Tag Archives: Tour de Fleece

Tour de Fleece 2014

Word Lily spins

I got a late start on Tour de Fleece this year because I was working nonstop on a demanding knitting project with a severe deadline. So my Tour was actually six days shorter than it should have been. But I still got in on some of the fun.

I started with this gorgeous bit of Spunky Eclectic BFL, in the Friends Forever colorway.



Want a closer look? OK.


My first time chain plying since 2010, and it might be that long again before the next time. I dont find it enjoyable. But I’m happy with this yarn, all 320 sport weight yards of it.


This yarn is made from domestic wool mill ends that I dyed and carded on my drum carder. Aran weight, 108 yards, pre-wash; 51 grams.


Here’s the project page for the above yarn.


This yarn was also spun from domestic wool mill ends that I dyed and then carded. I added just a touch of sparkle on the drum carder on this one, too.


DK weight, 51 grams yielded 139 yards of 2-ply. The color is more accurate in the in-progress, pre-plying, photograph.


I’m really happy with this yarn. It’s Falkland, dyed by Cosy.


Fingering weight 2-ply, 560 yards from 112 grams.


This one is also Falkland from Cosy.


Aran weight, 112 grams and 232 yards.

I got the singles of another 4 ounces of this same fiber done during the Tour, but I couldn’t fit the plying in before it ended.

So, totals: Five finished skeins (all 2-ply except the one chain-ply), totaling 1,359 yards and about 1 pound. Plus the 4 ounces of singles spun but not plied. I’ve certainly made more in previous Tours, but given my late start (and my intentional tapering toward the end), I’m content with my production.

Do you make any of your own crafting supplies? How far back to the “source” do you go? To see what other people are up to in the fiber arts world this week, check out Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

Tour de Fleece 2013, week 3

Word Lily spinsThe 2013 Tour de Fleece is almost over! Sunday is the last day. I think my production declined this week, in part because I actually took this week’s rest day (Monday), unlike last week.



I’ve had this alpaca roving (not combed top) for years, since I went to Yarn School. This was my first time spinning from actual roving, as well as my first time spinning 100 percent alpaca (I’ve only spun it in blends before). It spun pretty nicely β€” 30 grams yielded 84 grams of two-ply yarn.

[This wool] began its life (in my possession, anyway) as mill ends, which I dyed. This was yet another attempt at spinning lightweight (hoping for lace weight, again). Note: I intentionally took pictures of this yarn first thing this morning, so I could post them. But now the WordPress uploader is giving me errors, over and over. I don’t want to wait here for this to resolve itself! So, sorry, no photos of this yarn in the blog post. The photos are on Ravelry, though. I didn’t get to lace weight, but it is definitely the thinnest I’ve spun this Tour, and it’s nice and consistent. I’m happy with this yarn. πŸ™‚

Yesterday was challenge day. To challenge myself, I tried something new: I picked a new braid of fiber (Spunky Eclectic’s Tundra on BFL) and attempted to spin long draw from the fold. I was scared before I started, but it was incredibly fun! I shouldn’t be surprised that new fiber arts techniques aren’t as scary as they’re sometimes made out to be, but perhaps my recent frustration with my apparent ability to actually spin lace weight yarn has clouded my judgment. Anyway. This was fun. I’ll definitely use the technique more in the future. No picture of this because it’s still in progress and I haven’t had a chance to take one yet.

There are just a couple days left of the Tour! It should come as no surprise that I won’t be getting everything done that I dreamed of, but there’s still a little time to squeeze a couple things in. I just have to decide what they’ll be. Happy Friday!

Do you ever go full bore at a craft or project, to the detriment of all others? (I haven’t touched a knitting needle all month so far.)

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

Tour de Fleece 2013, week 2

Word Lily spinsAlthough I knew today was Friday, I somehow hadn’t put together until this morning that today being Friday meant I wanted to post about my spinning this week, alas! I’m going to blame that cognitive lapse on lack of sleep. I haven’t touched my knitting or crochet all week, it’s been just spinning, all the time (except for when, you know, I’m doing life stuff).

Spinning this week has been … frustrating. But I’ll get around to that in good time. First, here’s a rundown of what I spun.


I spun these two little skeins, intending to stripe them (perhaps in combination with another yarn, if needed) to knit something for A. The fiber is mostly mill ends. The lighter, more multi-colored skein, is spun from a batt I carded. The darker skein is spun from top, the the same dark green top that makes up the bulk of the batt. Between the two of skeins, I’ve got 100 grams and 96 yards.


close up

close up

This yarn was in progress last week. I just barely missed getting it all on the bobbin when plying. Combined here, this two-ply yarn is 234 grams and 452 yards. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, if a bit surprised at how much more subdued the yarn is than the top seemed.


close up

close up

This BFL/silk was singles when I posted last week. When I finally found enough uninterrupted time to ply this, I was quite disappointed in what I ended up with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely yarn, but I was aiming for lace weight, or at least fingering. I wanted to knit lace (a shawl), or maybe socks with this yarn. But it’s solidly sport weight, and not enough yardage to make those (besides being thick enough that I wouldn’t want to wear it as a shawl or in my shoes). Four ounces, 296 yards. Bah.

And that failure set me on the quest for thinner yarn.

Scene: I’d already spun most of this fiber’s singles when I reached this point in the narrative.






I started with four batts I’d carded from wool/mohair mill ends. When I came back to the wheel after realizing the Mauvin wasn’t anything close to what I’d been planning on, I tried to spin thinner and thinner. That spinning was roughly the second half of the second bobbin of this fiber. So then I plied.

That mostly thin(ner) yarn paired up with the thicker first bobbin, and I got a skein of two-ply yarn that looks kinda thread-plied (although the singles still weren’t thin enough to result, even when self-plied, in lace weight). 105 grams, 174 yards

Then I wound the remaining singles from that second bobbin (the mostly thicker part, now) into a center-pull ball and plied, and ended up with a small skein of much more even yarn. 35 grams, 83 yards

Almost done with the week’s saga. Still here?



Still deep in my frustration, I plucked a wee bit of hand-dyed (by me) top from the stash and spun it slower, aiming for as thin as I could. I wanted a small bit, so I could get feedback sooner. When I plied it up, I still failed.

This mini skein tips the scale at 25 grams, 84 yards.

I don’t know what to blame this on. I started by deciding it was my wheel’s fault. My drive band is too stretched out to work on the fastest ratio. (New one ordered.) And while I’d like to think that’s the problem, maybe a larger factor is my lack of time at the wheel. I haven’t been spinning frequently. And it’s not like I was a master spinner when I left off. I guess more practice isn’t a bad thing, eh? πŸ˜‰ Ah, if I could only find a way to balance all the crafts and the rest of life’s requirements. At any rate, I’ve started spinning the next thing. We’ll see how it goes.

Have you been spinning this week? Or maybe spinning your wheels at something? (Like that metaphor?)

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

Tour de Fleece week 1

Word Lily spinsToday is day 7 of the Tour de Fleece. I’ve kept up with my commitment to spin every day, although output has been a bit paltry since last weekend. But that with good reason! My parents were visiting, and I seized the opportunity for a helping, encouraging hand while I cut into the fabric I bought and sewed four skirts (from this tutorial)! This feels like a huge accomplishment to me, since I’m scared of the sewing machine. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting about the sewing project, but today is about the spinning.

On Saturday I picked a batt I carded from fiber (wool, mill ends) I dyed. I spun it and left it as singles.

It’s a pretty small skein, 52 grams and 128 yards (prewash).

On Sunday I picked up this 4-ounce braid of polwarth, a new-to-me fiber, and gave it a whirl. Plied from a handwound center-pull ball. (This fiber was dyed by Sheepish Creations.)

Polwarth, in neons.

Polwarth, in neons.

This one came out pretty chunky, 4 ounces yielded a mere 96 yards (prewash).

Monday I wrapped up (started spinning on Sunday) the singles for this future 2-ply.

Merino silk singles

Merino silk singles

The above is Fall Creek Fibers merino/silk (that’s another spinning first for me, merino/silk), in colorway Mauvin. I’m hoping to knit this into a lace shawl or delicate socks β€” but first I have to ply it. (I spun this on DIY-ed fat-core bobbins, to theoretically help me spin skinny (lace weight?) yarn on my skotch-tension wheel.)

And since Monday, I’ve been working on this wool:

On the wheel

On the wheel

This is mill ends, domestic wool, that I dyed with acid dyes. Hopefully I’ll finish this bobbin today, and then I’ll start spinning the wool I plan to ply it with:

I know spinning is a bit far fetched for many of you, but this will be most of what I’m sharing, fiber-arts wise, at least, through the rest of the Tour. I hope you’re not too disappointed. And I hope you all have a great weekend!

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

Training and prep for Tour de Fleece 2013

Word Lily spinsI’m so excited about the Tour de Fleece this year β€” and that I actually get to participate again after a couple years off β€” 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!

Tour de Fleece, finish line

The Tour de Fleece ended yesterday. And I wore my [figurative] yellow jersey β€” I won, I accomplished my goals and then some!

What I made since the last update

I’ve been busy!

The first of two skeins made from the wool I was in the process of spinning last time. I'm calling this colorway (dyed by me) Celebration.

The second skein from that 8 ounces of Celebration. One is 276 yards, the other 280 yards.

On Challenge Day (July 22) I pushed myself to make this, my first singles yarn. I also spun all 4 ounces in one day. Wensleydale wool, from Spunky Eclectic, colorway Cold Front; 665 yards

This is merino, from Art Club (purchased at Yarn School); 4 ounces yielded 350 yards of super-squishy 2-ply.

After all those long wools β€” the Wensleydale, plus the Norwegian are both definitely long wools β€” going back to merino was a bit of a shock and definitely required some adjustments! The color on that pink one isn’t very true; I love the variations in the yarn!

Final stats

All my Tour-de-Fleece-spun yarns, all stacked up.

Totals: More than 3,054 yards of finished yarn, spun from 2 pounds, 4 ounces of fiber.

Observations, notes

  • I started looking at new spinning wheels. I don’t have the money, and I don’t need a new one yet exactly, but in the last couple weeks I did come within sight of the point where my current wheel won’t keep up with me. This is both exciting and disappointing. I still want a drum carder more, though.
  • I fit 8 ounces of singles on one bobbin [very carefully, when I didn’t know it was 8 ounces]. This is a very pleasant surprise, but I’m not sure I’ll attempt that again.
  • I think I’ll have to spin a sweater lot next time.
  • I’ve had great fun, accomplished more than I even hoped.

I’ll leave you with this video of my noisy four-legged helper:


My Tour de Fleece starting line post
My Tour de Fleece day 11 report
My Tour de Fleece day 15 report

Tour de Fleece, day 15

I know it hasn’t been too long since I last posted about the Tour, but I’d initially planned to post on Saturdays anyway. In any event, the proximity just makes this post shorter.

What I’ve made since last time

Only one finished yarn since my last report, so I thought I’d give you a few photos of its progress:

Spunky Eclectic Norwegian Long Wool, Kentucky Derby, all ready to ply

All plyed up!

And skeined. Stats: 313 yards, fingering weight 3-ply.

Just a close-up of the finished skein. I really like how it turned out!

This is my first true 3-ply yarn, as well as my first experience with Norwegian Long Wool. I’m hoping to make socks from this yarn.


I finished most of what I pulled out to spin during the Tour. I was being conservative intentionally, partly because I really had no idea how long it takes me to spin x amount of yarn, but also because I didn’t want to be disappointed in how much (little) I accomplished. As a result of this, though, I spent a bit of time this week adrift, not really knowing what to pick up next or how I wanted to spin this fiber or this other fiber.


  • Shetland
  • Norwegian Long Wool
  • BFL (started before the Tour, but finished during)
  • my own hand-dyed (ditto)
  • 8 ounces of one colorway
  • Fingering weight
  • Lace or light fingering weight

Still aiming for:
A low-twist single (I plan to work on this on Thursday the 22nd, Challenge Day; I’ve had the Wensleydale β€” another new-to-me wool β€” set aside from the beginning.)

Current project

I started another (apparently, I didn’t weigh it yet) 8-ounce project yesterday. I split that into four strips, then split two of those in half again, and I pre-drafted them all yesterday. I got most of the way through the first 2-ounce section.

I dyed this at Yarn School, in a crock pot.

My Tour de Fleece starting line post
My Tour de Fleece day 11 report

Tour de Fleece report, day 11

I’ve been spinning every day, more hours than I’d planned to. Once I sit down at the wheel, it’s hard for me to walk away. Yes, that means I’m having fun. πŸ˜€

What I’ve made so far

None of these have been soaked yet, I’m sure they’ll all change once I get that done.

This is a two-ply yarn, made from two batts, one consisting of merino and sari silk and the other of merino and sparkles.

This is the leftovers from the merino/sparkles batt; I decided to leave this bit as singles.

Shetland two-ply, the top was dyed by Spunky Eclectic, in Pomegranate. This is by far the thinnest I've ever spun, it's a light fingering weight now, but we'll see what happens when it takes a bath.

I had a horrible time plying this, but the finished yarn is awesome. I’m interested to see if it (well, all of them, actually) blooms much. Either way, I’m loving this yarn.

My handdyed (at Yarn School) BFL, I'm calling the colorway Pink Wildflowers. This is 446 yards of chain-plied yarn, from 168 grams.

This is the rest of my Pink Wildflowers BFL, also chain-plied. This is worsted weight, 81 yards from 65 grams.

One funny thing about this BFL: I thought I started with 4 ounces, and it seemed to be taking forever. And I had to overfill my bobbin more than I ever have. I planned to two-ply it, but I didn’t want to wind it all off into a center-pull ball, which is why I ended up chain-plying it. And in the end, once I weighed it, I had 8 ounces! πŸ™‚

Observations from the wheel

β€’ spinning fine = slow going (Not necessarily in yards, but in weight, and in bobbin filling.)

β€’ I’m starting to get more comfortable, I think, with my wheel’s ratios. This is a very good thing. Hopefully I’ll see more progress in this area as the Tour continues.

β€’ Fibers I’m spinning for the first time: BFL (but this was already in progress when the Tour commenced) and Shetland. I’m working on Norwegian Long Wool now. There’ll be more new-to-me fibers as we continue on this Tour.

β€’ Revelation: I’m a slow spinner. Hopefully that item above, about my wheel’s ratios, will help this (as will the practice, of course).

β€’ I’m getting so impatient with myself that I’m really having trouble thinking of spinning more than 4 ounces of anything, even though if I had more of a yarn I’d probably be much more likely to find a project for it.

β€’ I’m making fair progress toward meeting all my goals, which is great!

My current project

This is the first ply of a planned 3-ply yarn. The fiber is 4 ounces of Norwegian Long Wool from Spunky Eclectic, Kentucky Derby colorway. I'm loving these colors! Hoping for sock-weight once I'm finished.

Today I’ll work on more of this. According to my calculations, tomorrow is the half-way point of the tour.

How’s your July?

My Tour de Fleece starting line post