Tour de Fleece 2011

I am thinking about becoming a late arrival to Team Shetland 2011 in the Tour de Fleece. I have been spinning the last of our musket (light brown) Shetland roving from the 2009 shearing. I spun 226 yards of 2 ply yarn on my miniSpinner since July 1st. Above it is on the bobbin and below it is on the skein winder.Later today I plan on beginning to spin roving from our grey Shetland sheep. This is wool from our 2010 shearing that was processed into batts by Gretchen’s Mill, and I have been pulling it through a diz to make roving with it. We were planning on selling at the Belfast Farmers Market today, but since it is raining we may not go. In which case I will likely spin in front of the Mariners game on TV which I would prefer to watch over the Tour de France.

I will try to spin each day of the tour (except the days of rest) using my mini Spinner. We will be on vacation for a part of the Tour, but I will take my Spinner and battery, and I will attempt to get some spinning done each day despite being at a festival. I have plenty of wool in my two fiber studios (from our mostly Shetland sheep as well as our fiber goats and rabbits) that I can use on for spinning. I have some long-stashed, natural colored cotton roving that would be challenging for me to spin on July 22. I will even wear yellow on July 24th. So what do you think Team Shetland 2011, can I join?


July 10th- I have almost finished spinning the 4 ounces of grey Shetland roving.

July 11th- A relatively humiliating hour with a spindle. I have not tried to spin with one in over 10 years. I will go back to electricity tomorrow!

July 12th- Spinning in the camper van

July 12 & 13- I started spinning one ounce if buffalo down from the stash. I had to change the settings on the miniSpinner because it is quite fine and short.

July 13 & 14- I finished spinning the buffalo down and spun a bag of natural green cotton from the stash. It is also fine and short but also slippery.

On July 15th I finished spinning the green cotton. The 16th and 17th we were too busy with the music festival to find time for spinning. I took the day of rest the 18th for travelling home but also became ill with a nasty virus. I was done for the count the rest of that day as well as the 19th and most of the 20th. This evening (20th) I was able to get out of bed and ply the green cotton, the buffalo down and the grey Shetland yarns.

July 21st: I pulled myself out of my sick bed and managed to start spinning my 4 ounces of natural red cotton roving. I am aiming for consistency (always) and strength. I put on the King’s Speech DVD to keep me company since there was nothing worthwhile on TV except a show about doping in the Tour de France. I told a colleague that I did not think there was doping in the Tour de Fleece. I wonder if dextromethorphan is allowed.

July 22- I challenged myself today with another attempt with a spindle and some red dyed double coated grey Shetland roving. Both yesterday and today I have found that predrafting is especially important. do feel my style with the spindle is improving although I am not sure the yarn is. I was struck by the beauty of the pink and green colors of the spindle against the fiber. I am not a talented enough person to take a photo while spinning with a spindle so you will just have to believe me.

July 23 and 24: I finished spinning the 4 ounces of natural red cotton roving.  I worse yellow today too.  I ran out of time before I could ply it though.  I put the last yarn onto the skin winder.  I have 288 yards of 2 ply grey Shetland yarn, 62 yards of 3 ply buffalo down yarn and 16 yards of natural green cotton yarn.  This plus my original musket Shetland yarn and the red dyed Shetland yarn on the spindle are the sum total for the Tour de Fleece for me this year.

I am really proud of my miniSpinner and its creators.  It must have spun miles.  It is a godsend to me because with my back I can no longer spin on my wheels so without my miniSpinner (#35!) I would not be spinning.  And I am glad I participated in the Tour.  It helped me to get spinning and to try things I otherwise have been intimidated by.  So although my performance was not stellar, I really enjoyed myself.




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10 Responses to Tour de Fleece 2011

  1. Tina T-P says:

    Oh, poor barn camera – wow, it really got chewed up! Love your farm stand name – good luck with it – I’ve been trying to spin every night – I’m getting ready for an “Artisan Faire” in September – so I’m crocheting fingerless mitts like crazy and spinning and spinning and spinning. I need to talk to you about how to use a diz to make roving of batts. New kitties coming this weekend! T.

    • Thanks Tina! It sounds like you are busy. I had email links of instructions of how to use the diz in this way to the NW Shetland group. I will try to find that email and forward it to you. I am thrilled you are getting kitties- that is wonderful news!

  2. Oh my that a blue Finnish wheel I spy in the background. Lucky you! Your skeinwinder is great too. I have got to find one of those in working order.
    Luv the Shetland of course too 🙂

    • Thanks Jody. It is actually Swedish. It belonged to my great great grandmother (all maternal side). She spun flax on it in northern Sweden. My grandmother made a trip to Sweden in 1976 when they were going to sell the family farm and picked this out of the attic to bring home. She gave it to me a few years ago after I learned to spin. You can see where the wood is worn down from having spun so much. It is one of my most prize possessions. The skeinwinder Tom brought home for me from a garage sale. I was so thrilled. It works great and appears to be homemade.

      I love spinning the Shetland. Last night I spun about one ounce of the double-coated grey roving. It is so easy to spin, it is like a dream. But I learned spinning Babette’s wool, and she is the dam and granddam of the sheep who I am spinning now. So you can see why I am so comfortable spinning this fiber.

  3. sheepsclothing says:

    beautiful blue wheel- and that is so cool that is a family heirloom!

  4. Donna says:

    Have you read my blog posts about me and equipment? That is why I am nervous.


  5. Jackie Craw says:

    Great photos! Love the family heirloom, what a treasure! I have my great grandmother’s treadle sewing machine. Pardon my ignorance but what is a diz?

    • Thanks Jackie! The latter ones are cell phone photos so not that good of quality. A diz is a piece of usually wood with holes of various sizes in it that you use to pull fiber through. It is usually used after combing.

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