What I learned spinning 7370 yards during Spinzilla

What I learned spinning 7370 yards during SpinzillaBehold all the yarn I spun during Spinzilla!

Last year I spun 6652 yards, and I was proud of myself, but I realized I could spin a lot more if I prepped my fiber ahead of time. So this year I prepped two pounds of BFL combed top in Death and Taxes for a sweater for myself.

I was done spinning and plying it by Thursday evening.

Lesson 1: Prep a lot more fiber than you think you’re going to need.

Thursday, in fact, was the day I spent the most hours spinning. TEN HOURS. There were several factors that allowed me to keep going for so long, I think. First, I was spinning long draw, which is easy on my hands. Second, I listened to podcasts and watched Periscopes while I was spinning, so I kept my mind occupied, which made the time go faster. Third, in the evening, after I had already spun 6.5 hours that day and was tired and kind of wanted to go to bed, I went to our team spin-in at Carol’s and got my second wind, was entertained by the lively conversation, and spun another 3.5 hours.

Lesson 2: Keep your brain entertained.

Thursday night, after I finished plying the BFL, I began spinning 4oz of merino/yak in Coastal to make myself a pair of mittens. I got about halfway through spinning it before we called it a night.

I slept in Friday since I had stayed up way past my bedtime the night before, but then finished the merino/yak and Navajo plied it. And then I wasn’t sure what to spin next! Carol still had the bins of fiber at her pole barn from the night before, and I had planned on pulling something out of one of the bins to spin.

Lesson 3: Keep all the fiber you’re going to spin in one place.

I texted Carol and rummaged around to find something to spin until she brought the bins over. When I finished that random little 1.5oz skein, I picked out a BFL braid in Galactic Gumshoe to make myself a cowl. I spun about half of it, and then went to bed so I could get up early the next day for the Spinner’s Flock meeting.

The Spinner’s Flock is a guild which meets monthly in Chelsea, MI, and it’s sort of like a giant spin-in with about 100 people, and a business meeting, and vendors, and food. It gave me a chance to spin for three hours and sell a bit of fiber, and then afterward some of us went to a local deli for a 2.5 hour lunch.

Here’s the thing. I am an introvert. After going to a guild meeting and lunch, I am so exhausted that when I get home, all I can do is take a 3 hour nap. And then it’s bedtime.

Lesson 4: Honor thy introversion.

Lesson 5: If your goal is to spin as much as possible, don’t go to a 2.5 hour lunch.

Sunday morning I plied the BFL I had finished spinning at the guild meeting, and then decided the rest of the day was the Day of Singles, mainly so I wouldn’t be stuck at the end with singles that needed to be plied and not enough time to ply them. So I grabbed several braids of the Local Wool Project wool/alpaca combed top, prepped them, and proceeded to spin several skeins of worsted to bulky singles using a short pinch draw (I’m not quite sure what this kind of drafting is called. I pinch the fiber and pull it quickly, but keep it thick. If you know what this is called, please tell me!).

After a few hours, I had several skeins, but my hand hurt.

Lesson 6: Spinning bulky singles goes super fast and is definitely the way to go if the goal is to produce lots of skeins! But thicker yarn obviously means less yardage per skein.

Lesson 7: Long draw is easier on my hand than short pinch draw, therefore I can spin for a lot longer using long draw.

For the last skein, I spun a fingering weight singles with a short draw (regular, not pinchy), which was much easier on my hand. I finished at 11:38pm.

Total yardage spun: 7370.

Next year I will spin even more using the lessons I learned!


1 comment

  1. Pat Klooster man

    Thanks for sharing your ‘lessons learned.’ I think they will be helpful to my spinning in general, and I really want to learn the art of the long draw! You made it look easy.

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