It's nearly that time of year again, when wheels turn, and thousands of miles are covered. It's very much become a part of the seasonal pattern of things that when the cyclists are making there way around France (and this year the UK as well!), the spinning community keeps them company.
In essence the Tour de Fleece is very simple, spin something for every day that the cyclists ride. And that's it, no more, no less. Of course, many use these 3 weeks to do something a little bit extra. They might try a new fibre, or maybe a new technique, they'll aim to spin more than they've ever spun before, of spin thinner than before. However, in it's most simple pure form, the idea is to use the first 3 weeks of July to spin stuff!
We have our very own Tour de Fleece team in the Hilltop Cloud group, just like the main event it's low key. You can post as much, or as little as you like, and spin whatever you fancy (so long as it's Hilltop Cloud fibre, or fibre you've prepared yourself).
However, this year I dyed us some spcial colourways, on my lovely Superfine Shetland (though you can of course join in with any HTC fibre).
There was an element of mystery, as the only clue for the colours were some graphics showing some jerseys as worn by the cyclists in the peloton. I'm hoping this way everyone got a colour they liked, though of course, me being me, the end braids of fibre were a little bit more interesting...
(If you've not received your fibre yet, and want to keep it a surprise, stop reading now, spoilers ahead!)
So here are the colours I dyed, and the inspriation behind them.
A- Team Death Star. Mostly black, with a few flashes of bright blue. Loosely inspired by the Team Sky jersey colors of the current champion Chris Froome. They're nicknamed Team Death star as their Big Black Coach is full of all the latest gadgets, and when they first came on the scene a few years ago, as larger than all the other team buses. Also, like The Empire, they take over and win just about everything.
B- I was slightly sneaky with this one, Team Climbers. This one used the colour of the jersey's worn by Team BMC, however, for me BMC stands for the British Mountaineering Council, hence the name! The jersey's are mostly red, with a few flashes of black, as is the fibre.
C- I just had to do a colour inspired by one of the French Teams, so here are Team FDJ, who also use a 4 leaf clover as part of their logo, so this colour is Team Lucky.
D- This one is a slightly abstarct take on a jersey, but it's a team I was desperate to include, and a colour I knew you'd all like. Team Kwick-Fit, inspired by Omega-Pharma-Quickstep, who happen to be the team of my personal cycling favourite, Mark Cavendish. Their jerseys are mostly black (again, there's a lot of black in the peloton), but I already had a black colourway, so I picked out the natty turquoise accents instead. Of course, this could also be inspired by Team Astana, but I'm less than a fan, so we'll pretend that this colour doesn't match their jersey's at all.
E- Following on from the team of Mark Cavendish, we're on to the colour he'll be hoping to wear. The Green jersey is the competition for the Sprinters. These are the guys who are fastest on the flat, at the end of a stage they go flat out at 50km/h in a sprint for the finish line, aiming to pick up points depending on how high they place. The highest number of points gets to wear the Maillot Vert. So this colour is green, with a few hints of tarmac grey, as all too often the sprint for the line ends up in riders piled up on the tarmac, surrounded by bits of splintered carbon fibre.
F- How can you resist a team who wears pink! Lampre-Merida are based in Italy, and their jersey feature more than a splash of bright pink. The Italians must have a thing fo pink, as the winners jersey in their big cycle race, the Giro d'Italia, is a very fetching shade of pale pink. so here we have Team Rosa
G- My first introduction to the Tour de France was via the Tour de France Knitalong, the first year I started knitting. We were all placed in team, and I ended up in team AG2R La Mondiale, and I've had a soft spot for them ever since. They combine Brown with pale blue in their jerseys. and so does this colour. The team sponsors do something to do wth finances, and given this is the most sedate colourway I've dyed, it's called Team Bankers.
Finally, the big one, the ultimate prize, the jersey awarded to the winner of the race. The Maillot Jaune, this is the prize for the rider who completes the overall course in the fastest time. The best all rounder if you like, they need to be able to climb mountains, and do well in time trials, and stay out of trouble when the sprinters come out to play.
I know bright yellow isn't a colour that many like, so I tempered it by using some inspiration from another iconic Tour image, the riders going along roads passing through fields of sunflowers, so the yellow is paired with the browny shade from the centre of the sunflowers.
Even if you don't have any of the special edition colours I hope you'll join us in spining along, the tour starts on July 5th.