Le Tour, c’est ici

Probably not correct grammatically, but you get my drift, I’m sure: the 100th Tour De France starts tonight Aus time,and with it the annual Tour De Fleece also begins.

As I’ve done for the last several years, I will be joining thousands of spinners world wide, in what is effectively a giant spinalong.

Allow me to elucidate.

For every day that Le Tour rides, I and other members of my team [ Team TARDIS on Ravelry ] will endeavour to get in at least 10 minutes, but hopefully much more, of hand spinning. As we watch those bicycle wheels being propelled all over the picturesque French countrycide, WE will be propelling our wheels … well … nowhere actually. They’ll mostly be staying wherever they currently are.

As I’ll be down in Melbourne tonight for a dance event and won’t be getting back until around 3am, I have done my prep work this morning.

First I removed the white cashmere/mohair that I’ve been working on sporadically since the Goat Show back in April.

Then I fished out the braid of Bendi Bingo colourway from Ewe Give Me The Knits, and the bobbin that was one of the two projects I started during last year’s Tour.


I’ve decided that there’s enough yardage on the existing bobbin, so I’m starting a new one for this year’s Tour with the probably vain hope of spinning enough to match the existing bobbin for what will eventually be a 2 ply yarn.

So I started the new bobbin

and spent more time repairing breaks and losing what I’d just spun, than actually moving forward. You see, if the yarn gets too fine / hasn’t enough twist to hold together, you don’t just lose the bit currently in your hand but also what is attempting to wind itself onto the bobbin. And it doesn’t just happen once.


Compare it to those first wobbles when you get back on the bike after a hiatus.

Even though I was spinning the cashmere only four days ago, this fibre handles differently and I needed to get my hand in


minimal forward progress


but at least I’m in the race




Spinning at the Goat Show

Perhaps I should have titled this multi-tasking at the Goat Show.

It was the last weekend in April, so for the third year running, Renata, David Abigail and I could be found at the Prince Of Wales Showgrounds in Bendigo, surrounded by boer goats, woodturners, saanen goats, chrysanthemums, cashmere goats, giant pumpkins [309 kilograms!! ] angora goats, fabulous food, mini goats, local food producers, nubian goats  … and alpacas.

We were basically there to pad out the ‘exhibits’, do a favour for our favourite goat gurus Pete-and-Brenda, and to add a bit of Ye Olde Worlde local colour.


I took one of the upright [castle] spinning wheels and spun appropriately goat-y cashmere/mohair, Nadie was demonstrating supported spinning using a spindle turned by a local Bendy bloke by the name of Jeff, who, we are reliably informed, was there amongst the woodturners, [ shame we couldn’t remember the name of Tara’s supplier  of wonderful turned thingies ]

050 David who isn’t really an ‘animal’ person, was fairly resigned to a boring weekend, and Abby cornered the market on being cute and adorable [ although these ladies came a close second ]


As you can see from the video, Nadie has fully mastered the art of Mummy multi-tasking, although she feels this wasn’t her BEST spinning, given that she couldn’t see what the heck she was doing over Abby.

Call me biased if you like, but I think she’s pretty damn impressive.


It can’t be the second half of the year already

The annual insanity that is July is here.

The Tour deFrance started at 10pm last night [ our time ] and with it the annual Ravelry TDF Knitalong, as well as the Tour de Fleece*, so I will be trying to spin something every day that Le Tour rides, as well as knitting myself a jacket that I cast on at the start of the Prologue last night:

If I manage to get that done, I can wear it to the OZ Wool & Sheep Show in Spendigo  later in the month.

… oh, and we moved Nadie & The Boy back to Melbourne this week

… and #1 son and DDIL’s new bub is due in less than 2 weeks so there was a not-quite-last-minute blankie to be crocheted

… and I have to finalise preparations for the Sashiko class I’m teaching at the Embroiderer’s Guild this coming weekend

I know I’ve been remiss lately but that’s the blogiverse trap, y’know. The more that you have to write about, the less time you have to write about it.

I mean, there was … oh, and … and then there was … and Nadie and I have been …

buggerit … I’m never going to catch up, so I’ll just try to do better going forward. Okay ?

* last night’s spinning was a fairly token 10 minutes because, after several days of boxes / packing / loading /unloading, the treadling knee wasn’t too keen on the idea. I’ve had a stern talk to it so we’ll do better tonight … maybe.

and I didn’t even tell you about this morning’s  latest thrilling chapter in the ongoing saga of the Great Goat Escape[s] 2012

Introducing the fibre fanatic

If you’ve been following along with me for the last six months or so, you will be at least marginally aware that – as a result of a Eureka moment at the Bendigo Wool & Sheep Show in late July – Nadie has leaped into hand spinning like the proverbial duck into the equally proverbial water.

The rumpus room is now doubly deep in fluff and the wool-and-fibre stash is growing exponentially.

I tried a few times to interest her in highjacking the blog, but that didn’t happen.

I suggested she think about blogging about her fibre-y pursuits herself, and it seemed as though , at least until today, that suggestion was also falling on deaf ears …

but no longer

As of about an hour ago, Nadie has rejoined the blogging community

so I hope you’ll all wander over to her nice shiny new blog

She hasn’t quite finished arranging the furniture but the kettle is on, so do drop in for a visit

TTT Tiny Turkish

Anyone seen Prince Charming ?

Every picture book or movie version of the tale of Sleeping Beauty [ well, that I’ve ever seen anyway ] has her pricking her finger on a spindle.

THIS, by the way, is a spindle.

What the illustrations always … always … show is Ms Aurora / Briar Rose [ whatever your favourite version names her ] pricking her finger on a classic saxony style spinning wheel.

which doesn’t have a spindle.

If the spinster was producing linen thread, they might have had a spikey looking distaff [ which would be that thingy at the top ] to hold the flax, and if I thought about it at all, I would’ve figured that the distaff was what skewered the royal finger.

I would’ve been wrong.

Turns out that the forerunner to what we think of as the classic spinning wheel is a thing called a Muckle wheel, or waulking wheel, and they do have an extremely pointy iron spindle.

So there you go, she could have pricked her finger on a spindle.

I would’ve been pretty much prepared to bet that no one could prick their finger on a modern drop spindle.

I was wrong.

My newest ‘jade’ spindle has a handmade hook that has clearly just been bent from appropriate gauged wire and then just snipped off without filing it smooth …

Someone wake me in a hundred years, okay ?

Our Weekend: The Princess Bride Version

“Westley: Who are you? Are we enemies? Why am I on this wall? Where is Buttercup?
Inigo: Let me ‘splain.
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

So this is me summing up this past weekend in pictures:

Friday night visitation from Tara, with extra tasty spinning goodness. Nadie is using her osage orange spindle with some navy/purple/jade sliver from the magic backroom at BWM. Tara is using her Trindle with some gorgeous stuff … was it camel/bunny /silk maybe?

Sumi decided to ‘ help ‘

After a chilly ‘is it really spring’ night, we woke up to:

I produced some of my world famous ‘OMG-we-have-visitors-coming-and-no-decent-biscuits’ amaretti [ and my equally world famous ‘ What’s-in-the-fridge-and-pantry-that-I-can-turn-into-soup’ Soup ]

Sumi spent some quality time in the garden with her dog.

Shar and Toni arrived from Melbourne via  Bendigo Woollen Mills [ which for the uninitiated is 40 or so kilometres past my place ] so a slight detour … but hey! … all’s fair in love, war and the pursuit of a yarn bargain.

which brings us to sunday which was spent


blowing bubbles by the dam

more Nadie spinning – and trying to get an accurate picture of same

there was also the finishing of one long term project, some dyeing, and the starting of something new

but that’s for another day