Spinzilla: The Dabbler’s Attempt

Filed in Industry Insight, Point of View, Skill Building by on October 12, 2015 0 Comments

This past week, I participated in a worldwide event called Spinzilla. It is organized by The Spinning and Weaving Group of The National Needlearts Association (TNNA), which is an organization that supports the people who provide materials and instruction for needleartists of all kinds. It is described thusly:

Spinzilla is a global event where teams and individuals compete in a friendly challenge to see who can spin the most yarn in a week!

I did this because over at Eduknit,  we are working on a whole month of content about better understanding where our yarn comes from, and I wanted to have a bit more experience and expertise to share.


IMG_2118In the end, I did not spin very much yarn (chalked up to my hand hurting and the busiest photography week of the year so far), but I was part of a team that was spinning like crazy (Team Blazing Spindles sponsored by Karen Champion of Blazing Star Ranch). They got together multiple times and had refreshments and all kinds of fun. Sadly, they were in Colorado and I was here in Maryland, but I kept up via Ravelry and tried to do my bit. In the final analysis, while my contribution to the team was very small, I will say that for myself personally, this was a very successful venture. I’m glad I did it and here’s why:

  • I got into the habit of spinning. Every day I sat down at the wheel or picked up my drop spindle. As a dabbler in spinning, this is a step up and makes me feel more like a Spinner-with-a-capital-S.
  • I got better at spinning because I practiced. Even in just one week, I can see progress from where I was. I chose kind of a new-to-me fiber; a merino wool/silk blend from our Eduknit sponsor Louet. I had to work to get the right amount of spin into it. In the end, my singles were okay, but I overspun while plying, which means my yarn is a little wonky. I did try Navajo or Chain plying for the first time though, and that was cool! And really, just the fact that I can talk about all that with a deeper degree of understanding is a good thing. The yarn will still be perfectly useable, just quirky, but that’s considered an asset for most handspinners.
  • I am now absolutely resolved to get to the doctor about my hand. I was so frustrated that even the very gentle grip needed to control drafting was enough to shut me down after about 15 minutes at a time of spinning. My efforts were much curtailed by the numbness and pain. I feel fairly certain it’s carpal tunnel syndrome, but I really need to figure it out for sure. So, this is an earnest plea for all the rest of you to take care of your hands also.
  • I used Ravelry a bit more. I think the thing about Ravelry that I struggle with is the forum format. It’s sometimes frustrating for me to engage in that way, but this week, I checked in every day, sometimes lurked, sometimes posted, and so, just like with the spinning, I got better at it.
  • Most importantly, I have some beautiful new yarn to use that is completely unique! It’s not ready for judging at the state fair or anything, but I’m okay with that. It’s so satisfying for me to make things, and I am looking forward to swatching with this yarn to see what it wants to be. I’ll continue spinning the rest of the fiber (I only got through about a third of it) and create a project based on the total amount I get.


What have you done lately that has challenged you? If you think you’d like to get a little more into spinning, join us on Eduknit in December for a whole month of exploring where yarn comes from!

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