Friday, July 13, 2007

Tour de Fleece

I've decided that I'm going to dedicate my "Tour de Fleece" to Marco Pantani "The Pirate"; one of the greatest of hill climbers of all time and winner of both the Tour de France and Giro D'Italia in 1998.

I chose to spin up the Bleu de Maine fleece that I bought from Sandie at Yorkshire Woolybacks last year (I felt that the name of the breed was sufficient "French connection"). I'd already prepared the fleece for spinning and carded it when I bought my drum carder so I was all ready to roll when the Prologue began last Saturday.

This fleece is an absolute joy to spin, it practically does all the work itself. I'm spinning it long draw on my Orkney and had decided to spin onto the three Orkney bobbins then ply the three singles on the Elizabeth (I have to be able to justify having two wheels!). The fleece is lively and springy and handles beautifully and the whole of the Prologue just flew by.

Day two was more of the same for me, though the real Tour was out on the open roads of Kent. The weather was terrific, the English countryside was looking beautiful and the sprint at the end was as exciting as anything I've seen with Robbie McEwan coming from nowhere to take the stage win.

By Monday the Tour was on French soil (if only briefly) with the majority of the day's stage happening in Belgium. I was beginning to feel the strain of the first couple of days by then and coasted along in the peleton, happy not to loose too much time by sticking with the main field. I was far enough back not to get brought down by the nasty crash just before the end of the stage and although we were all held up by it no-one lost time as it was within 3k of the finish.

Tuesday was an enforced rest day I'm afraid. It's going to be throughout the whole Tour as I drive on a Tuesday and Wednesday so I'm not only sleeping in the truck on a Tuesday night and have no room for my wheel but after an early start and a fifteen hour day I don't have the energy to do anything but eat and sleep at the end of the day.

Got home nice and early on Wednesday though so put in some extra spinning time that afternoon. I was delighted when I got home to find a man on my roof (regular readers will know that I've been awaiting this for some time). No it wasn't Santa it was John; the roofer. With a bit of luck I'll be able to remove the empty containers that I've had sitting around catching drips when it rains, any day soon.

Thursday I completed the last of the three bobbins. I was going to ply them today, but I couldn't wait so last night I began. This is the first skein. It looks overplied, but I know that when I've washed it and hung it to dry it will be fine.

I'm really pleased with the way it's turning out. It really is the most beautiful wool. It has an almost pearly sheen to it and I believe that it will fluff up nicely when finished. The main colour is white but it has touches of fawns and greys. I have a few batts which are darker in colour and decided to spin these separately rather than card it all together. I'm hoping to use the different shades as a feature in whatever I make out of the finished yarn.

My only concern is that I'm failing to pace myself and I'll run out of fleece before the end of the Tour and be forced to withdraw. Still, this is my first Tour and it's no disgrace not to finish it.


Ling said...

Woolfest looked like a whole lot of fun. Your spinning skills are really coming along. The yarn is looking great. Hope you have enough to last the tour!

Stacey said...

Looks yummy. I've carded the gotland curls because I've never spun straight form the lock and I'm a very impatient girl. I think you have to flick card the end of each curl?

als said...

Oooh that looks beautiful! Save some for me to knit up!!

Ro said...

I think you need to pace yourself, no doing a Bradley Wiggins. There's a whole lot more tour to go.

Miss Janelle said...

The yarn is beautiful! The variations of color, if significant enough, could be beautifully shown off in a classic fair isle design.
Good luck with the tour!

Artis-Anne said...

That looks like a nice bit of spinning there and it does look glossy. I still haven't done my Bd M from Sandie as yet :( so many fleece so little time !!

Kath said...

Lovely bit of spinning there. I love your WoolFest haul and can't believe you have a photo of Mum with the fleeces - how did we miss you then?! Too engrosed in the fleeces no doubt. Hope the Tour is going well for you!