News / Spinning

Tour de Fleece: Finish!

Last Sunday was the final day of the Tour de Fleece! It always goes so fast, and I’m amazed at how much I can spin in three weeks if I put my mind to it… even though circumstances in the last week were far from ideal.

During the third week of the Tour, The Netherlands experienced an extraordinary heatwave. Our national heat record had been 38.6°C (101.5°F) since 1944, but it was crushed on Wednesday when it became 39.3°C (102.7°F). Then, that record was surpassed again one day later when temperatures raised above 40°C for the first time since recorded history: 40.7°C (105.3°F). On Friday it was over 40°C again, but the record was not broken.

Thursday’s temperatures

These extreme temperatures are due to the climate catastrophe that is going on. The average temperature rises, extreme weather occurs more often, and weather patterns tend to change slower because the jet streams are slowing down (due to the melting ice at the North Pole). Our country may become more Mediterranean temperature-wise, with extended periods of drought as well as an increased chance of flooding because of the river delta.

The sunflowers liked the heat

I am very bad with hot weather. My body can’t really cope well, and at some point, my head is foggy and I can hardly sit up straight anymore. So those hot days last week were quite rough. There was no escape because most buildings in The Netherlands don’t have airconditioning. Our house is on the top floor of a building, is badly isolated, and it has a flat roof. It was really hard to get a good night’s sleep.

I didn’t go to work on Wednesday and Thursday, but worked from home instead, starting at 6 AM to avoid working when it was too hot (our office doesn’t have airconditioning). I didn’t trust the trains to keep functioning (especially the airconditioning in the trains), and rightfully so. At one point, the train service was about cut in half because of all the defects they encountered because of the heat. During the previous heatwave last month I encountered a train without airconditioning and my body took quite a hit from that, so I wanted to avoid that if possible.

I normally hardly sweat when it’s warm. This was after a few minutes in a train with broken airconditioning. It must have been at least 45°C inside if not more. My body couldn’t cope.

On Wednesday, I started working, outside, on the balcony. Freya loved sitting outside with me, and the balcony’s metal floor was nice and cool.

Nice and cool

We even had some lap time! But by 10 AM, it was already hot outside. By 11 AM it was at least 30°C and I had gone inside.

Besties

My house was very warm, but I kept the windows and curtains closed during the hottest hours so it was slightly cooler inside than outside during the day (not during the night, though). I sat down on the sofa and tried not to move too much. So, what was I to do? You guessed it: spin!

Just keep spinning…

So I spun and spun and tried not to felt my rolags with my sweat before drafting them. Freya was lying on the floor, trying to cool down. She was coping relatively well, especially since she’s an older kitty. She didn’t want to lie close, though, she wanted to avoid extra heat as much as us humans. I gave her some extra wet food to make sure that she stayed hydrated, and I regularly put her on the counter to drink from the tap which she loves.

Cooling down

I was spinning the rolags that I made at the end of last week. I didn’t expect to finish spinning all 200 grams, but in the end, I did!

200 grams of singles

Spinning kept me busy during the heatwave, and when it finally cooled down a bit on Saturday, I started feeling like myself again. I chain plied the singles that afternoon, wound them on my niddy noddy, and gave them a bath.

Bobbin chicken…

The resulting yarn is 574m/200g of chain plied sport weight. I love the colours!

Final skein

I was so glad that I could finally do things again on Saturday that I even started another project! I blended three braids of Hedgehog Fibres into rolags. First I divided them into 64 bits.

Freya decided to help me. She’s such a wonderful assistant!

Softness level: approved

The resulting rolags look like a box of fibre candy!

Fibre candy

Freya and I snuggled a lot now that it was cooler again. We both felt very happy about that!

Finally!

I started spinning that evening and on Sunday, the final day of the Tour de Fleece, I also spent some time enjoying these fine rolags. So here’s the finish picture!

Photo finish!

The two skeins of purple were not spun entirely during this Tour. I spun the last 25% of singles, and then I plied it all. The rest was spun and plied during the Tour.

  • Two skeins of purple: 1450m/380g of chain plied yarn.
  • One skein of blue/purple/pink: 290m/100g of chain plied yarn.
  • One skein of green: 574m/200g of chain plied yarn.
  • Spindles: not measured yet, but I estimate this to be 30 grams and probably around 350m of singles.

I’m very happy with the result! And then… yesterday, when I checked Ravelry, I got a wonderful surprise. I have been spinning in the SpinJones team (and the MirkwoodArts and NKS teams) during this Tour. To my delight, I discovered that I had won the prize that SpinJones had so generously offered!

SQUEEE!!

Look at all those gorgeous colours! I’m over the moon and I’m already fantasizing about what this could become. I may spin it up into one large gradient (DK to worsted weight) and knit a generous wrap/shawl with it… We shall see! First I will probably admire this awesome box of fibre candy for a while, trying not to drool on it. Dreaming of next year’s Tour de Fleece…

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