Tour de Fleece 2013are you game?

Kate is spinning for Norwegian stockings. Photo: Kate Larson.

The spinning world is brimming with conversations about Tour de Fleece at the moment. TDF, as the event is often referred to in virtual spinning communities, was first organized in 2006 by Star Athena, a spinner, knitter, and designer based in Portland, Oregon. The idea is to set a spinning-related challenge for yourself and work toward your goal each day that the Tour de France cyclists ride. The event has grown each year with thousands of spinners taking part. The Ravelry Tour de Fleece group alone has over seven thousand members, and dozens of spinning teams have formed.  

This year, competition began on Saturday June 29 and will end on Sunday July 21. It has been great hearing all the different ways in which spinners are using the event to work on techniques or tackle long-coveted projects. The official concept is "Challenge Yourself. Spin. Have Fun." I hear many spinners say that rather than work on a specific project, they simply challenge themselves to find time each day to sit at their wheels. TDF allows us, en masse and in high spirit, to identify what parts of our spinning life we want to improve. And for some of us, that simply means making time for something that has been lurking on the horizon, just out of reach. For my first year participating in TDF, I am spinning four-ply sportweight yarn for a pair of knee-high Norwegian stockings. I am using white Norwegian wool top and Gotland top from Louet for two-color stranded knitting. Oh, the joy and delight!


Here are a few spinners from my online neighborhood:

Franklin Habit is well-known as a knitter, designer, and all 'round artist. Now, we will know him as a spinner as well! He is taking on the Tour de Fleece this year armed with a beautiful batt from LunabudKnits, and is getting more comfortable with handspinning. He is recording his spinning journey on his blog, the Panopticon.   

Franklin at the wheel. Photo courtesy of Franklin Habit. 

Lara Neel keeps a lively Crafty Living blog in addition to her Math4Knitters podcast for  the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Journal Gazette. When Lara participated in Tour de Fleece last year, she had only been spinning for a few months and was using a borrowed wheel. This year she has a Schacht Ladybug, WooLee Winder, and a year of spinning under her belt. Lara also mentioned "the giant pile of batts I impulse-bought from someone on Ravelry about a week before the Tour." Lara has many happy spinning days ahead!

TDF requires a stash. Photo courtesy of Lara Neel.

Amy Norris is an accomplished weaver and spinner. I met Amy at Midwest Weaver's Conference a few years ago. I love following her on Facebook and seeing what she and her friends from Complex Weavers have on their looms. She says her Tour de Fleece goal this year is to spin an entire fleece. "Kassia was a grey Corriedale ewe from Whitefish Bay Farm, Door County, WI. The fleece was processed into pin-drafted roving by Ohio Valley Natural Fibers. Total finished weight is 3.3 lbs. And I'm more than half way donewith ten Tour stages left!" 

Amy has been busy! Photo courtesy of Amy Norris. 


I would love to see what you are making, too! If you would like to share your Tour de Fleece project on Spinner's Connection, let me know at


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