Ready, Set, Spin

So today marks the start of the Tour de Fleece, and annual spinning challenge that concedes with the Tour de France.  I participated last year and found that keeping up with teams took more time than the actual spinning, and with my new job (and stupid commute) I want to save as much time for knitting, spinning and weaving as possible, so I’m not participating in the Rav group, but I do have some goals for the three weeks of the Tour.


  • To be able to spin the yarn that I set out to spin (rather than ending up with the yarn that the wheel wants to make)

It seems like the best way to meet this goal is to spin a whole bunch of fluff that I have no plans for.  Part of my issue is that I feel like everything I spin has to be useable, that if not then the fluff is wasted, and I don’t want to waste my fluff so I sometimes don’t spin what I have for fear of ruining it.  So I have pulled out a few different batts, braids and fleece that are already in handy sample size (so no worries about not being able to knit with it) or I’m not totally in love with but still really like to get into and not be fearful while spinning and take some chances.

So I guess there is a second goal of the TdF, spend enough time spinning to meet my first goal.  To that end I aim to spin at least 10 minutes a day, with a minimum of 30 minutes of spinning on days I don’t go to work.  This should give me the time to actually do some spinning, before the Ravellenic Games (formerly the Ravelympics) and knitting take over for the end of July and into August.

So with the perfect weather I may be taking my spinning wheel outside for the rest of the weekend and seeing how far I can get before Tuesday (thanks to Canada Day tomorrow I have a four day weekend.


FO: TdF Stragglers

Four New Yarns

So, at the beginning of the Tour de Fleece I set out the batts and tops I wanted to spin, and after the three weeks of the tour I had finished two yarns.  Not deterred by missing the deadline so badly, I have continued to spin my TdF fluff queue and I am finally finished, almost a month after the last day of the tour.

Falling Leaves

50/50 Tussah Silk and SeaCell, 14wpi, worsted spun, 2-ply, 60yds, 50g.

The Fiber

The Yarn

Two Art Yarns

The Fiber, Already Dizzed

1. Corespun, 30 yds

The Corespun Yarn

2. Threadplyed Yarn, 100 yds

The Threadplyed Yarn

Fall Colors

100% BFL, chain plyed, aran weight, 100yds, 100gm

The Fiber

The Yarn

So I am finally “caught up” on my spinning. I find having a spinning queue is helpful, but I think I need to knit down some handspun before I can spin anymore.

TdF: Finish Line

So, I crossed the finish line of the Tour, with three yarns, one short and fluffy, one firm and silky, and a spindle spun yarn.

My Three TdF Yarns

As a reminder, here were my goals:

  • To spin every day, for a minimum of 10 minutes
  • To spin one yarn with a pattern in mind, which means being intentional about my spinning technique, yarn weight and trying to aim for specific lengths.
  • To spin some silk successfully
  • To spin at least one yarn:
    -Long Draw
    -From the Fold
    -Chain Plyed
  •  To spin with intention, and make sure that no matter what I enjoy the activity
So I succeeded at a few things, I enjoyed all my spinning during the Tour, and I spun some silk on a spindle. I also spun most days, and I have learned how calming I find spinning and how helpful it can be at dealing with stress.

My Golding Spindle and a Tussah Silk Sample

I have been much more successful in the week following the tour than I was during the whole tour. I spun some  semi-woolen/long-draw singles, which I haven’t chain-plyed yet, also I  have silk singles spun on my wheel, soon to be plyed.

Three Bobbins Full: Two Silk and one BFL

I have even started my first art yarn, a corespun using crochet cotton and my Golding Ring Spindle to manage the core (something that was keeping me away from corespun yarns).

My First Intentional Art Yarn: well at least one that I didn't dread making.

I look forward to next year’s Tour, but I have a hard time putting aside my knitting and crochet projects to spin, so I think I need to clear my calendar so I have a clear run at my spinning.

TdF: Week 2

So I am totally failing at the Tour de Fleece.  Never mind all those lofty goals I set, I am finding it challenging to spin every day, I didn’t spin at all on Monday or Tuesday. Never mind that I fell into bed at 9pm both nights, but I could not even bring myself to look at my wheel.

The reason I was so exhausted was that I helped out at the Angry Seagull 24-hour adventure race that happened in my town.  I was responsible for CheckPoint 7, which means I got a text at 2:30am on Sunday to get out to a spot about 5km south of town and sit there till noon waiting on teams.


My 2oz Golding Spindle with a Tussah Silk Sample from Gale's Art

I did get some spinning done, imagine the strange looks you get when you are sitting in the back of your car, looking like you woke up at 2:30 and have a spindle going.

I managed to spin and ply a small sample of tussah silk that I got from Gale at Gale’s Art back in the fall.

The three finished bobbins of Bohoknitterchic Merino/Silk that I have been working on for a week now.

Since Wednesday I have perked up on my spinning, first because a box of goodies I ordered from Gale’s Art back during the Postal Strike finally arrived and yesterday the Sliding Hook Flyer and Lazy Kate I ordered arrived.  I bribed myself that I can’t start anything with the new flyer until I finish up the singles of the Bohoknitterchic Merino/Silk that I have been working on for a week now.  So Thursday night I managed to get halfway through the second (of three) bobbins of singles.  I will use the new flyer to ply because the bobbins are so wonderfully large.

Between my 8 new large bobbins and the 4 old smaller bobbins, I now have the ability to get into lots of trouble.

The TdF is really poorly timed for me, as someone who works in recreational trail management, I spend most days in the summer either outside doing trail maintenance or figuring out what sort of work needs to be done next.  Also, it is currently the nicest and busiest time of the year in Parry Sound, with all sorts of activities from classical music festivals to dragon boat races.

However, I move on to week three of the Tour and it is time to see whether I will crash and burn any worse than the riders this year.

TdF: Week 1


Friday, July 1: Clean & Polish Wheel, New Drive Band (installed correctly)


Saturday, Day 1: 1hr -- Spun and plied a sample from Bohoknitterchic


Sunday, Day 2: 2hrs -- Spun and plied a batt from FiberFancy, Cherries & Chocolate. A bulky, woolen-spun, 2ply yarn, around 60yds and 57g.


Monday, Day 3: 30 min -- Started on Raspberry Tart, a 4oz Merino/Silk braid from Bohoknitterchic


Tuesday, Day 4: 30min - Continued on with Raspberry Tart

Wednesday, Day 5: 1hr - More than halfway through the first bobbin (I am doing a 3ply)

Thursday, Day 6: 10min - I was at a board meeting all evening, so here is a neat plant I saw while eating my dinner beside a lake before my meeting.


Friday, Day 7: 2min Working in the early evening and then binding off a cowl (Thought it would only take an hour, instead it took three) so here is another picture from Doe Lake


I have an busy weekend planned, so I am not sure how much spinning I will get to do, but I have my spindles prepped in case of travel.



Tour de Fleece: Start Line

So having spun for about 11 months now, 6 months on my wheel, the Tour de Fleece (TdF) seems like an ideal challenge.  The Tour de Fleece is a group on Ravelry who have challenged themselves to spin for the entirety of the Tour de France, which runs from July 2nd to 24th. The challenged started in 2006 and this year there are thousands of people particpating across the world.

The idea, is to have a giant, long, spin-a-long where everyone gets to challenge themselves in different ways.  Some people give themselves volume requirements (as in I am going to spin 3lbs of fiber), others challenge themselves to making really thin yarns, or seeing how much yarn they can spin (as in I want to spin 10km of yarn) or using a certain technique (art yarns, chain plys, singles) , while others challenge themselves to spin every day.

My TdF Stash - With fiber from Bohoknitterchic, FiberFancy, Gale's Art (all Phatties) and Fleece Artist and yes, there is a orangey, red theme to my Tour

This year I am joining Team Rookies (because it is my first year in the Tour), Team Ashford (because I will be spinning on my Ashford Traveller) and Team Phattie, (as pretty much all my fiber is from Phat Fiber artists).

So my challenges for the Tour are:

  • To spin every day, for a minimum of 10 minutes
  • To spin one yarn with a pattern in mind, which means being intentional about my spinning technique, yarn weight and trying to aim for specific lengths.
  • To spin some silk successfully
  • To spin at least one yarn:
    -Long Draw
    -From the Fold
    -Chain Plyed
  •  To spin with intention, and make sure that no matter what I enjoy the activity
Thankfully I have friday, Canada Day, off so I can get the fantastic ViolaViola BFL off the wheel and I will be ready to go for the Tour starting on Saturday.