Every spinner starts somewhere
Amy's Sock for my fears, sock for my serenity, handspun, handknit. Made for her thesis exhibit at Colorado State University.
Liz demonstrating spinning for her mom and nephew at the Estes Park Wool Market when she was the Spin-Off editorial intern.
Tell us how you got started spinning
The Spin-Off editorial team is pleased to introduce Interweave Knit&Spin! This bookazine (i.e., a really big publication that contains information like a book but presents it in a magazine format) will be on newsstands soon and is available now for pre-order in the Spinning Daily Shop. It is designed for the comfortable knitter, but beginning spinner. We went through the thirty-four years (that's nearly 140 issues) of Spin-Off magazine, a number of Interweave spinning books, and added in a few new articles to compile articles and projects that offer the best information for beginning spinners.
And since we love to hear everyone's beginning-to-spin stories (tell us yours at in the comments of this blog), we thought we'd share how we got started spinning.
Amy: I had a couple of introductions to spinning as a child—one at historic Williamsburg, Virginia, another at Greenfield Village in Michigan, and another in an art class at Cornell College, Iowa—and they were all important in laying the foundation for my future as a spinner. But I really learned how to spin twenty years ago when I was a student abroad and spent two months in rural Costa Rica. There I lived with spinner, weaver, dyer Petra Lazaro Lazaro who taught me how to gather the cotton from the trees that grew around the house, remove the seeds, and spin a high-twist cotton singles on a drop spindle. Petra also taught me how to dye the yarn with bark and iron-rich mud from the hills, and how to weave it into a sturdy fabric on a backstrap loom. I learned from Petra that the desire to make beautiful things is inherently human and crosses all socioeconomic/cultural lines. I returned home to pursue a degree in fiber arts at Colorado State University, which culminated in a thesis of handspun, handknitted dysfunctional socks, and eventually found my way to Interweave, where I've worked since 1997 and have been the editor of Spin-Off since 2000.
Liz: I first learned to spin as an editorial intern with Spin-Off seven years ago. I was a new knitter, and once I discovered how much I loved all types of fiber, I wanted to learn everything I could about it. I enjoyed this basic spinning knowledge for years, but felt I didn't understand the whole picture and, honestly, I was a little intimidated by spinning. I decided to take a class from Maggie Casey in 2009 (you will find some of her wonderful information for beginners in this issue) and learned that spinning was a lot more forgiving than I'd thought and that as long as the yarn you make stays together and works for your projects, you are a successful spinner. This freed me to learn the technical aspects of spinning as I am ready and willing.
Six months ago, I joined the Spin-Off team as my full-time job (after six years working on our sister magazine Fiberarts), and my spinning knowledge has increased exponentially. One big help was putting together this publication. I am amazed at the wealth and breadth of information in the past issues of Spin-Off and how, after thirty-four years, there is still more to say on the subject of spinning.
We hope Interweave Knit&Spin will be an invaluable resource for beginning spinners.
Amy Clarke Moore