Friday, October 17, 2014

Spinzilla Final Tally!

Benjamin has spent the better part of a two days measuring the yarn, and fielding e-mails from our "off-site" spinners. We are finally ready to announce our final yardage for Spinzilla! 61,671 yards!!!

All the yarn from our "Schacht-based" spinners!

That is 35.04 miles, or more than enough yarn to reach from us to the Denver Art Museum, where 5 teams (including ours) spent Sunday the 12th spinning until our bobbins were full. Over 70 spinners showed up to this event, which was a major hit with the patrons of the museum.

For our team, the spinner who spun the most yardage was Denise Renee Grace. She spun 7,032 yards (~4 miles) of yarn using all four of her wheels!

Here is a closer look at everybody's yarn.

Lara - 1,163 yards
Melissa - 2,586 yards
Beege - 1,229 yards

Caron - 2,767 yards
Stephanie - 4,496 yards
Deb B - 2,386 yards

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spinzilla Guest Blog - Melissa Ludden

Greetings from Salem, Massachusetts, where Halloween is in full swing! I represented Team Schacht Spindle out here on the East Coast, and I was thrilled to have an excuse to spin, spin, spin for a whole week. The warp on my Baby Wolf was feeling a bit neglected, but it agreed to sit tight for a week.

Disclaimer: This is stash yarn, none of which was spun this Spinzilla.
I love using local fibers, so the week before Spinzilla was spent carding up batts using a fleece I purchased at the Common Ground Fair Fleece Tent from Rivercroft Farm in Starks, Maine. I've been spinning up fleece from both Maine and Massachusetts (my two home states) for a couple of years now. The going is slow as most of my free time is spent chasing after an active and inquisitive four-year-old little boy and restoring our c.1750 saltbox, but eventually I plan to turn my pile of local yarn into a fabulous weaving project. It's my own mini Fibershed project.

I am not a technical spinner at this stage of my life. I will buy a fleece only if it can be drum carded, and I launch right into spinning once the fiber is cleaned and prepped. I don't project-plan and then spin. I spin and then plan a project around my resulting yarn. Whatever comes out is what it was meant to be for me. While you may scoff at my slacker approach, I can assure you that I adore spinning because I can just spin and quiet my mind. Of course who knows what the future will bring. My Matchless and I are ready for anything!

You can find me designing weaving projects for the Schacht newsletter and teaching at the Creative Warehouse in Needham, Massachusetts.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Spinzilla Guest Blog - Deb Brandon

Long Distance Relationship

Schacht and I have a long distance relationship. We see each other no more than two or three times a year, yet, our ties are still close, even after these long seven plus years.
            When I visit, Lupe welcomes me with a hug, as do Kate and Denise. Jane and Barry greet me with a smile. And they all ask me when I'm planning to move to Boulder.
            Last year we took our relationship one step farther, when I participated in the first Spinzilla as a Schacht team-member. And here I am, once again, spinning away with my Schacht community for Spinzilla 2014.
            This year, we have taken another step. Though I am spinning here in my home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylavania, and my team-members are close to fifteen hundred miles away, in Boulder, my sense of being a part of the Schacht community is even stronger—this year. We even have team T-shirts.
            I sit here wearing my T-shirt, treadling away, clouds of fiber flowing between my fingers, entering the twist, winding onto the bobbin as a lofty yarn that will become a scarf, or a hat. Perhaps a shawl, or a vest.
            As I treadle, images flow through my mind—a chocolate alpaca being sheared, work-worn fingers picking vegetable matter out of a fleece, suntanned hands carding fiber into fluffy clouds. I envision knitting needles in my hands, clicking against each other, a scarf growing row by row. I see a shuttle, shooting from selvedge to selvedge, trailing creamy yarn. I recall past projects, a hand knit tomten hat for my father made of handspun Romney, a lace scarf that now resides in India that I knitted with yarn I'd spun from an angora/wool blend.
            I picture other spinners, from near and far, creating yarn during Spinzilla week. Bolivian women walking to market, packs on their backs, hands busy spinning, their spindles swinging to and fro with every step. I imagine Irene Schmoller of Cotton Clouds, sitting at her wheel, a colorful scarf around her neck. Her legs, encased in matching leggings, are a blur of color as she treadles. I visualize a group of women sitting in a circle at Natural Stitches, a local yarn shop, treadling away as they chat and laugh.
            And in my minds eye, I see the Schacht spinners, my teammates, Denise, Jane, Kate, Paul, Cindy. They're sitting outside under the trees during break, with Ladybugs, Sidekicks, Reeves, or Matchless spinning wheels, spinning away, just like me, on my own Ladybug.

-Deb Brandon
For more of Deb Brandon's work, you can find her in the following places:

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Spinzilla - Why We Spin

Top row left to right: Maria, Kou, Gail, James, Benjamin, Barry, Deb F., Denise, Stephanie, Betty, Beege, Judy, Cindy.
Bottom row left to right: Brianna, Paul, Donna, Kate, Pam, Jane, Constance

Our "satelite" spinners on Team Schacht clockwise: Deb B, Lara, Melissa, Nora
Not Pictured: Caron Wilson

There are many reasons why we spin here at Schacht. I could go on for pages on why each of us on team Schacht Spindle sit down at our wheel and spin.

Enjoy these selections of "why we spin."

"... it's a calm center ... a continuation of an ancient craft, connecting us to all of civilization ..."

"It's the 'doing' of it ... 'making' ... the promise of the end project ... potential"

"It's complete control. From fiber to yarn to finished project I have control over the whole process ... there is nothing like using my handspun."

"There's a meditative quality to spinning ... making something 'real'"

"The entrainment of the rhythm resets my body and spirit."

"Spinzilla gave me an opportunity to learn something new. It's soothing, calming, and gives me focus."

"It's soothing ... easy to pick up and put down, and just relax. It's another fiber-y thing to do. Using my handspun is satisfying."

"I find it enjoyable ... relaxing ...  calming. I wanted to learn when I first started working at Schacht because I found out spinning wheels weren't just in fairy tales."

"It's calming ... I go to another place when I spin. I wanted to learn since I build the wheels; I was curious."

"It's soothing ... a great way to get centered. It's my own world."

"I wanted to learn because I was curious. Anytime I am offered an opportunity to learn something, I take it."

For more updates during Spinzilla, find us on our social media!

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