Spinning the most, the fastest

Spin-Off Magazine, Spring 2010

Spin-Off Magazine, Spring 2010

Cleaning out my spinning and weaving magazine stash the other day, I stumbled upon this old issue of Spin-Off Magazine from Spring 2010. There’s a brief article about the “Great Yarn Caper at SOAR 2009” where there was a competition for determining who could spin the longest yarn in 15 minutes. It sounded like exactly the kind of info we need as we prepare for Spinzilla in the coming weeks!

The three fastest wheel spinners produced about 90 to 92 yards per 15 minutes while the three fastest spindle spinners spun between 38 to 56 yards in the same 15 minutes. One of the judges, Abby Franquemont, commented “…spindle-spun yarns, were, as a whole, significantly finer in diameter and more consistent than wheel-spun yarns.” There were discoveries about the difference between washed and unwashed yarns as well as characteristics of efficient production spinning. Here’s what they found:

  1. To get a lot of yardage, spin with a long-draw method: Whether spun on a wheel or by spindle, the longest yarns spun in the 15 minute duration were spun by long-draw methods. So for Spinzilla, perhaps consider preparing a whack-load of carded rolags of just spinning from the fold.
  2. To produce a very fine yarn (60 wpi or more) quickly, use a spindle
  3. To produce a thicker yarn (40 wpi or less), use a flyer wheel

This should be a comfort to all those spindle spinners out there who feel like they want to participate in Spinzilla but “only have a spindle”… spindle spinners ARE productive and competitive!

My personal goal for Spinzilla is to spin about 3,000 yards of singles which I will ply (after Spinzilla) in order to make enough 2-ply worsted weight yarn for a sweater. That’s about 2 lbs of fibre which is a lot for me. If I spin at the rate of the fastest wheel spinners from the SOAR 2009 competition, then it will take me about 8.5 straight hours of spinning to get that yardage. I’m thinking BFL+Silk or Polwarth+Silk spun from the fold.

How about you? What are you planning on spinning for Spinzilla? And for more on production spinning, and specifically fibre preparation for production spinning, check out Beth Smith’s blog tour post for today!