I like to spin for the same reasons I like to knit, bead, and cook. I like taking one thing and turning it in to something else.
Knitting is a practical thing to enjoy. It doesn’t matter what I spend my time knitting, it always produces a practical and usable object, even if that object is the height of fanciful. A scarf, shawl or sweater will keep me (or someone I give them to) warm whether it is plain and sturdy or beautiful and lacy. Should I want to invest my time in knitting a purse or a toy, those can be just as useful.
Part of the reason I like to spin is because I take fleece and make yarn out of it – yarn I will knit into something I love.
It doubles the enjoyment of the finished product. Not only did I spend 10 wonderful hours knitting that scarf, and loving every moment of it, I spent 20 hours spinning the yarn to knit that scarf. I was a part of another step in the creation of that object.
I hope some day to have a hand in ALL the steps of a garment. I want to raise the sheep or alpacas (or maybe a yak… that would be cool, if stinky), sheer them, process the fleece, spin it up, and finally knit it. I’m sure people are rolling their eyes at me now, and that’s OK. I accept that most people don’t want to own a yak.
I don’t only want this because of my bone-deep love of animals, though. I feel like this would be a final object that is truly and irrevocably MINE. I feel a need to make things in my soul; to start with nothing and create something beautiful.
I took a spinning class last fall at fibre space, my local yarn store, and I fell in love. Since then I have been spinning on drop spindles. I would love to buy a small spinning wheel, but Rob and I are simply out of room until we upgrade to a house.
As with knitting, it seems absolutely impossible to spin only one project at a time. Here are a few pictures of what I am currently working on:
This is some Miss Babs Blue Faced Leicester (that’s a kind of sheep) roving in Iris that I spun for my first attempt (pictured below). It’s a little rough and chunky, but I’m thinking I can knit a nice headband or something out of it.
This is some Miss Babs Merino/Silk/Bamboo blend in a colorway that I have tragically lost the name of. I searched her website, but I don’t think she has it posted there anymore. This was a little more even once I plied it into yarn:
Last, and my favorite so far, is a bit of roving I purchased at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I purchased it from Ozark Carding Mill LLC, but they don’t have as website or I would have posted it. The yarn is a lovely 60/40 Merino/Bamboo blend that spins up amazingly well. I’ve only just finished my first spindle full, so I haven’t plied it into yarn yet.
While I could be much more productive with a spinning wheel, I enjoy the portability of my drop spindles and anticipate using them long after I get myself a wheel.
For now, I’ll spin away part of my summer and dream of going to the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival and Dog Trials. Maybe in a decade or so I can bring my own yak.