4 Ways Handspinning Changes Your Life

Before I became a spinner, I knitted. As a knitter, I worked in my LYS, attended guild meetings, taught knitting classes, and met up with other knitters at local coffee shops to . . . what else? Knit and talk about knitting. I had a deep relationship with yarn . . . or so I thought. I wasn’t prepared for how handspinning changes your life.

Here are 4 ways my life changed when I started handspinning. Can you relate?

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Elizabeth’s stash of hand-dyed fiber is desperately in need of an additional tub. Photo by Elizabeth Prose.

1. Your stash grows.

It may sound like a given, but your stash will evolve and expand. Your taste in yarn will change from designer yarns to sheepier natural-colored and woolen-spun yarns. You will need to make room for hand-dyed top and roving. Once you purchase one fleece, they have a way of multiplying. I found myself adding “has basement full of sheep’s fleece” to my online-dating profile. Why hide the truth from potential suitors?

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Zelda peeks out from under drying fleece. Photo by Elizabeth Prose

2. Pets acquire a new interest in your activities.

Love of Knitting Editor Deb Gerish gets a kick out of watching her cats’ heads move from side to side and bob up and down entranced as they watch her spin on a wheel. My last cat slept on or under my freshly washed fleece as it dried on racks in the sunroom. Playing keep-away with a suspended spindle might just surpass a laser pointer as your cat’s new favorite game. And pet fur will inevitably finds its way into handspun skeins.

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Teeswater lamb at Estes Park Wool Market. Photo by Christa Tippmann

3. You develop a deep fascination with sheep.

“Peruvian Highland Wool” is not a breed (no matter how many yarn manufacturers print it on their labels). Knitters may be familiar with breeds such as Merino and Shetland, but there’s a tremendous variety of wool grown by the humble sheep. As a spinner, I had no idea how consuming embarking on a rare breed study would become. When you prepare and spin your own fiber, you appreciate the differences between the long locks of Teeswater and the fine crimp of Polwarth.

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Funny sheep memes magically appear on your social media feed. Photo by DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images.

4. Friends and family post photos of sheep to your Facebook feed.

Life Change #3 eventually leads your loved ones to recognize you have a thing for sheep. In an effort to enable your “addiction,” they begin sharing every sheep-related meme, news story, or photo they find on social media to your feed. They mean this in the most affectionate way possible, but these posts can be misunderstood by casual acquaintances; to some, you are just the crazy sheep fan. But friends and family know they benefit from your wooly obsession and wear their handspun, handknitted hats and scarves with pride. Bonus: they too begin to recognize the names of different sheep breeds and give you fiber. Win-win!

I’ve named just a few of the ways handspinning changes your life. How has your life changed since you became a spinner? Let us know in the comments!

—Elizabeth

Featured Image: Elizabeth’s handspun yarn. Photo by George Boe.


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