In Which the Pirate Plans to Spin.

For the Tour de Fleece this year, I planned to challenge myself to spin and ply one ounce of fibre for each of the 21 days that the Tour rides. Most of my fibre stash is in four- and eight-ounce increments, so I’ve adjusted by one ounce and now I’m aiming for 20 ounces spun and plied… which is still going to be one heck of a challenge! So here’s what I’ve got:

This eight ounce corriedale roving from Handspun by Stefania was dyed with indigo and iron and then carded with hand-dyed silk noils, and I bought it at Maryland Sheep and Wool in 2010. It’s slated to become a tweedy two-ply DK weight that will eventually, possibly, if it works out the way I want, be knitted into the next pair of Fleeps. The original yarn I used for the Fleeps is getting hard to find, and this looks like it might be a good substitution.

Handspun by Stefania Corriedale

Another Maryland Sheep and Wool purchase, this one from 2009, is two coordinating batches of fibre from Bullens Wullens. One is 100% Falkland, the other is 80% merino and 20% tussah silk. The plan is to spin a worsted weight yarn with one ply of each. I’m not yet sure what I’ll knit with it, but eight ounces should give me a good range of options once the yarn is finished.


Last year at Rhinebeck I picked up this gorgeous aqua to chocolate gradient from Fiber Optic Yarns, even though I wasn’t sure what I planned to do with it. Now I know: I’m going to spin it from one end to the other, chain-ply it to maintain the gradient, and knit a slouchy hat for myself! I’ll just have to decide whether to have the darker portion at the brim of the hat or at the crown. If I do this right, I’ll come up with the right amount of yarn to use the full gradient on the hat. Another option would be to split it in half longways and spin two chain-plied gradient yarns for armwarmers. Hmmmm.


The 2014 Tour de Fleece will be spinning from Saturday July 5 through Sunday July 27th. I will have friends visiting over the July 4 holiday weekend, but like last year I expect that their presence will actually make things easier for me, as I can sit with them on the porch and sip wine while I spin and we chat. I have no doubt that we’ll go for some bike rides, too – possibly a long stretch of the Washington and Old Dominion trail or just on the mountain roads around my house.

(Eventually, I’d like to ride the whole W&OD, all 90 miles of it. This year my goal is 62 miles for a metric century! On Monday I took the bike out for my second ride of the year and put almost 17 miles on the odometer; tomorrow I’m aiming for a 20 mile ride.)

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