Getting Ready for Tour de Fleece 2013

While you might associate knitting and fleecy activities to the depth of winters, to me, it’s a year-round activity.

Every year, Ravelry members organise an event that follows in the footsteps of the Tour de France. Rather than making a bicycle’s wheels spin, we make our spinning wheels spin. (And to date, the Tour de France haven’t come by to tell us we’re denigrating the sport.)

It’ll begin in two weeks, on 29th June, and end on 20th July. How many miles do you think I can spin during that time?


It’ll be my first year taking part and I’ve also been spinning for under a year (which I find hard to believe sometimes, as I’ve learned so much already), so I’ve joined the Rookies team.

I’m gathering my supplies, choosing what to spin and what my goals will be. I’m taking it fairly easy because it’s summer after all, and my nerves are still reeling from the insane-schedule year we’ve had around Alfred v2.

Here’s what I have in mind:

Art Yarn Experiments

I recently started playing around with art yarns. Since realising that art yarn isn’t necessarily a veiled insult when talking about a new spinner’s inconsistent yarn, and doesn’t strictly have to be crazy “wtf do you do with this?” yarns, I’ve started enjoying experimenting with it.

To date, I’ve made a few thick-and-thin yarns which should knit up into cozy cowls or hats, and I’ve attempted cocoons, which look… butterfly cocoons wrapped around yarn. Here’s what it looks like on the bobbin:

Looks like a mess, but I swear it'll be cool when it's done!
Looks like a mess, but I swear it’ll be cool when it’s done!

A Little Spindling

When I started last year, I first bought a spindle. The starter kit I picked up for £15 contained a spindle, instructions and three different prepared fibres.

I quickly progressed to buying a first spinning wheel from a friend, then a second one by Christmas, once I knew what I wanted. (I now want a third one to make big art yarn on, so please do tell Santa) However, the first love was spindling.

During the Tour de Fleece, I’ll try to rekindle that love by finishing the pink Bluefaced Leicester I started in September.

My lovely IST Crafts spindle with some pink fluff
My lovely IST Crafts spindle with some pink fluff

The Unusual Suspects

As well as the above, I’ll tackle some of the more unusual fibres I’ve acquired over time…

I dyed these silk hankies a few months ago so will most likely spin the gold and moss one (third one in this stack) into some fine silk laceweight singles. Silk hankies are made by stretching a silk cocoon over a square frame. Do it over and over again until you have many layers and it makes a hanky. You peel one layer at the time, stretch it out and spin it nice and thin.

Spinning these takes patience, but most of all, it takes incredibly smooth hands. The silk catches on scratchy fingers or cuticles and can drive you completely ’round the bend. However, it’s so lovely when it’s done and makes very strong yarn!


I may also brave the gorgeously soft cashmere I bought last year from La Chèvre d’Oeuvre in Canada. I haven’t dared yet as I’m worried I’ll ruin this posh fibre or fail to do it justice, but I’ll have to do it someday!

Another, ahem… special fibre… is my cat Jack’s soft duvet-like fur, which I’ve been brushing and saving up for about a year. I’ve got 20-25grams so may blend it with something like baby camel or angora before spinning. I still don’t really know what to make with it though! 😀

One thought on “Getting Ready for Tour de Fleece 2013

  1. Pingback: The Jade Sweater: An Adventure in Spinning and Knitting My First Top | that canadian girl

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