Spinning Yarn

Spinning Mentors

Here’s something really cool. In a few weeks, high in the Bolivian Andes, a team of spinners will compete in a worldwide event to see who can spin the most yarn in a week. By competing, they are not only earning global attention and respect for their time-honored tradition of handspinning, they are ultimately creating opportunities for kids across the U.S. to learn these same skills.

Warmis Phuskadoras
Members of the 2014 Warmis Phuskadoras Spinzilla team. Love their reading material!
Photo courtesy of Dorinda Dutcher.

So how does THAT work? Spinzilla. What on earth is Spinzilla?
It is a global event where teams and individuals compete in a friendly challenge to see who can spin the most yarn in a week. Awards and spinzillaprizes are given out and any registered spinner who spins at least a mile is entered into a drawing for an assortment of prizes. Spinner registration fees for Spinzilla are donated to the Needle Arts Mentoring Program. This is a program that was founded in 1997 by Marilyn North and Bonnie Lively as a fiber arts program for at-risk students. The National NeedleArts Association now administers the program through its Helping Hands Foundation. But Spinzilla is even bigger than this, monstrous you might say. Visit their website to learn more about the great good they offer to the spinning community worldwide.

Needlearts Mentoring Program participants
Needlearts Mentoring Program participants.

Spinning Miles

Back in Bolivia, Dorinda Dutcher, founder of PAZA helped to organize the first Bolivian spinning team in 2014 called Warmis Phuskadoras (Warmis is Quechua for women, Phuska is Quechua for drop spindle, and doras is Spanish for women who spin.) ClothRoads sponsors the team, in part, by funding its registration fees. In 2014, the 23 members of this Bolivian team spun 66,071 yards of wool on hand spindles—that’s about 37 miles of yarn in a week! I can’t wait to see how much  they spin in 2015.

Think you’re up for the challenge? It’s not too late. You can spin (it doesn’t have to be on a spindle), or you can be a sponsor, a volunteer, or applaud from the sidelines. Spinner Registration is open until October 2.  The actual event runs October 5–11.
For inspiration, enjoy this wonderful video of last year’s Warmis Phuskadoras Spinzilla team.
I would choose them as my mentors.

—Karen

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