Cycling and Spinning

This year’s Tour de France finished last Sunday – as did the Tour de Fleece.  However, I finished on Monday at the back of the peloton having missed a day’s spinning in the final week.

By the end of the tour I’d finished two 100g skeins and spun a further 75g of singles.  Most of the spinning was done on my oldest Ashford Traditional (which at some point I appear to have named Twiggy – as she is a 1960’s model) with the lace flyer.


So far my colour experiment hasn’t produced a range of browns, instead my skeins are blues and pinks, greens and purples.  I’m looking forward to seeing the result of plying the last pair of colours together.


I’ve still got 300g of fibre to spin for this project, and when the spinning is completed I hope to use all six skeins to Tunisian crochet a shawl.

I’d like to get the spinning finished over the summer, because at the start of September it’s the Tour of Britain and in another moment of madness I’ve agreed to spin during each day of that race too (it’s 8 stages from 6th to 13th September)!

In between the spinning I’ve managed a couple of walks, one to admire a setting sun and another to enjoy the sunshine after a few cool grey days.



Yarn on the Tour de Fleece

So far I’ve spun everyday of the tour, with the exception of Friday (when at 11pm I realised I was completely exhausted and went to bed). To make up for this, I spun the following Monday, instead of taking the official rest day. On Saturday I had a lovely long spin as I took my Traddy out for the day (it’s rare that it has a day out and I do think it enjoys the change of scene!)

I’ve spun up half of each of the first two braids of fibre and plied them together. And the resulting skein looks lovely.

The first singles ready to be plied
The first finished skein drying in the sun today.

However, having completed the first skein, I’m not sure I really want another 300g of the same colours.  So in a moment of madness I’ve added in some green/blue tops in colourway Calypso on Polworth fibre (also part of the three month fibre club I joined last year).  I’m now going to have a mix and match spinning project.

All three colours
All three colours

I’ve got two braids in each of three colourways.  One braid in each colourway is being split into two, spun then plied with each of the other two colourways. This will result in three 100g skeins of barber pole yarn.

The remaining 3 braids will be spun and plied with themselves, either using a fractal spinning technique, or, at the other extreme, spinning and plying to maintain the colour changes in the braids (I have yet to decide – but whatever I do will be done to all three colours).

The result will be six skeins of 2 ply yarn, each skein completely unique, but related to most of the other skeins. However, this is 600g of spinning, so I don’t expect to finish during the TdF.

More singles
I shall be plying these together shortly. Is it madness? Will I end up with shades of brown?

I’m not sure what project I will use these yarns for. I’m sure I’ll think of something!

Tour de Fleece – the first stage

Yesterday saw the start of the Tour de France. It also saw the start of the Tour de Fleece and I’m spinning for the Lovers of Ashford UK team on Ravelry. My challenge this year is straight forward, I have four braids in two colourways that I’m going to spin and (probably) ply together (that’s 400g of fibre). Knowing that it’s taken me months to spin just two braids in the past, I think spinning the 400g by the end of the tour will be quite a challenge.


The fibre is all dyed by Sara Texture Crafts and is in the colourways Rosemoor (on BFL) and Fruit Punch (on Falkland).  On Friday evening I gave the wheel I’m using (my oldest Ashford traditional with a lace flyer) a polish and oiled all the moving parts all ready to begin on Saturday.

Yesterday evening I sat out on the patio for a few minutes spinning. It was lovely, but the light was already failing so I retired indoors. I put on an audio book (my mum lent me a couple to try a few months ago, as she thinks I’ll enjoy audio books, but I had a poor one a few years ago and haven’t tried since) So I listened to David Tennant reading a Doctor Who story (I’m afraid I laughed at his rendition of Rose’s mum, but otherwise I’m enjoying the story), and spun up quite a lot of my first half braid.


I’m spinning S-wise (anti-clockwise) with crochet in mind. It’ll probably be Tunisian crochet (which I enjoy working but don’t do enough). But Tunisian crochet may be too busy a stitch for the finished yarn, so it may be normal crochet.


Last night I thought to make the perfect spinning date I just needed to add a lovely box of chocolates to nibble on, while listening to David Tennant reading and working through my spinning. (I may treat myself to some chocolates for tonight).


A Great Wheel and Coreless Core Spinning

Though not coreless core spinning on a Great Wheel!

Some of the mohair I mentioned in my last post was carded into two batts with some natural white Shetland.


I then corespun this without a core (the core is made while spinning, just moments before it is wrapped in fibre):


This has become my entry into the Ashford UK Spinners (AUKS) “First Challenge” on Ravelry.  It’s been a year since AUKS was born and we now have well over 300 members.  To celebrate our first year in existence Elaine (one of the group’s moderators) has worked very hard to organise a spin-along with some fantastic prizes.  The challenge was to have a first go at spinning something, be it a new technique, a new tool or a new fibre.  This was the first time I’ve spun with mohair and my first ball of coreless core spinning.  It’s been lovely seeing what other members have chosen to spin, and this week pictures of the final skeins have started to be posted.

I still had most of the mohair left, so while at Creating Space a few days ago, I handcarded that into clouds too.  I added some glitter and started drum carding again.


Which I finished off with a late night carding session.


All ready for my next coreless experiment!

While at Creating Space I had the wonderful opportunity to try spinning on a Great Wheel.  She’s called Catherine (after St Catherine the patron saint of spinners) and belongs to the Guild of Longdraw Spinners.


I’m concentrating very hard (thank you Norma for the opportunity and the photo):


I’m now wondering if I should get a quill for one of my wheels!

Tour de Fleece Day 1

Today saw the start of the Tour de France (apparently – I haven’t watched any or even caught up on events via the internet or radio).  It also saw the start of the Tour de Fleece (TdF)!

Yesterday evening I got myself all prepared and set up my “stash” on Ravelry for the yarn I’m planning on spinning during the TdF.  There are projects that are in progress and some are new projects to spin.  Once I had everything listed I was quite shocked to see how much I’m planning on doing!  I also updated my Ravelry profile with my aims for the TdF.

Today has been a busy day with the children, so I haven’t had time to do much spinning.  Last night I decided that the best way to tackle spinning today was to concentrate on spindling.  So I made sure that the two active spindle projects were easy to grab in quiet moments (there were a few – not many – but some) and I was able to make noticeable progress!

Both spindles already had some singles on, but here was progress by the end of the day:


This evening I’ve sat down at my Ashford Traditional with the lace flyer and made some progress on the Shetland/Soybean blend that I started nearly two years ago!

I’m looking forward to getting lots more spinning done over the next few weeks and seeing just how much I can do when I prioritise spinning over other non-essential activities.

What a week!

It’s been just over a week since I last posted – and boy I’ve been busy!!!

On Saturday I went to the local spinning group and chatted and spun until I completely lost track of time.

On Tuesday evening I decided to fix my 60’s Ashford Traditional wheel – as the hub had come apart again.  I took it apart and cleaned up the inside of the hub ready for gluing:


I then discovered that I didn’t have any clamps to hold the hub while it glued.

On Wednesday I went out and bought the clamps and a few other tools.  I also got some brass tubing I’m going to try as bushes in the bobbins of a different wheel.

And then instead of fixing the wheel – I started a new group on Ravelry (Ashford UK Spinners).  That kept me really busy for the rest of the week.  I’ve now produced art work (well a banner and an icon for the group):


I’ve read hundreds of messages, replied to lots, posted lots of others and got a team of moderators all ready to start.  I’m really hoping we can make this a thriving forum (and that I don’t post too often!)

Anyway, last night I returned to the broken hub.  It didn’t take long to glue it together and add the clamps.  I put the hub spindle back through the hole to ensure that the two sides lined up correctly, but removed it once the clamps had been fixed:


I propped the wheel up between two chairs overnight:


This morning I put the wheel back onto the legs (the hardest part of this was lining up the hole in the hub spindle and getting the hub pin to go through it).  And this evening I’ve given the wheel a polish, connected the treadle, re-found the jumbo flyer and added a drive band.  I’m not sure why she’s now stood on the table:


So, a very busy week indeed!