Spinzilla 3--angry

Something big is happening!

Raroowwrrr! The Monster of a spinning week is almost here and it is shaping up to be that! (The committee has quoted Jaws more than once, “We are going to need a bigger boat!”) Thank you for joining us for our inaugural year and the overwhelmingly positive response. Go, spinners, go!

Now that the spinning is upon us, a lot of us are turning our attention to the meat of the matter—spinning, measuring, and submitting our yarn. This is a friendly competition. The goal is to spin oodles of yarn and have fun. That said, we know there are bragging rights and prizes on the line!

Let’s revisit the goal of the event. Spinzilla has four objectives.

  • Collectively spin as much yarn as possible during Spinning and Weaving Week
  • Raise awareness of hand spinning in the yarn market and beyond
  • Increase spinning confidence and knowledge
  • Establish a spinning component within the Needle Arts Mentoring Program (NAMP)

With this in mind, here are answers to the frequently asked questions that we have been fielding about what qualifies as spinning, how to measure your yarn, and how to submit it at the end of the week.

When can I start spinning?

Spin time begins at midnight EST on Monday, October 7 and ends at Midnight EST on Sunday, October 13. (Midnight on October 7 means the dawning of the day on Monday. Monday is a spinning day!)

How much prep can I do ahead of time?

You can do anything but spin! Any kind of prep work is fine including pre-drafting.

What about core spun yarn?

As long as you count the finished yarn as a single not a plied yarn, core spinning is fine.

Can I ply my yarn?

If you want to take the time to ply your yarn, that is AOK with us! You have to submit your yardage in singles. Measure your plied yarn and multiply the yardage by the number of plies. Chain ply counts as 3-ply


Team Captain Herder Constance Hall of Dyeology built a giant niddy noddy to measure her Spinzilla yarn!

How do I measure my yarn?

Spinzilla spinners are made of brand new spinners and seasoned pros. We appreciate the mentoring that you have been giving each other. What we are asking for is that everyone take their best shot at measuring their yarn! For some, this will be their first time measuring yarn and we encourage you to use any method that works best for you.

  • Wind onto a skien winder or swift where you know the circumference and count turns
  • Use a niddy noddy
  • Use a yardage counter with a reels or swift
  • Using a McMorran yarn balance, or the new Yarn to Yards balance
  • If you don’t want to take your yarn off your bobbins, weigh your bobbins before you spin, then weight them after and use a yarn balance to calculate yardage.
  • Measure the distance around your car, then give it to a 10-year old and tell them to run around the car until it is all gone. Count the number of times they run past you. You get the idea!

Here are links to a few of resources that can help you learn more about measuring:

Free ebook from Handwoven, includes how to make your own yarn balance.

Measuring Yarn by Amy Clarke Moore, editor of Spin-Off

Finishing Yarn a Knitty article by Lee Juvan includes making your own kate, video on using a niddy-noddy, and step-by-step on using a reel

There has been talk that yarn balances are inaccurate, if this is true is there one method that is better than another?

Any method can give you inaccurate results depending on your technique. We have stopped short of endorsing one method over another and have offered suggestions for as many accessible methods as possible. Practice with a skein of commercial yarn that you know the weight and length. Once you are comfortable with your results, we will be also! 

Won’t tension make a difference?

Yes it can. We suggest that you measure your yarn under moderate tension for the best results.

I am curious if I could avoid purchasing the balance by weighing my bobbins first, spin the yarn, measure out a few yards, get the weight of those yards, weight my bobbin with yarn, subtract the bobbin weight, and calculate how many yards I spun?

That is a great way to get the job done! You will still need a digital scale. Here is how that would work. Say your bobbin weights 5oz without yarn and 10oz with. Measure out 5 yards of that yarn and weight it on a digital scale—you may have to measure out more than 5 yards to get enough weight for the scale to register the yarn.

Here is a hypothetical example (thanks HsailorMoon!)

I have 5 oz of yarn (bobbin weight – bobbin and yarn weight).

5 yards of this yarn weights .25oz

5 oz divided by .25 = 20

20 x 5 = 100 yards

Does my yarn have to be finished and if so what does that mean?

Your yarn does not have to be washed, steamed, or set in any other way. Our goal is to gauge the amount of spinning that happens during the week. To the moon!

How Do I Submit My Yarn to My Team Captain?

Please make sure that you have your Team Captain’s Email address – if you don’t know it, please contact them to get it. You need to have this handy for submitting your yardage – don’t wait until the last minute to get it lined up!

To submit your Spinzilla yardage follow these steps

  • Measure your spun singles
  • Take a photo of your yarn. Please submit only one image file for your photos – the image file may contain multiple photos – i.e., you can create a collage in a photo editor program with multiple pictures in it; it is important, though that you only submit one image file, for the sake of managing the information. We will be posting your yarn on Pinterest and other Spinzilla social media sites.
  • If possible, please rename your photo with your last name, team name, and total yardage of the yarn in the photo. For example, Spinner Jane Doe on Team Spinning Mavens would rename her photo or photo collage file something like this:

Labeled Spinzilla Photo

  • Email your yardage and photos to your team captain by MIDNIGHT EST Tuesday, October 15, (11 PM CST, 10 PM MST, 9 PM PST). Winners will be announced on Friday, October 18th (we are not saying when yet!)

I am a rogue spinner how do I submit my yarn?

Please follow the same steps as those on a team, Email your photo and information to rogue@spinzilla.org.