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Spinzilla 2015!

Handspun yarn by Color Energy Designs
Spinzilla 2015 – already planning for 2016!

This year I finally joined the Spinzilla event as a rogue spinner. For those that don’t know, it’s an annual global event to see how much yarn you can spin in one week. I thought about it in previous years but never did it – always with the excuse “I’m not good enough” or “I’ll wait until I’m good enough”. But then I read one of those meme’s: if you wait until you’re enough, you will never get started. So, with that thought in mind I signed up. I’m so glad I did.

I had set a goal of spinning a mile, I fell short at 1720 yards but I learned so much and the spinning exercise was worth it. The first thing I learned? I did not prepare nearly enough rolags for spinning. What seems like a mountain of fluffy, prepared wool is deceptive. The mountain disappeared quickly. But this did lead me to my second challenge: respinning my first ever spinning attempt into something nice.

Handspun yarn
Angry caterpillars!

The respinning adventure! To be honest, if I hadn’t stopped to do the respin I would have been able to meet my goal but then I wouldn’t be looking at a nice hank of burgundy BFL right now. Priorities? My first attempt was terrible! I gripped the fiber too tightly, my rhythm on the wheel was akin to Steve Martin’s in The Jerk and the result was a ferocious row of evil caterpillars. I left it hanging in my craft room as a reminder of how spinning should not look. But midway through Spinzilla I decided to see if I could save that beautifully dyed fiber.

Saving the BFL
The ‘unspin’

 

Handspun yarn
The ‘respin’

As difficult as my first spin was, unspinning it proved to be just as difficult. At first I tried to unspin it on the wheel – I don’t recommend it. The poorly spun fiber was already unfriendly and it definitely did not like being twisted in the opposite direction running along the flyer hooks. Then I decided to use the drop spindle – much better. All I really had to do was let the spindle hang in mid-air and let gravity do its work. It was time consuming but after a few hours, I had all 180 yards unspun and waiting to be fluffed, drafted and respun. I did save a bit of that first attempt though – it’s always good to have a visual reference for progress.

Handspun yarn
Much better!

My surprise of the week was the ‘crazy’ skein. I took all the odd bits from the previous plied skeins and put them all together. I love the end result, in fact it’s probably my favorite skein from the week. The mix of colors has me rethinking the way I plan out my colors for future yarns. I plan to play around with some more ‘crazy’ skein ideas.

The week was a huge success for me, not because I think I’m a great spinner….yet, but because I gave myself the opportunity to experiment and to grow as a spinner. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you challenge yourself – true for spinning, true for every day life.

Handspun yarn
The ‘crazy’ skein <3

If you’d like to see what Spinzilla is all about, please visit www.spinzilla.org. Fair warning though: once you get the spinning bug, it’s hard to get rid of (but really, why would you want to?).

The only thing better than surrounding yourself with yarn is surrounding yourself with yarn you’ve dyed and spun.