A Little Tour Update

I’ve been spinning like a madwoman to finish my Tour de Fleece goal, which was 1400g spun and plied over the course of the tour.  I always make my goal a stashbusting one, the idea being to tackle the mountain of fibre that threatens to overwhelm the storage I’ve got worked out for it – turn it into yarn and then get that resulting yarn out of here too.  I give it all away as gifts for my knitter friends, and well, then it’s their problem, which I care way less about. It’s a perfect solution, because while some of my buddies have the willpower to refuse a gift of yarn, nobody can refuse handspun.  They are my helpless minions in this one way.  I like to think this is extremely satisfying for all of us, though it’s probably just me, and I’m fine with that. 
Here, on Day 19, is where I’m at.

I plied up the singles of the 300g of some reddish/yellow/orange gorgeousness (tag long gone) from Spinners Hill, and ended up with  4 skeins of a yummy 2ply.  (About 230m.)

110g Seldom Scene Farm 80% baby alpaca, 10% silk, 10% angora, in a beautiful colourway called "Spring in the Bluegrass".

Spun up into a two ply that I mostly like, but a friend will love, yielded about 126m.

The fibre was exceptional, and any failings I had with this were really more about my uneasy relationship with alpaca.

It’s underplied for sure, but I don’t know else is wrong with it or what it wants yet, in terms of spinning. More twist? Less?  This attempt is the best run at alpaca so far, so maybe I’ll get it yet.

BMFA 50/50 yak (yum) and merino, in "brick".  I loved spinning this. It’s 200g, ended up being about 280m and I know just who it’s for.  She’ll be helpless.

BMFA Blue Faced Leicester in Jabberwocky. 

(What’s in that shop changes… It looks like what’s there now is the BFL mix, which isn’t what this is, though I bet it looks different and is about the same to spin, but I’m just guessing.)

I love this yarn. If I didn’t have a sworn policy of giving away all the Tour De Fleece stuff, this yarn would be mine.  It ended up being 108g, and about 280m.

Dyeing for Colour  50% bamboo (rayon) and 50% superwash merino in "Harvest Moon".

I’m thrilled with this yarn, to be honest.  It was fun to spin, and by the time I had my singles I could tell I was going to have a yarn I thought was just the bomb.

I was right.  I even managed to somehow overcome my problem of chronic underplying to get a yarn I love a lot.

It’s 115g and yielded a scrumptious 2ply at  224m.

So here I am, sitting with about 833g of fibre spun on day 19 of the Tour, which means that I’m spinning about 43 g a day, instead of the 62g a day that I need to make my goal, which is sort of shocking, since it means I’m way behind, when I really, really felt far ahead.  Maths are not my strong suit, so my instincts are no help here, and I really was surprised when I added it up.  It looked like so much more.

To complete my 1400g goal, I now need to spin about 113g a day to make it, and I’m pretty much regretting the decision to make the yarns as light as they are.  A bulky spin would have eaten the weight up faster, but I would have liked them less, and to my way of thinking (and I admit, my way of thinking has gotten me into this mess – so who knows)  there’s little point in rushing to finish and ending up with yarns I don’t like.  So we’ll see. I’m not sure I can finish at this rate… I do have a life and other commitments, though I’ve made a personal decision to forego doing any housework and laundry for a few days.  It’s a sacrifice, but I’m willing to make it.

136 thoughts on “A Little Tour Update

  1. Wow! What beautiful handspun. Lucky friends!
    I’d say beautiful yarn you like trumps meeting the goal.
    Good luck meeting your goal.

  2. I like to spin laceweight, and I’m a cautious spinner, so I probably spin about 2g an hour. All right, more than that, but that’s what it feels like. You are a far better person (and a far better spinner, it goes without saying) than I: when I get my merino superwash laceweight (Spunky “Blue Moon”) all spun and plied, there’s no way I’m giving it up. Of course by that time I’ll be 103 and gaga, so I may not know what else to do with it.

  3. That’s me, helpless.
    And Abby’s best efforts notwithstanding, I am perfectly content to watch you (and others) spin without wanting to do it myself.

  4. My dearest Spinlotta, it is all fabulous and I am in awe as all non-spinning knitters are wont to be. It all rocks and I’ll take any that finds itself homeless!

  5. If the person who the Bluegrass one is intended for doesn’t like it, you can always pawn it off on me… they’re gorgeous! I hope I will be able to spin that well someday!

  6. You know, there used to be a time when there would be a personal interest story about a person who ran the Boston Marathon (or some such thing) but it took them three days to do it. I say, keep going. It may take you longer and you’ll be the ast rider in, but you’ll finish at your best pace possible and we’ll all be here to cheer you on in the end.

  7. Any time you want to send any of that gorgeous stuff my way, don’t fight the feeling!!! Lol.

  8. I would definitely be a helpless minion if someone waved handspun under my nose! All of it is gorgeous.

  9. Dare I point out a possible escape clause? Your argument for not spinning bulkier yarns is because you don’t like them… but you’re giving all this yarn away. Do you know anybody who likes hand-dyed, hand-spun rope? ;)

  10. As many participants in the OTHER tour can attest, it is better to lose the tour than lose your pride. Stick to your guns and spin what you know is right instead of what gets you to the finish in front of other honest spinners. *grins*
    They all look beautiful Stephanie. I really, really like the brick and harvest moon. I don’t even like reds for myself and I was able to think of a few things that would look stunning in that yarn.

  11. If you run out of knitter friends you usually give to, I would be glad to take it off your hands

  12. Clearly you just need a friend or 5 who really really like bulky yarn. That way even if you like the yarn less you can know the recipients will love it more. That always helps motivate me!

  13. I have only one question…
    …can I be your friend too? :)
    Those yarns are beautiful.

  14. Nice work!! Math’s not my strong suit either so I’ve been busy trying to calculate how much you have in feet/miles. I haven’t got it yet but I’ll get it sorted eventually. I love how even your yarn is. Mine? Not so much–very slubby. My spinning compatriots claim that I’ll actually get past this phase–I’m not sure I believe them though.

  15. Once again, stunning yarns! I would like to remind you that you were *absent* for part of the tour, and the fact that you’ve done this much is darned impressive.
    (I’d also like to say that ytaya has it right: think of which friends might like some bulky weight yarns and spin accordingly!)

  16. god how i want a spinning wheel all my own!
    if you run out of people to give the handspun to,
    you could auction it off for your daughter’s fundraising goal?
    or just send me a skein lol.

  17. How on earth can you bear to give such fabulous yarn away – you must really be a nice person!!! You have certainly inspired me to get my spinning wheel out again and have another go at spinning. Thank you for that Stephanie!

  18. Oh, that Spring in the Bluegrass is fantastic. I love blue/green colourways. Happy and peaceful at the same time. Shall I send you my address?

  19. I know you wouldn’t like the bulkier yarns (and quicker spinning) but surely you have at least one friend who likes bulky yarn and would love it just to help you meet your goal. (If not, may I volunteer?)

  20. gorgeous! Ready to put aside my housework and play on my wheel some…. but last time I did that, I was lost to the world for 2 whole days…

  21. I love reading your blog because it inspires me, but it also makes me feel totally useless *lol* Your yarn is gorgeous – of course. I’ve been spinning on the same roving for about oh…. 6 years now? And mostly my yarn does not look half that nice. I tend to underply my 2-ply and overply my 3-ply. Like that makes any kind of sense.
    Anyway – on with sock knitting!

  22. You bought the roving in order to make a perfect yarn. Don’t let the calendar boss you. You’re making perfect yarn: glory packaged by the ply.

  23. But you HAVE spun 1.14 kM of yarn. That’s math to be proud of!
    I, too, was wondering if you had a friend (or six) who adore bulky weight handspun … tho’ Steven A’s idea to raffle such off for the upcoming bike fundraiser is also brilliant.

  24. I have no doubt that if your friends are resistant to taking the handspun off your hands, there would be no problem finding blog readers willing to pay the shipping cost to get their hands on these beauties.
    Spinning is on my “once my kids are bigger and can be forced to help with chores so mommy has more free time” list.

  25. Have you ever considered selling or auctioning away some of your handspun with the proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders? I bet you could raise another bodacious amount of money for the cause!

  26. Gorgeous, yummy yarns!! You have some v-e-r-y lucky friends. Also, please add my name to the list of people that will take unwanted yarn…

  27. Though he may not be ready for it yet I wonder if some Tour de Fleece handspun would be an appropriate welcome into the knitting fold for Pato.

  28. I just adore the Harvest Moon. I tried spinning a few years ago, I thought I would really love it, but didn’t have the moola to buy a good wheel and all it’s bits and pieces, so I’ve had to become an admiring fan instead!
    I want to be one of your friends!:-)

  29. I forgo laundry and housework everyday for knitting and spinning. What wouldn’t I do for a a good wool!

  30. Between you spinning and the fact that I’m nearly caught up on prayer shawls (the latest one is on the needles and only has 1 more skein of yarn to go before done) I’ve been inspired to get my wheel and bins of fiber out… this has made my office so crowded that my husband, all on his very own, offered to changes offices with me and let me have the 2 times bigger office. I think tripping over the spinning wheel in the dark has had a lot to do with it. This makes me very busy in the next week painting, cleaning, moving… but when it’s done, I should be able to leave my wheel up ALL THE TIME!! Also my sewing machines. I’m so excited! :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  31. Ever thought of evoking a little more karma with your beautiful, much-admired-by-all- of- us, handspun?
    How about a set small donation to MSF to be entered into a draw to win a little of the lovely stuff? Just saying…

  32. Ok, I’m like the eleventy-hundredth person to ask, but may I be your friend too? I wasn’t at all sure about the Harvest Moon fiber, but your yarn is gorgeous. And that brick red! I need to get a cold drink, and RESIST the urge to splurge on a wheel.

  33. Over here! Over here!
    See the middle-aged, overweight WI woman jumping up and down? That’s where you send the Spinner’s Hill skeins of gorgeousness. Ignore the generous ta-tas bouncing like out of control water balloons, just send the yarn. Please. I can be a helpless minion, or a helpful one if that’s what you like. I just bought a used bicycle so I can even trail behind you hauling your excess stuff. I have a lock, a cool red and black helmet, and a bell. Oh oh wait, I could ride ahead chinging my bell to clear your way, that’s minion-like, right?
    Sorry. Got a little carried away there. Pretty yarn you’re making, Harlot. Keep spinning!

  34. As someone who often underplies, I had a friend once point out to me you can always reply the yarn to make it balance. Personally I find it easier to ply fast especially Navojo plied yarns and then run it back through to balance it for my project. Food for thought. :)

  35. A lot of us readers are wishing that we were your personal friends and about to be gifted with hand-spun yarn…

  36. Housework is overrated. As you already know. Spin on, good woman, spin on!

  37. Beautiful yarn – since I don’t spin I’m fascinated and enjoy seeing how the the finished yarn looks as compared with the roving.

  38. Oh to be one of your lucky friends! Forgoing housework is the best idea I’ve heard in a long while. :) Keep spinning! You can do it!

  39. I would happily take any of those off of your hands, but I’m not local and the power of my batting eyelashes is truly pathetic (and diminishes over distance).

  40. I too am finding life getting in the way of my 2 pound goal. But remember–spun yarn does take up less of your stash room than unspun fiber.
    Just a thought for those you can’t bear to part with.

  41. The brick is wonderful. I like the ply on it too. You will be much appreciated for these being gifts.
    The yellow jersey isn’t everything… and yellow is a hard colour to wear….

  42. Pretty yarn, but I really just popped back in to say thank you for posting the Blue Jays links yesterday, because thanks to that reminder, vacation is made for the big people. My husband and I are so excited to go be That Family all decked out in the visiting team’s gear when the Jays play the Red Sox next month. Yippee!

  43. I just had to get another keyboard – I salivated over your photos soooo much that the original needs to dry out.

  44. You do such nice work. (not only do your friends get witty conversations from you but they get yarn too?!!? Crazy talk).

  45. Can I give you a helpful hint re: plying? Count how many times you treadle before allowing the yarn to wind onto the bobbin. I usually do four, but it depends on the weight you’re spinning/ plying and the distance from your hands to the orifice. If you do the same count per yard, then you’ll end up with evenly plied yarn that’s usually well-balanced.

  46. The sword of Damocles will fall on those who need to practise their ball-throwing skills. I too can easily forgo the house and laundry – the others who live here are capable and in need, though unfortunately not in that order, but they could try a bit harder.
    Lovely colours spun, but I think they are all ‘your colours’.

  47. Wow, that is some serious yarn pron! I find when I have a project to complete – say on December 22nd – forgoing housework and laundry help. Also, wearing extra deodorant and not drinking a lot of liquids frees up some time. I have sunk so low as to have meal replacement shakes for a couple meals since they can be eaten while knitting.

  48. I’ll gladly be a “helpless minion” if that means I get some of your hand-spun yarn. I love me some pretty yarn. I see those pics you posted and my imagination takes over my logic and I can’t see straight. I feel woozy and I’m suddenly thinking, oh…scarves, socks, sweaters. I can’t seem to stop the insanity of it all. I can’t linger on your website…I…must…go…now.

  49. I applaud your sacrifice of laundry and housework in order to get your spinning done. Spin on dear woman, spin on.

  50. You might not win the overall competition in terms of the volume that you spin. But you’d certainly be in the lead for any competition that’s called “Make Many Friends Happy with A Relatively Short Period of Hand-Working.” The yarn is gorgeous!

  51. I love the BFL and the bamboo/merino. It’s so much fun to see everyone’s Tour de Fleece projects. Now I’ve got to add BFL to my to-spin list. It seems to be a favorite, yet I’ve never managed to try it.

  52. Those are beautiful! And this might help: If you’re giving them away, can’t you think of someone who likes bulkier yarns to gift with the last few skeins? Good luck!

  53. ooooooh it all looks lovely — I MUST get my spinning wheel out again and have another go — I got the hang of it for precisely 5 minutes, then the whole thing went bananas again. No idea what I’m doing wrong. But when i see your yarns I feel it might all be worth it ….

  54. Your Harvest Moon is something you need to keep for yourself. It’s just too gorgeous to give away. But then again you probably have tons of gorgeous in your stash now.

  55. These are just beautiful. You have truly been gifted with exceptional color sense. Your benefactors of these yarns are very blessed!

  56. Oh, how I wish I was one of your poor knitter friends. That reddish is beautiful and right up my color alley!

  57. OH, to be that lucky lucky friend who gets “spring in the bluegrass! She should do a nice scarf with it, a nice basketweave or 5×5 purl/knit “check,” something to anchor it slightly. That will compensate for the slight underply, and since it’s a scarf it won’t suffer much abrasion. OH, just send it to me! It will get me through the colorless months on the high plains of the U.S. West… you have made me want to spin again.

  58. Excellent thought — housework is largely overrated, and spinning is a good thing. If you spin the way Schleck needs to ride for the next few days, you’ll be good to go! (BTW, that last yarn is a stunner.)

  59. If you had a REAL friend, when you gave them that BFL Jabberwocky (and especially if they knew you would likely make better magic with it) they would give it right back. That way, you won’t have violated your policy….

  60. I am willing to sacrifice myself to become a gift-worthy friend. I mean, I’d hate for you to have all that luscious, beautiful yarn sitting in your house filling up your stash and taunting you with its gorgeousness. :) J/K, of course. But all of those yarns are just gorgeous. I’m jealous of your skill. :)

  61. Jabberwocky is amazing! I love the barberpole look. I want to learn to spin so I can get handspun wool (never owned any).
    Think I can use a spindle while breastfeeding my baby? :)

  62. Nice stash you’ve got there! I was thinking this afternoon, while the power was off (out for about 5 hours), that I am self-amusing and need no electric. I can happily spin, weave or knit.

  63. I love loosely plied alpaca! I think it’s lovely. Alpaca doesn’t generally have the same amount of twist that other yarns have; it’s just its nature. I think it’s my favorite fibre partly for that reason.

  64. You spin like my friend and I play Scrabble. It’s never about the score, the triple letters, the blue or pink squares. It was about the really cool words we can come up with and where to put them. Much more fun! Otherwise it would be about bulky yarn that would give a great score, but not so much satisfaction.
    Oh yes, and thanks for sharing. It’s so much fun to watch fibre become knittable.
    No doubt that you’ll make your goal (especially with the sacrifices you’ve made).

  65. Just poppin in to thank you for the lovely yarns about yarn. Some days I really, really need this.

  66. I sure miss you when you’re living your other life.
    I spin and knit because I love doing it, and you just keep egging me on.
    Thank you.

  67. Your spinning is beautiful. I am a chronic underplyer myself and I find I can just run it through the wheel a second time and it seems to ‘tighten up’ the way I want it to (no matter how hard I try to ply it enough the first time). I don’t even have half of that amount spun up for the tour – as always you are an inspiration!

  68. ‘forego doing any housework and laundry for a few days’??? Good decision! Good luck with your metereage!

  69. Oh, oh, oh! Spring in the Bluegrass! (Swoon.)
    Laundry? Housework? Isn’t that why we had kids? Not to mention mowing the lawn.

  70. There’s a spinning wheel lurking at my sister’s house, I think from my grandmother, but I’d have to ditch the old-fashioned big tv to make room for it.
    Your wonderfully inspiring spinning is the reason I make room in my yarn budget for purchasing other people’s handspun – I now appreciate how much time it takes, after reading your posts!

  71. It is all so beautiful. Your knitting friends are very lucky people! Makes me want to start spinning…or just be one of your knitting friends :)

  72. Sorry about the comment made about how there should be a huge fan fare for hitting a million dollars in aid releif. I did not mean hey look at what we’ve done gimme gimme yarn. I meant hey look at what we’ve done we are awesome.

  73. I’d be more than happy to help you out with this endeavor and be one of the recipients of the bulkiest yarn possible. I’m sure I could find something to do with it… a hammock?

  74. Reading about your spinning was such a great way to start my day . . . it made me dream about learning how to spin . . .
    And then it was back to the real world where I’m trying to get through the most simple of projects without frogging myself to death.
    Anyway, thanks for the inspiration — it gives me hope.

  75. Just beautiful! That blue green is simply some of the prettiest blend I’ve seen. Thanks for sharing.

  76. Oh, a Tour de Fleece is such a good idea… How can I get myself to do the same thing and make a dent in the stash that is so big I don’t remember what all is stuffed into that closet? It might have to get cooler before I can do it, but I’ve made a small start. Last weekend I polished the spinning wheel. Okay, it’s a lame start, but it’s a start!
    You cannot possibly embarrass yourself Opening-Pitch-wise as much as Mariah Carey, because you will not be wearing that outfit. Good luck with the practice–

  77. You consistently remind me how I’m due for my own spinning wheel. Thanks, Stephanie. :)

  78. Love that gorgeous bronze yarn. I would love to get hold of that fiber.
    So what knitted wonders will you wear as you throw out the first pitch? Got gloves?

  79. Would you show us how the very variegated (and beautiful) Yarn # 4 knits up?

  80. Lovely yarns, and I love that you plan to give them all away. You’re way ahead of me this Tour–I have grand plans, and then the real job took over my life.

  81. I’m a skinny-minnie spinner myself, but the Brekenridge Cowl by FrenchPressKnits (same woman who did those awesomse slippers) is pretty good inspiration for bulky yarn, I think.

  82. If you want to promote inter-crafter relations, I crochet but really, really respect people who can spin and knit – am I fawning over you enough to be considered a yarn recipient?

  83. I don’t know if someone offered help yet, but I know a lady that raises, sheers, cards, spins, and plys alpaca. SHe’s very knowledgable, she may be able to help with your plying issue.
    I hope that helps. I love alpaca yarn, I wouldn’t want you to pass on it because of a technical difficulty.

  84. And remember, while you can forgo laundry and housecleaning, you have baseball throwing practise for a few days before the big game.

  85. With regard to thinking enough of your friend’s words to quote them, Stephanie, I do believe you are growing as a human being. Your determination, zeal, willingness to laugh at yourself, and sheer enthusiasm for your crafts (writing and knitting) have been an inspiration to all of us, but sometimes you get us a wee bit worried about your difficult self-imposed deadlines and just want you to sit back, relax and just knit (or spin). Having said that, I know how the act of knitting seems to carry with it an intrinsic deadline-imposing behavior — the Just One More Row Syndrome, as I call it. So I congratulate you on evolving to the point where you can truly appreciate your friend’s words. All I have to say is “have fun!” which you seem to have no problem doing!

  86. If you need another friend to help you get rid of some of your excess yarn, I would make the sacrifice for you. I’m fond of many of the colors you don’t really care for. You can keep all the brown and orange and yellow and lime green.
    On second thought, I may have some friends that like those colors too. We love you too much to see you get suffocated by all that yarn – we really want to help you.
    Just saying.

  87. I love your wise friend. I need one just like her. Can you send me the pattern, please?

  88. Wow! I am green with envy! I would make a great friend. I could help with the house work. I have three boys, you have three girls,…… I live in northern Michigan, fairly close to Canada…. You are a spinning mad woman. Great job on getting so much done.

  89. gorgeous! i’m sure your knitter friends will appreciate your emphasis on quality of quantity. and speaking of that – i want to be your knitter friend! what do i have to do to qualify?

  90. Ok, but dude – do you know what you SHOULD do with it? At least just once? You should sell that shit on EBAY and donate the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders. Do you even know the crazy that would ensue for yarn handspun by the Harlot herself? And of course you could like, link to your auctions via your blog post that documents your spinning progress, and then people would know it was really made by you and you’d generate tons of cash for your pet cause. And in fact, this idea is so brilliant that you should give me generous royalties.

  91. Maybe you could put out a bucket on your table for people to pitch (pun intended) money into to get Ken to his fund raising goal for the Megan/Pato/Ken cross-Canada ride to help AIDS victims. (It’s not technically a run-on sentence, but it does run on.)

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