Meet SOAR mentor Marilyn Wright


SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat) veteran Marilyn Wright will be making her debut as a SOAR mentor this year with her Thursday workshop, Blackfoot Spindle Spinning. She came to learn about Blackfoot spinning through a past SOAR event and would like to share the story of her journey from attendee to mentor. Join Marilyn at SOAR in St. Charles, IL, to learn more about this unique spindle spinning tradition. ~Kate

Marilyn Wright will be teaching Blackfoot Spindle Spinning at SOAR 2013. You can also read her article in the Summer 2013 issue of Spin-Off.


SOAR has been a most amazing journey for me over the last six years. Having retired after forty-three years as a nurse, I unexpectedly started a new career as a spinner. My first trip to SOAR was something I promised to myself as a one-off treat. Since then I have attended yearly. At home I teach small groups of spinners both beginners and those seeking to refine skills. When I teach, I always caution my students that spinning can be addictive.

At SOAR you will meet the friendliest and most generously welcoming people around. I don't usually do well in crowds, but each year I can't wait for autumn to roll around so that I can spend time in this glorious throng, mass, and multitude of like-minded folk. 

This year I have the supreme privilege of being allowed to run a Thursday workshop. I first learned how to do Blackfoot spinning on the day off in the middle of the week at SOAR. That is typical of what goes on at SOAR. The workshops and retreats are run be world-class teachers. The meals and leisure time are used by world-class spinners to network, teach, and share their most amazing gifts of time, skill, and presents of all things spinning related.

Blackfoot spinning is an ancient and traditional method of spinning, but is seems peculiarly well-suited to modern life. It works well in many settings, such as sitting in a car on a long (or short) journey and on planes, boats and trains. After all, if the Blackfeet women could spin while on horseback and when following the bison or the tribe as they moved camp, I am sure we can spin useful and lovely yarn while we travel. And when we get home, it works well in an armchair, settee, or just sitting in the garden.

In my two-hour SOAR workshop, Blackfoot Spindle Spinning, you will have the opportunity to spin several types of fleeces and, if you like, to prepare fleece in the way that you like best, such as carding or combing. Then learn to spin this fiber on a Blackfoot spindle that will be yours to take home.

Blackfoot spinning almost died out and I am extremely grateful to Judy who took the time to show me how to spin this way. If more and more people learn this skill, they will, in turn show others how it's done. We can do thiswe can bring Blackfoot spinning back from the brink of extinction, giving an ancient craft a whole new life while using our skill to make yarn for warm, comforting clothing for ourselves, our families, and those we love.



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