Spinning the Giro and long lost projects

Very soon, this Saturday in fact, the Giro d’Italia begins. This is the big three week cycling race held in Italy.  It’s all very exciting as there’s quite a few Australians taking part. But what this means for me is it’s an excuse to stay up late at night watching TV and spinning for hours on end.


Well, in 2006 a group of friends, organised by Star Athena gathered to watch The Tour de France and spin on their spinning wheels. They called it the Tour de Fleece. This little event grew and grew until it became a feature on Ravelry, the huge social media website devoted to all things fibre – knitting, spinning, weaving, crochet . . . And thousands of people participate in teams every year.

The concept is pretty much as it was from the beginning:

Challenge Yourself. Spin. Have fun.

I’ve been participating, quietly at first, since 2008 (I think). Too long ago and I didn’t keep a record. But I’ve always set a spinning challenge and I’ve always had loads of fun.

Last year when SBS, the Australian free-to-air TV started to broadcast the entire Giro live I decided to up the ante and spin through that as well. It was great. I was experimenting with a new-to-me technique to reproduce a “lopi” style yarn – a very softly spun single strand. My version involved spinning the single, skeining it off, felting it lightly and then removing the twist so that all that holds the yarn together is the felting. This makes it incredibly warm and light.

I knitted a cardigan and then got distracted by both the Tour de France and other life happenings and I haven’t quite finished it off. Here it is as I photographed it last year. I have made a bit more progress than this shows.

Lopi-style handspun cardigan

I have you all to thank for this, so thank you. You’re my little community of well wishers. All I need to do now is crotchet up the edge of the button bands and put on the buttons and I’ll be done. Nothing to it really.

So I’m wondering – do you have projects that you get really excited about and then can’t quite finish? Do you need a little community support to make that final push up the hill? If you do then I’m cheering you on – “Allez, Allez, Allez” as the spectators lining the route of the tour yell to every rider who goes past.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


10 thoughts on “Spinning the Giro and long lost projects

  1. Sometimes it’s good to have a project that we may or may not actually get around to finishing one day, but it’s still nice to have it available whenever we feel like picking it back up for a bit. That said, I hope you get a chance to finish up your cardigan…looks like it’s turning out quite nicely.

  2. This is a wonderful concept Margaret. It made me smile.

    I have a friend who is touring along with the Giro (as a travelling cyclist not a competitor) and I think it’s great fun to know there’s a whole lot of yarn spinners spinning their wheels in tandem!

    Projects starting with excitement and left unfinished? Too many to count 🙂

  3. I’m not into watching cycling events but sounds like a great incentive to create something while you watch. Good luck Margaret 😀

  4. I have a determined streak, Margaret. When I start a project, i finish it… 🙂 Having said that, I’m very choosy about what I start…
    Love your knitting! I used to be keen on it, but I haven’t picked up the needles for over twenty years.

    • Hi Margaret – I love all your bird photos 🙂 I think my problem with knitting is that I really can take it or leave it – it’s the spinning which is in my soul/blood and then there’s too much yarn lying around. I must become like you and stick things out to the end I think.

  5. Unfinished projects? Yes I do. I have a crocheted afghan started that got put “on hold” a few years back when I began writing. It’s still waiting. It seems I’m one of “those people” who get deeply involved in something for long periods of time, and then drop them. The odd thing is my writing took over and I haven’t really looked back. So until this phase burns out (if it ever does) that project will just have to lie there, unhappily unfinished.

  6. Dear Margaret. Thanks for your response to my blog. I would love to meet up. We are house sitting while our house is built at Electrona. Currently at Blackmans Bay, but next month it will be Sandford, then October/ November, Flowerpot. Do I understand from your posts that you are further down the Channel? I’ll send you a friend request and we can exchange private messages. Felicity Hickman

  7. PS I have a spinning wheel, unused for 25 years, in storage….waiting for the house to be built. I do have dreams of spinning again – so maybe I could join your group!?

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