Anne Clark chronicles her spinning journey stitch by stitch


I just met handspinner Anne Clark on Facebook, which is where an increasing number of spinners are connecting and sharing their work. Anne shared recently that she is beginning a new project to chronicle her first year as a handspinner. As she prepares to make a blanket with skeins she has spun over the last year, she is also looking back at how far she has come in her spinning journey.

Anne loves to craft outside in beautiful Wisconsin. Photo: Anne Clark.


Kate Larson (KL): What inspired you to learn to spin a year ago?

Anne Clark (AC): My great-aunt taught me how to crochet when I was about seven years old, and I learned how to knit about five years ago. When I started knitting, I became aware that there was more to fiber than Red Heart. As I got more involved in online fiber communities, I was learning more and more about fiber in general. A couple friends learned how to spin, so I started thinking I'd like to give it a whirl. I've always loved to learn how to make all sorts of things by hand and how people did things hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. Once I started spinning, that was itI was hooked. Now here I am, making a throw that chronicles my spinning journey.



KL: I'm so glad you took the leap! Do you like to use spindles, wheels, or e-spinners?

AC: I learned how to spin on a drop spindle. That's really all I could afford at the time, and I really wanted to learn to spin. Now I have an e-spinner that I use most of the time, although I do still break out a drop spindle occasionally. I love the feel of spinning on a drop spindleit's a very Zen-type activity for me. I'm hoping to buy a more traditional spinning wheel, probably a castle-style wheel, next year.


Handspun stash-diving. Photo: Anne Clark.

KL: I love the idea of creating a textile that shows your journeywhat inspired you?

AC: I've been trying to figure out for a while what to do with some of my handspun, especially the earlier yarns that I made while I was first learning how to spin. Some of them aren't really all that pretty, but there was a lot of hard work put into them. They deserve to be shown off just as much as the prettier yarns I'm now producing. I thought about a scrapbook to chronicle my adventures in spinning, but I wanted to make something more interesting and tactile. A throw was a better solution, and who doesn't like to snuggle under a soft, warm blanket in the cold Wisconsin winters?


KL: What types of fibers and yarns do you have that you would like to work into the throw?

AC: Most of the yarn I've spun up to this point is some kind of wool, mainly Merino, Corriedale, Bluefaced Leicester, or some kind of wool/silk blend. I'm not going to limit the throw to just one type of fiber. I'm an equal opportunity kind of person! I love the idea of it being made with various wools and spinning techniques. I think I have every weight, except for lace, covered, too. It's mainly going to be made with bulky-weight yarns, or lighter-weight yarns held double or even triple. I've decided to crochet the throw because crochet seems to result in a more forgiving fabric. Some of my earlier yarns are really gnarly!


Let the swatching begin! We will follow-up with Anne when her beautiful, handspun throw is underway. Photo: Anne Clark.


KL: It sounds like you have had quite a fiber-filled year! What is it about fiber arts that inspires you?

AC: Right now fiber is my life. I knit, crochet, spin, and dye. Fiber is my main love and my salvation. I'm disabled and at home most of the time. I've got several health problems, but the most mentally and physically draining are the problems I have with my spine. Fiber has given me something that made me feel productive again. It's something that I'm relatively good at, and it helps keep my mind off the chronic pain that I deal with. Above all else, fiber makes me feel useful, productive, and sane. 


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