Choiceswhere do you begin?

Do you know where you're going?

In the Spring 2013 issue, Jacey Boggs explores some of the loveliest indie-dyed fiber available through the mail (such as this selection from Fiber Optic). Photo: Jacey Boggs.


As a parent I think a lot about choices—the little ones and the big ones. As a spinner, choice plays a big part in crafting a yarn. It's not just about going in to a store and choosing a skein from a wall of yarn that has been carefully curated by the store owner (although that is fun, too).

Spinning means starting with fundamental choices—the choices that all subsequent selections will be balanced upon. What fiber shall I use? What kind of hand will it yield? Is it available in my area? What color? What size yarn? How much twist? How many plies? Will it wear well? Will I enjoy spending this much time with this fiber in my hands? But simply choosing to spin involves choices, too. In many ways it is a lifestyle choice—one that when you look back seemed like your whole life was leading up to it, even if you weren't entirely aware of it.

I grew up in a household guided by parents with passions that they were able to pursue—they were able to make a living doing what they loved to do and in doing so, provided a great example of how to craft a life (thanks Mom and Dad!). I've found that all spinners have a story about how they came to spinning—and some spinners have even figured out how to make a living doing it. So, in the Spring 2013 issue of Spin-Off, we asked spinners who make a living at their craft to share their stories and provide tips for those of you who are interested in teaching, selling your handspun yarn, or starting a spinning business. We know that not every spinner wants to make a living spinning, but we know that even so, you have an interest in the people who cultivate the fiber, shepherd the animals, carve the tools, dye the top, and make your spinning dreams that much more attainable.

SOAR Scholarship


Instructor, Spinner's Connection blogger, small-farm operator, and previous SOAR Scholar, Kate Larson developed these mitts as a clever way to make functional class samples. The pattern for them is in the Spring 2013 issue.

Speaking of attainable dreams, have you always dreamed of attending Spin-Off Autumn Retreat?

SOAR is a spinning event like no other. Since its inception over thirty years ago, spinners have gathered each autumn for a fun-filled week in remote retreat locations across the country to learn about every facet of spinning from the very best spinning instructors. SOAR participants contribute every year to a scholarship fund through individual donations as well as an on-site silent auction to bring spinners to SOAR who will further the craft for the whole community. We're now accepting scholarship applications for the 2013 SOAR which will be held October 20–26, 2013 at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois. If you know of a hard-working, deserving, community-minded spinner who might not otherwise be able to attend SOAR, please make sure they look at the guidelines for applying for a SOAR scholarship. Past SOAR scholars have gone on to make a mark in the spinning community and beyond—becoming mentors, vendors, authors, teachers, and much more. It is a program that benefits all of us in so many ways.

Happy spinning,

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