Editor’s note: Knitter, teacher, designer, and spinner Star Athena started the Tour de Fleece with a handful of friends and a dream: to spin on 21 days in the month of July. Before Spinzilla came along to band spinners together in one heroic endeavor, Star’s challenge offered us the opportunity—all right, the excuse—to devote serious time to yarn-making. And if we watched some cycling too, all the better. Today the Tour de Fleece begins, and we’re rolling out too. We asked Star to tell us about the event’s debut and how it’s grown.
The Tour de Fleece is an online spin-along for everyone who loves to spin yarn and play with fiber! It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself while connecting with other spinners and having fun too.
This July, the Tour de Fleece will enter into its fourteenth year of fiber madness. I started the first Tour in 2006 by spinning yarn along with the Tour de France. The concept was simple: they spin, we spin. I had noticed lots of knit-alongs happening online but never any spin-alongs. So I decided to host one on my blog. It was a crazy concept with seemingly limited appeal (people who spin their own yarn AND like cycling?). But it turns out you don’t have to get into cycling to get into this Tour.
A lot has transpired in fourteen years. In 2006 we started out with just 16 spinners, though we had a lot of fun. In 2007, we grew to 138 spinners and had even more fun. 2008 was HUGE, with over 400 spinners. Currently, we’re beyond 10,000 participants. It just keeps growing and evolving. What’s new this year is that there is a special team just for kids. There are even prizes to win!
Over the years I’ve taken on a less active role, though I still love the Tour and the community that’s grown around it. We have a fantastic team of moderators, which has allowed me to step back and spin at my own pace.
Even after fourteen years, the goal of the Tour de Fleece remains the same: Challenge yourself. Spin. Have fun.
Want to participate? It’s all on Ravelry. . . check out our group. If you’re not yet on Ravelry, do yourself a favor and join. It’s free! But hurry—the Tour de Fleece kicks off on Saturday, July 6, 2019.
Unlike the Tour de France, the Tour de Fleece invites spinners to join as many teams as they like. Find Team Spin Off on Ravelry and use hashtag #spinofftdf2019 to spin along.
STAR ATHENA is a semi-retired knitwear designer currently raising a spirited three-year-old in Portland, Oregon. Her patterns are available on Ravelry.
Posted July 7, 2018. Updated June 4, 2019.