It is very important to be well prepared for your Tour de Fleece. Make sure you know your goals and have your fiber at the ready. Be clear with yourself. Maybe set up a reward. (My reward is apparently moving to West Des Moines if I find a place. I don’t know if that is a reward)
Your tools must be at the ready.
I’m making it sound like the Tour starts tomorrow or something, but it doesn’t. First, allow me back up and explain what in the world is actually going on.
If you were around the blog last year round this time, you may remember the Tour de Fleece. If you weren’t, the Tour de Fleece is an annual spinning marathon done in conjunction with the Tour de France. It runs the length of the Tour de France, and has only two rest days–just like de France. All the other days you spin, even if it’s just a little. The Yarn Harlot usually does it each year, so you might have heard of it there if this sounds at all familiar.
At one point, the Tour de Fleece had a goal that every one spun to. Now, it’s really just setting your own goals and challenging yourself. On Ravelry, in the group, you’ll find probably a hundred + teams that join together, united by any number of things. Usually, each group has it’s own sort of goal that it’s shooting for. You can do as many groups as you want.
Last year, I was on the team Raw Power. This group is (mostly) people from the Fiber Prep group, who love to handle and deal with all things raw and fleecy. There is a group goal that everyone is shooting for–to take 1 pound of raw, unprocessed fleece and end with yarn. It doesn’t need to be a pound of yarn–the weights are based on what the pre-washing weight was. We do allow for any pre-processing that needs to be done to have the fleece ready to go: washing, dyeing, weighing out fibers into groups. A lot of people would spend forever just waiting on their fleece to dry otherwise!
Of course, people in the group usually have their own goals, and a surprising (or perhaps not so?) number of people shoot for a much bigger goal than the 1 pound.
Last year, I did a lot of work with Shetland, alpaca, and dyeing. You can find the almost day by day updates in the Tour de Fleece category here on the blog. I just barely got over the line with a single pound.
I think I can do way better this year. How much better, you ask?
3.25 pounds better.
Today, nearly a month in advance, I’ve started the washing process so I won’t get bogged down in it. 3 out of 68 ounces is drying. (3 out of 4.25 pounds that has to be carefully washed in a single pan in tiny 1 ounce batches) (my apartment is not fleece wash suited)
Time to meet the fleece. My goal is to spin him up entirely. (I’m lucky I only bought half of him.)
I bought half of Wilbur’s fleece way back in ’09. I’m hoping to buy a second half this summer, but that’s not Tour related. Wilbur is a beautiful gray Romney, and those gold tips are sun-kissed. I love how they look in his fleece, and I just generally love this fleece. I’ve sampled it, but not enough to really change the weight. He’s still coming in at about 4.25lbs. He is soft (especially for Romney), crimpy, and about 4.5″ long lock wise. The fleece came to me beautifully skirted, so I don’t really need to worry about veggie matter at all.
The yarn I get from Wilbur will eventually turn into a sweater that I can wear to keep me warm in the winter. I have no idea what the sweater will look like or be, whether I will find a pattern or design it, but I do know that it’s going to be lovely.