Yes, the Tour de Fleece. Started by Star Athena in 2006, it runs concurrent with the Tour de France, except we use spinning wheels instead of bikes, and we end up with yarn instead of medals.
I’m co-captaining Team Clan Kromski this year with the steady, grounded, and organized FloofyMoose. Our team is awesome, and spins mostly on Kromski wheels. (Mostly, because some will be using spindles while they travel, and some will someday be Kromski owners but as of yet are not. We love them all.) I’ll be using my Symphony at home, and my FrankenMazurka while I visit my parents. (Sigh; there’s yet another post that hasn’t been written, detailing the conversion of my prototype Mazurka to accept the modern Kromski flyer and bobbins. Someday.)
While Spinzilla is all about achieving the most yardage, the TdF is about personal challenges. You set them, you work toward them. Some teams have requirements or team goals — spin a certain weight or yardage, spin only existing stash, spin only fibre from a specific dyer, that sort of thing — but our team is no-stress. If you want to spin an insane number of of pounds (100 ounces is someone’s goal!) or staggering yardage (five miles, yikes — also a real goal), I will wholeheartedly support you and cheer you on. If you just want to spin for fifteen minutes a day, then I am there for you, because it sounds easy but it isn’t necessarily.
Last year I spun four ounces of Merino/silk I dyed pewter and silver, inserting pretty crystal-tone beads for a two-ply beaded lace yarn; finished the last half of a Daybreak Dyeworks merino/silk blend in the ‘Maid in Bedlam’ colourway; spun deliciously soft alpaca from my friend Jenn’s alpaca farm; and sampled some undyed wool/flax blend on a spindle.
And the year before that, I spun some lovely green sock yarn; challenged myself to spin a bulky single, which I then plied with some silk hankies I’d dyed myself in peacock colours; spun half of a set of pretty blue and brown batts into singles for a shawl; and spun a bunch of Mum’s luxury silk/cashmere/merino yarn.
As usual, these days I am caught up in work and travel plans and ZOMG CONCERT, so as always I will wake up on 2 July, blinking, and suddenly remember camp, birthdays, TdF, and all the other stuff I’ve been ignoring until after the insanity of June is past. I went on a gleeful fibre-acquisition romp this past spring (having money is very nice, and treating myself to some fibre every couple of paycheques did a lot for my morale), and so my stash is much larger than it was. I think I may just casually open the wooden chest and select something pretty when I’ve finished a yarn this time.
I do know that I am beginning with this braid. It’s superwash Merino from Sweet Georgia Yarns. I’ve never spun anything from Sweet Georgia Yarns before, and I hear such marvellous things about them. (I also see marvellous things made by them while watching Felicia Lo’s Craftsy class on Spinning Dyed Fibres; an excellent set of lessons.) This is super soft, and I’m just going to spin it — nothing fancy, nothing ambitious. I’m just going to enjoy it.
After that… who knows? Maybe some lovely Southern Cross Fibre, as I now have a handful of those braids in the chest, and I have been head over heels for the two SCF Polwarth/Tencel braids I have just spun. Maybe some of the very bright braids I picked up from a destash for the sole reason that they were all (well, mostly) out of my colour comfort zone.
Whatever I choose to spin, I’ll be doing it in the virtual company of excellent spinners of Team Clan Kromski!