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Tour de Fleece 2019


It had been a while since I'd participated in the annual spin-along Tour de Fleece: the last time was in 2016. And it was in fact the last time I've spun anything. This year's Tour ran from July 6th to 28th.


The goal for this year's Tour was not based on yardage, nor even spinning every day but to just get back in the game. My poor spinning wheel had been neglected and sitting quietly in the corner for so long the drive band had gone all yellow and limp-y. The first big accomplishment for this Tour was to thoroughly clean the wheel, oil all parts that needed oiling, and to change the drive band for a brand new.



The route of this year's Tour de France went through the town of Rambouillet which for spinners is best known for the sheep breed of the same name. The Rambouillet sheep are sometimes also called 'French Merino', bred by crossing Spanish merino with English long-wool breeds over the centuries. I'd heard that Rambouillet spins beautifully but never tried it in any form. This year's Tour was the perfect time to explore it! I got a bump of undyed wool, kettle dyed in a soft pastel-pink shade, and then speckle dyed with sprinkling "raw" purple, black, and fuchsia dye powder. Let me introduce Disco Queen.



Minty green has been a very trendy color of late and I wanted to dye some of that, too. With this first try I had a bit of an "oopsie" and the fiber is way greener than I wanted. I call this Tarzan's Underpants.



Try number 2 was more successful. The dying process was pretty much the same as with the pink Rambouillet: kettle dyed to a semi-solid soft minty green, then speckle dyed with dark gray and rusty orange. This one is Succulent.



My Kromski wheel comes with a built-in lazy kate that holds only two bobbins. I hinted at the hubby that it'd be nice to be able to ply some 3- or, good heavens, even 4-ply yarns some day. A few nights of tinkering at the garage and, lo and behold, I've got a brand new, handmade, four-bobbin lazy kate, with tensioning and all. And of course it needed a test drive, um, ride.



Here's what I made: a tiny sample braid of Corriedale from Lanitium Ex Machina turned into 12 grams of DK-weight 3-ply. It's so cute!



Trying out the lazy kate reminded me of how much fun it is to spin! That pink Rambouillet fiber turned out so pretty, and it felt amazing flooffy and bouncy on the braid that I couldn't resist it. I really do need to take out the wheel more often than once every three years.

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#spinning #TourdeFleece #TourdeFleece2019 #2019 #fiber #merino #Rambouillet #Corriedale #LanitiumexMachina #sheep #sheepbreed

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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