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Meet Our Spinzilla Sponsor: The Woolery

Posted By TNNA HQ, Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How to Prepare Your Team for Spinzilla 2017

By Jaime Jennings

TNNA: What’s The Woolery all about?

The Woolery: Our main focus is to provide quality products and first class customer service to the fiber arts community. In customer service, we focus on making sure we are up to date on new trends so we can provide support to our customers when they need it. Purchasing and receiving keeps our product line up to date. Shipping makes sure that packages go out the door quickly and that everything is packed well to survive the rigors of shipping. That is a challenge sometimes! 

TNNA: How did The Woolery get its start and how has it progressed to where it is today?

The Woolery: The Woolery started as a small store and mail order business in upstate New York in 1981. It has had several owners since that modest start. Each owner has brought their own vision to the store and grown the business while staying in touch with the fiber arts community to make sure that we are serving their needs. That is our biggest strength; we always welcome feedback from our customers. We make sure that we stay flexible so we can make the changes needed for us to grow and serve our customers to the best of our ability. 

TNNA: What’s a typical day look like at The Woolery?

The Woolery: Busy! People start coming into the shop to work on online orders at 8AM during the week. The phones don’t open up until 10AM, so we have time to get ready for the day. The ringing of the phone is a constant sound in the customer service area while a very eclectic array of background music comes from shipping. You might hear the sounds of a class being held in the class room or the thump of a loom being used in the front of the shop. Inventory comes in through the back door on the left hand side of the shop and orders go out later that day on the back door on the right hand side of the shop. It’s very efficient thanks to the new space we moved into last summer. It was a lot of work to move, but it was very much worth it. 

TNNA: How many years has The Woolery participated in Spinzilla?

The Woolery: The Woolery has been part of Spinzilla since the very first year! It’s been wonderful to see the event grow over time. It is one of the highlights of my year. 

TNNA: How do you grow as a team each year?

The Woolery: Team Woolery focuses on enjoying the week and striving to reach personal bests instead of reaching for a high position in the yards spun between all the Spinzilla teams. We normally do well and more importantly for us, enjoy the camaraderie that a focused week of spinning brings the team. We have several team members that have been part of the team since the first year, so it’s great to catch up with those members and learn more about the new team members at the same time! 

In the shop, we are a bit more competitive, but again it’s on a personal level. We always try to beat our yardage from the year before and it’s always fun to see who spun the most over the week!

TNNA: What is The Woolery doing to stand out in the industry?

The Woolery: We actively seek out our customer’s feedback so we can improve in all areas of the business. It’s very important because we wouldn’t be where we are without our customers! Because of that feedback, we do our best to serve our customers in a variety of ways that suit them best. We take mail orders for the customers who prefer to pay by check or money order. On the other end of the spectrum, we are always working on upgrading our website and online presence for our customers that prefer that. On top of that, customers can always call the shop for a more personal touch when they want or need it. Add our lovely show room to that mix and you have a shop that can help customers the way that they prefer to be helped. 

TNNA: Is The Woolery doing anything to appeal to younger generations and to get others involved in Spinning?

The Woolery: Yes we are! Social media is very important in the lives of younger generations, but it’s also a great way to introduce people to new things. A picture speaks a thousand words and places like Facebook, Instagram and Ravelry give us a way to get information about spinning out to the world in a way we never were able to before. We also support our local guild and guilds all over the world with our Guild Rewards Program and our Woolery Fiber Arts Outreach Grant. 

TNNA: Are there any other initiatives The Woolery has started or will be starting soon?

The Woolery: The biggest thing we are working on right now, and are always working on, is bringing in new products and finding good sources for quality fiber and yarns. We recently brought in lovely hand dyed fiber from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks. We’ve also started selling a new merino silk blend in solids and stripes and solid colors in sari silk for the spinners. There are several new portable weaving products, new kits for rug hookers and new yarn for everyone! 

About The Woolery

In 1981, the Horchler family decided to offer retail wool, basic supplies, and spinning lessons at their family farm in Genoa, NY. Originally called Woolery Farm, the named changed to Finger Lakes Woolen Mill before becoming The Woolery, then changing locations (and hands) in 2001 to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Chris & Nancy Miller bought the buisness in 2009, moved it to historic Downtown Frankfort, Kentucky where they expanded twice, incorporated a weaving center for classes, and established an online presence.

In 2015, current owners Wave & Perri McFarland purchased The Woolery, upgraded and expanded retail space yet again, improved the online experience, inventory, shipping efficiency, floor demo model accessibility, and classroom accommodations! We are proud to be a family owned small business for over 35 years, and look forward to serving the fiber arts community all over the world for years to come! 

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How to Prepare Your Team for Spinzilla 2017

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, August 10, 2017
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2017

How to Prepare Your Team for Spinzilla 2017

By Jaime Jennings

It is August and that means it’s time to start thinking about Spinzilla! With team sign ups increasing day by day, I have some great ideas for anyone interested in hosting a team to help make Spinzilla a successful, community-building event for your store or brand. 

Since we are a shop located in Denver, almost all of our team members are local. One of the keys to our Spinzilla success has been our team spinning meetups and prep work. It is important to host a team meeting before Spinzilla starts to get your team amped up and ready for the competition. Even for teams with non-local members, hosting a Google Hangout planning session, or setting up a communication board will help get everyone planning and excited. 

At our team’s pre-Spinzilla meeting, we encourage our team members to bring any fiber they need to prep. We set up as many drum carders as possible and have them available to our team. It is helpful to have all fiber prep done before Spinzilla starts so your week of Spinzilla can be dedicated to spinning. Carding and pre-drafting is a great way to get ready and save valuable time. This meeting is important for our team to meet each other and build camaraderie. We talk about our spinning plans and goals for the week. 

Every year we pick a slogan for our team and then design and screen print tees for the group. These have included “Clear Eyes, Wool Hearts, Can’t Lose!” (Friday Night Lights), “Back with a Roar” (tiger crushing a spinning wheel), and “Hail to the Horned” (metal themed sheep skull) and “We will crush you with our soft fibers!” Shirts are distributed to our team at our inaugural team preparation meeting. We also have team members choose their own spinning name for the year that fits with the theme. A few of our favorites: Nine Inch Niddy-Noddy, Treadlin’ Tammy Taylor, Lumpy Bobbins, Queen of the Darned and Wool Huffer. 

During the week of Spinzilla, it is crucial to support your team while they’re spinning. We have several ways we like to do this. We host mini competitions throughout the week to encourage people to interact and get amped up to spin their hearts out. These include photo competitions on Instagram and fun things like “most interesting place to spin.” We have small prizes we give away for these mini-competitions within our team. 

A team leaderboard is another great way to motivate your team. We create a shared google spreadsheet that members can enter yardage for each skein they spin. Our leaderboard automatically adds up spun yardage during the week, keeping the numbers rolling in and the excitement growing. This way everyone can access real-time minute numbers for the whole team! It’s a fun and friendly way to boost numbers as people work to achieve top standings. 

The most important thing we do for our team is to host public spinning outings. We try to host at least four or five meet ups during the Spinzilla week. We will have a couple of evening spin-ins at our shop during the week. On the weekend, we like to get out in public with our team. We’ve spun at Denver Union Station, Denver Botanic Gardens, the Molly Brown House, and the Denver Art Museum. These are excellent ways to promote spinning to the public and it lets the Denver community show their support and cheer for their local spinning team! We haven’t won a Spinzilla in a few years, but we always say, “We win in fun”...and really, that’s what this is all about, right?


About the Author

Jaime Jennings is co-owner of Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver Colorado. Their Spinzilla team, Team Fancy Tiger, won Spinzilla two years in a row in 2013 and 2014! Jaime is an avid knitter and seamstress and makes all her own clothes, including knitting sweaters from her handspun yarn. 

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Get on Board the Spinzilla Train!

Posted By Spinzilla Committee, Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017

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!


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Spinzilla 2016 Prize Winners

Posted By Spinzilla Committee, Thursday, October 20, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017

One of Spinzilla's goals is to spin enough yarn to go around the world. Every yard spun gets us closer to that goal!First of all, on behalf of the Spinzilla Committee, I'd like to mention that everyone involved with the event is a winner, big time. Each spinner spinning each yard towards a common goal, every Team Captain cheering on their team, and all of the generous sponsors and prize donors are all stars in the Spinzilla sky! A huge THANKS to one and all!

Part of what makes this event so fun are the prizes! So many spinning-related companies stepped up to donate the $25 gift certificates, and to fill the prize baskets for the rogue and team individuals who spun the most. We hope that our spinners will reward the generosity of these and our other sponsors with their patronage. These are small companies who love the fiber arts just like the rest of us.

All of the winners and prize donors have already received emails from to enable prize redemption to begin. If you see your name on this list and did not get an email, please first check your spam folder, and if you still do not see it, please email me at I make every effort to get this prize part right, and it is a lot of data to wrangle in just a couple days.

So, here is the Prize Winners Listing--

Team Louet is a repeat winner this year, with a total of 296,849 yards. They will receive the Golden Niddy Noddy, bragging rights for another year, and each team member gets a $25 gift certificate from one of our wonderful prize donors. Here are the team members listed alphabetically, with the company from whom they win a prize following. Congratulations!Team Captain Meet-Up

  • Susanne Babcock Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Monica Bittner Carolina Homespun
  • Alexis Borsboom Runyan Artware
  • Laura Cameron A Good Yarn Sarasota
  • Michelle Chase Gritty Knits
  • Daisy Chiovaro YarnSuperhero
  • Janet Deutmeyer The Altered Stitch
  • Angela Dotsenko Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Sarah Dupuis Allons-y! Fiber Arts
  • Carol Edwards Sylphs Design
  • Elizabeth Farwell Blaine Fleece and Fiber
  • Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter Yarn Hollow
  • Ashley Hewitt Grandma's Spinning Wheel
  • Rebecca Huggins Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Joan Katz Yarn Crush
  • Betsy Lange Cotton Clouds
  • Julia Lawler Threadbender
  • Robin Maclulich Tradewind Hawaii
  • Maryann Neubert Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • Bethe Orrell Blazing Star Ranch
  • Deborah Roberts Weavolution
  • Lauren Sanchez Akerworks
  • Natasha Sills WEBS
  • Teresa Simons Kraemer
  • Patricia Tompkins Purl & Loop

Anyone who spun at least a mile of yarn was entered into a special Monster Mile Club drawing. For many of you, this was a stretch goal and you did it! Way to go! Here are those winners and their prize donors.

  • Elina Alm Tradewind Hawaii
  • Emilia Barbosa Happy Ewe
  • Mindi Baum Purl & Loop
  • Claire Baumann Purl & Loop
  • Wendy Bigler Runyan Artware
  • Rose Bloom Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Emily Boucher Sweet Georgia Yarn
  • Sue Brady Countrywool
  • Vicky Bryg Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • Britta Burenius YarnSuperhero
  • Lisa Calhoun Cotton Clouds
  • Judy Charbonneau Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Lauren Clements Kromski NA
  • Freyalun Close-Hainsworth YarnSuperhero
  • Cherie Cornick Carolina Homespun
  • Teresa Costa Viyella
  • Jean Coward Louet NA
  • Ashley Crawford Akerworks
  • Sharon Dalebout Akerworks
  • Anita Deen Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • PJ Doering WEBS
  • Ruth Duckworth Kraemer
  • Annabell Duncan Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • Amanda Ediger Foxglove Fiber Arts
  • Cathy Ernst Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Murlea Everson Akerworks
  • Liz Fagel Akerworks
  • Kanani Fox Purl & Loop
  • Michele Frederick Hilltop Cloud
  • Jamie Fritz WEBS
  • Janis Gostlin WEBS
  • Amanda Gravette Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Catherine Greco 57 Chapters
  • Lisa Grzeskowiak PLY Magazine
  • Jessie Hagen PLY Magazine
  • Sylvia Harrington Cotton Clouds
  • Laurel Hayama Handmade Hollows
  • Erin Hennessy Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Suzi Hess Akerworks
  • Gayle Hoepner Unicorn Fibre
  • Ameda Holmes Sweet Georgia Yarn
  • Victoria Huff Akerworks
  • Dene Huffaker Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Jessica James Cotton Clouds
  • Liz Jennings Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • Michelle Jernstedt Lavender Sheep
  • Margaret Johnson Yarnorama
  • Erica Jones Sylphs Design
  • Shari Karobonik Meridan Jacobs
  • Mindy Keys Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Allison Kufro Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Christine Kutz Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Melissa Littlefield Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • Cory Loos Akerworks
  • Anita Lopez-Conheady Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Lisa Luft Knitty Stash
  • Dena McCabe Happy Ewe
  • Sancy Mcfalls Kraemer
  • Suzanne Micheals Runyan Artware
  • Rhonda Mokri Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Isabella Moreno Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Jess Morris Foxglove Fiber Arts
  • Terry Neal Purl & Loop
  • Karin Norvell Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Rita Oswiak Sweet Georgia Yarn
  • Lisa Patterson Kraemer
  • Sari Peterson Gritty Knits
  • Russell Pettit Tradewind Hawaii
  • Ellen Pierce YarnSuperhero
  • Debbie Reeb Purl & Loop
  • Andria Rice Unicorn Fibre
  • Donna Rudd Louet NA
  • Nancy Sandeman Hipstrings
  • Ashley Schifano Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Jesse Seely WEBS
  • Toni Smith Purl & Loop
  • Cath Snape Spin Off
  • Monica Spooner Cotton Clouds
  • Ann Stairmund-Jackson Yarn Store at Nob Hill
  • Jeffry Sullivan Carolina Homespun
  • Karen Sweat Treenway Silks
  • Claire Tilley Louet NA
  • Diana Twiss Louet NA
  • Mary Urquizo Carolina Homespun
  • Wendy VanWoerkom Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Naomi Villa Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Lizbeth Villalvazo WEBS
  • James Vincent A Good Yarn Sarasota
  • Carla Wackenheim Kromski NA
  • Kim Wall Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Mennan Weddle 57 Chapters
  • Michael Woody Cotton Clouds
  • Dawn Ykema Blaine Fleece and Fiber
  • Patty Jo Yoder Happy Ewe

And last, but certainly not least, because every yard counts for Spinzilla, here is a list of the random prize winners:

  • Neda Ambrosius Mielke's Fiber Arts
  • Jess Balko YarnSuperhero
  • Doris Bergman Kromski NA
  • Kennedy Berry Viyella
  • Andrea Butler Three Waters Farm
  • Patti Chambers WEBS
  • Dewina Chesnutt Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Jody Cosby Carolina Homespun
  • Carol Csengeri YarnSuperhero
  • Sheryl Deines Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • Christina Delonge Carolina Homespun
  • Vilija Deutschman Purl & Loop
  • Elizabeth Draper Sylphs Design
  • Valerie DuPuy Yarn Hollow
  • Sarah Easton Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • Marykate Fleming Sweet Peet's Fiber and Things
  • Janice Fobian Akerworks
  • Joy Getha The Altered Stitch
  • Alicia Gossman-Steeves Treenway Silks
  • Claudia Graves Kraemer
  • Christine Green YarnSuperhero
  • Debbie Gring Ball and Skein
  • Beege Harding WEBS
  • Jennifer Harris Carolina Homespun
  • Worna Haywood Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Marge Hepburn Cotton Clouds
  • Tyrenny Hidy Kraemer
  • Kandi Jackson Knot Another Hat
  • Megan Jacobsen Cotton Clouds
  • Cheryle Joy Kong Treenway Silks
  • Coby Kopec Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • Rebecca Kreiger Sweet Georgia Yarn
  • Lynda Liptak Sweet Georgia Yarn
  • Sherry Long PLY Magazine
  • Dayna Mankowski YarnSuperhero
  • Lynn Marron Cotton Clouds
  • Kathy McKibben Blazing Star Ranch
  • Karen Mohler Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Marcia Molter Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Nicole Mork Kraemer
  • Yvonne Mortensen YarnSuperhero
  • Mitzi Mortimer Yarn Barn of Kansas
  • Carole Nelson YarnSuperhero
  • Susan Newman Purl & Loop
  • Rachel Nichols PLY Magazine
  • Louise Nuttle Yarn Hollow
  • Janet Panebaker Akerworks
  • Franna Pitt Kraemer
  • Glenda Plummer Sweet Peet's Fiber and Things
  • Joanna Rankin Kromski NA
  • Elizabeth Reinhart Hilltop Cloud
  • Mary Reynolds YarnSuperhero
  • Diena Riddle Heritage Spinning and Weaving
  • Lois Romito Yarn Hollow
  • Candace Ryberg The Altered Stitch
  • Marisol Sanchez Louet NA
  • Victoria Sanders Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Angela Scheider Kraemer
  • Victoria Shank Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Roddie Shelley Happy Ewe
  • Sarah Sligh Carolina Homespun
  • Dori Smith Carolina Homespun
  • Meagan Sneeringer Kraemer
  • Lily Stevens YarnSuperhero
  • Mona Sylvertsen Spin Off
  • Beverley Thompson Tradewind Hawaii
  • Karina Tipton Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Margaret Tyler Treenway Silks
  • Carol Ullmann WEBS
  • Cris Voorhees Purl & Loop
  • Lydia Lacy Wallace Lavender Sheep
  • Wae Wang Fancy Tiger Crafts
  • Chris Weber-Johnson YarnSuperhero
  • Marjo Wheat Sylphs Design
  • Latisha Wilcox Cotton Clouds
  • Michelle Worzbyt The Altered Stitch
  • Michelle Wysocki-Hanna YarnSuperhero

Thanks again to our prize donors and sponsors, and congratulations to all of our winners!


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The Big Spin is Ready to Begin!

Posted By Spinzilla Committee, Sunday, October 2, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017


It's here! Well, almost. Spinning starts for Spinzilla 2016 on October 3rd, at 12:01 am, in whatever time zone you are in. So, get your wheel ready, pull out that fiber that you have been saving--the BIG SPIN is ready to start rolling! One of Spinzilla's goals is to spin enough yarn to go around the world. Every yard spun gets us closer to that goal!

To date, Spinzilla spinners have spun over 5.3 million yards of yarn, enough to go from coast to coast of the United States and more. We are now ready to leap across the ocean to Hawaii. Aloha, Baby!

Here are a few reminders before we begin:

  • All yarn must be spun during Spinzilla week.
  • You can claim yardage credit for plying. See "Can I Ply?" FAQ for details.
  • Spinning stops at 11:59 pm on Sunday, October 9th, in whatever time zone you are in.
  • Team spinners, you will submit a documentation photo of your yarn and your yardage figure directly to your team captain. Please get this information to your captain as soon as possible after spinning stops. He or she must submit the yarn to us by October 14th.
  • Rogue spinners, you will submit your documentation photo and yardage number directly to Spinzilla, by October 14th, via this link. Click here for more info.
  • Submit your total yardage in yards and whole numbers, rounding up to the nearest yard.
  • For more information about measuring, photographing, and submitting your Spinzilla yarn, read this blog post or visit our FAQ.

Thanks for spinning with us. Let's go make some handspun noise!


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Speedy Spinning with The Woolery

Posted By Spinzilla Committee, Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017

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

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:

Still have questions about how to get ready for Spinzilla? Ask Nancy, our resident fiber arts guru! Email or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group; user submitted questions are featured regularly on the Woolery blog!img_1575

*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

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Meet Our Spinzilla Sponsors: Paradise Fibers

Posted By Spinzilla Committee, Thursday, September 1, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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Meet Our Spinzilla Sponsors-Kromski, North America

Posted By Spinzilla Committee, Friday, August 12, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017

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.


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.

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Meet Our 2016 Spinzilla Sponsors-Ashland Bay

Posted By Spinzilla Committee, Sunday, July 31, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017

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

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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?Yarn

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.

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.

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!

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Meet Our 2016 Spinzilla Sponsors-Strauch Fiber Equipment

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 25, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017

We interviewed Otto Strauch from Strauch Fiber Equipment, one of our 2016 Bison Sponsors.

Strauch-logo-black Ravtar-spinzilla-transparent_medium1 (1)

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

Otto: Our focus is to educate folks in the wonderful world of fiber processing. We want to show them that it does not have to be an arduous chore, but rather enjoyable. Fiber prep is another way to stimulate one's creativity. We do all this by making tools that are well designed, durable, and fun to use. hand-card-and-mini

Spinzilla: What is your typical day like?

Otto: My day starts at 7AM. Orders are entered on the production board so that our staff knows what's to be made and shipped. From 8-4 it's busy, busy. Questions from workers are fielded, incoming parts shipments are processed, emails answered, and I still take some time to build carders. From 4-7PM, end of the day paperwork is finished and the production shops are made ready for the next day.

Spinzilla: What is your favorite part of the job?

Otto: Even though most of my time is running the business, I really love to spend time in the shop making and improving our equipment for the fiber enthusiast.

Spinzilla: That must be satisfying. Which of your products specifically help spinners produce more yardage and how?

Otto: That's an easy one. It's our world class drum carders! Drum carders are needed to produce batts or rovings in order to spin.  Folks have told us that because of the unique design of our carders, they can produce batts faster, smoother, and easier, allowing them to spin up more yarn in a given time.


Spinzilla: That is a great thing for Spinzilla spinners to remember! You also have a nice "helpful hints" section on your website. It's one thing to have tools, and another thing to use them to their best advantage! What about your business would surprise our team hosts and spinners?

Otto: We are a very nimble company. We can respond quickly to customer’s special requests and get them exactly what they need for a specific job.

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

Otto: Actually, my company is also my hobby. But, I do spend some time on non-business related wood working projects.

Spinzilla: What is your fiber background?

Otto: None! I was a manufacturing engineer in the corporate world. But, Joanne, also from the corporate environment, spun, knitted, and crocheted for relaxation.

Spinzilla: Many of our sponsors came to the fiber world after being in the corporate world. I guess the lesson is that if you like fiber, you might be able to try to make a living in a related business at some point. What was the first fiber item that ever caught your interest?

Otto: That's easy, Cashmere.  We raised cashmere goats for over twenty years and Joanne is still spinning and blending that luxurious fiber. 

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

Otto: Fortunately, we were both able to retire at a very young age. To keep us active, Joanne pursued her love of fiber and I wanted to continue working with my hands. As the years went on, we attended more shows and festivals. Joanne saw a need for better equipment and first asked me to make a stronger swift for her yarn winding. We experienced rather rapid growth which led us to what is now Strauch Fiber Equipment Company. Purple-ball-on-BW-cropped

Spinzilla: Why are you sponsoring Spinzilla?

Otto: It's a great way to inspire the fiber community and to be able to answer their fiber processing needs.



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

Otto: I love to interact with people at shows, and to see their looks of amazement when they experience for themselves how our carders blend fibers, and I like to see the beautiful batts they make.  Their enthusiasm is contagious. Otto

Spinzilla: Well, so is yours! Thanks for the interview and for your generous support of Spinzilla, and keep up the good work making wonderful tools!


Find out more about Strauch Fiber Equipment on their website!

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