Ilga is sometimes asked how she achieves her high spinning productivity. Here is her answer. This has previously appeared on the Edgewood Garden Studio Facebook page, and on Ravelry, but we post it here so it will be easy to find in the future.
Well, first, I spin every day…or pretty close. If I am FLYING somewhere, I don’t take a spinning wheel…but if I am DRIVING and will be gone overnight, I generally have a wheel with me.
The other BIG productivity help is that I do NOT inch-worm spin. When I used to teach (decades ago), I really discouraged people of spinning that way. It is slow and it can never BE fast because of the actions required. I draw against the pull of the wheel…and not against my hands (which saves my hands, too). I used to long draw, but the body parts (as in shoulders) don’t want to do that any longer.
Depending on what I am spinning, I spin between 150 and 375 yards an hour, average 250ish. I approached the “production speed” problem by doing what my typing teacher in high school (Yup, my parents made me….that “just in case” stuff.) which was that I spend a few days every other week or so alternating between spinning for accuracy and for speed. So one skein is SUPER FAST, the next one SUPER ACCURATE…and I do that for three or four days. It usually improves BOTH speed and accuracy.
If a skein is too much, try an hour (or half an hour or 15 minutes) of spinning as fast as you can while still making a functional yarn. (Use some stash wool you don’t LOVE anyway….and don’t worry about how it turns out. This is about PROCESS, not product!) THEN, do an hour of PERFECT yarn. Then FAST, then PERFECT. Repeat. You will be surprised how quickly both of them improve.