So why don’t my hands work?
It’s a bit of a long story that actually begins with The Tour of Britain, which kicks off today and runs until the 11th of September. For those of you that don’t know, it’s an 8 day event, that will see some of the world’s top riders, race on UK roads in British Cycling’s premier road cycling event.
Now I don’t want to confuse you, I haven’t suddenly become a massive fan of cycling. Each to his/her own, I like a bike ride through the country, even better if it’s through the muddy puddles, but road racing isn’t my jam. However, the events that crafters conjure up to support these events do interest me.
The Tour de Fleece runs whilst the Tour de France takes place and I missed it, being far too busy to even look at my spinning wheel at the time, never mind sit at the thing. So I was determined to get involved with the next spinning ‘event’ I spotted.
Perusing the groups on Ravelry one evening, I spotted the Tour of British Fleece Group and after reading the ‘event’ guidelines –
- Spin each day the cyclists ride. The Tour of Britain is an 8-day race with no rest days. Note, if anyone wants to participate only on the day the Tour is in their area, or only on the day for which they have some appropriate fibre, they are still very welcome 🙂 As indeed are onlookers and cheerleaders 🙂
- If possible, spin the fleece of a sheep relevant to the route the cyclists ride on each day. This could be a breed evolved in the area, a sheep that grazes alongside the route, a breed or type that is much farmed it the area, or anything in between. We have more than 60 breeds and a dozen or more commercially significant hybrids in Britain, and there aren’t very many areas of the country where you can’t find at least some sheep grazing, so generally we should be able to find something appropriate to spin!
I set about trying to source some fibre.
I’d noticed there was an advert for Magpie Lane Crafts at the bottom of the group page and thought I’d try them first. Their webshop is a haven of all things sheep for spinners and I wasted no time getting in contact. Janet, the lady behind Magpie Lane Crafts, couldn’t have been more helpful. I sent her the breakdown for the challenge and she very kindly put together a lovely bundle of fibre for me. A different one for each of the 8 days, based on where the riders would be passing.
Janet was going away on holiday, but went above and beyond and got the package sent out to me and it arrived on Friday. Thrilled, I literally ripped the parcel open, desperate to get carding, ready for today.
This is unfortunately where it starts to go rather pear shaped.
I’ve a lovely pair of pre-loved Ashford Hand Carders, which I’d dug out and cleaned up ready to go. I laid out all my little bags of luscious locks in date order.
Donning my apron, I headed out to the back garden, grabbed a seat and got to carding. Sadly, I barely managed half an hour, before my hands and wrists were literally screaming at me. Two days later and they’re still incredibly sore. It’s not my technique, having taken a couple of classes now, I know what I’m doing. The head knows, but the hands don’t want to.
I’ve briefly mentioned my Rheumatoid Arthritis here before and whilst I don’t have a problem sharing anything about myself – love me or loathe me that’s your right, I’m not completely comfortable talking about my ‘chronic, progressive disease’ (charming). I’m not sure this is the right place or the right time to talk about it in more detail, but it might be time for a little say it loud, say it proud “I HAVE RA”.
I also have a whole heap of fibre, that needs carding before I can use it. What am I to do? Will I rush out and spend a small fortune on a drum carder, which, lets be honest, I’m not going to use enough right now to justify the few hundred Euros it’s going to cost? Do I let my lovely hubby do the carding, like he’s offered? Maybe I should just sulk?
None of these solutions, are quick, the hubby is working away at the moment and I’m not much for sulking, I like to laugh too much.
Undeterred, I’ve been rummaging and I’ve discovered this lovely long braid from Hilltop Cloud, that I bought at Yarndale last year (maybe?). It’s one of their Sock Fibre Braids and is 75% Superwash British Bluefaced Leicester/25% Nylon, so kind of counts towards the Tour of British Fleece. I’d been saving it, until my spinning becomes proficient enough to make proper sock yarn, but I could be waiting a long time.
So I’m going to sit down with Buttercup for at least an hour a day and spin my way merrily through the rainbow of colours. The eagle eyed among you, might also have noticed that the White Welsh Mountain sample is also ready to go, so if I get through the fiery lock I’ll move onto this.
If I stumble upon a pre-loved drum carder, going for peanuts one day, then I might be tempted. In the meantime I going to forget about the bags of untouched fibre, my sore hands and be grateful for the fact they still work – most of the time.
If any of you are in the same boat and fancy a moan, get in touch. I’m up for talking diets, drugs, exercises, the whole shebang. You can always email me via firstname.lastname@example.org