Speedy Spinning with The Woolery

Preparing your fibers and wheel ahead of time will make your Spinzilla spinning more efficient and enjoyable, plus it will maximize the amount of time you have to spend at your wheel – talk about win-win! Now is the perfect time to start planning your Spinzilla Strategy; here are 3 things you can do now to ensure speedy spinning this October:

batts

Strategy #1: Get Batty

If you have access to a drum carder, the world is your oyster! Batts are easy to store for later use once Spinzilla rolls around. Not only are they fun to spin from, the blanket of fiber you create provides for a lot of spinning options to create both worsted and woolen yarns. They’re also wonderful for using up leftover bits and bobs lingering in your stash, or giving new life to that compacted roving that has been lurking at the bottom of your stash. Get inspired with this article from the KnittySpin archives.

Strategy #2: Blend In

Rolags are another option to consider as you make Spinzilla plans. A blending board is ideal for making rolags, though large hand carders can also be used; we’ve even seen folks use a drum carder to create rolags! Fibers can be blended in a specific pattern (for example, striped or gradient), or a more subtle effect can be achieved by blending fiber colors which are similar or complementary.

blending2

The Woolery crew prefers to use our own Rosie Blending Board for blending fibers into rolags. If you’re new to using a blending board, Jacey Boggs of Ply Magazine shared some great tips for successful fiber processing featuring the Rosie Blending Board, found here on our blog archive. Bonus: rolags are not just pretty to look at, they’re also easy to store for spinning later on, and great for traveling spinners, too!

Strategy #3: Keep That Wheel Spinning

img_1575

Has it been awhile since you changed out the drive band? Is there a squeaking or clattering sound you’ve been ignoring which hasn’t gone away? Now is the perfect time to clean & care for your wheel. Performing basic maintenance now means that you are less likely to have your wheel break down when you need it most this October.

Check out our free guide to spinning wheel maintenance for ways to prepare now so that you can spin to win this fall. We also have some Spinzilla Specials* to make sure you have everything you need for a successful event:
⦁ Enjoy 10% off  Rosie’s Spinning Wheel Maintenance Kit with promo code AWBMCX.
⦁ Save 20% on Cashmere Blending Fiber with promo code VJQDFD.
⦁ Get 15% off your purchase of a  Large Padded Spinning Wheel Bag with promo code EQMCMW.

Still have questions about how to get ready for Spinzilla? Ask Nancy, our resident fiber arts guru! Email weavernancy@woolery.com or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group; user submitted questions are featured regularly on the Woolery blog!
*Cannot be combined with any other discount promotion
*Must be logged into your Woolery online account to use coupon
*Limit of one coupon code use per customer
*Offers valid thru 9/30/2016

 

 

Share Button

Get on Board the Spinzilla Train!

The Spinzilla Monster Train is getting ready to start rolling and we want you on board!

28-primie-schoorl-ply-magazine-creative-spinning-spot-winner

Here is the link to register.

There are still plenty of teams who would love to have you join them, so check out the team descriptions on our website and see who looks like a good fit. Any team that does not say “Full” is fair game.

We need your handspun yards–any yards! Collectively, we’d like to spin enough to reach around the globe, and remember, your spinner registration fees are donated to the NeedleArts Mentoring Program to create the spinners of tomorrow!

If you have already jumped on board, would you please do one more thing? Please talk us up to spinners you know, so they can join in the fun. Get them to sign up on your team. Offer them: Support! Fun! Experience! Chances of prizes! Chocolate! Camaraderie! Sore bums! 🙂 Or just tell them we really would love for them to join in our one week of spinning. Y’all are our best recruiters and we appreciate it very much.

The last day to register for this year’s Spinzilla is September 30.

And remember to shop with our lovely sponsors if you need to stock up on fiber, tools, or other supplies. They are folks who love spinning and its related toys just like the rest of us, and they are offering Spinzilla Specials!

use-this-spinzilla-16-footer-2

 

 

Share Button

Meet Our Spinzilla Sponsors: Paradise Fibers

We interviewed Rachel Riley from Paradise Fibers.

paradise logo    Ravtar-spinzilla-transparent_medium1 (1)

Spinzilla: What is the focus of your business?

Rachel: We really have a huge selection of spinning fiber. Our monthly fiber club is very popular and has been going for a long time now with no end in sight. The spinning fiber is a very large focus for us and we are always investigating new sources and trying to find better pricing for our customers.
Spinzilla: What is your typical day like?

Rachel: I usually get to the store at 9. We have a meeting over coffee with all the staff for a few minutes to address any questions for the day. Then I respond to my emails until the storefront opens at noon. Once the store is open to walk in customers, I split my time between helping people at the front desk and shipping orders. After lunch I add products to the website and if it’s not a late night, I head home around 6pm. Once I’m home I usually hang out with my four kids that I just adore. They are 11, 5, 3 and 1 and we often watch Brave or Frozen for the 15 millionth time. I don’t mind though, because the kids snuggle next to me while I knit or spin and they watch the movie. My little girl Romi always asks me what I’m making. It’s often a shawl, and she has said, “I like that shawl your making mama.” She has being cute down to an art. That’s pretty much how my days go.

IMG_0760

Romi wearing the owl crochet hat that Rachel Made for her.

Spinzilla: What is your favorite part of your job?

Rachel: I really like helping customers to choose yarn for projects, or helping them find the perfect pattern to make their next project. It’s like vicarious knitting and it’s a great opening to get to know someone new. We have customers from all walks of life and areas of the world and I really enjoy getting to know each of them a little bit as we interact.

Spinzilla: Which of your products specifically help spinners produce more yardage and how?

Rachel: I would probably go with a diz. We have a small wooden diz that is made in our woodshop and it’s a really nice tool because you can pull a thick piece of roving through the tiny hole in the diz and it make sit easier to draft thinner and more consistently. When roving is prepared in this way, it is  easier to spin very fine yarn, thus giving you more yardage per pound of fiber.

IMG_4171 (1)

The Romine front yard – the sheep never have to be asked twice to mow the yard.

Spinzilla: What about your business would surprise our team hosts and spinners?

Rachel: That’s tough. We have a beautiful old building that was built in 1906 with 25000 square feet of space but we still don’t have enough room to display all of our yarns on the main floor of the store. Also, several of the employees believe the building to be haunted by a ghost named Charlie. Our lead shipper Lei-Sea swears that Charlie helps her find lost yarn that is needed for an order. One day, she came in to work very excited because a rack of yarn had been knocked over and there were balls of yarn everywhere. We reviewed our surveillance video only to find out that the “ghost” was actually our co-worker Kari trying to make her way out of the store in the pitch dark and knocking everything over. It sure made for an exciting start to the day though. So far no conclusive ghost evidence has been found but Lei-Sea is still hopeful.

Spinzilla: That’s funny. I worked in a yarn shop where sometimes yarn would jump off of the shelves. We sometimes said it was a ghost, but it could just as well have been due to a train going by. What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?

Rachel: I started Spinning at a relatively young age and I just took for granted that the ladies of our spinning guild would always be around to answer questions and pass on their extensive knowledge and experience. As I have grown up we have lost some of our dear friends and I wish I had realized how important and influential these people would be to me. I wish I had taken more time to discuss all things fiber with them and to write down their pearls of wisdom. I hope they knew how much I admired and respected them.

IMG_3240

Glamour photo of Rachel wearing the riverside cowl she knit from Louisa Harding Azalea yarn.

Spinzilla: What kinds of crafts or other activities do you enjoy personally?
Rachel: I’m a spinner and a knitter at heart. I do enjoy crochet as well and like to do some weaving but I always come back to knitting and spinning.

Spinzilla: What is your fiber background?

Rachel: I started off raising angora rabbits as a 4-H project when I was 9, and my Mom bought me my first wheel, a Babe, when I was about 12. I spent a lot of time on that wheel and then moved onto a Kiwi wheel and I was hooked. I have been spinning ever since. I even won the Grand Champion skein in the Spokane Interstate Fair one year. I had a bundle of merino/cashmere roving that I purchased as a new spinner and left in a drawer for years and finally decided I was good enough to spin it. After I peeled off the felt from the outside of the bundle and predrafted it, I was able to make a beautiful lace weight yarn that ended up being a two ply. I ran the roving through a diz before I spun it and I think it took me 9 months to spin the 8 ounces. It was pretty slow going, but I was very pleased with my resulting yarn. I just like the process of spinning. I want to finish my yarn, but for me it’s more important to enjoy myself along the way.

Spinzilla: What was the first fiber item that ever caught your interest?
Rachel: Angora Rabbits are really what got me into fiber. I had done some knitting and crocheting before I got into rabbits, but it was those Wookie- like fluffy bunnies that I fell in love with first.

Spinzilla: Tell us about why you are in the fiber business? How did you get started?

Rachel: My Mom got me started. Growing up she was always encouraging me to take something I love and turn it into a business. When we both started spinning, it seemed natural for us to purchase fiber and sell it at small local shows and gatherings. We did this and sold a few wheels as well for about 10 years before we heard that Kate Painter was looking to sell Paradise Fibers. After a lot of family discussions, and a little begging and pleading, my Dad helped us buy the business from Kate. She had done a wonderful job getting Paradise Fibers started and it is a real privilege to get to continue to help her original customers with their fiber needs, and to grow the business with new customers.

IMG_1250

Rachel holding two baby lambs she just resuscitated after they were born.

Spinzilla: Why are you sponsoring Spinzilla?
Rachel: Because it is a fantastic event that inspires spinners to push themselves to reach their spinning goals.

Spinzilla: What is the most fiber fun you have had?
Rachel: Over this past summer I got to attend a spinning retreat with Judith Mackenzie and it was such an amazing experience. I learned so much and got to meet some fabulous ladies, including Judith, who is a FABULOUS teacher. Her passion for the fiberarts is such an inspiration! I left that retreat feeling invigorated and full of ideas to help inspire our customers at Paradise Fibers, and the spinners of Spinzilla!

Share Button

Meet Our Spinzilla Sponsors–Kromski, North America

We interviewed Dona, the blogger and social media contact for Kromski, North America.

PLYaway-kromski logo1  Ravtar-spinzilla-transparent_medium1 (1)

 

Spinzilla: What is the focus of your shop/business?
Dona: 
We import and distribute Kromski products from Poland. Our goal is to have happy weavers and spinners all across North America.

Spinzilla: What is your typical day like?
Dona: I typically work on various projects throughout the day. I check in on Ravelry and Facebook and write our blogs.  I also help with customers who may have difficulty understanding their wheel or loom.

Spinzilla What is your favorite part of your job?

Dona: Playing with fiber! And helping others to do the same!

Spinzilla: Which of your products specifically help spinners produce more yardage and how?
Dona: Of course all of our wheels are fantastic, but if I had to say, I guess the Sonata would help produce the most yardage, simply because of the portability. And the Jumbo Bobbin holds a whopping 8 ounces of fiber, which means less time spent changing bobbins and more time spinning.

Kromski-sonata-walnut-500x550  IMG_0224

Spinzilla: What about your business would surprise our team hosts and spinners?
Dona: Many people think we are based in Poland. While Kromski is a Polish-owned company and all of the wheels and looms are made in Poland, we do have an office here in the USA.

Spinzilla: What kinds of crafts or other activities do you enjoy personally?
Dona: I am primarily a knitter and spinner, but I also enjoy weaving, dyeing, felting, quilting and pretty much everything creative.

DSC_0533

Spinzilla: What is your fiber background?
Dona: I have personally been knitting and spinning for over a decade. I own my own small flock of sheep and several fiber rabbits.

Spinzilla: What was the first fiber item that ever caught your interest?
Dona: My 1st knit was a Teddy Bear. And I have to say, I still like toys.

Spinzilla: Tell us about why you are in the fiber business?
Dona: I cannot think of a better job!

Spinzilla:Why are you sponsoring Spinzilla?
Dona: I love to see crafters coming together for a cause. We can inspire each other and help speed the word about the new age of spinning.

Kromski-polonaise-finished-clear-500x550

Spinzilla: What is the most fiber fun you have ever had?
Dona: I love it when my friends and I go on a mini vacation and bring along the dye pots, wheels and whatever else we can think of and just play!

Learn more about Kromski North America on their website, blog, and Ravelry Group page, and follow them on Facebook and YouTube.

Share Button

Meet Our 2016 Spinzilla Sponsors–Ashland Bay

We interviewed Jill Laski from Ashland Bay Trading Company, one of our 2016 Bison Sponsors.

ashland_bay_logo (1) Ravtar-spinzilla-transparent_medium1 (1)

Spinzilla: What is the focus of your shop/business?

Jill: We are a wholesale business focused on providing the highest quality fibers and yarns for hand spinners, independent dyers, felters, knitters and weavers.

Spinzilla: What is your typical day like?

Jill: As the co-owner of a small business, I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical day. Just about everything that is required to run the business falls under the category of my typical day at Ashland Bay.  However, my main focus is our product line. I continually experiment with the fibers and yarns, allowing me the opportunity to become familiar with the products so I can provide technical support for our customers.  I also contribute to our blog with articles about spinning techniques, dyeing, felting and knitting and general textile information.  If it is a really good day I get to spend a few minutes with my spinning wheel.

Spinzilla: What is your favorite part of your job?

Jill: I really enjoy product development; it is creative and very exciting. I experiment with different color combinations and fiber blends, looking for new and exciting fibers for spinners, knitters and felters. I also play with different ways to spin colors together and share these techniques on our blog. I really enjoy talking with our customers. I love when they share what they are working on. I feel as though I have spinning and knitting friends all over North America who I have never have had the opportunity to meet in person.

13882507_928596977252690_5581020748453262316_n

Spinzilla: Which of your products specifically help spinners produce more yardage and how?

Jill: The preparation of our fibers, other than silk hankies and silk noil, is combed top. This preparation is very easy to spin.  Our dyed top is combed after dyeing so the top is very open. This means there is no pre- drafting needed. Spinners can sit at their wheel and immediately start spinning.

tumblr_inline_mqi4cyCIjs1qz4rgp

Spinzilla: What about your business would surprise our team hosts and spinners?

Jill: Ashland Bay ships close to 80 tons of fiber and yarn a year with 4 employees. Here is a little video of some fiber being unpacked.

IMG_1044.MOV (1)

Spinzilla: Wow, it’s as if it is coming to life! What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?

Jill: One of the most difficult parts of having a fiber business is managing inventory. In the beginning I wish I knew how to recognize when products were waning and needed to be replaced with something new. Just because I love a certain fiber does not mean it is a good fit for the business.

Spinzilla: What kinds of crafts or other activities do you enjoy personally?

Jill: Knitting, spinning, felting, mosaics and collage are among my favorite hobby crafts.

Spinzilla: What is your fiber background?

Jill: I have been hand spinning and working in the spinning industry for over 30 years. During that time I have raised fiber producing animals, taken umpteen workshops, taught many workshops and have spent countless hours experimenting with fibers. Here is a link to a blog post about spinning multi-colored yarns that might interest Spinzilla participants.

Spinzilla: What was the first fiber item that ever caught your interest?

Jill: The first fiber that caught my interest was angora.  At the time I was working (a different job) with a woman who raised French Angora rabbits for show. She would tell me all about raising angora rabbits and spinning their wool. I never even considered spinning, but the idea of raising animals and spinning their wool was so intriguing. I was hooked.

Spinzilla: What is the most fiber fun you have had?

Jill: The most fiber fun I have had is during spinning conferences. The conferences are a combination of spinning, learning from others and workshops that challenge skills and inspire creativity.

Spinzilla: Tell us about why you are in the fiber business? How did you get started?

Jill: Ashland Bay originally started with 3 angora bunnies. Those bunnies grew the rabbitry to over 25 wool producing rabbits. We also raised sheep and angora goats. I would blend the angora with hand dyed wool and create batts for sale. It became evident that we could not produce enough angora to keep up with the batt production.  We never considered importing until a friend of ours suggested we import angora. So began our first importing adventure.

As  I became more involved in spinning groups and guilds I could see that many people loved to spin but did not have the time or space  to process a fleece themselves. This experience gave us our idea of providing dyed combed top on a wholesale level.

Spinzilla: Why are you sponsoring Spinzilla?

Jill: is an honor to sponsor this event that creates global camaraderie and friendly competition while spending time perfecting the hand spinning craft.

Spinzilla: Jill, Thanks for the interview and for being a part of Spinzilla this year.

You can learn more about Ashland Bay on their website and be sure to follow them on Facebook!

 

Share Button

Keeping You Spinning with the Woolery!

As part of our 2016 Spinzilla Sponsor Series, here is a guest blog post from the Woolery!

Established in 1981, The Woolery originally sold sheep as well as weaving and spinning supplies. The business was originally established in upstate New York, then was moved to North Carolina and finally Kentucky as the ownership changed hands over the years. Upon the Woolery’s arrival in Frankfort, KY in 2009, we have seen still more changes, most recently in the form of a new, larger retail space (still in Frankfort, shown below) and a shiny new website, too!

Interior (1)

Last year, Wave and Perri McFarland purchased the Woolery, and they are excited to be a part of Team Woolery’s fourth Spinzilla event (and their second as the Woolery’s owners). Though a lot has changed at the Woolery over the years, a few things remain the same – we still have the same great Woolery Team, the same great Woolery Selection, and of course – the same great Woolery Service.

Our staff (link: http://woolery.com/about-us) of 17 employees includes fiber enthusiasts of all persuasions, some of whom will be spinning on our team this October! Taevia will be returning as our Team Captain to cheer everyone on and make sure they have what they need to spin for the win (that’s her below right, spinning with Barry Schacht on the new Flatiron Wheel).

TaeviaSpinzillaBlog (1)

It’s not too early to start planning your Spinzilla strategy! Prepping fibers now can be a huge time saver once the event kicks off. One of Taevia’s favorite products for fiber prep is the Strauch Petite Drum Carder, which she describes as “super sturdy, versatile, and portable” – in short, the perfect way to process fibers and create beautiful batts that are fast & easy to spin.

We’ll be sharing more fiber prep ideas with you in our next sponsor guest blog in September!

Share Button