Are You Prepared for the Tour de Fleece?

Every July the Tour de Fleece rolls around, and it never fails that we get a few phone calls around that time asking for repair parts or accessories for wheels. This year, we decided to help prepare you for this year’s “race” by publishing a handy guide.

First: If you want to start this year’s events with a brand new wheel, NOW is the time to order from your Schacht retailer. This gives you plenty of time to receive your shiny new wheel and to acquaint yourself with it. If you’ve participated in the Tour de Fleece before, you know there are several categories of spinners, I have outlined which wheels would be good for each type!

The spinner groups were taken from the Ravelry page devoted to the Tour de Fleece.

The Matchless: The following teams are for any spinner to participate in, and our tried and true Matchless is the “people’s” wheel. Though if the Matchless isn’t for you, there is a Schacht wheel for everybody, so pick your favorite one out of your line up and spin away!

  • Peloton (the main group)
  • Rookies (first years)
  • Climbers (conquer mountains, big personal challenges)
  • Lanterne Rouge (you will participate as much as possible but you may skip days here and there)
  • Maillot Blanc (This team is intended for our younger participants.)

Schacht ReevesThis wheel is perfect for spinning a lot of yarn in little time. Spin super fine yarn with ease and you’ll be on the high mileage club.

  • Sprinters (fast and/or high mileage, like lace, sweater quantities, etc.

Ladybug and SidekickPair these wheels with a Bulky Plyer Flyer, and you can spin any of your favorite textured art yarns!

  • Breakaways (textured “art” yarns)

 

Maintenance

Whether your wheel is 27 years old or brand new, every wheel deserves some love and attention now and then. Here are some tips to make sure your wheel is ready to spin every day for a month!

Dust things off: If it has been a long time since you’ve used your wheel, start by wiping your wheel down to dust it off a bit. Spinning fibers and general household dust tends to accumulate in every nook and cranny they can. If you have it, a can of compressed air may be helpful in this process.

Oil: Wheels have a lot of moving parts, and it’s important to lubricate. Both to keep the wheel healthy and in tip top shape, but also this will make spinning much easier. We have a great video on where to oil your flyer on our YouTube channel. Read your instruction manual for other lubrication points on your particular wheel.

Check-up: Give your wheel a basic check up. Look at each part of your spinning wheel to make sure that everything is in working order. If your wheel is older, it’s possible that it may need some replacement parts. Call up or visit your favorite Schacht retailer for assistance. If you need further assistance, our customer service at Schacht is top-notch, and we can point you in the right direction. Here are a few parts to check on if you haven’t given your wheel a good lookover in a long time.

  • Drive band – It’s important to tie a new one frequently to ensure a pleasant spinning experience. If your drive band is a poly drive band, check it for elasticity, however these generally last a very long time.
  • Scotch tension spring and string – Over time and with a lot of use (or curious toddlers) these can become stretched out and lose their effectiveness. Also check the loop that goes around your bobbin flange, as this can wear if your wheel gets a lot of use.
  •  Treadle hinges – These don’t wear out frequently, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look under your wheel once in awhile to check the state of things.
  • Footmen – These connect your treadles to the crank. Make sure that all of these connections are sound and lubricate as directed by your spinning wheel manual.

Stock up: Do you have a full bottle of oil? Enough drive band material to last a month? Do you have enough bobbin?

Stretch: This is less “wheel maintenance” and more personal maintenance, but when you get going during the month of July, be sure to stretch and take frequent breaks so as not to injure yourself.

If you want more spinning tips and tricks, check out our blogs from last year’s Spinzilla, and follow us on Pinterest. We have a ton of great spinning tutorials for your reading pleasure!