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Spinzilla 2015: The Skinny

All the handspun from Spinzilla 2015

Spinzilla 2015

Spinzilla ended at midnight on Sunday, and the photo above shows all the yarn I spun by hand during the week of the event. I’m a little surprised by how much I accomplished, to be honest. The yarns are arranged in the order I spun them, and if you look closely, I think you can see how much my spinning improved over the course of the week. The first one I spun is the green singles in the top-left, then on from there clockwise around. With the watermelon-coloured skeins in the bottom-right, I started feeling like I’d actually like to use the yarn to make things.

This one right here (below) was the first that made me really feel like I was starting to know what I was doing. That I spun it on a grey autumn day, looking out the window to a landscape that matched the wool entirely, made it that much more enjoyable.

wool handspun yarn

After spinning up a merino/tencel blend (the blue/green skein sandwiched between the purple and watermelon skeins in the top photo) and not enjoying it very much, I was curious and a bit wary about spinning up the first of the three braids of fibre I bought in New Mexico last spring in anticipation of Spinzilla – it’s a merino/silk blend. Turns out that though I found the tencel to be, I don’t know, tough and unpleasant, the merino/silk was a dream. The feel of this grey fibre was the most delicious of everything I spun during the week. I’m very excited to have one more merino/silk blend left from my New Mexico purchases – that’ll be my celebration spin.

merino/silk handspun yarn

Below is the last braid I spun. It’s 100% merino, the second of my New Mexico wools, and the most saturated sections of colour were all felted. So instead of ending on a high note, I ended Spinzilla with a day of cursing and ripping and tugging. I still managed to make some good yarn out of it, which actually made me feel even more capable and triumphant. But still. I’ll be inspecting my purchases more closely moving forward.

merino handspun yarn

When I decided to participate in Spinzilla, I thought it would be a good excuse to get my spinning wheel out and to maybe up my game a little. Instead, I feel like I learned a ton and upped my game a lot. I developed a more intuitive feel for drafting (that’s the part where you feed the fibre into the wheel), and for tensioning. I discovered I have a good feel for splitting my fibre in half so I end up with two nearly equal bobbins for plying (I could weigh it, of course, but that’s not nearly as exciting). And most importantly, I feel confident that I’ve moved on from the very beginner stage into a more advanced beginner stage that involves making useable yarn and feeling curious about more advanced techniques.

Yay!

All the handspun from Spinzilla 2015

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penny

Congrats Kim! Spinzilla made a huge difference to my spinning last year and lead me to take on a spinning project I never would have attempted. This year I saw improvement in unexpected ways and I’m curious to see how that spills into the rest of the year.

penny

two skeins both came to the same yardage (different amounts of yarn & different fibre)! so i had some unexpected consistency … but in general more important: i can now plan out what i can do in an available time frame.

Tina Helfrich

Missed Spinzilla but I did the Tour de Fleece this summer and discovered spinning everyday helped me to move on using drop spindles and spinning wheel. I also learned about fractal spinning and have finally used some of what I spun in knitting. Now to learn to spin enough to make and finish a project.

Tina Helfrich

It is when you take a top dyed in different colours in bands across the top, and split it in half and spin one half thereby producing lomg lengths of each colour. The other half is then split into 2 or 3 lengths and spun individually so you get shorter lengths of each colour but more repeats as they form one single. These 2 singles – long & shorter colour lengths – are plyed together so the colours blend and overlap in slightly different ways.

April Klich

Congrats on the new yarn and leveled up spinning skills! My own Spinzilla spinning was very different from last year when I did try to spin all the things. I spun just one skein the whole week but it got me excited about spinning again which I’m counting as a win. A skein of yarn I really want to knit with too is great too. :)

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