A True Spinning Confession

I love to spin. I love it with every fiber of my being. But I have to confess, I learned spinning against my "better" judgement. Almost twenty years ago, my friend Sarah called me up one day and said, "I'm coming to visit you. I just learned to spin, and you need to try it." Sarah and I have been friends since third grade, and we had embroidered and knitted and crafted together for years, so ordinarily I would have jumped on board. But I was stressed. I said "Come to visit, but I have a new job and a new baby, and I need a new hobby like I need a hole in the head." To which Sarah, true friend that she is, said, "Wow! You REALLY need this. I'll be there tomorrow." So she arrived, we packed our infants into the car and set out in search of my local fiber arts purveyor. When I saw the beautiful wheels and the gorgeous fiber, I was hooked. Two decades, several wheels, and countless pounds of fiber, miles of yarn, spinning books and classes, and new friends later, I still thank Sarah for her wisdom in not listening to me.


Shadow weave shawl handwoven with variegated yarn    

Wouldn't this be a great use for yarn 

from a handpainted roving?

 
 

So when Sarah called me ten years ago and said, "We're going to weaving class so we can weave with our handspun," I wholeheartedly agreed. And I fell in love with fiber all over again because weaving extends the creative experience and all that I love about spinning. The process is meditative, the equipment is beautiful, there is a lifetime of opportunity to learn, and, most of all, when you spin the yarn that you weave, you can make a product that is uniquely yours, unique in all the world.


When I learned to weave, Handwoven magazine took its place on my shelves next to my issues of Spin-Off. It's been a wonderful way to learn about weaving techniques, a source of inspiration, and a way to connect with the weaving community. If you're a spinner who weaves or who is considering weaving, I hope you'll give Handwoven a look.

 

  Pillow handwoven in log cabin with natural-colored wool
 

Log cabin is handsome and easy to weave

with a rigid-heddle loom, and what a great use
for natural-colored fleece!

 

Over the next year, we'll be exploring the weaving possibilities of different fibers. This year's March/April issue is all about plant fibers, from flax to fique (a relative of the pineapple). And next winter we'll be "rediscovering wool" in interesting blends, for new uses, and from local producers. Our Garment Challenge for 2012 has a special category and prize for best use of handspun fibers, so I hope some of you Spinning Daily readers will consider entering.

 

You don't need costly equipment to enjoy the projects in Handwoven. We're including projects that can be done with rigid-heddle looms or 4-harness looms and techniques such as tablet weaving and kumihimo that don't require a loom at all! There are plenty of projects with variegated yarn, just the right use for your beautiful painted rovings, and we'll be adding suggestions in many projects for substituting handspun or using it together with commercial yarns.

 

One good turn deserves another, and just as my friend Sarah and countless teachers and fiber friends have shared the joy of spinning with me, I hope to share the joy of weaving with you. So jump on in. The fiber's fine!

 

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