Everyone Wins at Spinzilla

For one week in October, the world stands still and spinners race to make as much yarn as possible. We asked Monica Bittner, Spinzilla’s 2016 winner (who spun 50,378 yards for Team Louet North America), for her suggestions.

To what do you attribute your success at Spinzilla?

I view Spinzilla as the Olympics of spinning, and no athlete makes it to the top alone. First and foremost, I could not do it without the help and cooperation of my family. On a more personal side, I think you need to know yourself. It is so easy to be distracted by what others are doing, how and how much they are spinning. This is counterproductive and really has no bearing on you in your place and time.

How long do you think you prepared for Spinzilla?

I have a terrible confession to make. Last year, I had been thinking about not doing Spinzilla, and it was only a couple of weeks before sign-ups that I could not resist and decided I would try once again. That did not give me much time to prepare. I was also spinning on a new wheel and only had about a week to get to know its quirks. There was still a lot of learning going on during the actual competition. Ideally, you would prepare for Spinzilla all year.

Spinzilla

After Spinzilla, Monica needs to find new uses for her new handspun yarn.

What was most helpful to you as you undertook Spinzilla?

I would have to say experience. Each year, I learn something new about how I spin or what might work better for me. Even this year, I came away with some insights on how I really could spin a little bit more and some things I could do better.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to try to do Spinzilla?

I guess it depends on what your goals are. I strongly feel the most important thing is to have fun. If you aren’t having fun, why do it? There are so many great teams out there with all kinds of team-based competitions and prizes. It’s like a weeklong spinning party. No one should ever feel intimidated by joining a team.

If you are doing it more as a competition, there are a number of things that can help you spin more. It really comes down to fiber + time = yardage. For competition spinning, fiber is 90% of the equation. For me, it has to be loose, lofty, well-prepared fiber that can be spun quickly. This is where having enough fiber prepped is so important. Despite my own best advice, I have run out of fiber every year. I had 20 pounds of fiber prepped last year, spun almost every ounce of it, and added a few that weren’t on the original list.

What’s your next goal or challenge?

I’ve been thinking of trying my hand at the Bothwell Longest Thread Competition in the wool/ spindle category. That would really be something to work for. It would be a great addition to have a “most spindle spun” category in Spinzilla. There are some amazing spindlers out there, and I would love a chance to compete in that challenge.

—Elizabeth Prose

Featured Image: Spinzilla fiber, prepped and ready to go! Photos by Monica Bittner


Prepare for Spinzilla!

 

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