?

  1. For those of us non-spinners, will you give a small description of the Tour de Fleece? What is the game/goal/length of time, etc.? Your rolags are really pretty!

    • The Tour de Fleece is an event in which fiber spinners spin throughout the Tour de France — kind of a play on “spinning.” In any case, it’s really just a fun, laid back spinning event where the goal is to spin daily throughout the Tour de France. At the same time, though, it is very laid back so I really enjoy it. It’s not like Spinzilla where you try to spin as much as possible, it’s just more of a set your own goals and try to spin daily kind of thing. I love it because I think the flexibility means real people can incorporate it into their lives. 🙂

  2. I thonk you will be fine. Spindles and gorgeous rolags at the ready, you will get the plying done before it can slow you down, I am sure! My wheel has been empty and my fiber prepped for WEEKS, i am so eager to start that I might stay up to midnight! In mu house this whole thing gets the long suffering “yes dear, I know Saturday is an important spinning day and you won’t leave your wheel for three weeks” sigh. Lol

    • In my house, my hubby is understanding that I want to spin more than normal and he would totally accommodate that, BUT since I started with the spindle and really enjoy it now, it means we can go anywhere and I can still do my thing. Win-win!

  3. I love hawser ply! I really need to get back into the swing of things with some interesting plying, I always love the resulting yarn. I bet the bike overhaul has it feeling like a brand new bike! It’s amazing what some elbow grease can do with a treasured bike.

    • I’ll admit I’m a little terrified to ply the hawser. There’s just so much twist! I’m plying up my franken-bobbin and then taking on the hawser. If you have any words of advice, I am open to them!

      The bike feels AMAZING. I think they replaced almost everything except the tires and the frame. I’m not sure if the fresh gears and chain or the new seat are better! I’m flirting with the idea of getting panniers at some point (I think a basket might look weird on the mountain bike frame), but for now I’m just using my backpack. Especially since I bike the kids to playgrounds and places around town now, I like carrying stuff along with me. 🙂

      • Trust the process! That first ply, the singles into the two ply makes something so ridiculously squirrely it’s hard to trust the process. Just trust the process. I went back and looked at all my process photos and notes, and that’s what I can recommend. You’ll love the resulting yarn!

        If you aren’t already doing so with your bike, get some chain lube for it, it’ll keep things running super smooth when applied regularly, especially if you are riding on dirt surfaces like those you posted today!

      • “Trust the process” will be my mantra! Or maybe “Trust Kara” would be more accurate!

        Are you talking WD-40 or something more specialized?

      • Hah! Trust Kara. That’s pretty funny, I wish they’d use that mantra at work!

        Get something specialized from the bike shop. It won’t be too expensive, and it’ll last for a very long time. Here’s a quick and dirty video:
        http://www.artscyclery.com/learningcenter/lubebicyclechain.html

        (I use the fast method.) It’s going to keep those gears shifting nicely and keep the bike easy to pedal. It’s definitely worth the trouble. And make sure to touch up the kid’s bikes too, we often forget about those bikes when doing bike maintenance.

  4. As always, you have beautiful pics of your adventures. And always beautiful spinning.

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