Monday, July 27, 2015

3 Lessons Learned from the 2015 Tour de Fleece

This was my third year spinning in the Tour de Fleece, and it became unexpectedly challenging when one of my spinning wheels broke during the first week of the event. The wheel ended up being out of commission for much of the tour due to an unfortunate inventory mixup which resulted in having the incorrect part shipped to me twice, and the correct part finally showing up at the beginning of the final week of the event. It was a bummer, to say the least, but on the plus side, I did learn three very important lessons:
  1. Cleaning, oiling, tightening screws, and other regular maintenance is a good idea, but don't count on that being enough. If you have a wheel which is several years old, has seen a lot of action (tally up the number of TDFs and Spinzillas!), or was previously used, the likelihood is higher that something might give out is increased. Plus, even the best-maintained wheel is going to break down at some point from normal use. Things wear out - it happens!
  2. Keeping spare parts on hand for things you haven't recently replaced is a REALLY good idea. You know you'll use it eventually, and it's better to have it on hand instead of wishing you did (file under: learn from my pain)! Spare drive bands, connectors, and other parts for your wheel are all good to have waiting in the wings; really, anything you can't recall replacing in the last 1-2 years (or ever!) would fit this category. For most wheels, you can look at your manual or the manufacturer's website to get an idea of which parts are replaceable. 
  3. If you want to spin for speed and efficiency, two wheels really IS necessary. I love to spin singles on one of my wheels (the one which broke down); under ideal conditions, I use the other wheel to ply. This system is fabulous for Spinzilla, when it's important to keep spinning no matter what - so, while your singles are resting prior to plying, you can start a new project! 
Here are all of the skeins I completed during this year's event, which lasted July 4-26, 2015:
(for individual skein details, you can check out my handspun projects page on Ravelry.)

For all of my non-spinning readers, I want to say thank you for hanging with me throughout this event! I will be going back to my regular format (for the most part) now that this year's Tour de Fleece is over - though I have so much handspun yarn on my hands, you can definitely expect to see more projects using it in the near future!


  1. Why do you suggest two wheels for spinning and plying?

    1. Believe it or not, two wheels is really efficient, especially if you like to let singles "rest" a few days before plying as I do. That way, I can keep making singles on one wheel, and then whenever the finished singles are ready to ply, I have another wheel that is cleared for takeoff (ie, I don't have to finish the project that I started in the interim while waiting for the singles to rest).

  2. What a great lineup! I especially love the thick coral one on the end, and the blue/green/brown one 3 skeins in from the left.