Sunday, 14 July 2013

Training for Tour De Fleece? Get Inspired!

For those of you setting new targets and reaching new spinning goals for this year's Tour De Fleece, we thought that we would give you a flavour of just how much work and
dedication goes into becoming the world’s fastest spinners and knitters. We
asked one of the UK team members from the Back to Back Challenge, Steve Plummer, to tell us just what his role involves
and how he helps ensure that Team Groenewoud is the
fastest. Here’s what he has to say:

a mathematician and keen knitter/designer it is perhaps not surprising that my
part in the challenge is as a verifier and my interest is in the analysis of
the event to bring the World Record within reach.The
planning required for an attempt at the world record is quite substantial and
precise and the analysis that needs to be done to even get close to the record
is often undervalued. The yarn, for example, needs to be 2 ply and, for an
attempt at the world record, plying needs to be underway at about 3 minutes.
Casting on the front of the garment by the fastest knitter needs to be going on
at about 6 minutes.

are very strict rules as to the number of stitches, rows, needle size, type of
garment, etc, etc, and adjudicators/assessors are required to ensure that these
rules are all met and no person outside the team is involved in any way.

an adjudicator I create an unbroken video of the record attempt as proof that
everything is done according to the rules and that nobody else has been
involved in any way. From my videos I can pick out the times that various key
events take place: 

  • From the
    start all knitters/spinners need to be involved in spinning.

  • Spinning
    begins within 8 seconds of the shearer’s first clip.

  • Plying
    begins at 3 minutes 20 seconds.

  • Casting on
    for the front of the sweater, by the fastest knitter, begins at 6 minutes 12

  • At 11
    minutes 30 seconds the front is passed to the second fastest knitter and the
    fastest knitter begins casting on the back.

  • Casting on
    the first sleeve begins at 57 minutes and 31 seconds by the third fastest

  • At 1 hour 26
    minutes 37 seconds the first sleeve is passed to the fourth fastest knitter and
    the third fastest knitter begins casting on the second sleeve.

that point only the front and back of the sweater are worked on continuously,
the other team members alternating between spinning and knitting so that the
production of yarn for the fastest knitters is not interrupted.

  • At 4 hours
    36 minutes 13 seconds the first sleeve was completed and sewing up was begun.

  • At 4 hours
    49 minutes 49 seconds the second sleeve was completed and could be sewn up.

  • At 5 hours
    22 minutes and 9 seconds the front was completed and 2 minutes 46 seconds later
    the back was completed.

  • Sewing up
    then took 7 minutes and 42 seconds to complete to finish the event after 5
    hours 32 minutes 37 seconds.

analysis is now taking place with a view to bringing the time down to within
the Guinness World Record time. Strangely, it is likely to be “resting” the
fastest knitters by alternating tasks that does bring this time down and make
the record achievable.” 

A huge thank you to Steve
for sharing this incredible breakdown of what it takes to be a winning team in
the Challenge. It certainly puts my average garment knitting time into
perspective! We wish the team the best of luck for next year’s event and all
the preparation that is no doubt already under way. 

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