Storey authors and expert spinners share strategies for spinning a lot of yarn in a little time.

Each year, The National NeedleArts Association’s Spinning and Weaving Group challenges spinners around the world to spin as much yarn as they can during a single week in October. Teams compete for the highest totals, all for a good cause, and everyone who participates has a different strategy for making the most of this “monster” week of spinning known as Spinzilla.

I know spinners who cook their family’s meals ahead and freeze them and spinners who take the whole week off just to spin. Outcomes differ widely, too. This year, several people who participated in Spinzilla spun more than 30,000 yards in a week!

Spinzilla co-captain Jillian Moreno’s work from a week of spinning

Spinzilla co-captain Jillian Moreno’s work from a week of spinning. Photo courtesy of the author

Author Beth Smith and I co-captained the Storey Publishing team this year, and she and I spun vastly different amounts of yarn. Beth spun an awe-inspiring 10,380 yards and I, a modest 1,521 yards. Beth sat focused at her wheel and spun and spun; I got waylaid by travel, a sick kiddo, and a migraine. Obstacles aside, I still spun every single day and loved it. It’s fantastic to focus on spinning, and it’s still magic to me how much I can get done if I sit at my wheel every day.

In the end, the 25 members of Team Storey came in 25th out of 64 teams, with 68,343 total yards spun!

Our team logo, designed by Storey’s marketing art director David Morrison

Our team logo, designed by Storey’s marketing art director David Morrison

Energized by the event, Beth and I put together three tips each for getting a lot of spinning done in a short time. You can use them now to spin a sweater’s worth of yarn this winter, or save them to spin for Spinzilla next year.

Beth’s tips:

  • Don’t cook, clean, or pay attention to your kids. Get carry-out for dinner, and convince your spouse to drive the kids to school and to all of their activities.
  • Use the fastest wheel you have and the one you are most comfortable with; this isn’t the time to break in a new wheel.
  • Spin a finer yarn to avoid changing bobbins and winding off too often.

Jillian’s tips:

  • Prepare your fiber before you start. Make sure you have more fiber than you think you’ll spin, and prepare it or predraft it all ahead of time. Being able to just reach for fiber and spin makes the yarn fly on your bobbin.
  • Leave your spinning station set up. I leave my wheel and its nest of fiber and tools set up all the time when I’m working on a big project, so if I have a spare 10 minutes I can jump on and spin a few yards. It really adds up.
  • Audiobooks are the way to spinning nirvana. I can focus on spinning the best when I listen to audiobooks. Commercials on TV, even those I can skip through, break my flow when I’m spinning. Spinning to a Netflix binge can’t hold a candle to the yardage I can get when I listen to an audiobook.

Happy spinning!

Jillian Moreno

Jillian Moreno has been involved in craft publishing for more than 20 years. She worked at Interweave Press and has co-authored two books, Big Girl KnitsSee Bio

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