Training and prep for Tour de Fleece 2013

Word Lily spinsI’m so excited about the Tour de Fleece this year — and that I actually get to participate again after a couple years off — that I’ve been training and preparing. As the Tour starts tomorrow, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share what I’ve been up to as we lead up to the Tour. (For those not in the know, the Tour de Fleece is a longstanding tradition now of spinning our [spinning] wheels while the cyclists of the Tour de France spin theirs. Kind of dorky? Perhaps. But super fun, nonetheless.) The home for Tour de Fleece is on Ravelry.

So, here’s what I’ve been spinning lately.


Closeup of the 3-ply.

Closeup of the 3-ply.

And another.

And another.

This batch I spun from mill ends (waste from the commercial manufacture of yarn), domestic wool and mohair. The mohair gives it the sheen (that’s not just from the camera flash.) The two more marled skeins are identical yarns, I just ran out of room on my bobbin and had to break the yarn as I was plying. This yarn is a traditional 3-ply; between those two skeins I’ve got a total of 284 grams (10 ounces) and 251 yards (prewash). It looks like roughly a worsted weight, but it might knit up a bit heavier than that (and washing may change it, too). This yarn was kind of boring to spin, but I’ve got enough of it to actually do something with, so yay!
Closeup of the 2-ply.

Closeup of the 2-ply.

The other skein in that top photo is 2-ply made from the remainder, after the first, more varied, single ran out. It weighs in at 46 grams (1.6 oz) and 66 yards, prewash.


Closeup of my handspun made from the fiber I dyed.

Closeup of my handspun made from the fiber I dyed.

This skein I initially spun at my fiber arts party. I 2-plied it the next week, I think. This fiber is also mill ends wool, though this is very scant on mohair, if it has any at all. I hand-dyed this wool (I want to get back in the dye lab, it’s been too long!) I love how it’s all a uniform color, but it still has plenty of variation and interest. Stats: 45 grams (1.6 oz) and 56 yards (yes, prewash).

For these last two, the singles were spun ages and ages ago. I plied them to free up my bobbins so I have more room to play during the Tour.



Closeup of my first attempt at true long-draw.

Closeup of my first attempt at true long-draw.

Closeup of the natural 2-ply corriedale.

Closeup of the natural 2-ply corriedale.

The brown is natural corriedale (that’s a breed of sheep and thus a type of wool), spun so long ago I don’t even remember when I did it. I 2-plied it from a center pull ball (my standard method of plying). Stats: 19 grams and 50 yards, prewash. This is pretty fine yarn.

The pink and green is spun from wool I hand-carded and spun long-draw, both first attempts. Stats: 8 grams and 17 yards.

I don’t have very specific goals for the Tour de Fleece this year; spinning every day of the Tour will be challenge enough, I expect! I do want to practice at least a little on my long draw / spinning from the fold, though.

Are you watching the Tour de France? Do you have big crafty plans now that summer is officially here?

Head over to FO Fridays and Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today!


22 responses to “Training and prep for Tour de Fleece 2013

  1. I love to look at yarn but don’t know what to do with it. Your yarn is gorgeous. I won’t be watching the Tour de France.

  2. This is really amazing Hannah! Do you prefer knitting with your own handspun? This is something I really don’t know very much about at all!

    Big crafty plans? Might cut into that baby fabric this weekend. 🙂 Actually what I NEED to do is get caught up with Project Life.

    • Yes, I really do prefer to knit with my own handspun. Every time I knit with it, I wonder why I ever knit with anything else. Although the obvious answer is, I knit way more than I spin!

      And yay for baby quilt, or Project Life. 🙂

  3. Well you certainly got some “practice” time in, LOL. Looking forward to seeing what you do during the tour.

  4. I’ve tried spinning but haven’t caught the bug. I’m just happy someone else will do it for me LOL! Love your handspun … especially that first batch. It’s screaming COWL to me! Good luck on the Tour de Fleece – and careful of those other competitors who take it all soooo seriously!

    • The first batch is really all there’s enough to do something with, although the hand-dyed has enough that I could at least make stripes or something with it.

  5. Look at all the yarn you made! Great job…I have not been bitten by the spinning bug…so I’ll be cheering on the sidelines during TdF…Good Luck..

  6. Good luck with the tour! I love corriedale … I’ve spun only a couple dozen different types of fiber, but corriedale is my favorite for easy spending and blending with more difficult fibers.

  7. Your yarn is so pretty–I LOVE the turquoise color!

  8. Gorgeous yarn! This is my first year participating in the tour de fleece and I can’t wait! I’m still learning how to work a spindle, but I’m hoping to make some yarn.

    I really love the grey yarn you spun – gorgeous plying!

  9. What gorgeous yarn you spin! good luck with the tour de fleece!

  10. Gorgeous handspun! I’m looking forward to seeing what you spin for the Tour de Fleece!

  11. I love all of your yarns….soon you will have some wonderful fiber you can spin. It went in the mail today.

  12. I love that you do this! What a great idea! I can no longer watch the tour de france – after my biking accident two years ago it freaks me out to watch how closely they all bike (and fast!) together.

  13. I had no idea that you not only create all of those wonderful pieces but spin your own yarn. Amazing!

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