Lessons Learned from Tour de Fleece 2017

At the close of each Tour de Fleece, I enjoy taking a few moments to reflect upon my accomplishments, both the yarns I’ve spun as well as lessons gathered during the ride itself.

My first stop is a return to my original project page, where I update any still-missing data, including final yardage counts, grist/YPP, etc. I take and import photos, including a “group shot” of my finished handspun. Looking at my ride from this vantage point not only tells me a great deal about where I was during this summer, but helps me to ascertain exactly where I am headed, too.

What message or story does your handspun basket whisper to you? Photo by Debbie Held

What message or story does your handspun basket whisper to you? Photo by Debbie Held

Here’s what I’ve learned about myself during Tour de Fleece 2017, courtesy of my handspinning:

  1. For me, this year’s ride has been a personal challenge, one that focused on perspective, not pride. My goal was to continue to enjoy my daily spinning without getting so wrapped up in the spirit of competition as to fall behind in my deadline-based writing work. (Check.)
  2. Having a plan is worth the few minutes of effort that it took to implement and a great way to start off any endeavor. I enjoyed working from my small assortment of pre-selected TdF fibers, all of which had been sitting in a basket near my wheels and were already linked to my project page prior to the beginning of the race. (I highly endorse this idea to myself when it comes to the rest of my life!)
  3. Sometimes, plans evolve. A bold braid of organic Polwarth went from a stated plan of an art yarn to a better-suited crepe sock yarn. (Life lesson: Be flexible and ready to embrace even better results.)
  4. I broke out of my norm to spin some glorious locks—locks which I’d been putting aside to enjoy more fully “some other day.” (There’s no better feeling than just going for it—in spinning, in work, in life.)
  5. Throughout the weeks, I did my best to remain active in community—particularly with my peeps at Peachtree Handspinners Guild, as many had also banded together to virtually spin as a group on Ravelry, and spinners across the world who did the same in Ravelry’s Spin Off Knitters and Spinners thread. Seeing fellow spinners’ progress shots here and hashtagged on Instagram was inspiring. (Who doesn’t need more bobbin eye candy in their days?) One thing I know for certain, and that is that without my community, I would be nowhere.

Have you ever looked to your handspun to tell you, and others, a story? If so, what did it say? Tell us in the comments!

DEBBIE HELD is a freelance business journalist who chose full-time spinsterhood after an extended illness. She lives in the Atlanta area with her wool and wheels, where she’s usually spinning and working on her next crafting article. She may be reached via her website, www.debbieheld.com.

You did it!


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