The Tour starts on July 1st. That’s just 9 days away. What’s the Tour de Fleece? Well it is a spinners event that runs the duration of the Tour de France. It was born probably over 10 years ago. I know I’ve hosted teams for at least 7 or 8 of those years. The premise is that you spin everyday that they tour is on. On the rest days, you can take the day off. And when the bicylcists are in the mountains you have a challenge day. Your challenge can be learning a new technique or maybe you spinning longer and farther than your usual day. The point is to have a goal in mind for this time.
What I know for sure is that every year that I commit to this event, what I am really committing to is me time. By spinning every day, you are spending time practicing your skills. And each time that I finish the tour, I am a better spinner. My goal this year is to make friends with my e-spinner. I have a Heavenly Handspinning e-spinner and it has a different kind of tensioning system. And it is not working for me. I have to change my spinning technique in order to get the yarn that I want. I need to do some research and reading and maybe some YouTube watching. And then I need to practice. I am looking over my stash and most of that is what I have for sale in the shop. So in the next 9 days I will be picking some colors and fibers to use.
At this time I have 3 people on my team. If you would like to join the team, just reply or comment to this post. You should also join our facebook group here. We can post photos, ask questions and just be part of a community. Let me know your goal for the tour as well.
I have been on a quest, a quest for us to really, really love and honor the yarn we have for several years now. If you have been following my podcast or blogs or newsletter, you know this already.
But, it bears repeating, because I am still feeling the shame. And we are starting to have the opportunity for in-person shows. I want you to delight in the festivals. I want you to feel the pull of creating something new. That’s the best feeling right? It is for me.
So in order to do that you must banish the word….stash. I’ve spoken to many of you in person about ejecting this word and concept from your vocabulary. When I hear people talking about their stash it is not out of pride. I don’t hear “You should see my stash! It is lovely.” More often I hear, “I can’t buy anything until I use my stash.” It is said in a kind of Eeyore voice. It is said with shame. Let’s banish that word! Let’s trash the shame!
I propose that we all use the word, “collection” instead. You are the curator. It is your collection. Each skein and ball that is in your collection was lovingly acquired. Some with a specific project in mind and others just thrilled you with color or texture or softness. I know that when we change our language, we change our outlook or attitude about the yarn that we have collected. We will be able to see those threads in a different light. We may even go through them and realize, “Hey! I’ve grown out of using this yarn, or this color!” Those parts of your collection can be donated or gifted. You have the power to make the choices, after all it is YOUR collection. And you are the curator. That’s the job of a curator, right?
So, let’s make the commitment to value our collections, to explore them anew and discover what you love about them and which ones need to find a new home. Let’s find some new ways of using what we have and making room to buy new skeins to augment your collection. If you would like to explore your collection in an organized way, you can listen to Season 2 of my podcast. Click here to find the Season 2 Episodes or subscribe on Apple iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. I walk you through all the steps that I believe will help you organize your collection. I take you through these steps so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
And now is the right time to start this. Our first in-person show in the Mid-Atlantic is Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival and that is a mere 2 weeks away. So change your vocabulary and change your mindset. Really REVEL in your collection. And see what you need to make your collection more complete.
It’s Tour de Fleece right now. We are in the last week. There are many challenge days as the cyclists are in the Pyrennes, climbing up and racing down mountains. I am hignlighting some tips for handspinners. These originate during my FaceBook Live presentations (Thursdays at 1pm on the Flying Goat Farm Page).
In this video I talk about how to manage your fiber when making a large project, such as a sweater or spinning an entire fleece.
And here is a video about pre-drafting. I know that this is a controversial topic. I pre-draft nearly everything that I spin. In this video, I tell you why I do it and why you should too.
No, I’m not really in France! I wish!!! More than you know!!! Well maybe you do know that already.
A new episode of our podcast dropped this morning. It’s all about the Tour de Fleece 2021. If you’ve never heard of it, if you’ve known but never participated, you can find out about the tour, about my experiences and how to join our team.
We’re getting closer. I’ve been dyeing up combed top and I pulled out some mohair roving too. This mohair is really silky and shiny. It would be a great addition to an art batt. Or you could blend it in with other fibers. So far I have a lot of semi-solid colors and I’ve got a few variegated pans going too. Here’s what it looks like:
These are a minimum of 5 oz. Some are even 6 oz. They sell for $20 each with shipping! Get your’s here.
I’ve decided my goals for the Tour. For the challenge days, I will develop my skill to spin singles that will stay singles. And for the rest of the tour. I’m spinning up a 2ply fingering weight yarn to make the Tenga top pattern. I just started to spin up some samples that I can swatch, so I’m getting a head start. I’m using a roving made from some BFLxShetland fleeces that I bought from a partner farm. It’s a delightful dark brown/charcoal color and really pretty soft as well.
What will you make during the tour? Comment below and let me know!!
Are you a fiber lover? Have you dreamed about making your own yarn? Now that vaccinations are in place and the virus is starting to wane. I am going to start offering my in-person classes to a small select group of people.
This spinning class will be limited to 2 people at a time. Depending on the weather, we may be able to do this outside on the porch unmasked. Or if we need to be indoors we will wear masks at least until that mandate is lifted. I will be offering this once a month for the next few months. If my dates don’t work for you, please contact me and we can work out an alternate date or time.
This is a 3 hour class offered from 1-4pm on each of the dates. You don’t need to bring anything, I have spinning wheels and spindles for you to use. If you do have equipment that you would like to use, just let me know.
You will learn how to prepare the fiber for spinning. You will learn how to use a spinning wheel and/or a spindle to make yarn from roving. If there is time, you will also learn how to ply your yarn too.
It’s ON!! Flying Goat Farm will have another TdF team this year. And I thought I should put out an invitation to my readers. Tour de Fleece has been running for many years. I’ve had a team for the past 6 years, I think.
Here’s what it is….. This is a spinning event that runs concurrently with the Tour de France. Participants are to spin all the days that the cyclists are racing on the tour. You can rest on their rest days too. The days that are mountain stages, each participant will determine a spinning challenge for themselves. This year the tour runs from 6/26 to 7/18. The rest days are 7/5 and 7/12. The mountain stages are July 4, 5,7, 11, 14 and 15. Whew! That’s a lot of mountain stages.
Why do it? Well since my first year, I have found that this 21 day spinning event has done so much to improve my spinning skills. Just the act of sitting and spinning each and every day for 21 days builds my confidence and builds my skills.
For the FGF team, here’s my suggestions (not rules): First of all spin each of the race days. Spin for at least 10 minutes. If you can spin more, do that. Make a goal for yourself for those 21 days. In the past, I have challenged myself to make yarn for a handspun sweater or picking several art yarns and practicing spinning those each of the challenge days. Or last year my main goals was to spin fibers I hadn’t tried before like linen and faux cashmere.
So this year, I haven’t yet picked my overall challenge. I am taking some spinning classes with Jillian Moreno during MD Sheep and Wool in a couple of weeks and I think that will inform my decision.