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

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

As we eagerly anticipate a week of spinning for Spinzilla, there are number of things we can do to get ready. To participate in Spinzilla, we need to spin yarn and then measure it. Most people are likely to choose to spin singles to get the most length out of their spinning time—so the trick is figuring out how to measure your singles accurately.

Spin-Off editor, Amy Clarke Moore, shares a variety of ways to measure your yarn on the Spin-Off Blog.

amy clarke moore

Amy Clarke Moore, editor of Spin-Off Magazine

Jump on over to her Spin-Off blog today and read her full post, “How to Measure Your Yarn for Spinzilla”

Amy’s team at Spin-Off has also been compiling several other posts in honor of the Spinzilla event. Here are a few links:

Spin To Your Wheel’s Efficiency Range

Spinzilla-Ready Set Spin!

Tips For Your Wheel

We are thrilled to announce that we have over 500 spinners signed up for Spinzilla! Thank you to everyone who signed up for a team!

This week, our guest blogging tour continues with Sarah Anderson, author of “The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs”. Sarah generously offered to blog about Twist and Singles for our Spinzilla fans. Her blog will appear on on September 25th, 2013. Here is a little snippet of what she’ll be covering:

Sarah Anderson’s blog post about “Twist and Singles” brings to you the concept of weaving (or knitting) with singles that have active twist. It covers a bit about twist and how to size your singles with xanthan gum to contain the twist before using the yarn.

sarahandersonSarah’s new book, “The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs” is available here on Amazon and is getting some RAVE 5-star reviews!

“Discover the fun and satisfaction of spinning your own yarn! This step-by-step guide shows you how to create 80 distinctive yarns, from classics such as mohair boucle to novelty features like supercoils. Lush photographs illustrate the process of turning fleece into yarn, reveal the unique architecture of each yarn, and show exactly how to manipulate and combine fibers to get the results you want. With this must-have reference, you can create any yarn you desire.”

Are you ready to spin! We can’t wait to see all of your yarn. After all of your hard work you will be eager to show off your work with photos of your beautiful handspun yarns? A poorly lit, out-of-focus photo isn’t going to do justice to your hard work. Here are a few tips to help you take great photos.  Included are tips on how to pin your photos on Pinterest and share it with the Spinzilla community and beyond.

Anyone can take a great photo with the equipment they have available. We took all of these photos with an iPhone 5 with no fancy studio equipment.

1. Natural lighting is your friend! This photo was taken under dingy indoor lighting, and let’s face it, it’s not a great photo. The multiple light sources has created weird shadows, and the iphone just can’t seem to focus in such poor lighting.


2. The light should be behind you, not in front of the camera. In the first photo the yarn is in front of a sliding glass door, so that the yarn is mostly in shadow, and you can’t see the color very well.


In this photo the light is shining onto the yarn, allowing it to glow in natural light.  But since we’re directly in front of the window the phone itself is casting a bit of a shadow. Indirect sunlight is what you’re looking for!


3. Choose your background carefully. The color of your background might change the way that the color of your yarn looks in photos.

In this first photo the yarn looks more green, because of the red background.


In this photo the yarn looks yellow.


This photo portrays the true color of the yarn. It’s placed on a white background in a room with multiple windows, so that the light isn’t shining brightly from one direction, but softly from all directions. The white background also helps to reflect the light, brightening the photo. However the photo is still a little dull, and we can do better.


Go outside! Finally, just took the phone and a pad of paper outside, and voila the photo is in focus, the colors are vibrant, and you have a photo that really shows off your yarn! Cloudy days are best for photos, or try finding shade under a tree, or on your porch, or just wait until dusk.


Pin your photos! 

Share your photos with the world! (Or at least those in the world on Pinterest.) Pin your photos to your board or send them to your captain if your team’s business has a board. Use the designated hasthag for Spinzilla (#Spinzilla) and put that in the description of your image.  We’ll repin those posts for the event on the Spinzilla Pinterest board!

Still a bit fuzzy on how to pin? Here is a step-by-step tutorial. To post your photos go to your Pinterest page, and select which board you’d like to pin your photo too, then click “add pin”


*Choose Upload from computer


Find your file on your computer


Tell the world about your yarn, use #Spinzilla in the description, click pin, and repeat from *


Our Spinzilla Blog Tour continues this week with an installment from Beth Smith, owner of the Spinning Loft, Teacher and Spinning Diva. Pop over to her blog “Beth Smith Spinning” on September 18th, 2013 to read her full posting on “Fiber Prep for production Spinning”. 

Here is a little preview– let’s just say we’re pre-drafting Beth’s fiber blog here and you have to go to her website to get the full yarn!

    It's no secret.... Beth's favorite fiber is WOOL...

It’s no secret…. Beth’s favorite fiber is WOOL…

I’m here to talk about fiber prep to help you spin a little faster. Since most of you will be spinning from fiber that has been prepped for you in advance we will start there and then move on to talking about spinning quickly from raw fleece.

Woolen spinning– in other words some form of long draw– will surely get you where you want to go faster in most cases than short forward draw but this can be somewhat of a problem since most processed fiber available on the market today is in the form of top. This means that the fibers are all aligned and prettily arranged. Due to this arrangement they can sometimes be difficult to draft with the twist in the fiber supply which is required for a good, fast long draw.

So let’s talk about what we can do to avoid issues like twist lock when we are spinning top.  GO TO BETH’S BLOG TO READ MORE……

Our Spinzilla teams are growing but there is STILL ROOM on several teams for you to join in the fun and games. Visit our website to register today!

Our guest blogger’s job is to inspire you to get ready for lots of spinning during spinning and weaving week!  Please share them with your friends and tell them that you are spinning for Spinzilla!  We have blog buttons and other graphics available on our website.   There are still open spots.  Encourage your friends to join in on the fun!

For our next Blog Tour post, we’re popping over to the blog of Felicia Lo, owner of SweetGeorgia Yarns, teacher and maker of magical color in yarns and fiber. Felicia will be blogging about using hand dyed yarn in your spinning. Here is a small teaser of what you can read about on her blog, today–September 11, 2013:

There is a magic about handspun yarn from hand-dyed fibre. The way each colour morphs and blends into the next in a single, and how the colours are scattered and recombined through plying. It’s for spinners who love and appreciate all the fine details of how the colours transform between your fingers. But the beauty of a hand-dyed fiber can be intimidating to spinners who feel like they might “ruin it”.

I’d like to suggest some ideas of how you can approach that beautiful braid of hand-dyed fibre… something beyond spinning it from end to end. And perhaps one of your SpinZilla challenges can be spinning a hand-dyed fibre in a way you had never imagined before.

sweet georgia photo



We also would like to use this space to thank all of our generous sponsors who have donated prizes for Spinzilla.

Join us this Saturday September 7th for our next scheduled podcast with Spinzilla Chairwoman and owner of Yarn Hollow, Rita Petteys and Kathy Elkins, owner of WEBS in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Rita will be chatting with Kathy about our inaugural event! Kathy’s podcast, Ready, Set, Knit is a regularly published podcast for the WEBS audience. We’re thrilled that she’s been so generous in helping us spread the word about Spinzilla. Tune in and then get ready to SPIN!


Rita Petteys, Chairwoman of Spinzilla and owner of Yarn Hollow

Kathy Elkins, owner of WEBS.

Kathy Elkins, owner of WEBS.