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Monday, 8 October 2018

Spinzilla 2018

Well, who would've thought a year could go so fast.  October 1st was the start of the Spinzilla marathon spinning event - a whole week of spinning as much yardage as possible.

There was a lot of controversy last year over the way this event was run and quite a lot of people vowed they wouldn't do it again.  Especially as they were paying $15 each for the privilege and there was no proof of where this money was going (it was supposed to be a charity event).  I ummed and aahed a fair bit about whether I should join in this year or not, but finally decided to sign up again.  The team I spun with (DM Fibers Old School Spinners) were putting a team together again and, to be quite honest, I didn't want to be left out!

My little Spinzilla mascot after he'd had his head in the yoghourt pot!
Last year I managed to spin just over 4 miles which was far more than I imagined I could spin in a week.  I'm not a fast spinner!  My goal this year was to at least reach that amount, but hopefully exceed it.  Then, a few weeks before the event, friends in the UK phoned to say they were going to be in France and could they visit for a few days - slap bang in the middle of Spinzilla!  Well, what can you do?  We enjoy having friends come to stay so I thought I could just work through it.  Unfortunately, when you factor in essential preparations for their visit, it didn't quite work out that way!

My first project was 500g of Falkland Super Wash from Wingham Wool Work in the UK. This is for yet another baby blanket - there's another grand-daughter arriving mid-December so I'd better get busy!

This took 4.5 days, I think, to complete, giving a total singles yardage of 4,395.

Next, I had some batts I'd made using the leftovers from a prize I made during the Tour de Fleece.

TdF prize
I didn't have all the colours to make more exactly like the ones above, but I added in a few different colours and it turned out fairly similar.  These were going to be spun as one ply and I needed to find something to complement it for the other ply.

I thought these colours would go quite well, and roughly blended them on my combs, before starting to spin.

Unfortunately, the main colour was quite a strange texture - it was a World of Wool Woolly Wednesday special offer and I have no clue what it was, except it was cheap!!

The staple length was so short that when I was spinning it I could only draft about half an inch at a time.  This was obviously no use during a speed spinning competition, so I had to abandon it and choose something else.  I had managed 29 yards though, so that counts in the final calculations.

To be honest, this felt like spinning combing waste - the short fibres that are left stuck in the tines after removing the good fibres and I do wonder if that's what it is.  Floor sweepings for sure!

So, I picked out some black and red fibres to go with the other bobbin.  I would have preferred the grey, but this actually went quite well anyway.

The finished skein was not too bad at all - `I like the pops of colour here and there.  I showed this to Eric and asked him what he thought I should call it.  "Black pudding" he immediately replied.  "But it's not black" I answered.  Final retort : "Neither is black pudding".  I couldn't argue with that, so Black Pudding it is!

By now we'd reached day 7 and I needed a quick spin to finish off the week.  About a week before Spinzilla started I cleaned out my larder - this is a small room rather than a cupboard and it had become rather "disorganised" to say the least.  When I got to one of the top shelves, there was an unidentified box sitting there, in full view, which I just hadn't noticed before.

This is what I found when I opened it.  I bought this in February 2015, so goodness knows how long it's been sitting on that shelf.  It's a Build a Batt Box from Barber Black Sheep in Wales and I'd completely forgotten I'd ordered it.  Please don't ask what it was doing on a shelf in my larder for 3 years, because I have no clue!  The embarrassing thing is, I obviously haven't spring cleaned my shelves for quite a long time!!

I picked out a 100g bag of merino dyed in a gradient, started at one end, blended the colours a bit in between, and finished with the deep pink on the left.

This was a real pleasure to spin, I enjoyed every moment.  Most of this was spun in the afternoon, then the visitors arrived back from a few days away and took us out for a meal in the evening.  We had a really nice evening with lots of nice food and wine, getting home at about 10:30 p.m.  Back to spinning!  I quickly finished the spinning and then started to ply.  All my yarns so far have been 2 ply (apart from the Floor Sweepings which were left as a single), but to keep the colour gradient, I n-plied this one (making a 3-ply).  I think this is my favourite spin of the week - the colours are yummy, and it's squishably soft.

So, here are the final skeins :-

And the final calculations?  This lot amounted to 6,208.752yards . . . 3.53 miles!  I didn't reach last year's total, but it's actually not bad considering the interruptions I had this week.

Oh, and before I go - don't forget that BritSpin starts on the 11th October.  This is a brand new 4 day event which I would dearly have loved to join in with, but unfortunately (well, fortunately for us) we're going to be away I the camper van from tomorrow on a little trip to the west (Atlantic) coast here in southern France.