SPINZILLA sign up has begun! I am on Team Knot Another Hat again this year. I’ve almost finished planning out my SPINZILLA project, and I have a special yarn package I am working to put together. Next posting will be about the SPINZILLA spun yarn special. Recently I’ve had several requests for speed spinning pointers so today I will cover spinning while I finish marinading on my SPINZILLA Spun Special.
I’ve often compared spinning to bike riding. You can take a quite meandering bike ride through the valley, or you can start from the top of Pikes Peak and pedal down hill at top speed. Stopping to smell the flowers is nice, but I am more of a “Wind in my hair” flying downhill type of spinner. I’m really not the competitive type. I’ve never entered my yarn or knitting in any type of judging or competition. BUT speed is what I love, and SPINZILLA is one competition I simply can NOT pass up. 2013 I was awarded Grand Champion Individual Spinner, 2014 I placed 2nd, 2015………we will have to wait and see, but I tell you, I am aiming for that top spot!!! The following is a collection of things I’ve learned about speed from the past 2 SPINZILLA’S and 20 plus years of spinning.
There are 4 major areas that will determine your production during SPINZILLA week. Fiber, Method, Time, and Environment.
Pick the best fiber you can! Every spinner has a favorite fiber that “spins like butter”. GET THAT FIBER!!! If it is a new to you fiber, do a test spin before SPINZILLA, make sure it is your “butter fiber”. If your fiber needs any prep, do that ahead of time. Prep more fiber than you can possibly spin. Last year I made a mistake in designing a yarn that required each hank of fiber to be split into 16 strips. I prepped up the first day’s spinning fiber prior to the start. Sadly I did not consider how much time splitting fiber was going to take away from spinning. I lost hours over this last year. Needless to say, this year there will be no splitting of fiber!!!! I’ve decided to use a mixture of Bam Huey and Baby Camel Down.
How you spin is a major factor in how much you can produce. You don’t have to be genius to know that if your spinning style causes pain, your body is going to give out. If you are going to be putting in long hours spinning, you need to be comfortable. Take these next few weeks to figure out what chair or chairs work best for you. Learn to relax your hands. Much of spinners hand pain is caused by a death grip on the fiber. Find your way to RELAX! Repetitive motion does a number on the body too. Don’t forget to do hand stretches at least each time you change a bobbin. Experiment with the way you spin. I’ve developed my own style of spinning that uses the least motion for the most production. Over the next few days try making some of your movements, longer or shorter, moving your hand placement, etc. Find what feels good to you, DON’T worry about anyone’s rules about how a particular type of spinning must be done, do what works for you. My style takes a little from several types of spinning, and has best been described as a very short supported long draw.
Clear your calendar!!! Plain and simple, you MUST set aside time for spinning. We all have different things that claim out time, some can be ignored for the week, but some have to be dealt with. Pets and family must be fed and cared for, cleaning can usually slide for a week. Be sure to let the family/friends know a head of time that October 5-11 you will be busy. Assign as many must be done tasks to others. If you have a job outside the home or work from home, take as much time off as you can. Prep up meals for quick fixing, stock up on your favorite snacks and drinks. If you have kids, take these next few weeks to teach them a new task/chore that frees up more of your time and makes them more independent. This could be anything from fixing their own meals to laundry.
I highly recommend setting up one or two spots to spin. I like one spot in front of the TV and the other in a quiet corner. Spinning outside is refreshing too if the weather co-operates. Be sure to have a side table within reach to hold your needed spinning tools, snacks, and beverages. I know not everyone has the luxury of space just for spinning, but do as much as you can to have a spot where everything can be left out and ready to go. That way if you have 5 minutes to wait while dinner cooks, the kids are getting ready for school, or any other event that leaves you twiddling your thumbs for a few minutes, you can sit right down and spin while you wait! Line up lots of things that entertain you. I love to do movie marathons or season upon season of tv shows. Books on tape are a favorite of many, music is helpful too, and sometimes complete silence while I spin is wonderful. Find something that keeps you in your seat, awake and energized!
Planning ahead is the best road for a successful Spinzilla. SPINZILLA is my Olympics and I plan to put every ounce of effort I have into spinning. For others this is a chance to focus on improving their spinning, while others take this as an opportunity to learn to spin. What ever your level of spinning, SPINZILLA is for you! There are still spaces available on teams, come join in the fun and support spinning.
Until next time, Happy Spinning!