Monday, June 30, 2014

Tour De Fleece Countdown

A little over 4 days until the Tour kicks off! Are you ready? My friend Lacey and I have put together this blog post to answer any questions you might have about Tour de Fleece itself, about joining the Dyeabolical Team, and a little about prepping for the Tour.

History: Tour de Fleece was started by  Starathena through her blog Keep Knitting in the Free World. in 2006.  In 2008, TdF moved to Ravelry and has since grown to a very active group, with 7 official teams and over 160 Wildcard teams.

TdF Basics (borrowed from the TdF group): 

The concept is simple:
Challenge Yourself. 
Have fun.
This year, the Tour de Fleece starts on Saturday July 5 and runs until Sunday July 27th, 2014.
Guidelines (NOT RULES):
  • Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 5 through Sunday July 27th. Days of rest: Tuesday, July 15th and Monday July 21st. (Just like the actual tour.)
  • Spin something challenging on the challenge day (usually the toughest high mountain stage: this year, it’s Stage 14, on Saturday, July 19th, when they climb over 3,000m at grades from 4-6%).
  • Wear yellow on Sunday July 27th to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful? (Yellow is the color of the race leader in the Tour - but here we are all ‘race leaders’) Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter - think FAST), Polka-dot (climber - as in uphill), and white (rookie).

Getting Ready: Are you in? If so, have you...

- Joined your teams? You can join as many teams as you would like. There are official teams or Wildcard teams. Team Dyeabolical is a wildcard team.  --> IMPORTANT: Joined the Dyeabolical group to stay current on our team's activities, get more information about contests, and post your daily progress.
- set your personal goals? You could try and spin a pound over the course of the ride or spin a specific amount of yardage or keep it simple and just try to spin daily.
- cleaned your bobbins off? (Scott uses the Andean Plying Technique when he cleans the last of the singles off his bobbins.)
- got your wheel up to fighting weight by tightening things up, checking your drive band, and cleaning and oiling? Knitty has a good article on basic spinning wheel maintenance.  
- prepped your fibers? I (Rachel) like to "pop" my fibers if they have been in storage for a long time, especially if they have been squished down in the bottom of a plastic tub for months *cough*years*cough*. I unbraid the fiber, hold a section about 8-12" apart and snap it back and forth. I find that it opens up fibers nicely. Is your goal to spin woolen style like a production spinner? Check out Beth Smith's article on prepping fiber for production woolen spinning.

CONTESTS! We're having them! See the team threads or this blog post for more info!
Helpful Resources
- Not a spinner? Learn to spin videos: 
          - With a wheel  (Caveat: The video recommends pre-drafting. Some spinners pre-draft, but it is not necessary to pre-draft a well-prepared fiber. Just give it a little "pop" or "snap" and spin!)
          - with a drop spindle 
- Want to join lots of teams? Check out this thread to see what other Wildcard teams you may want to join. 

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