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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Spinzilla 2017

Spinzilla 2017 started on 2nd October and ran until midnight on the 8th October.  I've often followed this event, but have never joined in - until now!  I'd been umming and aahing over whether to do this or not, when another member of the DIY and Dye group on Ravelry said, "Oh go on, I will if you will!"  That did it really, I couldn't say no.  I joined a group "DM Fibers Old School Spinners" which was being captained by our DIY and Dye leading lady - it felt like home.

Before the competition began I started preparing fibres.  I bought some merino fleece at Le Lot et La Laine festival in July, so started carding that about 6 weeks ago.  By the time the event arrived, I'd only made about 60 rolags.  By this time though, I decided I needed to spin "easy", so got out all my commercially prepared fibres and pre-drafted some of them.  I was ready when 12:01 Monday morning arrived and I was able to start spinning.

My goals were clear before we started : I would be happy to spin a mile, and ecstatic if I managed more than that.  This was based on my view that I'm not a fast spinner.  I always seem to spin less than anyone else during the Tour de Fleece each year, so knew I really had to try harder for Spinzilla.

This is what I started with :-

I knew I wouldn't be able to finish all of it, so decided to start with the most important.  The white fleece at the back right is 520g of super wash Falkland.  This is going to be a baby blanket for our friend Nico's first baby which is due in March.  So, just after midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning I started spinning that.  I finally finished on Wednesday after 2.5 days spinning.

Next up, I needed some colour, so chose this pink :-

This was a mix of kid mohair, suri alpaca, Teeswater and Tussah silk.  It was only 75g so a very quick spin.  This was finished by the end of Wednesday too.

On Thursday I started to spin some Tussah silk to ply with the pink, and on Friday I decided I'd better start plying before I had too much of a build up.  It took me over six hours (!) to ply the white Falkland, especially as I had a ginormous tangle to contend with when my final plying ball decided not to play nice.  I wasted about 2 hours trying to sort it out.  Eventually though, it was all done and I could carry on spinning the silk.

Saturday morning I plied the pink and silk

and then got started spinning this green mix of Blue Faced Leicester, Merino, Polwarth, glitz (whatever that is!), baby alpaca, Tussah silk and gold Angelina.

There were two batts, amounting to 115g, which had been hand-painted with the dyes - an interesting way of applying them.

It doesn't really show on this photo, but this was very sparkly.  I'm always surprised at how these batts turn out once they're spun because they almost never look the way I'd anticipated, and this one was no exception.  I've no idea what happened to those pinks and blues - they just sort of became absorbed.  This was made into a plying ball and plied from both ends, which behaved perfectly this time!

This brought me to 8:45 p.m. on Sunday evening.  Just enough time to spin some of my merino rolags in the grease.

I had some of the silk left from the pink yarn, so, when it got to 11:30 p.m. I started plying. At 11:40 I ran out of silk, so spent the next 10 minutes spinning some more.  At 11:50 I carried on plying and finally ran out of silk again with 3 minutes to go until midnight. Seemed like a good place to end!

This morning (Monday) I finished calculating how much I'd spun.  By 6 p.m. on Sunday, I'd managed 3.75 miles, so there was only the merino/silk to add.  Would it add up to another quarter of a mile?  I really didn't think it would.

So, my final mileage after spinning for 46.5 hours, was . . . 4.078 miles!!!  You could say I'm ecstatic!

It's been a busy week, especially as we had visitors on Thursday who stayed for lunch and dinner, and then left just before midday on Friday, and then our group played at a charity concert on Saturday which meant we had to leave home at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.  Not as much spinning on those days.  So, would I do it all again next year?  Bring it on!!

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