Monday, 26 May 2014

Dyeing for the Tour de Fleece

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Reading for the start of the race
From outward appearance, I guess I don't look like someone who avidly follows the iconic 'Tour de France' cycle race.  I do not own any lycra, (let me rephrase that - I REFUSE to own any lycra.), my bike is very dusty and sits forlornly in the shed but a few years ago, Peter and I starting watching it one evening after dinner when there was very little else on TV and we were hooked.  

We now even have a fantasy team that we pick which gives us more riders to look out for and follow.  We score points for each win and we trade cyclists like seasoned stock brokers.  One year when we were on holiday, we even raced around in the morning trying to find an internet cafe so we could make our trades before the cut-off time. - (not that it did us much good.  Our 'new' rider crashed and we ended up with no points for the stage - but life can be like that).  Like most people, we watch it as much for the gorgeous scenery as the race itself with the promise that one day, we will be in the french countryside drinking fine wine, eating great food and watching the race go by.

Last year I heard about the 'Tour de Fleece'.  The idea to is 'pedal' for as many hours as the cyclists but the pedalling is on a spinning wheel.  Much more my style even if it means just a cup of tea and a biscuit rather than cafe au lait and croissants.  I have oodles of fleece but the number of hours it will take means that I can't just spin plain roving.  I need a bit more variety so the spinning needs to be broken up with some colour .. that can only mean that it's time to get the microwave dyeing happening.

I have 2 kilos of roving which means I can either dye it in one lot so I can knit something substantial or I can do a lot of little batches that will give me lots of individual skeins.

I love the dyeing process and the mixing of colours plus I love spinning multi-colours so it's individual skeins for me.

We have explained the process for microwave dyeing in an earlier blog which you can find here.  

I love pottering around in the kitchen coming up with different dye lots.  I even love watching them dry outside, but when it comes time to spin them, well, that's a whole different kind of love.  My hands are itching to start spinning but the tour doesn't start until July 5th.

What I don't love is the mess it makes of my hands.  I started out with gloves but, as I'm not the worlds neatest person, I kept getting the colour that has been spilled on my gloves all over the pristine roving so, in the end as I was dyeing 9 skeins of roving, it was easier to do it sans gloves .. 

Whilst my hands recover and the roving dries, it's time to start turning our thoughts towards France and all things French.  Can't wait.

Happy Spinning,

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