Monday, 9 October 2017

Spinzilla - a learning curve

I first join the Spinzilla challenge in 2015, I was a real rooky, never thought that I should do anything in advance other than to make sure my wheels were in working order.  We had been away in the weeks previous arriving home the day before the start.  Monday morning saw me going through stash trying to decide what to spin...  How crazy was that?  That year I managed a respectable yardage, and exceeded my hoped for mile, but nothing like the more experience spinners who spin an amazing total - something like 45,000 yards.  I also got a pressure sore from sitting in one place for seven days...

2016 I was more prepared - bought a load of John Arbon's lovely fibre at Fibre East, and arranged that we returned from our autumn break with a few days grace before the grand depart! But for preparation of fibre - nothing.  Indeed I spent a whole evening making punis as I had spun tall my fibre - prepping fibre is not a good idea when the idea is to spin as much as possible..  But I had improved and my total that year was a respectable 15,500 Spinzilla yards.  Here I should explain the concept of Spinzilla yards, you count one for every yard you spin, and then you get another for plying, so for a two ply yarn you multiply your skein's yardage by three, one each for the singles and one for plying - so if your skein comes in at 100 yards you get credited with 300 Spinzilla yards.

Once again the winner spun over 45,000 Spinzilla yards - how on earth could you spin that amount, skein, count etc?  Well it seems that you don't actually have to do anything else except spin and ply - the winner has a team of helpers skeining off, so freeing up bobbins for further spinning.  I had done all these myself, so using spinning time with non counting tasks.

2017 - I was really clued up.  We were home for nearly a week before, much of which was taken up with prepping fibre.  By this I mean really prepping, all the lovely fibre I had bought from John
Arbon was pre-drafted ready to spin.  Also every evening I sat making punis for long draw spinning.  I forgot to mention that in previous years I had spun worsted, not woollen.  Earlier this year I did a long draw class and have been practising ever since to get faster.  So this year I switched between the two and also instead of sitting in one place I had three wheels set up, so I could alter my position, and have more bobbins that I could fill before plying.  I had also practiced double plying!  What is double plying!  Well I have a Hansen Mspinner which I set up on the footstool to my right and my Matchless to my left - both have WooLee Winders, so no moving the yarn along, and I ply on both at the same time - great time saver.

This year's total - 20696 Spinzilla yards

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