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On the dawn of mid-Spring, some parts of the Midwest saw two inches of snow this week. Crisp fall days and the monster of an event, Spinzilla, is many, many months away—you have all of summer ahead to think about that, right?  Why register my team early?

This year we have a Monster Team Welcome Packet full of useful tips for promoting your team. Once you have officially registered your team, we will send it to you! Team registration starts Monday, May 5, 2014, a full two months earlier than the first year’s event. Leverage this extra time to plan events, workshops, and add Spinzilla to your newsletters, blogs, and social media posts leading up to Spinzilla week. Successful events don’t happen overnight, or even over a fortnight. They take planning and logistics, a sense of determination, and creating the anticipation of fun.

To sign up, get your name on the mailing list and indicate that you are interested in fielding a team. (Individuals who want to spin on a team – choose the option “Joining a Team.”) Once on the list, you will receive an email of when the registration system is ready to take your information. Meanwhile, review this document – the Team Pre-registration Checklist – to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.

We all want to spend a week doing one of our favorite activities – Spinning! So get your team on board now, use the information provided at registration to help get your Spinzilla events and communications planned, and you will have a week of fun that everyone will want to participate in!

If you are going to The National NeedleArts Association trade show the first weekend in May, stop by the Daily Dose of Fiber wall in the lobby and say hi.  We will have current Spinzilla information there. There is a Team Captain’s meeting on Sunday at noon in room 131.  Past, new, and prospective team captains are invited to stop by and learn what’s new this year.

Take a page from the songbook of the Temptations, one of the most successful Motown groups – Get Ready!


Rita Petteys, Yarn Hollow, Spinzilla Chair and Team Recruitment and Logistics,




Last year I was visiting my mom at her farm, and she suggested we make a quick trip down the road to see if Lester had some manure ready to give to her. I asked her if I needed to put on “real clothes”, see what my hair was up to, or brush my teeth. Mom said none of that was necessary, because Lester is my grandmother’s cousin, and so is our cousin—these were “our people.”

Being involved in the first ever Spinzilla gave me an opportunity to commune with more of My People. All of the thinking, planning, and work that goes into making Year Two improvements is that much better, because it allows me to connect with more of My People. For this and more, I am grateful.

Thank you, Spinzilla, for getting me to dust off my wheel and tools. For reacquainting me with the zen of fiber prep, and for getting me to finish up the last of the coopworth lamb fleece I bought and washed over two years ago.


Thank you for the chance to be more involved in the larger spinning community and welcome newcomers. The Spinzilla registration fee supports new spinners through the NeedleArts Mentoring Program (NAMP). New and experienced alike had the opportunity to learn from each other and super spinners like one of my spinning heroes, Beth Smith. Thanks for reminding me how important it is to encourage and cheer each other on.

Thank you for getting me out of my own head during a tricky time, when not everything was going great in my world. The many aspects of Spinzilla gave me welcome distraction.

Spinzilla helped me make some room in my fiber stash, and gave me the motivation to finish long-idle bobbins that could then hold Spinzilla yarn. Spinning along with my tribe made it easier to give myself permission to do something just for fun.

I did not spin a lot of yardage, but I did make something useful and (I think) rustically beautiful. Thanks for turning me on to new methods of measurement, new-to-me indie dyers, and for the practice carding—I finally got the feel of it down!

Thanks to Spinzilla I got the spark of some pretty good ideas (and there are probably many more to come) that will help fiber-based businesses that we all rely on to take advantage of the consumer interest and buzz surrounding the competition. There are many business opportunities here! I bought a couple things, and I used up some stuff, so now I can get more. No need to explain this line of thinking to My People, right?


I’m thankful that Spinzilla gave me the option to spin Rogue, so I would not have to feel pressure to do more or feel the guilt of letting teammates down, since I knew my time to spin that week would be limited. I still felt part of a big, happy group, and this gave me the momentum to make spinning a regular part of my day—or at least my week—as we head into winter.

I hope you will gather up some of Your People and join us for Spinzilla 2014. Every part of this experience holds many gifts for me. Thanks to everyone who made it possible for us to do it again.

Spinzilla 2014 is October 6 − 12.  Team registration opens May 5.  Find more details about the schedule on our website,

Spin on Spinzilla spinners, spin on!

Andrea Marquis, Yarn Superhero
Spinzilla Committee Member and Rogue Spinner

Get Ready

The new year is dawning and so is another Spinzilla challenge!  Team and spinner registration dates are set!

Spinzilla 2014 October 6-12

  • Team Registration May 5-July 14
  • Team Spinner Registration August 4-September 22
  • Rogue Spinner Registration August 4-October 3

While we are busy prepping for this year’s event, it’s not to early for you to start training!  Don’t let those spinning wheels get dusty! Have you been plying or weaving, knitting, crocheting projects with last year’s yarn?  Head on over to our Ravelry group or Facebook page and share!

Done Good

Last year’s registration fees helped expand the NeedleArts Mentoring Program (NAMP) to include spinning. In 2013, NAMP served over 5,000 children in 34 states.  In 2014, they hope to double that number thanks to you! That’s something to feel good about in the new year. If you are interested in starting a program or volunteering visit NAMP’s website for more information.

Stop By

Headed to the Winter 2014 National NeedleArts trade show in San Diego next week?  Look for us at The Daily Dose of Fiber wall in the lobby or watch for a committee member wearing an “Ask Me About Spinzilla” badge.

We are eager to talk to you about how to incorporate Spinzilla into your 2014 calendar.  Think about adding classes that will help your team nab the trophy such as fiber prep, learning the long-draw, and measuring and storing handspun yarn.

Your Spinzilla Committee,

Rita Petteys (Yarn Hollow), Logistics 
Andrea Marquis (Yarn Superhero), Prizes and Sponsorship 
Constance Hall (Dyeology), Team Captain and Rogue Coordinator 
Liz Gipson (Yarnworker), Media and Communications 


picture collageYour enthusiasm for a simple idea is infectious! Over 1.3 million yards of yarn, y’all! Spinzilla captured your imagination and we are grateful for everyone who was willing to jump in with both feet and spin your hearts out. There were many things we got right and you were willing to give us a pass on the things that were not quite right yet—thanks for that!

Participants both via the survey and other avenues gave us thoughtful comments about how to make Spinzilla even better.  The common themes were around registration, spinning start and end times, team captain orientation, communication in general, and clarity around measuring and plying.

Spinner Survey You had a great (70%) or good (28%) experience, and most of spinners would participate again (70%).  Spinners primarily interacted online (70%), although a good number also met in person either at a store (15%) or at a meet up (15%).  The favorite part of Spinzilla was the incentive to spin more (51%) and interacting with other spinners (27%).  The most used Spinzilla resources was Ravelry, followed by your team captains’ various communications and  our website and e-newsletter.

Team Captain Survey Team Captains overwhelmingly thought Spinzilla met its goals (100%).  More than half thought they got great support (65%) while the rest felt that the support was good (35%).  Teams communicated with their members via e-mail or newsletter, followed by Ravelry, their business blog, website, Facebook page or shop-based promotions.  To get information about the event, captains primarily used Ravelry and the direct team captain e-mails from Spinzilla while also using the website, blog, and Facebook.  All team captains said they would be back next year! More than half of the businesses associated with teams said that Spinzilla generated sales and new customers.  Thank you for supporting your LYS and spinning suppliers! 

Keep talking, sharing, and showing off your yarn.  We are still hanging out on Ravelry and Facebook, blogging, and sending out e-newsletters. The website is in the process of being updated.  There is no napping for us! Team registration opens May 5, 2014. Stay tuned!  There is more to come.

Your 2014 Spinzilla Committee

Rita Petteys, Logistics Lady
Andrea Marquis, Prize Princess
Constance Hall, Team Captain and Rogue Herder
Liz Gipson, Media Maven





You are all winners for raising nearly $6,000 for the NeedleArts Mentoring Program.  The spinners of tomorrow thank you! You win because the more you spin, the better spinner you become!  We all win because spinning nearly 1.4 MILLION YARDS OF YARN (1,373,175.06) is a collective accomplishment beyond our wildest dreams!

Thank you to everyone that participated and helped support this inaugural year of Spinzilla!

Onto The Prizes!

As the Spinzilla prize priestess I want to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to Spinzilla.  Each person listed here will receive a $25 gift certificate.  I will coordinate with the businesses to send each winner either a physical or digital certificate.  If you have any questions please e-mail me at

—Andrea Marquis, Yarn Superhero

golden niddy copy

The Golden Niddy Noddy is off to the engravers. Thanks to Constance Hall, Team Captain Herder for bring the golden niddy to life.

Team FancyTiger is awarded the inaugural golden niddy noddy that is being inscribed for eternity with their accomplishment of spinning 94,939.73 yards!

Fancy Tiger individual team member prizes listed by first name, last initial, and prize sponsor:

Bob B   Beesybee Fiber
Tory K  Cloudlover
Miranda H  Cotton Clouds
Tina J  Happy  Fuzzy Yarn
Melanie E  Imperial Stock Ranch
Lily G  Into the Whirled
Joanna J Knitspot
Pink P Louet
Rebecca F Louet
Karen D Lucky Cat Craft
Susan P Mountain Meadow Wool
Sophia S Mountain Meadow Wool
Emily P Nancy’s Knit Knacks
Amber C Painted Tiger
Christina B Pigeonroof Studios
Caroline M Pigeonroof Studios
Jaime J Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival
Frank W Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival
Pamela M Schacht Spindle Company
Nathalie H Schacht Spindle Company
Laura C Spin Off
Kathryn B Spin Off
Megan M Stitched By Sasha
Jennifer L Storey Publishing
Emelyn T Three Fates Yarn

Our Rogue Champion Award is sponsored by The Woolery. Terresa Lawson wins a Yards to Yarn Balance emblazoned with a special plaque and a $25 gift certificate from The Woolery. 

Just added, a special award for the individual that spun the most yards. Cheryl Newhouse on Team Storey wins with 16,852 yards. She wins a small niddy noddy and a plaque for spinning a sick amount of yarn. Think about hiring her as a Spinzilla consultant/coach for next year’s competition!

Our randomly drawn prize winners follow, in alphabetical order by team. Click the links to see what you or your friends or fierce competitors have won…

Random Prize Winners listed by team, first name, last initial, and prize sponsor:

Team Alpaca Direct

Kelly H Louet

Kjirstine P Quayside Publishing Group

Team Asheville Homecrafts

Marie H Cotton Clouds

Ruth G Natural Fiber Producers

Ashley E Enchanted Knoll

Team Cotton Clouds

Irene S Schacht Spindle Company

Jesse L Yarn Hollow

Suzy S Yarn Hollow

Tamara S Spin Off

Team Edgewood Garden Studio

Wendy S Lucky Cat Craft

Jessica W Storey Publishing

Team Gate City Yarns

Martha M Mielke’s Fiber Arts

Cathy E The Knitting Guild Association

Team Knit Girllls

Stacie D Natural Fiber Producers

Team Knot Another Hat

Kelli M Louet

Yvonne E Louet

Paula W Louet

Lise B Schacht Spindle

Lorie S Storey Publishing

Team Louet

Kim G Natural Stitches

Susanne B Mohair and More

Bethe O Meridian Jacobs

Team Lucky Cat Craft

Allison R SweetGeorgia Yarn

Margaret C Pigeonroof Studios

Team Meridian Jacobs

Janette E Cloudlover

Kathleen H SweetGeorgia Yarn

Sheena M  Cotton Clouds

Robin L Into the Whirled

Terri M Lucky Cat Crafts

Team Mielke’s Fiber Arts

Linda P Happy Fuzzy Yarn

Shirley S Lucky Cat Crafts

Jenny R Knitspot

Mary Z  Smudge Yarns

Team Natural Fiber Producers

Sue S Louet

Traci N Stitched by Sasha

Team Natural Stitches

Angie H Natural Fiber Producers

Team Nimblestix

LaDonna M Natural Stitches

Kimberly B Imperial Stock Ranch

Team Recycled Lamb

Christie G SweetGeorgia Yarn

Rogue Spinner

Cyndi M Yarn Hollow

Betty K Yarn Hollow

Rachel F  Cotton Clouds

Team Schacht  

Juan Happy Fuzzy Yarn

Cindy L Natural Fiber Producers

Team SpinOff

Stephenie G Natural Stitches

Amy F SweetGeorgia Yarns

Team Storey Publishing

Patty J Louet

Amy L Spin Off

Team Stringtopia

Jessica C Louet

Janie Y Alpaca Direct

Team SweetGeorgia

Diana T Natural Stitches

Felicia L Storey Publishing

Team Uniquities Yarn Shop

Aporanee S Lavender Sheep

Team Woolery

Jennifer A Natural Stitches

Taevia M Mountain Meadow Wool

Team Yarn Hollow

Paula S Happy Fuzzy Yarn

Heather M Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival

Elise D Pigeonroof Studios

Team Yarn Tree Studio

Joyce Y  Louet

A surprise donation, the following winners (also randomly drawn) get a Bobbins up storage bobbin set from

Team Heritage Spinning and Weaving Jennifer M
Team Lucky Cat Craft Connie K and Barbara G
Team Natural Stitches Julie T
Team Recycled Lamb Julie B and Flo O
Team Storey Marilyn L
Team Woolery Alice H

The Golden Niddy Noddy goes to . . . . Team Fancy Tiger for the Win! 94,939.73 monster yards spun!

Tean Fancy TigerTerresa Lawson is the Rogue Spinner Winner with 13,106 monster yards!

Lawson Rogue 13106 cropped

Just added, a special award for the individual that spun the most yards. Cheryl Newhouse brought home a whopping 16,852 yards for Team StoreyNewhouse, Storey, 16582


Top Ten Teams

Team Fancy Tiger 94,939.73

Team KnitGirllls 82,587

Team Storey 78,712

Team Woolery 74,593

Team Louet 63,964

Team SweetGeorgia 62,844

Team Mielke 62,652.39

Team Knot Another Hat/Natural Fiber Producers 61,732

Team Yarn Hollow 61,647.50

Team Knitting Nest/Edgewood Fiber Studio 61,590

Random Prize winners and the golden niddy noddy will be revealed tomorrow. 

Thanks to our Sponsors The National Needlearts Association and its Spinning and Weaving Group for making Spinzilla possible.

Spinzilla Spinners you are all winners!

Deadline to submit your yarn to your team captain is Tuesday, OCTOBER 15!  Here is a brief reminder about what to do!

  • Make sure that you have your Team Captain’s Email address.  You need to have this handy for submitting your yardage!
  • Measure your spun singles, FAQs answered here!
  • 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.
  • 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, Team Spinning Mavens, 3,000,000 yards.
  • Submit your yarn 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!

Now you have beaucoup de yardage. Here are a few ideas to temp your needles, hooks, and looms. We look forward to seeing what you do with your newly spun yarn.  Share your projects on our social media channels including facebookpinterest, instagram and ravelry! Make sure you include your team’s hashtag and/or #Spinzilla, so we can check it out!

There are great designs that are created especially for handspun yarns! Pictured below (from L-R) are Jenise Reid’s Handspun Sweater, Joanna Johnson’s Foliolum Shawl, Heather Storta’s Lilah Shawl, and Julia Farwell-Clay’s Party Mix Sweater.


Another way to use handspun yarn is to mix it with commercial yarn for colorwork, stripes, or to use as a collar, edging or border on your project! A great example of this is Ann Weaver’s King Of Confidence sweater design (available for free on here on Knitty), shown below.


Yarn with twist produces cloth that only spinners can make. The Helix Scarf by Stephenie Gaustad is a popular pattern for high-twist lace weight yarn.  Have a lot of chunky textured yarns? Weave up a batch of Saori Woven Handspun Pillows by Nickolena or myfinn’s Otono Handwoven Handspun Scarf.

Handspun Handwoven.jpg

Martha McQuade’s Simple Shoes, Adrian Bizilla’s Gnomey Hat (shown below left), Angela Whisnant’s crocheted Handspun Baby Socks and Elizabeth Zimmerman’s tried-and-true Baby Surprise Jacket (shown below right) are just a few of many adorable baby patterns that are well-suited to handspun yarn.


There are toy patterns that are specifically written for handspun yarn such as Susan B. Anderson’s Lamb From Scratch (shown below), Joanna Stephens’ Handspun Mini Dinosaur and Deborah Pulliam’s Handspun Knitted Pig.


Many designers have created patterns specifically for handspun yarn. Some of the more popular designs include: Handspun Shawlette Recipe by Jen Lucas, Handspun Show-off Socks by Caryn Lanz, Handspun Fingerless Gloves by Emily Wessel and the One Row Handspun Scarf by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, all of which are available for free on Ravelry.


Check out Weavolution; below are just a few member projects to inspire you (from R-L): Sofa PillowsSaori ScarfTwill BlanketRuana.


Layout 1Today is I Love Yarn Day!  I Love Yarn day is set aside as a day to celebrate this love of yarn.  All this week, Spinzilla spinners have expressed their love of yarn by making a lot of it.  By participating in Spinzilla, spinners have supported the work of the Needle Arts Mentoring Program to share that love with future generations.

There is another group of people we would like to offer up some love—our Local Spinning Shop owner, our fiber suppliers, and the tool makers.  Where would we be with out them? Fifty years ago the amazing array of spinning wheels, fibers, and specialty spinning items that we enjoy everyday were almost nonexistent.   Think about it, most of the shops and business we enjoy today have their roots in the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s.  Before then there were a few mail order businesses (there was no internet), a handful of shops, and a smattering of tool makers.  Today, not only do we we have a lot more spinning suppliers we have a lot more sophisticated tools and fibers to choose from.

swg-logoSpinzilla is made possible by the sheer existence of these business.  Our sponsors The National Needlearts Association and the Spinning and Weaving Group serve as collective advocacy organizations that work to ensure that our businesses are healthy and that they can continue to help us find just the thing we need to make our spinning lives better. Our prize sponsors  and all the businesses that hosted a team are working hard every day to serve the needs of the spinning community.  Support your spinning business that made Spinzilla possible and they will be there in the future to keep supporting the needs of spinners.

Soon it is going to be time to share all the yarn you have made with the world. Do you have your team captain’s e-mail handy so that you can send in your yardage and photo of your yarn?  If you have questions about measuring or submitting your yarn, revisit our blog post from October 5. It answers the most commonly asked questions on the subject. Can’t wait to see your yarn!  Our bet is that we are going to spin enough yarn to encircle the globe and share a bit of yarn love with the whole world!

We are almost halfway though the week Spinzilla spinners! Pace yourself, drink plenty of fluids, and stretch often.  Today, Jacey Boggs is paying us a visit to cheer you on! Leanne Pressly, our Spinzilla social media coordinator, recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jacey Boggs at the Taos Wool Festival to talk about Spinzilla and PLY. Jacey is perhaps best known for her breakout new magazine PLY- A MAGAZINE FOR HANDSPINNERS, launched this Fall. Jacey raised over $30,000 on a Kickstarter campaign to fund her idea of bringing a brand-new spinning publication to the masses.

IMAG0691 IMAG0692

[Leanne] Thank you so much for chatting today and sharing your enthusiasm for Spinzilla with our readers!

[Jacey] Sure, Spinzilla seems like such a great way to bring together the spinning community and also to encourage new skill building.  There is major value in putting in the hours.  In classes I teach, we call it “doing the work”.  It’s really the only way to grow as a spinner.  The more you do something, the better you get.  I bet everyone that participates in Spinzilla ups their spin skills in a noticeable way. Plus, who doesn’t love being on a team!?

[Leanne] I think the mission of Spinzilla is not unlike your mission for your new magazine, PLY. Can you tell us about that?

[Jacey] Our mission with PLY is very similar to the goals of Spinzilla, which is to support the community, teach new skills, and inspire spinners. We want a magazine that recognizes the knowledge of spinning experts but also recognizes the contributions of everyday spinners who might not be published but have something to offer and share about spinning knowledge. Spinning has been around for over twenty thousand years so there are a lot of people who have come before us. I wonder how much yarn has been spun in the history of spinning?  That’d be a winning team in Spinzilla, eh?  Team History!  Anyway, after learning so much from my students (many of which are teamed up and ready to spin like their feet are on fire), I’m convinced that there are a lot of contributors out there with information to share (after Oct 13th, of course). My hope is that PLY can help bring that knowledge to everyone.

[Leanne] Can you tell us 5 things about Jacey that readers might not know?

[Jacey] (laughs) Oh Boy…. let’s see…. After 20 years of being vegan, I now eat meat like three times per day. My boyfriend does all the cooking because I never learned how to cook meat. I’ll take recipes, got any good ones? Along those lines, since turning 35 I’ve been eating dark chocolate with sea salt DAILY. … I refuse to knit my true love a sweater– he’s 6’3 and 210 pounds.  I fear it would take forever! I spent a year making a sweater a month for myself but not yet one for him.  And let’s see…. I once spent 3 days in jail on mistaken charges of grand theft auto. It was later proven that the car WAS INDEED MINE!

[Leanne] Yeah, I doubt most people would know that last fact! What tips do you have for our Spinzilla spinners as they take on the challenge of spinning the most yarn?

[Jacey] In my opinion, the key to winning the trophy is well-prepped rolags and a good long draw. Though I’ve seen some wicked quick worsted spinners, as well. I always find thinner spinning faster, plus it decreases the number of times you have to stop and change bobbins or skein off.  Be sure to have some dark chocolate and Downton Abbey or Buffy the Vampire Slayer to pass the time this week.  Also, you might underestimate your speed, so be sure to have enough fiber on hand or a credit card at the ready for emergency fiber replenishment!

[Leanne] Thanks so much Jacey!

In closing, we asked Jacey to gather her class of students for a final good luck wish this week….. watch the video here:

Wow, Spinners… What can be said?

First, thank you, from your humble Spinzilla Chairperson. Your response, your willingness, your enthusiasm, your patience. All overwhelming, all so generous. Please accept our thanks for helping make this event go from a brainstorming session to a reality!


Spin for the win! Andrea Marquis created Winzilla to cheer on our intrepid spinners. Go, Spinners, Go!

Secondly, have an amazing week. Spin, have fun, be creative, try new things, laugh, and share. We can’t wait to see what’s happens in your spinning life in the upcoming week. We know it’s going to be great, and we know that this week is going to build your confidence in spinning. Challenge yourself to spin as much as you can, and don’t worry that you won’t spin enough. You will be spinning, and your spinning is going to be part of your team’s efforts.

Speaking of team efforts, the Spinzilla Committee deserves mention and gratitude for their hard work getting this event off the ground. So, thank you to all the following for the individual efforts:

Claudia Segal, for her willingness to lead the exploratory committee that got this event off the ground.

Constance Hall, for her stewardship of the teams and team captains, her sense of humor, and her ease in communicating with the spinners

Andrea Marquis for her enthusiasm, esprit de corps, and efforts gathering the terrific array of prizes

Liz Gipson for being the vision keeper and tirelessly managing the details that kept this event on track.

Leanne Pressley of The Wool Wide Web for help with social media – her savvy was invaluable!

Libby Butler-Gluck for giving us guidance based on her past experience with event planning and helping promote Spinzilla in the media and digging up more outlets for the message.

Dave VanStalen for guiding Spinzilla from its genesis and for his big-picture thinking.

The staff at the TNNA for their background support and willingness to implement the systems that manage the event! Thank you Patti Parrish, Jane Miller, Guy Googins, and Holly Burckholter for your efforts.  And, to all the Spinning and Weaving Group members whose dues support this kind of advocacy.

Lastly, your contributions to the NeedleArts Mentoring Program are going help grow a new batch of spinners, and that’s the best part. Already educators in my area have asked me about when they can start get their hands on those spindles – they are or know art teachers who need and want more materials for their students. Are you someone who wants to help grow the next generation of fiber artists? Are you someone who wants to share the knowledge and love of spinning? Ask yourself how you can give young people the love of fiber arts in a scouting group, through a youth group, at an afterschool program, through a day camp or church youth group. Your enthusiasm will be contagious.

So this week, go forth and spin. Spin for fun, spin for the challenge, spin for the competition, and most of all SPIN FOR SHARING!!! 

Most sincerely,

Rita Petteys – Spinzilla Chairperson