If you’ve been around spinners, you know about Tour de Fleece. If you haven’t, well, you might think it’s a bit odd, but it’s something spinners look forward to every year.
Tour de Fleece runs with Tour de France. Literally, the moment the fellows start their bikes moving, spinners world over start their wheels, spindles, charkhas, and whatever spinning tools they have going. They rest on the Tour’s rest days, and turn the cyclist’s hardest stage into a challenge day where they really push themselves. As with the Tour de France, there are sprinters, climbers, mileage experts, and spinners who can only spin on certain days. But for all of them, it’s a chance to focus on spinning and fiber for those three weeks, and to share their progress and results, questions and experiences.
This year’s Tour for me had one goal: stashbusting—specifically Enchanted Knoll Fibers—including some fiber prep. I didn’t manage too badly.
You can click through for notes, but in summary, it’s:
- ca. 1kg/2.2 pounds Grå Trøndersau skirted and washed for a final 27 ounces washed fiber ready for carding or combing
- 15 ounces carded Rambouillet lamb
- 1292 yds 2-ply Border Leicester
- 482 yds 2-ply Polwarth/silk, EKF “Rusty Bridges”
- 73 yds “unspun” Corrie/Merino/silk, EKF “Old Oaks” singles
- 1284 yds “unspun” Shetland, EKF “Conversation Hearts” singles
- 295 yds 2-ply Merino/Tencel, EKF “Night Watch”
- 334 yds 2-ply Tussah/wool (85/15), EKF “Night at Niagara”
- 39 yds 3-ply 50/50 Suffolk/Bombyx (combed and carded the fiber first; this was a test spin)
- ca. 20g superfine Merino on Jeeves mS
- ca. 5g cashmere/silk on the TexasJeans Tibetan spindle
I’m pretty pleased with most of them, but one yarn requires a little further clarification. Specifically, the longwool 2-ply:
This was a mystery wool. It was part of a fleece order from a few years ago which I never expected to see, and for which the records have been lost. It’s clearly a longwool …
and I’m guessing Border Leicester or a blend given the source and the nature of the fleece. I opted to comb it, and that’s where things got interesting. Normally I’d process the longwools with the big Acorn 5-pitch Fines, but this time I found myself having to step down to increasingly finer combs until I got to the Valkyrie Extrafines. The fiber was a bit fine, but had a lovely silky feel while only about 3 crimps to the inch, if that much. It simply needed the tighter spacing. In the end, however, I found myself with 520g of this:
I span the combed nests with a supported backward draw to add a little air to the yarn, and relatively low twist. It has a lovely drape, although little elasticity, a very nice and subtle sheen, and a rather silky feel. I ended up with 495g in a 2-ply, 16wpi/6tpi yarn, with 417yds in the smaller skein, 876 in the larger. It’s not something I can use for next-to-skin, and you wouldn’t want it for a sweater, but it’ll make a lovely stole or shawl for wearing over winter sweaters.
In the end, it’s a stash reduction of some 1.3kg, with a lay-up for a solid stash reduction (via the Rambouillet) in a few weeks.
I can live with that.