I live with two spinning wheels, but I live with them in the way that I once lived with an empty-headed, perky-nippled go-go boy. He had his space, I had mine. No touching.
The difference is that I would like to spend more time with the wheels. I have spun on them and enjoyed it. I was given some merino roving and turned it, ultimately, into a decent hat. Here's what I did: I spun one bobbin of singles and chain-plied it. Chain plying allows you to turn one spun strand into a three-ply yarn. I was too lazy to spin two more bobbins to get a three-ply. I didn't know at the time that chain plying is supposed to be scary and difficult, so it wasn't.
Then came a dormant period, during which work picked up and spinning receded to the deep background. People would ask, as they do in this business, whether I was a spinner. "Yeah," I would say. "Kinda."
I became kinda a spinner the way I am kinda a go-go boy, which is to say not at all any more.
Then along came the Tour de Fleece, one of those lovely grass-roots events that has become possible in our electronically interconnected age. The idea is this: You set yourself a spinning goal, and you spin every day that the Tour de France bicycle race is racing. When the cyclists have a day off, so do you. You don't have to spin during every minute of the race, just every day. What you try to do with your tour is up to you. You could aim for endurance, production, skill building–it matters not. It's a self-guided tour.
I "did" the Tour de Fleece a couple of years ago. Kinda. What I did was decide that the partial bobbin on the wheel, which had been sitting there for eighteen months, was bugging me. So I took it off the flyer and stuck it on the bobbin rack. Then I had a glass of champagne.
Even without the half-empty bobbin the wheel continued to bug me. It sits in the dining room, and I pass it many times a day.
Then my friend greensideknits sent me note via Twitter (hi, I'm @franklinhabit) that the Ravelry fan group devoted to the BBC radio serial The Archers was forming a Tour de Fleece team. This is the team badge.
I never miss The Archers and I love that badge. The Latin motto translates to "Yeah, whatevs." Which has basically my attitude to spinning during the recent fallow period.
So I signed up.
The Tour started yesterday. I was ready. I had procured a batt of Corriedale from one of my favorite dyers, Lunabudknits. It's from her "Smoothie" line.
Unfurled it looked even better. Almost too pretty to tamper with.
But I tampered.
I began spinning it the only way I know how: with a worsted short draw. I made a sample, as Judith MacKenzie McCuin (in The Intentional Spinner) advises. I was not pleased with the results. Wiry, hard. Nasty to touch. Off the bobbin they came.
There is no point in spending a month spinning yarn you don't like.
So after Day One of the tour, I have changed course. I have decided that rather than the ho-hum goal of taking something pretty that is not yarn and making it into pretty yarn, I will instead pursue what is, to me, the frightening goal of using very, very good fiber to learn a new technique: woolen long draw.
In one day, this has unearthed a small mountain of deep-seated issues related to feelings of guilt, anxiety, unworthiness, inhibition, and perfectionism. If that sounds highly unpleasant, it is. But I'm staying on the wheel, because I think I may end up getting far more out of Tour de Fleece 2013 than I bargained for. Even if I don't end up with any yarn.
More about that tomorrow. Gotta spin.
Wait...One More Thing
Brief bathing drawers update. I found the perfect yarn and it's on the way. More on that when it arrives.
Wait...One Other Thing
Spinning celeb Jacey Boggs has launched a new magazine, Ply. The first issue is just out and is apparently selling like mad. It's an awfully good magazine. I have a regular cartoon feature in it.
We call this "irony."