Tour de Fleece 2020 – A Photo Retrospective

Rather than posting a complete fiber year-in-review like I did last year, I’m sharing with you my biggest project for the year: my Tour de Fleece spin. I hinted at and dramatically foreshadowed this spin in several of my previous posts, but here at last are the details.

Because of COVID, the 2020 Tour de France was postponed from its original dates in June/July to August/September. This resulted in the world wide spinalong known as Tour de Fleece having two parts: one when the Tour de France was originally scheduled and one when it actually occurred. A perfect opportunity for a REALLY big spinning project.

I’d been saving this fiber for a special occasion. Ten-plus ounces of haunui/silk blend from Allons-y Fiber Arts in a colorway called Silent Movie.

Ten-plus ounces of haunui/silk blend from Allons-y Fiber Arts
Ten-plus ounces of haunui/silk blend from Allons-y Fiber Arts

The spindles – surprise, surprise! – were all Spanish Peacock supported spindles. (Several of them you’ve already seen in my Supported Spindle Fashion Show series, and one of them Mike wishes I’d kept hidden because it was SUCH an old spindle, it looks nothing like his current style!)

Ten Spanish Peacock spindles for 10+ ounces of fiber!
Ten Spanish Peacock spindles for 10+ ounces of fiber!

My biggest challenges with this project were a) keeping the singles consistent over such an extended period; b) figuring out ways to photograph and share progress that didn’t look the exact same; c) maintaining momentum over such a very long spin, AKA not burning out! In addition, I usually don’t put an entire ounce of fiber onto each spindle, so the spindles ended up much heavier than I am used to.

Oh yeah. And not being able to spin with friends because of quarantine, social distancing, and travel restrictions. I still took whatever opportunity I could find to spin, given the sheer scale of this project. Even in brutal July heat, while wearing a mask!

During TdF round one, I took every opportunity to spin!
During TdF round one, I took every opportunity to spin!

I color coordinated the spindles with the fiber because it provided additional visual interest to keep me engaged with such a long project. It also made the photos more dramatic!

The first full spindle of the project - an ebony Russian lace spindle
The first full spindle of the project – an ebony Russian lace spindle

And yes, I finally used my cocobolo and chakte viga ninja you met as Model 6 of my supported spindle fashion show. It preformed just as beautifully (and looked just as stunning with the fiber) as I’d hoped it would!

Supported Spindle Fashion Show Model 6 finally got to show its colors!
Supported Spindle Fashion Show Model 6 finally got to show its colors!

By the end of the first round of Tour de Fleece, I had spun partway into the second braid of fiber. I was very pleased with my progress.

Glamour shot of fiber and spindles at the end of TdF round one
Glamour shot of fiber and spindles at the end of TdF round one

I figured TdF round two would be even better than round one, especially since I had a head start on the second braid!

And thus began Tour de Fleece 2020, round two!
And thus began Tour de Fleece 2020, round two!

Unfortunately, shortly into Tour de Fleece round two I realized just in fact how burned out I was! Even with such gorgeous colors and delightful fiber. I struggled to get meaningful yardage spun most days. I also captured many fewer photos because they all just looked the same at that point!

The last day of TdF round two - still not quite done spinning!
The last day of TdF round two – still not quite done spinning!

I finally finished the second braid on October 11 – three weeks after Tour de Fleece round two officially ended! Better late than never, right?

Ten spindles fully dressed in gorgeous fiber!
Ten spindles fully dressed in gorgeous fiber!

Although speaking of “never” – this spin still counts as a work in progress (WIP). I’m currently letting the singles rest… which is code for PLYCRASTINATION. I borrowed a wheel from a friend last year and I have been teaching myself to ply using it, but I want to practice on a few more yarns before risking damage to these beauties. I plan to chain ply the singles to preserve the color gradient black to orange to black again.

After that, who knows? I haven’t learned how to estimate the yardage or weight of the finished yarn, so I won’t be able to pick a pattern to knit until then! I’m looking for ideas – if you have a suggestion, please leave a comment below!

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