The Tour de Fleece

The Tour de Fleece started this past Saturday July 5th.  For those of you unfamiliar with this yearly festival, it's the spinners tribute to those other spinners - the ones who ride bicycles all over France, the Tour de France.  They spin in their way and we spin in ours.  If you haven't seen Peggy's description of the rules, check out our Facebook page for all the details.

We started our Tour de Fleece spinning on July 5th at our local yarn shop - Yarntopia. We had a great group and spent a lot of time laughing which is one of the wonderful things about spinning.  Here are Peggy and me spinning...

Last year Peggy jumped into the Tour de Fleece with both feet.  She spun every day for the 21 day contest and managed to create thousands of yards of wonderful yarn.  I wasn't quite so enthusiastic.  I thought it was a great idea in the abstract but I lost focus almost immediately and by the second week didn't even remember I was supposed to be spinning.   This year is different.  I am enthusiastic and I will try to keep focused.  This year Peggy's goal is to use up much of her stash and spin 10 pounds of fiber into yarn.  It's an admirable goal.  My goal is less lofty.  I just want to spin every day.

I started spinning flax last summer and loved it.  I worked hard at it until I came down with walking pneumonia.  There was nearly a month when I didn't even come out to the studio much less get any spinning done.  When I was finally feeling better I went on to other things, mostly weaving.  For the last week or so I've been getting ready to spin flax for the Tour de Fleece.  I've cleaned up my Rick Reeves flax wheel, checked the drive band, oiled everything that needs it and worked on getting my bobbins in shape.  This last part required the help of my husband.  I wet spin flax which means dipping my fingers in a small cup of water and smoothing down the hairy fiber as I spin.  The flax goes on the bobbin wet, or at least damp.  The bobbins are made of wood, oak in this case.  I spent so much time spinning flax last summer that when I went back to it this spring two of my three bobbins were so swollen they wouldn't fit on the flyer shaft.  Ron found a narrow round rasp and was able to widen out the bobbin centers.

After all that work, my flax wheel is totally up and running.  I spun for about three hours at Yarntopia on Saturday and for about four hours in my studio on Sunday.  That's a great beginning but here it is only day three and I'm just sitting down to spin at 9:30 pm.  I had horse feed to buy today, animals to feed, laundry to do, furniture to move, bills to pay.  But I'm here now and off to my spinning wheel!