As many of you may be aware, there is a massive – nay, a humongous, ginormous, tremendous … you get the idea … spinning event coming up in the next couple of weeks that handspinners around the world will be participating in together. Put on by TNNA, Spinzilla is an event that brings spinners together to compete in a community-building and friendly challenge to spin as much yarn as one can in a week! Sound crazy? Well, it just may very well be! Last year, a total of 5,246, 497 yards of yarn was spun and $17,700 was raided for the NeedleArts Mentoring Program – pretty darn good if I do say so! This year, the goal is to spin even more and raise even more money. Our team placed 15th last year out of 64 teams and we spun a total of 93,379 yards together, which I think is pretty impressive!
This year will be my third time participating in Spinzilla and each year I have spun with a local-to-me team: Team SweetGeorgia. I’m also really excited to be the Team Captain this year, and I get to spin for the week with a group of passionate and talented spinners!
For those who haven’t participated in Spinzilla before, I thought I would chat a little bit about my personal prep for the week (which happens prior!) and some tips to get you through the week in ONE PIECE! When I say it is an intense week, I really mean it! There’s really no comparison to Tour de Fleece – they are very different events but both are wonderful for building community and habits to spin daily. Last year, I said I wouldn’t do Spinzilla again but now I’m eating my words because as the event approaches, I can feel myself getting more and more excited. For those of us locally, here in Vancouver, BC, we are spoiled on the weekend prior to Spinzilla because we also have the fibre event of the year – Knit City – and the momentum from that weekend sets off Spinzilla for many of us.
So how do you survive this insane and incredibly intense week? Here are some tips:
1. Prep, prep, prep!
Whether you have your fibre ready to go or not will make a HUGE difference to you during the week. The last thing you want to be doing during valuable spinning time is prepping fibre, whether pulling apart braids or, heaven forbid, combing and carding. Prepping fibre takes longer than you may think, even just pulling apart a 100 gram braid of fibre. I like to have a basket of fibre prepped and ready next to my spinning chair that I can just reach down and keep grabbing until it is gone. Last year, I carded about 500 grams of BFL and Alpaca on my drumcarder prior to the week of spinning, which I was able to finish before the end of the week. As well, I carded some Shetland that was my ‘back-up’ for in case I finished the BFL/Alpaca spin, which leads us to #2 …
2. Have a back-up stash of prepped fibre!
You may not think you will get through much fibre or the classic trappings, “I’m not a fast spinner” but TRUST ME, you will far exceed your expectations because you will get caught up in the ruckus and momentum of the week! The energy and competitive spirit is a tidal wave that crashes through the spinning community that week and you WILL sacrifice sleep and food to spin just a little bit more! When, not if, you run out of your carefully prepped fibre, make sure you have a back up stash. If you really don’t get to it, it will be ready and waiting for you after Spinzilla is over but when you inevitably come to the moment towards the end of the week that you’ve run out, you’ll thank me. I promise!
3. Eat, Drink, Sleep … and You’ll Spin MORE!
Spending hours at your wheel can be gruelling, particularly when it isn’t relaxing, meditative spinning but instead, racing to finish yarn and singles as fast as possible. Your body will start to ache and your fingers will become sore and stiff. The best medicine? Eat a well-balanced meal, drink plenty of water (which also means you have to stop and walk to get to the bathroom – this is a great chance to stretch and come back refreshed!) and sleep! Yes, you will be getting up early and staying up a bit late to finish that bobbin or ply that last bit of yarn, but getting some shut eye is just as important. It gives your body a chance to rest and heal before another big day the next, particularly on the weekend when spinning time tends to be higher! The water trick is used by people who work nightshift – you can’t sleep if you have to pee, so keep that in mind. You can’t keep spinning and you’ll have to take a 2 minute break if you have to pee. It’s a great chance to change position, stretch and jump around for a moment before returning to your wheel.
4. Have fun!
There’s nothing worse than finishing the week feeling like you’ve come out of a self-inflicted vacuum and feeling as if you’ve missed all the fun. Try to attend a local spin-in during the week or get a group of friends together to spin. Make tea and coffee, have some good food and turn it into a social, focusing on friendship, rather than the spinning itself. Check out social media for inspiration (search using #spinzilla2016 and #spinzilla) and comment on fellow spinner’s progress – they’re feeling the pain as well! If you start to burnout towards the end of the week, loosing momentum and enthusiasm, try to get your head back in the game by remembering what your initial goals were: To have fun, spin with a team or friends and connect with others. The threads on Ravelry during the week of Spinzilla tend to be incredibly active, with many posting photos of their progress. They are incredibly inspiring! As well, use the time to catch up on your favourite podcasts and Netflix series. Many podcasters who are spinners record during the week to chat about how it is all going, so be sure to keep checking for new shows coming out throughout the week. Lastly, don’t hurt yourself – it’s meant to be fun and if it’s not fun anymore, that’s okay too. The community is supportive and friendly – they’ll be the shoulder for you to lean on and you can cheer on others as they continue! The mantra that I used last year, while rehabbing from a hip injury, was “It’s only a week, it’s only a week, I can do this!” It worked like a charm!
Results from Spinzilla 2015 (L-R): BFL/Alpaca blend, West Coast Colour BFl, Shetland, SweetGeorgia BFL
Next week, I will share some of my upcoming projects and my personal fibre prep for Spinzilla this year.
In the meantime, what are you prepping this year? Do you have any tips or tricks from previous years? Share below and they may be included in my next Spinzilla post!
Until next time,