Fleece Fini

Sunday marked the end of the Tour de Fleece, and right up until the last minute I was spinning like a fiend.  (Actually, I kept going after the end.  I was in the middle of something, and I really want it done.)  I felt a keen pressure this year.  I always give away all the yarn that I make during the tour.  I know, it’s weird, but it has always been a stash busting thing for me, and so it makes no sense to just move it from one category of stash to the other- or at least that’s what I tell myself.  I spin a whole heap of different yarns, and out the door they go.  This time was a little different.  I wanted really, really pretty things, because I knew I was going to be  (mostly) giving it away as Karmic Balancing gifts, and I thought that it would be great if they were unusual or especially pretty handspun.  I also knew I wasn’t really going to have that much time – that this year really wasn’t going to be my most impressive year, so I went for quality over quantity.  Here’s what I had at the end.

All the North Ronaldsay, in all its colours. 

That started out as 500g of roving, and now is about 1100 metres of the prettiest 2 ply fingering weight yarn – perfect I think, for an Icelandic shawl – one of the ones like The Brimnes Lace Shawl (except for you could make two with this yardage) or Svinavatnshyrna (I have no idea how to say that.)  You could even do something like my Jacob Damask…. or rather, that is to say that Megan C could do something like that, and I hope she does, because it’s her name that I just pulled out of the hat.
(Man. I really hope she’s not into chunky blue cotton.)

This was a nice quick and dirty spin.  A friend saw this in the stash recently, and fell promptly in love. It’s BMFA’s BFL – in a colour that I can’t name (I bet Tina can.) In exchange for a donation, she asked for a woven scarf, out of this roving, handspun. 

Phase one is now complete. Weaving’s up next. 

Next up, I wanted something a little fun.  Spinderella’s Thrums to the rescue, as always.  (I love this little company.  It looks like they don’t have batts right now, but maybe soon.  I hope so anyway, because this was my last one, and although I know the point was to use stuff up,  I suddenly feel lonely for these batts.)

This one was called Confetti on Ice, and ended up being a charming and quirky little skein, not more than about 175m of a two ply.  I think it would make amazing mittens, but it will be up to Rosemarie R to figure out.  I hope she thinks this yarn is as fun as I do.

Finally, last but certainly not least, and also not done, is this little beauty. 

That’s one half of what should be one really luxurious yarn – 50% merino/ 50% yak down.  It’s so soft it makes babies seem like sandpaper, and it was the only thing I really wanted to finish for the Tour – but I’m not giving up.  Gimme a few days, and some knitter’s going to score big on that one.

Overall, I’m not ridiculously displeased with how much I spun – I guess. It was an interesting thing, doing it without a real goal.  In the past my goal has always been a certain amount.  1500 grams one year, 1400 another. This year I only produced 900 grams – although I did ride my bike almost 400km during that period.  (I hate the part of me that just added 900 grams and 400km and decided that was only 1300 grams (???) and that it was still less.  How did I figure that?)  The decision to have no goal this year, to just "do my best" was one that didn’t sit well with me at all.  It turns out that I don’t just use goals as motivators – but also so that I can tell when I’m done, or if I did well, or if I accomplished anything.  Without a goal, I really wasn’t sure whether or not this yarn was "enough", which is Stupid with a capital S. Of course it’s enough.  Of course when you have a lot going on it’s okay to just do what you can – I just wish I’d set a lower goal than usual, and then met that.  Maybe I’m just someone who needs to be able to see the finish line.  

I’d like to thank the two knitters who made donations in exchange for the beautiful hat and scarf yesterday.  You guys are amazing.  Also amazing? Tomorrow’s bid item is Omelet.  (At least I hope someone thinks that’s amazing) and there’s still more Karmic Balancing gifts coming… from my stash and wheel too.  I hope I have time to fit them all in.  4 days and 17 hours until the ride.  Not that I’m counting or can’t stop thinking about it or anything. 

60 thoughts on “Fleece Fini

  1. Now you’ve got me wondering if I should invest in a wheel. I was beginning to feel smug about having drop spindled enough worsted weight for a vest, but it seems that was only a drop in the bucket compared to your output. I’ll be cheering for you next week here in Kingston (offer of laundry facilities or anything else remains open).

  2. I think it’s really awesome that you’re doing this ride. Keep up the great work and we’ll all be cheering for you at the finish line (metaphorically of course…it would be weird if all your readers showed up)

  3. Those are all beautiful yarns, Stephanie. Good luck over the weekend. I’ll be rooting for you.

  4. I have been so very tempted to take a drop spindle class as a way of dipping my toe in the spinning waters, but… that way lies madness and more overflow of stash. I need to clear out more of the projects I already have and save up to buy a place that will have a room sans kitties. Someday!

  5. That green merino/yak made my jaw literally drop, and that’s before I knew the fiber content. Mmmmmm. (The only downside would be the unpleasantness of holding babies thereafter…)

  6. was I suppose to post here that I donated to your sister? I thought she did such a wonderful job on her birthday post to you that it brought tears to my eyes. As a big sister myself, I hope the my little sisters feel the same about me.
    Also, I got a wheel because of you… reading and looking at all your beautiful yarns…then at Sock Summit…someone talked me into a spindle…and it was all down hill from there. 🙂 I love it though. I’ve named my wheel Barnaby.

  7. Sorry to be such a math nerd but you’re comparing apples and oranges. 900 grams plus 400 KILO Meters. It should be 900 grams plus 400,000 meters if you want to put it (sort of) in the same units of measure. I think you did pretty damn well.

  8. Double-commenting in order to note that 400,900 “grams” (per Karen’s account) is pretty darn impressive.
    Also, I hope that when you’re done with the scarf, photos will appear! It’s such a fun yarn and I’m really curious to see what weaving does to it.

  9. You’re mixing units, obviously that’s your mistake. You can’t mix grams with kilometers. You need to convert to meters first:
    400km = 400,000m
    400,000 + 900 = 400,900
    See? that’s totally MORE not less.

  10. I’m sure you added wrong, 400km must equal at least 800g. (recalibrate km to hours then translate to spinning time and apply to appropriate grammage). Then I’m pretty sure you come out far ahead at 900g (actual spun) plus 800g (wheel spin time translation, but feel free to recalculate yourself) and you come out with a very lovely number of 1700g, see it’s all in how you do the maths!

  11. Is it too late to sponsor you guys?
    Edit: Duh. Obviously not. Just looked at your sponsorship page.
    New Question: Are you guys able to accept donations up to the time you leave?

  12. Personally, I was thinking in reverse. If you spun out 400 km in yarn, how many grams would you have…and I suspect that would be more than in the past.
    And other than the anxiety of “what have I gotten myself into?”, aren’t you in really good shape about now?

  13. Love that you are donating your handspun seaweed eating yarn to the bike rally. Now I am scratching around for all available cash to bid on omelet.

  14. OhMyBob, it’s all great, but that bottom one – wow!!!!
    And you are going to be great in this race. You will get through it, you will have fun stories to tell us afterward, and all will be right with the karmic universe. You’ll see.

  15. Please note the spam that was tossed in the comments. I’d suggest you don’t click on the link.
    Oh, I’ve dusted off my somewhat dirty spinning wheel which was languishing in a corner and am spinning because of you. It seems that there are several of us commenters who either took up spinning or returned to it because of your influence.

  16. Ugh so jealous and I lurves that yak green. Are you sure my name’s in the pot?!? Are you sure my email didnt get lost in the spam folders? hehe. Cause really I feel that karmically the green yak yarn should be mine. 🙂
    Additionally – I’m jealous of your bike ride. One of these days I’m going on a multi-day bike ride.
    Further – spinning wheels…jealous. I always love it when you go on a spinning jag. Makes me want to do it as well.
    Apparently, I’m too jealous to be karmically anything at this point. 🙂

  17. Wow. All of the yarns are gorgeous, but that green made me stop and sigh with longing. It is a stunning yarn with what to my untutored eye looks like a huge amount of yardage. Maybe it is time for another donation!

  18. You *can* do this. If I can run a 5K and consider training for a half marathon, when this time last year, I didn’t own running shoes? You got this nailed. In the immortal words of Tug McGraw, “Ya gotta believe!” 🙂

  19. having walked 4 marathons, I know that pre-event feeling of dread and excitement at the same time..it never got any better by the 4th either. But it will be over soon and you will know something new about yourself. Mary in Cincinnati

  20. RIDE ON HARLOT!!!!! You’ve got a HUGE fan club cheering for you (& your ‘gang’)…WOOOT!!!! (:

  21. *thinks wistfully about Omelet*
    *thinks wistfully about the incredible merino/yak combo*
    *thinks wistfully about selling a kidney online or something*

  22. “…It’s so soft it makes babies seem like sandpaper….”
    This is an amazing turn of phrase which I’m yoinking immediately. Just awesome.

  23. Thank you for putting so many beautiful things and ideas and reminders out into the world.
    Sometimes when I’m having a bad day, one of those lovely thoughts of yours will pop up from the blog or a book and tell me to just knit another row and see if things don’t improve a little.
    Sometimes when I’m having one of those very good days that can make us careless, one of those lovely thoughts will pop up and remind me to be gentle with fragile things like silk lace and feelings.
    And sometimes, when I don’t particularly need a lovely thought to remind me of anything just at that exact moment, it’s just so very nice to think about all the wonderful people out there who do need them and know just where to find them.
    So thank you for all those lovely things. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to very gently knit another row.

  24. Are you still spinning on an Ashford Traditional? I love the yarn you spun.
    Get a grip woman, and realize that doing something without a goal is an OK goal in itself!

  25. I know EXACTLY what you mean, regarding goal-setting and “not doing enough”. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. You made beautiful yarn that lucky knitters are going to covet, I would be proud of that!

  26. Beautiful yarns. Safe travels starting Sunday. You’ve got lots of people pulling for you 🙂

  27. Stephanie, they are all beautiful! As a marathoner, who routinely devotes 18 weeks chunks of my life to running, eating and sleeping (and occasionally seeing my family and knitting and spinning when my legs aren’t dead, which is pretty rare) I know how hard this taper period can be. Your body is ready – keep the mind there as well. I hope you find the fiber time in August you are craving!! (even if you have to do it standing up) You are awesome for doing this.

  28. These are lovely. I just went back to check to make sure I sent the email about donating.. which I did.. I am absolutely lusting for any hand spun of yours…They are all so beautiful. If I hadnt just taken up back strap weaving, I might finally be ready to spin- the results are amazing… Best of luck this weekend. We are all so proud.

  29. Just calculate how many grams spun per km ridden: last year, 0. Year before, 0. This year, 900/400 = 2.25!!! Wow, what an increase!
    Feel free to multiply by 100 and get 225 to make it even more impressive; or calculate as suggested above and make it meters ridden per gram spun (444.44! Double wow!) – you’re already comparing apples and oranges, you might as well get peach trees as a result!

  30. Its awesome that you are making karma balancing gifts along with training! I not only donated to Katie but have purchased products from shops that have donated gifts to your cause. So you have reached a lot of people. Kudos, have a great, safe ride.

  31. Hey! You know what? That ride you’re doing in 4 days? It would so kill me to do it! But you’ve been in training for a good long while and have prepared well. You’re gonna kick butt! Rest well after it’s all over with.

  32. Dang, I wish I’d seen yesterday’s post yesterday. I so would have bid high for Lisa’s hat, because not only does it appear wonderful, she is an awesome human being (as you know, I think).
    Ah, well, I tried to make up for it with a wee donation today, and I’ll keep my eye on this space before Sunday for more opportunities!

  33. OMG I love your last yarn so very much, it’s an absolutely amazing colour. I never heard of a baby’s bottom being compared to sandpaper even so the visual thought is incredibly fun. Your wonderful Steph and did a great job on your ungoal considering all you have to do.
    Best of luck and safe journeys on your ride, I know you will do an awesome job, it’s just not in you to not to!

  34. I think you are an amazing writer, fabulous knitter and all around seriously good person. But honestly i urge you to take SOME of the pressure off yourself. I guess the question I would ask is when do you think you have done enough? This bike ride in and of itself is so much more generally huge then anything I personally have undertaken, and you have added layer upon layer of stress over top of it. This is admittedly from my own underachieving p.o.v. But cut yourself some slack woman!

  35. The yarn for weaving is stunning; as I novice weaver (ancient Dryad 4-shaft table loom) can I ask how you’ll do this? Is the yarn for the weft and, if so, what will you use for the warp? only I spun some lovely squooshy BFL which I then painted (initially thinking as a warp) but I don’t think there’s enough for that…
    sorry to clutter the comments with questions; thanks

  36. There’s definitely a huge cheering section for your team, so hopefully you’ll hear us in your head when the ride gets tough. (On the other hand, voices in your head may not be exactly the best idea.) Donating was easy, you all have the hard part. Thanks again for doing this!

  37. Looking forward to seeing who wins Omelette, jealous the time zone difference means i can’t bid. It’s a beauty, good luck people and Stephanie and family team, you’ll break a sweat but so worth every drop hey.

  38. You know, ONE carved-in-stone production goal a year (Christmas) should be enough for any woman. A set date, a certain number of recipients, lots of other stuff that must be done or the world as we know it will cease to exist….. As much as you can get done is not only acceptable but mandatory for maintaining mental health. When you lose that, the world as we know it really does cease to exist. Ride well and safely.

  39. Your spinning is beyond lovely. It is very impressive that you got any spinning done in the middle of all of your training.
    My favourite is your Confetti Ice. Awesome!
    Good luck and fair weather to you and all the race participants. Travel well and safely.
    Have fun.

  40. Simply beautiful. Can’t wait to see how it all weaves out. Best of luck in the race. I know you’ll do great!

  41. Steph, whatever you have accomplished is plenty considering your life. I lost my Dad at 93 on the 29th, and I managed to spin a bit every day. Still spinning, in fact, bacause of course I didn’t meet my goals, but the spinning and the wool went a long way to making me feel better these last few weeks. Hope your ride is great, I am wishing all of you all good things while you pedal.

  42. I would put you at 2,011.1 grams. I came to that number by guessing that you burned about 25 calories/km so you burned 10,000 calories while biking (if you were pushing yourself to your limit and it sounds that way). Then it takes 9 calories to burn 1 gram of carbs. I divided 10,000 calories by 9 to get 1,111.1 grams of energy lost and added the grams of wool you spun, 900grams. I like that total of 2,011.1 grams!

  43. It’s interesting that 3 people I know have spun north ronaldsay in the last week or so and I have blogged about these unique sheep this week. We must all have north ronaldsay on the brain.

  44. Have you mastered the bike bag issue yet? I know nothing about bikes these days. But I’m trying to think outside the box for you. Why not forget about the back or the front. Isn’t there someplace on the central portion of the frame you could put it? If you have a women’s bike, I assume that the central bar connecting the two wheels is at an angle, but I would still expect that a bag could be added there. You might have to jerry rig the whole thing to keep it from sliding around-but it could still be done, couldn’t it?
    As for all this beating yourself up… I think you really need to get a hold of your inner nasty voice. We’ve all got one, and it’s the sort of voice we’d never turn on someone else. Imagine for a moment that it was your sister or one of your daughters that you were gauging when you thought of all they did during the Tour de Fleece (assuming for a moment that they had your interests and abilities.) You’d never even consider beating them up about the amount they’d spun… would you? Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Remember that it’s very hard to help others effectively if you haven’t met your own needs (this includes emotional ones) first.

  45. My goal was a rather simple one, namely finishing up spinning projects that I’d started some time ago but not finished. I finished up my purple merino 2-ply fingering and my Dorset/Targhee DK. I just have a bit of gold merino/silk laceweight to finish plying. It feels good to have projects done.

  46. Clearly I am not a spinner when I offer the following: would it not be great if the your bicycle could double as a spinner? (this would truly attract attention- think of it!) The efforts of peddling your tail off would thereby magically result in spun yarn.

  47. Measure both, yarn spun and bike ridden, in metres. You can even convert that back into grammes, using an average gr/m ratio of the handspun. That would totally make sense to me.

  48. I was excited to get your email that I had won something but now that I have seen the yarns I’ve won I am beyond thrilled. I was fascinated by the Ronaldsay when you first posted about it and I only hope I can make something worthy of such a wonderful gift.
    I also got a kick out of explaining your fundraising efforts for this and KWB to family members.

  49. OK, you spun 900 grams.
    the 1st yarn – 500 grams = 1100 m
    2nd – ? grams = ? m
    3rd – ? grams = ? m
    You biked 400 km or 400,000 m as pointed out earlier. So you biking is worth…. a lot! In the words of math teachers everywhere “I’m leaving the final calculations as an extra credit exercise”.
    I come up with 181,818 grams worth of bike riding.

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