Tag Archives: tdf

Tour de Fleece 2020 – part 2 review

We were lucky enough to get two attempts at Tour de Fleece this year. The first during the originally scheduled dates (which I wrote about here). The second during the actual delayed Tour de France, which nobody was sure was going to happen, but culminated with a very exciting hilly time trial.

I still had some beautiful gradient packs from Hilltop Cloud, leftover from the first Tour, and these were the perfect amount of fibre to spin over the 3 weeks, including taking rest days this time.

6 packs of gradient fibre

Two packs of 3 different colourways (Atoll, Shepherds Delight, and Hawaiian Sunset), allowed me to spin each colourway separately, then ply them together to maintain the gradient.

First up was 299g of Atoll, which became 1,720 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn.

Blue-green gradient yarn

Second I spun 288g of Shepherds Delight, which became 1,638 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn.

Red gradient yarn

Finally I spun 299g of Hawaiian Sunset, which became 1,710 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn.

Purple, green, blue and brown yarn

In total, 886g of fibre spun, resulting in 5,068 yards of yarn.

Three gradient yarns
6 packs of gradient fibre

Tour de Fleece 2020 – part 2

Against all expectations, the Tour de France is actually starting on 29th August, and so we get a second bout of spinning with Tour de Fleece.

I still have 6 gradient packs left of Hilltop Cloud gradient fibre (in Atoll, Shepherds Delight, and Hawaiian Sunset), so these will be my fibres for take 2 of TdF. I would like to take my rest days this time around, and not stay up spinning too late into the night, so shall have to see how much of the 840g of fibre over the 21 stages.

Tour de Fleece 2020 – part 1?

Tour de Fleece was a bit different this year. Normally following the schedule of the Tour de France, with coronavirus postponing the cycling it was decided to follow the original schedule, as the rescheduled bike ride may not happen later in August/September.

So I dug out my fibre (all from Hilltop Cloud) and set to work.

A table full of hand-dyed fibre.

Starting with a gradient pack of Parrakeet (50% merino, 32.5% South American Wool, 12.5% baby llama, 5% viscose tweed nepps), I spun the first pack over days 1 and 2, the second on days 3 and 4, plying them together on day 5.

1,398 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn.

A close-up of purple-green gradient handspun yarn.

Day 6 and I started on 3 braids of a Rambouillet gradient (100g each). I began by splitting the braid lengthways 4 times, so that I could ply two lengths together for sweater sleeves. I spun one quarter braid on day 6, and two more on day 7. On day 8 I spun the final quarter braid, plied the first two quarters together, and started spinning a full braid. Day 9 continued the spinning of the first full braid, which was completed on day 10 along with plying the second two quarters together. The remaining full braid was spun over days 11 and 12, and plied across days 13 and 14.

2,032 yards of light fingering/lace weight 2ply yarn.

A close-up of blue-orange-purple gradient handspun yarn.

Day 15 I split a braid of 75% Blue Faced Leicesters, 25% ramie gradient lengthways 4 times and spun 3 of the quarter braids up. I then took a rest day the following day (originally scheduled for much earlier) before finishing the 4th quarter on day 16. I also plied two quarters on day 16 and started on a full braid of the gradient. I finished spinning that braid on day 17. Day 18 was spent plying the remaining two quarters and spinning about half of a final braid. This braid was finished on day 19, and plied on day 20. This left me with just the skeining to do on day 21, taking the final Sunday as the second rest day with just photos and project updating to do.

1,476 yards of 2-ply light fingering weight yarn.

A close-up of blue-green handspun yarn.

A total of 902g of fibre spun up into 4,906 yards of yarn.

Multiple skeins of handspun gradient yarns.

Still plenty of fibre left if the Tour does go ahead later in the summer.

Tour de Fleece 2018

I had a relatively quiet Tour de Fleece this year, mostly because I was away for a week towards the end of it, so I knew I wouldn’t get much done.

I initially got out all of my fibre with the intention of spinning it up:

This included (going anti-clockwise from the right) 291g of Raven’s Wing gradient, 302g of Dephinium gradient, 293g of Hummingbird gradient, 280g of Mermaid’s Lair gradient, 280g of Mineralise gradient and 300g of a cashmere, silk and BFL gradient.

I have made a collage of my daily progress pics:

And the finished skeins came out like this:


1,376 yards of 2-ply fingering weight Raven’s Wing gradient.



946 yards of 2-ply DK weight Delphinium gradient.


1,178 yards of 2-ply fingering weight Hummingbird gradient.


A total of 3,500 yards spun up over the course of the Tour de France/Fleece.

Tour de Fleece 2016 – round up

The Tour de Fleece ends today, and as Chris Froome crosses the line in Paris to be awarded his third yellow jersey I earn my own third virtual yellow jersey with the completion of my third Tour de Fleece. I went from a stretch target of 1.55kg of fibre, to a finished yardage of 5,896 yards of new handspun.




with only two of the fibres unspun.

It all got spun up like this:

  • 206g Dinorwic – (50% Merino, 25% Shetland, 12.5% Mulberry Silk, 12.5% Baby Alpaca) became 1,022 yards of light-fingering weight 2-ply yarn



  • 206g Pembroke – (50% Merino, 25% Shetland, 12.5% Mulberry Silk, 12.5% Baby Alpaca) became 1,072 yards of light-fingering weight 2-ply yarn



  • 204g Sheep – (50% Merino, 25% Shetland, 12.5% Mulberry Silk, 12.5% Baby Alpaca) became 918 yards of fingering weight 2-ply yarn



  • 209g Organic Polwarth became 1,036 yards of light-fingering weight 2-ply yarn



  • 100g Southdown became 284 yards of sport weight chain plied yarn



  • 197g Marvellous Mauve – (40% Corriedale, 30% BFL, 30% Bamboo) became 760 yards of fingering weight 2-ply yarn



  • 199g Tudor Dress – (45% Merino, 25% Finn, 25% Silk, 5% Stellina) became 804 yards of fingering weight 2-ply yarn



See the gallery below for a day-by-day replay of the Tour.

Tour de Fleece – week 2

The Tour de France has now been going for two weeks, with one rest day so far. The race has been attritional with riders competing with broken wrists, hands and tibias, but all I have suffered is a little bit of an ache in my left hand which I draft with. I’m pleased with my progress having spindle spun 300g of superfine shetland (and about another 5g of BFL) over 13 days, 200g of which has been simply 2-plied and 100g which has been chain plied.

I will be spending the remainder of le Tour in Ireland at the European Juggling Convention so won’t be able to put as much time in. I am taking a trindle, a nostepinne and 300g of fibre with me, though. And no juggling props (fibre is much easier to pack).

IMG158 TDF week 2 collage