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.


Depth of Connection


Shaker Wheel

My Great Wheel


To see an antique is to know it intellectually.

To touch it gives a fleeting connection with life and how it was.

To own and use it, is to bathe in a deep slow stream and be held by the past and the present and even the future.



In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Depth.”

Art Yarn Haiku

Corespun Yarn with Cocoons


The old swimming hole

Where we squandered hours as kids

Is rank with putrid scum

This is not your everyday knit-a-hat sort of yarn, at least not in my eyes. It’s a style of hand spinning usually called “artyarn” and the techniques I used were corespinning with cocoons. The fibres in their unspun state reminded me of rank and ruined creeks near industrial estates so the haiku was written to reflect the image I saw in the fibres. I was playing with the notion of “art” and wondered if it was possible to combine poetry with colour and texture. It’s only a beginning – an experiment.

I don’t know – do you think something as taken-for-granted as wool can be something more than just a scarf or a beanie?

It was a morning well spent

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Moment in Time.”

This “story” is a reflection on the experience itself.

Scale Calibration

Here we are then testing the scale to be used to weigh the threads entered in the International Longest (hand spun) Thread Competition (I’m the current coordinator).

As I stood there watching Ron do the testing of the scale – calibrating it is just the beginning apparently – I learned so much. The process took around two hours (but that includes me asking questions). It could have been boring, but I was delighted he was prepared to explain to me what was going on. Janie from No Plain Janie alludes to this in her post about time and making the most of it, and I guess her post influenced my interpretation of the prompt.

It really was a morning well spent.

A Moment in Time