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The Tour de Fleece


If you are a spinner you are probably familiar with the Tour de Fleece.  It happens each summer at exactly the same time as the Tour de France bike race but without any actual bike riding involved.  I love bike riding - or at least I did in my youth which is the last time I rode a bike but I like this even more.  Here are the rules.

  1. The dates are June 29 through July 21.
  2. You need to spin every day.  It doesn't matter what you spin or what tools you use to accomplish it.  You can spin on a great wheel or a drop spindle, a double treadle or a single, an expensive wheel or an inexpensive hand made spindle.
  3. Set a goal for yourself.  Peggy's goal this year, like last year is stash busting.  Mine is sort of the same.  I have lots of fiber, some of it has been sitting around for years, that's outside my comfort zone so I don't tend to pick it up on a normal day.  Think cashmere and silk or buffalo or qiviut or flax strick.  My goal this year is to broaden my horizons and spin things I don't usually spin.  And along the way to use up some of my stash.
  4. July 18th is the day the Tour de France bike riders will climb the Alp d'Huez twice.  That seems like the logical day for us to be spinning something particularly challenging - maybe even something you tried in the past but didn't manage to become comfortable with or something you have in your stash that you hate.  For me that would be super wash merino or anything with Tencel.  Some people love these fibers, including Peggy, but they are not for me.
  5. Wear yellow on Sunday July 21st.  That's the last day of the race and the day the winners will sport their brand new yellow jerseys.

Peggy has been showing off her brand newly spun Tour de Fleece skeins of yarn on Facebook.  Check them out if you haven't seen them.  She is a great spinner and her work is always wonderful.  I got a late start this year.  I wasn't at the starting line on June 29th because we were welcoming our third grandchild into the family.  Momma and baby are doing great along with big brother and Daddy.  All is well on that front so I've started spinning.

Here is what I've accomplished so far.  One skein of qiviut and silk plyed with a single of qiviut.  It's amazingly soft and incredibly warm.  My plan is to knit up a scarf to match the qiviut hat I got in Canada years ago.  I have spun up the 3 ounces of cashmere down that Peggy gave me some years ago.  And I've finally spun up the buffalo fiber from Buffalo Gold that has been gracing the shelf in the studio for years.  It's very soft, though not nearly as soft as the qiviut.  I expected all of these fibers to be more difficult than they turned out to be.  I think the cotton I've been spinning has helped me get the feel of these very short animal fibers.  What I have on the wheel right now is a black alpaca and silk blend that is stunning.  I have a full 8 ounces of this yummy fiber so I'll be spinning on it for the next day or so.

What's next?  Well, I have quite a few plastic bags of very old flax and hemp.  These fibers were old when I got them, coming from the estate of a talented spinner who is no longer with us, and I've had them for many years. It will mean switching to the little flax wheel and getting out my cup of water so I can wet spin them but I'm looking forward to it.