Spinning Training

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1. Sarah Anderson demonstrates taking a bite of fiber for a slub in her video Building Blocks of Spinning.
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2. Slowly allow the twist to roll into the freshly made slub.

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3. Slub yarns can be so even that you can match up
 the thick sots for a very cool textured yarn.

Spinning Training
ed_anne Anne Merrow
Editor, Spin-Off Magazine

You may have heard that Spinzilla opened for spinners’ registration on September 1. (Have you signed up? If not, what are you waiting for?)

The competition is to see how much yarn you can spin in a week, but have you thought about what kind of yarn you want to spin? It would be easy to just spin your default two-ply for seven days straight, but that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as spinning a different yarn every day (or every hour!). If it’s Monday, it must be mohair boucle. Tuesday two-ply, of course, and Wednesday woolen—all the way through to Sunday’s spiral plying. Teacher and author Sarah Anderson made a whole video on this very subject, The Building Blocks of Spinning, and in four hours she shows more yarns than you might have known existed.

Goal: Great Slubs
Sarah Anderson was in our offices last week, and I was marveling at how easily she can change the diameter of her yarn. I know in my head that the diameter of a yarn is really only determined by the amount of fiber I draft into it, but getting my hands to make that change quickly and easily (and consistently!) is pretty challenging. Sarah credits the precision of her drafting to spinning slubs.

When I first started spinning, slubs were an unwelcome occurrence, a lumpy-bumpy impediment on my way to smooth, fine yarn. But just like spinning fat yarns can get harder if you only work on your fine-spinning skills, slubs can be hard to wrap your head and hands around if you have only practiced one style of drafting.

What’s the secret? Sarah taught me three:

1. Use combed top. What follows is a lot easier if all the fibers are the same length.

2. Draft out a staple length until it starts to thin while holding the twist at bay. You need to draft out just a little bit less than the length of the staple. Keeping an eye on the transparency of what you’re spinning will tell you when it’s time to draft out another bunch of fiber.

3. When you’ve reached the end of the staple, gently roll your fingers in the direction of the twist and let the fiber into the yarn slowly. Shepherding the twist down every inch of the slub will compact it and disarrange it.

You may be surprised to learn that slubs are a great way to practice consistency! Sarah Anderson offers wonderful advice for spinning all kinds of yarns in her video and book—which are on sale just in time for Spinzilla.


Spinner Registration Opens September 1st!

Spinzilla is a global event where teams and individuals compete in a friendly challenge to see who can spin the most yarn in a week!

Sign up here for Spinzilla 2015!

To see a complete list of teams, including Team Spin-Off, or to learn more about Spinzilla and spinning Rogue, visit our website, spinzilla.org.

Spinning starts October 5 and ends on October 11. Every registered spinner is eligible for prize drawings. Spin a mile to be entered for more chances to win!

Why should you should participate?



     • Push past your fears: The more yarn you spin, the better spinner you will become!
     • Raise awareness of handspinning in the yarn universe and beyond!
Support small business: Teams are hosted by your favorite tool maker, fiber provider, LYS, and other spinning-related suppliers.
     • 100% of your registration fee is donated to the NeedleArts Mentoring Program.



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