Join Us for the Tour de Fleece!

Have you decided what to spin for Tour de Fleece? The Spin Off staff shares what we’re planning—won’t you spin along with us?

Spin Off Editorial Staff Jun 24, 2024 - 6 min read

Join Us for the Tour de Fleece! Primary Image

Kate is ready to dig into her stash of Border Leicester fleece from her own flock. Photo by Kate Larson

How do you Tour de Fleece? Some spinners love joining a cheerful team, while others set their own goals. Some create a strategy and others simply try to make space to spin some yards during the busy summer. There’s room for all!

We thought we would share what the Spin Off staff members have planned for TdF, which starts Saturday, June 29, 2024, and runs until Sunday, July 21, 2024. We’d love for you to join Team Spin Off, and you can learn more on Ravelry.

Angela's batts prepared from Harlequin sheep fleeces. Photo by Angela Schneider

Spinning Superhero

Angela Schneider, technical editor, Long Thread Media publications

The Memphis Zoo has a small flock of Harlequin sheep—a small breed with soft, springy, colored fleece. Three ewes, Xena, Vixen, and Elektra, and one ram named Batman range from white with patches of black or dark grey to mostly dark grey with just a little white and areas of small dalmatian-like spots. For years I demonstrated spinning at the zoo’s annual Harvest Festival. While the event has not happened since 2019, the sheep still need to be sheared and the zoo staff gives the fleece to me to use or share with other spinners.


Last summer I washed, picked, and carded a whole fleece—I think it was one of Xena’s—into over 70 heathered light- and dark-grey batts totaling 2 lb, 12 oz. I’ve wanted to make a cardigan or coat with it, but other projects kept jumping in front of it in the queue. For Tour de Fleece, my goal is to design the yarn with this wool and get several skeins and finishing the whole fleece for a fall knitting project. Now to figure out where that pattern got stashed. . . .

Katrina plans to spin gradient batts from Fellview Fibres on spindles from John Galen Designs. Photos by Katrina King

Footless Alternative

Katrina King, assistant editor, PieceWork magazine, and editorial assistant to Spin Off

I was not thinking about the Tour de Fleece this year when I scheduled ankle surgery, which happened just recently! Thankfully, while my foot is elevated and healing, I can still spin away with my support spindles and bowls. I love using spin-alongs like this for the extra-special fibers in my collection. This year I plan to spin a batt gradient from Fellview Fibres. The bundle of batts is 150 grams of Superfine Bluefaced Leicester, Tussah, Red Eri, and Yellow Eri silk blended together. With a busy summer of getting my daughters prepared for college in the fall and doing my physical therapy, my Tour goal is to complete the spinning of all five batts.

Debbie is ready to dive into a Fat Cat Knits batt. Photo at left by Joe Coca; at right by Debbie Blair

Ruffles of Silk

Debbie Blair, associate editor, Spin Off magazine

I’ve been dying to try my hand at knitting the Helix Scarf since I first laid eyes on the pattern in the Spin Off Library. Luckily, I have quite a variety of choices when it comes to shopping for fiber from my stash. Though I initially wanted to spin for a hat, once I pulled out this gorgeous Targhee and Polworth silk batt from Fat Cat Knits I knew it was destined to become something soft and silky to be worn around the neck.

I’m excited to join the Tour de Fleece in a few days, though I see two challenges to overcome: the fact that my knitting needles are oh so rusty and the fact that this busy mom struggles to find time to sit and spin. So my goal is to spin for 15 minutes a day during this Tour—enough to spin a sufficient amount of yarn for my lovely Helix Scarf? We shall see!

Kate has lots of fleece to work with, courtesy of her sweet flock of Border Leicesters. Photos by Kate Larson

An All-Rounder

Kate Larson, editor, Spin Off magazine
Keeping a flock of about 40 sheep means that my fiber stash is quite literally growing every minute! My goal for Tour de Fleece is to spend more time with my stash fleeces, whether that is skirting, scouring, spinning, or dyeing.

Currently, I’m spinning squishy, lightly textured yarns that will be the weft yarn for a cozy, strip-woven blanket. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist dipping them in my new fructose indigo vat, too. Ah, sweet summer spinning!

However you decide to Tour de Fleece this summer, may you enjoy the journey!
—The Spin Off team