One of the spinning world’s ultimate endurance tests is Spinzilla, where spinners challenge themselves to spin as many yards (or meters) as they can in seven days. Some participants set impressive personal goals and then stretch to achieve them, whereas others use the event to challenge themselves to simply spend more time spinning.
The most recent Spinzilla competition took place October 1–7, 2018, and participants spun 2,605,156 yards during the event. Of course, we want to see the yarn! Enjoy this excerpt for the Spring 2019 issue of Spin Off!
1. Beth Booth of Pinedale, WY
Team: Paradise Fibers Flock O’ Spinners 60% French angora, 40% Merino; 2-ply; 14 wpi; 1,600 ypp
“This was my second year participating in Spinzilla, and my 2018 total was 9,318 yards (5.29 miles). This yarn was one year in the making. The fiber is from my 4-year-old French angora rabbit named Peaches. Peaches’ coloring is what they call a torte (buff colored body with gray head and feet). I kept her angora fiber for a year, and then sent it off to be processed by The Good Shepherd Fiber Mill in Colorado. They combined 40% Merino with 60% angora (Peaches). After processing, her total fiber weight for the year was .69 of a pound. When I give demonstrations to elementary-school students, I am often asked, ‘How much fiber does each rabbit produce?’ and ‘How much angora does it take to make a sweater or shawl?’ I plan to spin the rest of Peaches’ yearly fiber, and then make a shawl with a continuous pattern (using up all of one year’s worth of fiber). The weight and yardage doesn't mean much to a young student, but seeing and feeling a finished garment will.”
2.Susan Markle of Pendleton, IN
Team: Trading Post Spinners Alpaca and wool; 2-ply; 11 wpi; 875 ypp
“I chose to spin this alpaca and wool blend because I had just picked up 5 big bags of combed top from Zeilinger Wool Mill. The alpaca fiber is from my farm and was blended with local Cormo fleece. The total quantity I spun during Spinzilla was 5,622 yards. I was inspired by my friend Amanda Murray-Hyde to weave handspun blankets. Since Spinzilla, I’ve continued to spin enough for warp—around 10,000 yards. Now I’m spinning for weft!”
3. Connie Davis of Ligonier, IN
Team: Trading Post Spinners Alpaca and sari silk; 2-ply; 8 wpi; 925 ypp
“I purchased my alpaca from a friend at the Michigan Fiber Festival. After washing the fiber, I took it to that same friend's fiber mill and added the colored silk as he ran the alpaca through the carder. It was really fun to be so involved in the process.”
4. And 6. Rebecca Mezoff of Fort Collins, CO
Team: Shuttles Spinners CVM/Wensleydale/Corriedale mix; 2-ply; 14 wpi; 1,876 ypp Targhee; 2-ply; 12 wpi; 1,513 ypp
“The white/colored mix is one ply of The Hummingbird Moon’s superwash Targhee, created by Michele Diprima. Michele was on team Shuttles, too. I love her braids that have a large percentage of white. The brilliantly-dyed spots become beautiful pastels when spun. I plied that with white Targhee to create this yarn. The brown yarn is from a fleece grown at Sheep Feathers Farm in Lafayette, Colorado. It is a CVM/Wensleydale/Corriedale mix. The fleece was black, gray, and white and after washing it I drum carded it and spun it into this 2-ply yarn. Both yarns were spun with a short backward draw. I think the brown might make excellent fingerless mitts or a hat and I will make a scarf/shawl out of the Targhee. Team Shuttles was a rowdy bunch with an oft-professed motto, ‘Spin a lot of yarn but have fun and don’t hurt yourself.’ I think we managed that quite well.”
5. Nelly DeVault of Alexandria, IN
Team: Trading Post Spinners Llama; 2-ply; 16 wpi; 2,338 ypp
“This is 100% llama which I prepared on my drum carder (affiliate link). The next project on my docket at Spinzilla time was a hat for a lady I met in a Facebook fiber group. I had planned to spin a nice, fluffy yarn, but the fiber didn’t cooperate. I ended up with extremely sleek and supple 2-ply llama yarn, which was perfect for socks!”
7. Debbie Squire of Indianapolis, IN
Team: Trading Post Spinners Alpaca and sparkle; 2-ply; 10 wpi; 988 ypp
“This alpaca with sparkle was a dream to spin. I chose it for Spinzilla because it was my most recent fiber purchase! This yarn was spun on my Kromski Sonata, on the medium whorl with a semi-worsted draw, and then plied on the largest whorl.”
Next Challenge: Your Instagram Yarns
The images of beautiful handspun yarn filling our Instagram feeds grab our attention, keep us scrolling, and have us hitting the “love” button over and over. These oh-so-sexy yarn pics inspire and tempt us with color and texture. Send us your best shot! The deadline to submit is Friday, April 5, 2019.
Please email both the Instagram-edited version and the original high-resolution version of your photo along with your name, Instagram name, mailing address, and phone number. Please tell us a bit about your submission, including wraps per inch (wpi), yards per pound (yyp), and the fiber content. Email your submission to Spin Off Your Yarns at [email protected].
Featured Image: Photos by George Boe