Sunday, July 24, 2011

Final Sprint For the Finish

There are certain phrases my mom always says to me. "You always leave your stuff everywhere. You never bring tissues in your pockets. Fix your shirt, it's on crooked. You always have to be different from other people."

That last one is so true. She said that the day I told her I didn't want to go to my junior high graduation (I did want to go - I was just trying to make a statement). I can't remember a time when I wanted to do exactly the same as someone else. I can't even order the same thing at a restaurant as someone else I'm sitting with. "You want the steak? Aw man, that's what I wanted..."

So, when it was suggested to me that I do the Tour de Fleece, my inner teenager scoffed at it. Me? Join in? No way.

I have to say though: It was a great choice for me to do it. I don't think I would have accomplished so much if I hadn't thrown myself in and joined the race. Probably the most helpful thing of all was stating the goals I wanted to achieve during the Tour, which were:
  1. To spin at least 20 minutes a day.
  2. To try out long draw drafting.
  3. To try out spinning from the fold.
Look at me, goal-setting. In public. With other people. Whoa.

I thought spinning 20 minutes a day would be easy, but on days when I was tired or busy, it was tough to fit it in. Last week was the big sprint for me. I realized how few days I had left, and I really wanted to do the other two goals I set for myself, so I spun as much as possible to finish up the dyed merino I've been working on.

On Friday, we were supposed to spin something challenging, to match up with the most challenging day of the Tour de France race. I decided I'd hit goal two at the same time and try spinning the camel down I purchased this year at Olds. Since the hairs are so short, you need to spin it with lots of twist, and you need to use a long draw. Long draw is a way of stretching out the fibres so that the twist enters them slightly differently than a short draw. I knew it would be tough for me, because it would require me to let go of some of the control you get with a short draw. I brought out my brass tahkli for the first time and gave it a shot.

Here's what my tahkli spindle looked like last night. I wound a small ball of yarn off it later on. It's not finished, but hey, goal two: check.

Today, being the last day of the Tour, I knew I still had to give that last goal a try, at the very least. I finished spinning my dyed merino, set the twist and hung it up to dry. Then, I decided I'd try spinning some of the merino top I nicknamed George that I got from Olds this year as well. I really didn't think I'd be all that successful. After all, spinning from the fold seems counter-intuitive. It's where you take some of the fleece (prepared as combed top), and then fold it in have and spin it from the folded edge. The control-freak in me shuddered at the thought of having folded hairs in my yarn. It's not perfectly straight? Wha?

I got it working in the first try. I even did it with a long draw. Goal three: check. Go me.

So, while I only got two balls of yarn totally finished during the Tour, I still think it was a success. There's something to be said for diving in and joining the group. No wonder wildebeest are so successful... apart from the crocodile-infested waters they navigate and stuff. There's strength in numbers.

Hey, maybe they should add crocodiles to the Tour de France! I'll write that email to the organizers right now...

1 comment:

  1. Lovely yarn, well done on your tour de fleece! Also, I'm totally lolling at the idea of crocodiles in the tour de france! :D