15 October 2014

Spinzilla 2014

By ignoring almost everything else in my life, I managed to shoehorn a week of quality creative time into my schedule. I decided to participate in Spinzilla 2014. This is the spinning challenge sponsored by The National Needlearts Association (TNNA), the trade organization for fiber hobbies. This was the second year for Spinzilla. Basically, yarn shops sponsor teams. Spinners sign up to be on a team. Everybody has a week to spin as much yarn as they can. Prizes are awarded for spinning the most yarn, taking great pictures, or spinning at least a mile.

I used Spinzilla as an excuse to spin down through my stash. I had acquired several sample packs over the years. I did a little spinning for projects, but I also did a fair amount of spinning through the sample fibers. This was a great opportunity to spin woolen, spin worsted, try a 2 ply or a 3-ply or a chain ply. It was a chance to play and see what happens. And it was a great chance to just spend time at my wheel and, by practicing and doing, improve my spinning skills.

I'm most pleased with the Berry Bliss in the right corner of the photograph. It is 309 yards of a three-ply that is light fingering weight, about 17 wraps per inch. There is enough for a scarf or a pair of fine gloves, although the project would need to be worked on sock needles (2-3mm). Fine gauge knits take more time, but they are often elgant and well-crafted (think of Bohus).

Things I learned:
  • Practice improves skill.
  • Play improves creativity.
  • I prefer a 3-ply to a 2-ply, especially for a fluffy woolen.
  • I need more practice on plying.
  • Same whorl and same draft gives you similar grist and twist, even with different fibers and different preparations.
  • There is no standard wraps per inch chart. (Ravelry, Nancy's Knit Knacks, PLY magazine issue #6 are all different.)
Some of the things I learned were obvious, but it is the obvious things we forget, isn't it? That's why sometimes you go back to fundamentals; to remind yourself of the foundations of your craft so you are mindful of your choices.

The next trick will be seeing if I can carve out a week or two of creative play time for knitting or weaving. SAFF is next week, so for now, I'm busy updating handouts and double-checking all my samples. Spinzilla is an activity I am willing to try again. I only spun 2237 yards, in spite of the amount of time I spent. Next year, I should spend the summer making mountains of quick-to-spin rolags.

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