Tour de Fleece 2020

Lola during TdF 2019

I first joined in the fun that is the Tour de Fleece in 2014, spinning on a couple of drop spindles I had acquired. I’ve participated at least a little bit every year since, mostly as part of Team Sherlocked.

In 2018, I started taking a handspinning class through the Recreation & Parks Department, and I was able to borrow a wheel from my teacher. At the end of that year, I got my Kromski Sonata, and it was off to the races.

So to speak.

Gray yarn on spinning wheel bobbin in foreground, television screen showing a bike race in the background
“Cobble” merino and cobblestones

I’ve really enjoyed watching the Tour de France each summer. Last year, I sprang for the Cycling Pass, and I watched a few other races as well. The pass auto-renewed, but the 2020 Tour is another thing postponed due to COVID-19.

Yet, the Tour de Fleece goes on. A whole bunch of folks are spinning away on the original TdF 2020 schedule: June 27 to July 19. And NBC is airing memorable stages from past Tours for the Cycling Pass. Stage 12 from 2016 – probably the stage that stands out in my memory – is slated for Thursday, July 9.

This is the first year that I’ve been spinning as an official member of Team GLASG, since I finally joined the guild a couple of months ago. Between Saturday work shifts and The Kid’s piano lessons, I wasn’t able to attend the meetings before. I have to say, my yarn-oriented life has gotten a lot more social since we all settled in “Safer at Home”.

My main project for the first week of the Tour has been two braids of extrafine merino in “Cobble”, a gorgeous gray, from Stranded Dyeworks.

My goal was to spin it for a 2-ply fingering or lighter weight. It looks good; we’ll see how it turns out after a nice soak.

Lots of Tiny, Tiny Beads

Last week, I was at a meeting with someone wearing a beautiful shawl. She mentioned that it was made from Wollmeise. And I remembered that I had a barely-begun Wollmeise shawl project sitting in my closet: my Entomology shawl. I pulled it out of the closet and read through the instructions again. I had not quite finished stringing all the beads.

The Beading Continues

The instructions for the shawl give a handy little tip. Instead of counting out each of the 1205 beads, string a bunch on and measure how many beads fit in an inch. Do a little multiplication, and you can simply measure the string of beads for an estimated total. I did the math. And I realized that, at 14 beads per inch, 1205 beads would measure just over 7 feet.


That’s a lot of beads. I strung them all, plus an extra inch or so for insurance, and cast on this evening. During a couple hours of tv watching, I worked my way through the 20 rows of chart A. And then realized I completely forgot to place the beads that were between stitches – I only did the ones in the yarnovers.

My little shawl is back to being a ball of yarn with a whole lot of little tiny beads. And that cross-stitch stocking is looking at me reproachfully.