Monthly Archives: October 2017

Spinzilla 2017 – it’s a wrap

Spinzilla ended Sunday, October 8th at 11:59:59pm. It ended for me at 10:40pm.

It was a good week of finding ways to fit spinning into my life. I worked all week so had to find time in the morning and evenings to spin. And, when I could, I spun at work. On Tuesday, I had my wheel with me because I was heading to the Team Sweet Georgia spin-in that evening. I brought my wheel into my office and spun a bit during a department conference call – about twenty minutes. Other times, I had my Jenkins Turkish spindle with me and spun during phone calls and over lunch hour.

My plan was to spin the entire bag of “Daisy”. Daisy is a sheep owned by a fellow guild member -1/2 north country Cheviot, 1/4 Suffolk, 1/4 Romney Dorset Karakul. Quite a variety and lovely, lovely wool. Last November, I bought a large bag of Daisy carded up into inviting rovings and had plans to spin it for a sweater. Perfect task for Spinzilla. I really thought that would take my entire week, so I didn’t have much of a back-up plan. Fortunately I have a bit of a stash so when I finished spinning Daisy on Friday evening and plied it up on Saturday morning, I spun up some Clun Forest I bought from my neighbour.

On Sunday evening at 7pm, after plying all the Clun Forest, I still felt like spinning. I had about 7grams of spun fibre on my Turkish spindle so grabbed the bag of that fibre, (Shetland 70%; Silk 30%) and finished spinning all that up while I watched two episodes of Shetland. Fitting isn’t it? It spun quickly due to an excellent fibre prep and silk. And I plied it while I watched Scott and Bailey.

All in all I had 6 bobbins of Daisy, 3 of Clun Forest, 1 Shetland/silk, and small bobbin of Turquiose Perendale/silk I spun at the spin-in after I spun up all the Daisy I bought with me. That all measured out to be 1,683 yards of 2-ply yarn, which translates into 5,049 yards of spinning for Team Sweet Georgia.

I’m happy with this result. I managed to spin a decent amount and I stayed sane. I didn’t stress myself out with trying to spin, spin, spin. I relaxed, went running on my days off. Did errands, and prepared an entire Thanksgiving Dinner.

I’m extra happy because I have all Daisy spun up and enough of it for a sweater – 1,100 yards. The Clun Forest is going to be added to the Clun Forest I spun for the last Spinzilla, dyed and woven into a shawl/blanket.

I love Spinzilla. It forces me to focus exclusively on spinning, and while it is only a week long, that is long enough to get a significant amount of yarn made. I also love it because it brings a community of spinners together, the members of our Team Sweet Georgia, and also other spinners from all around the world spinning for this competition. While there are team prizes for the most spun, and individual prizes for the same, I like to think about the grand total that all the teams are creating. Can we beat the total we reached last year, and if so, by how much?

So that’s ones in the books. What’s next?

(Photo on top is all skeins washed and drying in the Monday sunshine.)

Spinzilla 2017 – day 1

(Photo above is yarn spun for Spinzilla 2016)

Spinzilla – the monster of a spinning contest, started in 2013. Since then it has grown in size in terms of the number of teams participating and the number of miles (kilometres) spun. It is a fun, wild week.

I have participated every year it has been held – spinning for Team Sweet Georgia. Over time I have learned some things that have made my spinning week more pleasurable. And here they are:

  1. Spin for a project: this is a great time to spin up a huge amount of yarn. So if you have been wanting to spin up for a sweater or to weave a blanket, now is the time. This year I am spinning for a sweater I want to knit. It’s in the Down issue of Ply Magazine. It is a good time to get it all done, and to ensure that it’s the same weight and grist.
  2. Add some fun, wild spinning moments into the marathon of project spinning. Last year, I spun for a weaving project. It was grey Romney, yards and yards and yards of it. After a few days of that, I took a break and spun a two-ply thick and thin yarn. It was only 100 yards or so, but it also only took 1 1/2 hours and gave me such joy to be doing something with colour and something different with my fingers.
  3. Spin on days 1 – 5 and ply on day 6 and 7. Or some variation on that theme. I learned that my yarn benefits from sitting a bit. The twist relaxes and this makes plying a bit easier. This means you have to have a lot of bobbins, but it’s a good excuse to get more. Or borrow some from non-Spinzilla spinning friends.
  4. Skein and measure yarn when Spinzilla is over. As curious as I am about how much yarn I’ve made, taking the time to skein and measure is time away from spinning. So unless you desperately need those bobbins, don’t waste time on it. You will have time after the event is over, a couple of days, to skein and measure.
  5. Have fun. Seriously, everyone says it, I say it.  And then I put my head down to my spinning and get all competitive and lose track of things. Feel resentful when I have to work, make dinner or do anything else beyond spinning. It’s taken a few years, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I enjoy this more when I re-focus the competition. For me this is about how much yarn I can make in spite of the busy life I lead as a woman in the twenty-first century working full-time and involved in my community.

So this morning I was up at my regular time – 6am. Got a cup of coffee, took a few sips and then sat down at my Ashford Traditional to spin some lovely wool into a sweater. Just starting the day spinning is the thing that makes this competition worth while.

And now I have to get down to work and move away from the wheel. So enjoy the week, enjoy the attention spinning is going to get this week and the role you will play in drawing attention to the wonderful activity of making yarn.

Happy spinning!