Sunday, July 13, 2008

Keeping up with the Peloton....

This weekend finds me continuing to "compete" in the Tour de Fleece, although it's not so much a competition with other spinners as a personal challenge to practice and improve my own spinning skills. It's been a fun challenge, thus far.

I did find out, sort of accidentally, that there are actually two different Tour de Fleece challenges out there on the internet. The first one I linked to the other day:

and another, different one that I found via its Ravelry group:

I've joined them both, because the goals are essentially the same -- you spin every day of the race, take a break during the days of rest, (if you want), and try to meet a personal challenge along the way.

I had no plans to watch the actual race:

but yesterday when I sat down to spin it happened to be on tv, (on Versus - channel 2 on Comcast digital cable in Richmond), so I watched it. I don't really understand all the intricacies of the race, but I'm learning, and the French countryside is quite lovely, and that last kilometer of each day's stage is always exciting, so it's a pleasant sporting event to watch. All those fit young men aren't hard on the eyes, either.

Yesterday I finished up my bobbin of white fiber, cramming on as much as I possibly could, before the arms of the flyer started rubbing against the yarn while turning -- a clear indication that I'd reached the limit of its capacity:

I haven't plied it yet -- I was too eager to get started on something with color. I did talk to Nathan Lee of WooLee Winder on Friday about the problem with the flyer winding on unevenly, and he talked me through how to tweak it so that it will load more evenly with the next bobbin.

So, are you wondering what I picked to spin next? I went with my heart, and picked the superwash merino that my head was telling me to "save" until I was more experienced. But, it's so lovely, how could I not spin this right away?

And just by sheer coincidence, the aptly-named colorway is French-inspired:

and reminds me of my favorite painting:

The Artist's Garden at Giverny, Claude Monet

I hope to visit France and Giverny someday. My grandmother was French, (a WWI war bride), my dad speaks fluent French, but I've never been there. It's on my bucket list.

But I digress....

This morning I turned on the race again and watched their first day on the slopes of the Pyrenees, while I relaxed on the couch with a cat on my lap and spun my merino. Here's what I have so far:

The bobbin looks a little lumpy because of my choice of leader yarn, a rookie mistake I won't make with the next one.

While spinning this morning, I had an epiphany, a breakthrough, a "Eureka!" moment. I had just read last night someone's description on how to do long draw drafting, a skill I really hoped to gain at some point, but was sure would take years of spinning and perhaps several classes with master teachers to acquire. But this morning while spinning and watching those racers on a downhill stretch, I was thinking about what I'd read last night, and before I realized what was happening, my hands figured out what to do, seemingly all on their own. I can now long-draw! I find it hard to express how much this thrills me, and how much I feel it opens up possibilities for me; all I can say is, this totally rocks.

O, joy!

Today, I feel like I've not only kept up with the peloton (the pack), I've actually broken away to take the lead and win the yellow jersey.

Lance knows what I'm talkin' about....


Robin said...

Great choice - I love Jessie's yarns (and her blog)!! Love the painting, too! What do your kitties think about your new activity??

Bess said...

Yep. Yep. Definitely. You need More Bobbins!


jane said...

I am totally impressed with how you have evolved as a fiber artist since you first walked into Barnes and Noble and became a part of our family!!!! Your spinning is beautiful!!!! Jane

Channon said...

Look at you go! It looks great from here, especially that last batch. (Monet is a favorite of mine too...)

Firefly Nights said...

I love the Monet paintings and the colors in this one, especially, and the colors of your merino. You'll have to think up something special to knit with it. Glad you're enjoying your new spinner.