SpinAThon FAQ

Sat, 04/17/2010 - 12:00 — freyapax

What is a SpinAThon and why should I care?

Good question! Most of us have heard of marathons, an intense and long-duration & -distance running event. Quite often you'll see such running events themed around a particular charity or concern, and the marathon runners will get people to sponsor their run, donating funds for each mile run (I've seen some measured as duration in minutes), and then said funds are donated to a charitable cause.

A SpinAThon is rather like a marathon in concept, except sitting down and with beautiful fiber! Several fiber artists, both spinners and knitters, have decided to continuously spin (or knit) for several minutes to hours at a time, with people giving monetary donations to add to the “number of minutes spinning” that happens at the event.

We aren't ones to tell you how you should feel about anything. However, many people find that doing large charitable actions aren't their style of activism, but sending in $5.00 to sponsor 5 minutes of spinning can give a small warm fuzzy feeling, and a sense that you've contributed in some small but tangible way toward helping someone else out in a rough time.

In this case, Reesa Brown, a local writer and friend who has recently had a mastectomy and lumpectomy for aggressive breast cancer, is the beneficiary of this event. Any collected donations will be applied to her medical expenses.

Wait, so what does that $5.00 for 5 minutes actually mean?

It means that for every $5.00 we receive, we'll have someone spinning fiber (or knitting) on webcam hosted on our website, where you can watch the action. The spinning and knitting will continue for as long as we receive donations. Our goal is to reach 48 hours!

No way, one person is going to be spinning for 48 hours? Surely you jest.

Well, thankfully for Andrea's sake, we do have a few volunteers who have stepped up to cover some of the spinning and knitting load so that she can get a nap or two over the course of the event. We're trying to assist the medical bills of someone in recovery, not trying to create more medical bills for someone spinning themselves into exhaustion. Though I bet that would make an interesting story in the emergency room! And don't call me Shirley.

When does Spinathon start?

Andrea will start spinning at Midnight Friday night and if enough funds are raised, there will be at least one person spinning/knitting all the way through until Midnight Sunday night. That way hopefully everyone can get some sleep before having to work Monday morning. We hope!

I wish I could help, but I just can't spare even $5.00 in these trying times. What can I do?

While this certainly is a fundraising event, all of us have at one point or another lived close enough to the poverty line that we remember when $5.00 made a tangible difference in the monthly bills. For those of you who can't contribute money directly, consider boosting the signal! Linking to us and passing the word along the internet to your own friends network means that the message has a better chance to reach someone who does want to contribute money. You can also contact Andrea about obtaining small postcard-sized flyers to put up locally or hand out at other public events. And of course, if you are a spinner or knitter, you can volunteer your time and join the spin-a-thon participants!

Yes, I think the spinning part sounds fun. How do I join that?

If you are local, the first day of Spin-a-thon will be in Paige, Texas (near Austin) at Yarnorama and the second day will be held at Andrea's home in Round Rock, Texas. If you wish to physically attend either day just contact Andrea and she'll give you directions.

If you are elsewhere, and have connection to a webcam, we can set you up with a free account to stream your spinning in a feed linked to the website while your spin time is happening. Contact Andrea if you wish to do this and she can connect you with Nathan, our computer wizard, if you need help on the technical bits.

I don't know how to spin or knit, but I still think it sounds like fun and I want to learn. Can I come learn on spin-a-thon day?

The weekend of SpinAThon probably is not the best time to learn how to knit or spin, simply because there will be so much else going on. If you want to attend the first day's spinning at Yarnorama there may be someone available who is happy to sit with you and give you a quick lesson, but we aren't making any promises.

If you want to learn how to spin or knit outside of SpinAThon, keep watching this site, as in Mid-May we'll be having an auction and there will be (among many other lovely items) gift certificates for lessons for these skills.

I want to knit for the event, but just finished a project and have no clue what I want to make next. Any suggestions?

Actually, yes! Many breast cancer and other cancer patients have to undergo chemotherapy, which is an intense medical procedure with tons of negative side-effects in addition to the positive effect of killing cancer cells. One of the most common side effects is large amounts of hair loss, resulting in most patients shaving their head or being chemically bald for the duration of the treatment. Yarnorama has an annual event where they knit hats and caps for chemo patients and then donate them to a local Cancer Society for distribution.

There are additional local groups you could contact to see if they are interested in such products. One example is The Sewing Room, sponsored by the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin. They are the local group that has helped Reesa with several useful recovery products in addition to a sewn chemo cap. (They make and distribute an ingenious button-down camisole with built-in inside pockets for icepacks and drains; for any seamsters or seamstresses reading that want to help, it was one of the most useful post-surgery tools in Reesa's recovery and there are never enough for all the people who need them!)

I STILL have a question you didn't manage to answer here. Where do I go, what do I do?

Feel to contact Andrea directly at naturalobsessions@gmail.com and put SpinAThon in the subject line, or leave a comment on this page. She'll either answer your questions or get the answer for you.

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