Tour de Fleece Day 8: 5 Tips for a Successful Ride

So here we are, already 8 days into the Tour de Fleece—arguably one of the greatest spinning events of the year. (Oh, and those guys biking the Tour de France during the 3 concurrent weeks of Tour de Fleece? They’re spinning really hard, too!)

For some spinners, planning and training are a year-round event. For others (including me), planning doesn’t always come naturally. I’m here today to attest to the motivational powers of having even the simplest of race plans in place. I find that a plan brings me more peace and less backpedaling.

My planning method starts with a spinning project page on Ravelry for all my Tour de Fleece handspun goals. It takes just a few minutes to set up and serves as my Tour de Fleece to-do list. This page includes a few motivational photos of my race fiber and lets me track my progress in one place.

Below, my tips for charting out a successful Tour de Fleece:

1. Don’t over-think it

Select a few stashed fibers you’ve been wanting to spin. Don’t over-think it. Add these fibers to the Ravelry page, with pictures (motivation!). Don’t have a clue what to choose? Just open one of your bins and grab two or three bumps. You can always come back for more later.

2. Set a goal

Now take a moment to think about your spinning goal for this year’s Tour. Is it to spin as many fiber types as possible? Or spin as much yardage as possible? Do you want to build up your stash of handspun? Perhaps you want to spin an entire pound of fiber over the 3 weeks of Tour de Fleece. Next, strategize: you’re not likely to achieve that last goal if you spin laceweight.

my TdF17 spinning basket

Gracing my TdF17 spinning basket (clockwise, starting at top): organic Polwarth, dyed by me; Border Leicester locks from Kate Larson Textiles[]; organic Polwarth by Three Waters Farm in the colorway Natural Forces; Polwarth/Tussah silk from Three Waters Farm in the colorway Whispering Painting.

3. Select a method

With your main objective in mind, assign a method of spinning to each of your selected fibers. In my experience, I’ll get the most skeins of handspun in the end if I spin a 2-ply, DK-ish yarn. But this year, I’m planning on mixing it up with some lock-spinning and other textured yarns. My notes give each fiber a job.

4. Be real

Be realistic with the goals you’ve set out for yourself. Some of us spin all day; some us of work outside the home and/or take care of kids, significant others, and animals day and night. This year, work commitments will prohibit me from spending as much time at the wheel as I normally do, and I celebrate this as a good thing in my life. (I am still coming to terms with what this may mean for my spinning.)

5. Celebrate

As you finish each batch of fiber, make a new yarn stash page celebrating what you made and how you made it. (After Tour de Fleece ends, you can add in all the measurements.)

We’re only on day 8. Why not take a few moments to figure out exactly where you’re headed before you go any further? Then you get to check off accomplishments!

—Debbie Held

If you’re still seeking a team, come on over to the Spin Off Knitters and Spinners group on Ravelry. Our social media hashtags are #spinofftdf2018, #spinoffmag, and #interweavecraft.

DEBBIE HELD is a freelance business journalist who chose full-time spinsterhood after an extended illness. She lives in the Atlanta area with her wool and wheels, where she’s usually spinning. She may be reached via her website,

Plan your for your ride during Tour de Fleece with these videos from Spin Off!


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