July 4, 2012
I swear to you that I wasn't going to do the Tour de Fleece. I swear it. I'd considered the idea carefully and weighed the pros and cons, and then, after careful deliberation I came to my conclusion, which was essentially "Screw that." This month is killing me. I've got a ton of stuff to do, the family's busy, I'm away for a week, the Rally is at the end of the month, hours a day are going to training rides that are starting to hurt, and frankly I need another goal this month like I need a hole in the head. (Also, I thought that if I did one more bike related thing I would probably barf.)
Posted by Stephanie at July 4, 2012 1:26 PM
The hardest thing about the commitment to the Rally has been the time. I guess I don't mind riding my bike this much (sort of. I'm pretty tired) but the time it takes to do it is crazy. Now that we're in the home stretch, this week I'll do "quick rides" which are 90 minutes every morning, and then the whole weekend is taken up by back to back whole day rides- and that doesn't even get into going to the meetings, going to the bike shop, managing fundraising... I'm the one who made the commitment, so I don't mind, but it doesn't leave a lot of free time. Just the idea of adding another thing made me flinch, and I'm pretty jumpy these days anyway. I don't know if you've thought about this- but you can't knit on a bike. The basic minimum amount of knitting I need to do - the little that it takes to keep me from being a horrible person with no patience is already endangered. Why would I want even less time to knit by setting a spinning challenge? No. No way. I wasn't going to do it, and I decided not to. It was final.
Then the night before the Tour started, I had a complete change of heart. I realized that I've got no issues with spinning, I love spinning, and it's almost as good for your personality as knitting, and it would be great to get a bunch of spinning done... and all of a sudden it came to me. I had no problem with the Tour de Fleece, I just needed a reasonable goal. I just couldn't let it get crazy.
Now, I've met me, and I realized pretty quick that I was going to have to be careful here. I'm forever setting "reasonable goals" that then kick the snot out of me. I'm reasonable about most everything else, but when it comes to goals I just take all leave of my senses. This mostly works out and just means I experience some stress for a bit, but I'm good with stress - so no problem. Now though? I'm already under stress and I don't see any reason to pump it so totally over the top that I take an emotional blowtorch to the whole month of July. This is uncharacteristically clever and mature of me, and so I really gave it some thought.
Someone suggested that I think of a reasonable goal - and then cut it in half. Someone else suggested that then I cut it in half again. There were lots of good suggestions, and then it came to me. Instead of doing what I've done before - which was setting a goal of a certain number of grams spun (1500 or 1400 to be precise) I would make a vague goal. I'd make a goal that was more about effort than it was about amount, and I'd let myself off the hook on days that spinning happened in huge quantities on the bike, rather than at the wheel. Once I thought about it like that, the Tour started to sound like fun again.
I made my goal that I was going to try and make the spinning stash retreat back into its bins. There's lots of ways to do that too- I can tidy up, I can give some away - or I can spin it. It's a nice vague goal that should stay reasonable, and so far, so good. I've had this beautiful North Ronaldsay roving in the stash for a few years, and it's the first thing up.
North Ronaldsay sheep are an endangered sheep breed. They live in Scotland on the northernmost island of the Orkney Islands, on the beach. They mostly eat seaweed (they're totally odd) and they're not found anywhere else. Just one three mile long island in the whole world.
I've got a total of 500 grams of nice soft roving in three colours (I'm pretty sure it came from Scottish Fibres) and it's so nice it almost spun itself up while I sat in the backyard.
All told, 200g of the brown became about 440m of a fingering weight yarn- and it's pretty as all get out.
I've traditionally given away everything I spin during the Tour, but this?
It makes me a little greeedy.
PS: It's day one of my little vacation alone. So far, I'm planning pizza for dinner, and feeling proud that they've been gone for three hours and I'm not totally feral yet.
PPS: Happy July the 4th to my American friends. Have a great holiday.
I will be seeing you at A Verb..Can't wait!
So I understand the "over-use" of time here. I sign up for golf tournaments; a round of golf taking (minimum here) of 4 hours and more like 5.5. Add the sitting around afterward with beer, I'm gone for nearly 6+ hours. The next one is 4 days and the one after is 2 days. Why? I ask myself, why do I do this? I still have 8 inches done on my Spring top and the final few rows of a pair of socks which are waiting. Just came home from volunteering at our very little pancake breakfast and golf stuff.
We're all nuts. That is my conclusion!
p.s. Can my husband join your husband? He's out playing today, and I have (count 'em) 3 hours to myself and Kitty Scarlett!
Beautiful brown! And there's nothing like knowing you're contributing to saving a breed. I'd love to see a sheep eating seaweed, just for curiosity's sake.
On one of my trips to Scotland I took a special side trip to North Ronaldsay just to see the sheep. I don't even spin. Love their wool though.
I'm knitting every day during the Tour (so what else is new?) and my goal is to finish the big old manly raglan I'm making for my husband by the end.
Seaweed-eating sheep? I love it!!! The world is a miraculous place.
I love when the post has those beautiful wooden spools. Making yarn is so exciting.
Keep it yourself! Consider it a stay-cation souvenir. We won't tell!
Guess I'd better email Doreen at Scottish Fibres and warn her, eh? It's great stuff that North Ronaldsay roving, it's what I use for teaching newbies. They are nice sheep too, there's one ram who gets to go to Woolfest every year that's as frirendly as a big dog.
More info... http://www.spirit-of-orkney.com/contents1a/2010/03/north-ronaldsay-sheep/
send it to me! i'll knit you something!
Psst --- your knitting just whispered "tandem bicycle."
Couldn't you knit while someone else "drove" the bike? Just a thought.
Psst --- your knitting just whispered "tandem bicycle." I swear I heard it!
Couldn't you knit while someone else "drove" the bike? Just a thought.
That spinning is gorgeous! I always love to see where the Tour takes you. Question, though: have you heard anything about the actual Tour de France having a problem with the name "Tour de Fleece" (like the whole Ravelympics thing)? Not trying to open a can of worms here, just wondered.
I love LizA'a idea @ 2:18. EZ knit on the back of DH motorcycle! I really enjoy reading your blog and seeing what you do with fiber.
I've got it! Ride your bike to my house (that'll cover the training) and we'll spend our 'me time' knitting and eating gourmet meals (that'll cover my absence at the retreat) and then bike home (ditto on the training).
Let me know.
The spinning looks lovely. And yes, why not spin what you can when you can during the TdF? Perfectly reasonable.
Not enough time to knit - learn to ride 'hands free'. You can then knit while you pedal the miles away!
Wow, that is really gorgeous. I'm spinning something not nearly so nice, but I'm having a good old time doing it anyway! :)
my sister has Ronnie's (as we affectionately call them), they do eat grass as well which is handy as she and the sheep don't live on a Scottish beach!
Good luck with the spinning goal, I had to cut back on my Olympic challenge as I realised that having carpel tunnel surgery half way through the Olympics might slow my progress a little...
They eat seaweed? You just blew my mind.
oooohhh, something new to try! I think Scottish Fibres better have extra help come in tomorrow!
My husband suggests a recumbant bike . . .
That roving -> yarn is crying out to be a Hap shawl. Looks lovely, and those are the kinds of back stories that are going to make me take up spinning one of those days.
That North Ronaldsay is scrumptious. If you spin it all the same, it probably would work great for a garter stitch shawl with alternating colours....grin!
You should keep that yarn; it is beautiful. Reading about the North Ronaldsay sheep, I realized what a geek I am (I got excited about sheep). lol
wow..I really really love that bit of yarn you spun up....like really really really. And I love that the sheep live on the beach and eat seaweed. yay!
Way to fill a bobbin! Your finished yarn is lovely, and I don't blame you for feeling a little greedy on that one ;)
Tandem. Yes. You can. Well, two can.
I absolutely love the natural colours of real sheep, alpacas and anything else that gives us fibre to spin. Not that I'm a spinner. Yet. I've spun a wee bit, but need to get going and really do it!!! I have some gorgeous alpaca downstairs, right from the farm where I saw the alpacas who donated it. :) The natural colours are so special. Your yarn turned out beautifully! Love that rich brown.
A sheep breed that eats seaweed and lives on the beach? Too cool!
hmmm.... haven't seen anyone suggest riding a tandem bicycle. It is possible to knit while pedaling if you happen to be the person in the back. Those jersey pockets of your captain are the perfect place to keep your yarn and if you use circs, you wont accidentally drop a needle. You might plan to ride this event next year, knitting all the way.
I can really see where being the back person on a tandem would at least have some opportunity to knit along. I never seem to get anything planned for Tour de Fleece. I do have a couple of projects already in progress, so maybe setting a goal of finishing at least one of them would be doable.
The yarn looks lovely.
Giving it away? Sure, I'll take it - but remember, the goal is to have the *spinning stash* retreat. You said nothing about growing the knitting stash. :)
Beautiful! How do you get those bobbins SO full? You must ply onto a couple more bobbins? I've gotten lazy about changing bobbins and just fill one, wind a ball on a noste then ply it back onto the bobbin. Enjoy your home-alone time!
Once in a while.....it is good to make something for yourself. If you really love the fiber, treat yourself!
That yarn is just luscious. Good job! And thanks for the 4th of July well wishes. :)
I almost hate to ask this, but do you know about foam rolling? With all the bike riding you're doing right now, that self-myofacial release would be the kindest recovery you could have.
But asking you find another 10-15 minutes in the morning and/or evening and spend it doing something else related to bike ride? Just doesn't seem fair.
Oh, dear. I followed the link... I may just end up building myself a fibre sampler, and then starting to check off breeds in my copy of the Fleece & Fibre Sourcebook. I bet one can squish fibre enough that the shipping volume, and therefore cost, isn't too crazy, either. Then, there's just Customs to worry about.
ah yes... the fact that it is not possible to ride a bike and knit at the same time also bugs me. But my bikeride this morning was beautiful.
I'm going to have to go google for the seaweed-eating sheep....
Love the yarn and the sheep - must look them up. Are you having a heatwave in Canada? It has been in the 100's most of this week and I can't imagine sitting in the back yard and spinning. In the nice air conditioned house is another thing, but not in the back yard:)
Lovely, lovely! Thank you for sharing...!
I remember my mother telling me that when we lived in Austria during WWII, the Austrian housewives would knit while bicycling. I'm totally amazed by that because I can barely let go to signal direction changes.
I'm working on reducing my stash in the TdF as well, 700g of Romney down so far in a bulky yarn. I think the next one will be a feed-bag full of Gotland Ram fleece. That might take a little longer I suspect.
All right! Three hours of freedom and more stretching before you. When your tailbone area hurts from the bike riding it is time to stop before it gets out of control. The healing time is the longest, slowest of almost any other kind of injury. Get a better saddle or just stop. Can't stop? Its your spine! Think about that and do the smart thing. Gorgeous spinning. Beautiful yarn!
It's way too hot for bike riding this week anyway. 35 degrees C today and it's supposed to be the same on Friday. Spinning in front of an air conditioner sounds much better.
It's not the same as road training but it's definitely doable to knit, or spin, whilst on an stationary bike. Easy Peasy. You should give it a try during your trip next week if you have access to exercise rooms.
I'm "riding" and spinning daily for the TdF. Love it when I can get in the exercise while spinning or knitting.
Enjoy the solitude this week! Eating what you want, when you want. Clean house... Treasured days, as long as the loved ones return safe and happy.
I totally get the time committment issue with training for a multi-day ride. Not only do you have rides that take hours- you are too tired and in need of food to do anything else when you get home. I've done those long rides and I ran marathons. I gave up the marathon just because of the time requirements.
You are to be commended for taking on this challenge and to keeping your eye on the prize.
That is some amazing looking roving and yarn.
Also, if your bottom feels sore from biking, put a huge amount of fleece in a pillowcase and sew the pillowcase closed. Your stash will look minimised. Now, put the cased fleece on your spinningchair and sit on it. Makes a nice cushion, like the whole sheephides with wool, now synthetic, they used in hospitals. Believe me, one day after an operation which condemned me to five x 24 hours on my b.ack and my b.ack turned crimsonred, wool in fleeceform is the ultimate solution to soreness, as were fatty cottonwool packings for strained ankles. A person is kind of grownup when he/she chooses achievable goals, I am almost there ;-)
Doreen is a wonderful person, I am proud to know her, you couldn't have got the fibre from a nicer place.
And actually, I have some of this in my fibre stash so you just inspired me to add it to my must-spin list!
That’s very interesting idea. Great! Seeing those yarn with its natural color looks stunning in my eyes. I could make some of those for myself. Love those fibers.
I LOVE North Ronaldsay. It really does spin itself. I got mine from Spirit Trail Fiberworks here in Virginia http://www.spirit-trail.net/
Join the North Ronaldsay Sheep Fellowship at http://nrsf.moonfruit.com/# and get newsletters about them. North Ronaldsay is on my list of places to see. It sounds charming. Plus, they have sheep.
I washed up some North Ronaldsay fleece last month - it was delicious! Light and fluffy. I was really careful about seperating the locks when drying and sorting so I'm planning to spin straight from the cloud.
I just got some north Ronaldsay to play with for a blog post over the next couple of weeks. I can't wait to get to it but this week I'll have to be satisfied with paco-vicuna:)
Well I`d be happy to take that yarn off your hands ... You should keep it for yourself though , as a reward for biking so freaking much . Thanks for wishing your southern yarn sisters a happy 4th . It`s a good knitting day .
I love your spinning there. It is gorgeous. I think it is time for me to contact my friend and see if she is still willing to give me some learning time on one of her wheels!
Congratulations on the reasonable goal decision. You're becoming a process spinner rather than a product spinner. I don't spin (yet) but the more you blog about spinning the more intrigued I get, though I keep telling myself "I don't need another hobby". Oh, yeah, and my husband keeps telling me how lovely a spinning wheel would look sitting in our living room just to look at! He doesn't even balk at the prices of really elegant ones. So far I've been able to resist,but if you keep spin-blogging those gorgeous natural fibers I can feel the flesh weakening.
Congratulations on a reasonable and yet entirely worthy goal! I have to admit that I was actually holding my breath while I read along to your "reasonable goal" (having been along for the ride--ha--for some of your previous Tour de Fleeces. Is the plural of that "Fleeces" or just "Fleece"?). But it's a great goal, and you're already getting some great yarn!
As to keeping it...the goal was getting the spinning stash back in the bins. No one said anything about the knitting stash...
Brown falls within Joe's color requirements for socks, doesn't it? So you could knit Joe some socks and count that as giving the yarn away (to him). Works, doesn't it? You get to knit that beautiful yarn AND feel virtuous at the same time.
It's a good goal to pick for TdF, Steph. Why put all the pressure on for something that's supposed to be fun? I have a goal of finishing up some WIPs that I have from spinning and I'm spinning up some fiber in my stash. If I get it done by the end of TdF, well that will be great. If not, then there's that other event that follows not long after, whatever they're calling it.
That North Ronaldsay fingering weight *is* sweet. Keep it!
Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks
Just wanted to say how much I love the image of taking an emotional blowtorch to the month of July. Been there.
"I'm forever setting "reasonable goals" that then kick the snot out of me"
You are me. ;-)
Keep the brown yarn, Steph! You deserve it. Make it the exception this year. Make it into something to remind you of the challenges of the year - bike tour, Olympics, etc. Reward yourself for a change! Best!
It's good to set reasonable goals. Sometimes is reasonable to reassess those goals. From time to time "screw that" is the only reasonable assessment one can arrive at. And I gree with Pat L about the yarn.
I have a shawl made with the North Ronaldsay yarn and it is my very favorite of all time. This is just such a great yarn.
I always thought it'd be ok to knit once I got to the coffee place, but decided double points in the jersey back pocket would be a serious wound if I fell. Just wear hand knit bike socks, it's safer. Love the brown yarn.
that is Some-kind-of. Beautiful. Yarn.
Seriously, make the most of your time at home,and remember to take a little down time each day, if you can! With your tdf spinning, and your bicycle spinning,and your trip west next week,don't forget to sleep. You don't want to get to the actual "ride" too exhausted to pedal, do you?
Spin yarnharlot...SPIIIIIIIIIINNNNN!! I am going to join you. Goals are what keep us all sane anyway.
Dang. Looking at your yarn makes me want to go read all my spinning books and figure out why my yarn isn't coming out like that.
Cuz it totally isn't. I'm trying to spin it fine so I can 3-ply it and still get a fingering weight. But I think it's going to be more like a single and I'm going to have to start over and discard the fine as sewing thread parts I have been spinning.
Beautiful yarn. It looks like a pair of August socks to me. Something with cables to keep someone warm this winter, maybe a Christmas present for a guy.
That sounds like an excellent goal - and you get to spin such lovely fibre. But just remember one little phrase if things start to look a bit tight towards the end of the Tour - vacuum storage bags are your friend!
North Ronaldsay sheep are also alive and well and living in Harnham near Salisbury, Wiltshire UK. A local yarn shop in Salisbury, "Born to Knit" sells the yarn. I was told that they are fed a fair amount of seaweed to supplement their diet. This has to be collected from the coast near Bournemouth, which not too far away. Good luck with the cycle ride!
Not totally feral in three hours? There's still hope!
Seaweed eating sheep, how cool is that? And that fingering weight brown yarn. I love it...would be so cool in the Fair Isle vest I'm thinking about casting on soon. I like the idea of collecting roving around the world...except I don't spin.
Not a comment on this blog but a question. How do you knit as much as you do and not get injured? I get tendinitis every few years and it keeps me out of the game for months. What am I doing wrong...or...what are you doing right?
I'm late with this comment, I know, but I want to pass this on. In winter, I put my old bike on a trainer in my house. I tilt the seat up far enough to sit upright. Then I pedal while knitting away. The only hard part is if the yarn rolls away; then I have to climb off and retrieve it. It may not be the same kind of mileage (or is that kilometerage?), but it counts for something, and it keeps the old behind ready for spring riding.