I had the great fortune to meet Jillian in April. She came in to shoot a video about spinning from batts and stayed to teach at Yarn Fest. Her warmth, laughter, and friendliness infused every moment of a looonnnggg shoot, and I learned a ton about spinning just from watching the teensy screen over somebody’s shoulder. In just a few weeks, I’ll host Jillian’s webinar called A Spinner’s Compass: How to Measure Your Yarn. No matter how math-phobic you are, or how intuitive you want to be as a spinner, Jillian will have some great tips to make you better at the craft. Though I’ve spun for nearly 20 years now, I know I’ll learn (again) from her experience. Come join us for the live webinar, on Monday, July 13 where you can ask all the questions you want.
Where are you from originally, and where do you currently live?
I grew up outside of Washington, D.C., and in Kansas. I live in Ann Arbor Michigan now. I have lived all of my adult life in college towns.
How and when did you start spinning?
I bought my first wheel (a little Reeves castle wheel) about 20 years ago. I spun in fits and starts for awhile, took a break for a few years. But have been spinning like crazy for the past 8-10 years.
What other creative pursuits do you enjoy?
I knit, I stitch, I crochet a little. I’m taking my first tapestry class this summer; I’ve wanted to do that for years. I want to learn to sew clothes too. I am always excited about learning something new.
Tell us about your spinning studio…what kind of space inspires you?
I don’t have a studio. My spinning wheels, tools and fiber are strung out all over the house. I love to spin outside when the weather is nice. I love to have creative clutter around me, books, fiber, yarn it all inspires me. I’m not sure I could be creative in a minimalist type of space–I like the teetering piles.
What’s your spinning secret weapon?
Sampling. I do a lot of sampling all the way through to knitting. I also do a lot of spinning experimenting. Without those two things I doubt I would spin much. Without the sampling and measuring I would never get the yarn I’m aiming for. It never happens on the first try; I have to readjust something. Without the experimenting I would be sad. Experimenting is playtime for me, especially when it comes to spinning color.
How do you stay motivated on long projects?
Spinning for a sweater or something bigger can be hard for me. I love to start new projects and I’m terrible about finishing. When I have a big project, I break it up with little things in between, even if it’s just a few experiments or samples for something else. Though I have to be careful that my results don’t change the whole path of my big project!
What would your dream studio look like?
Open and airy, with floor to ceiling shelves and cubbies for fiber, books, and art supplies. With big tables to pile things on and enough room for friends to come and spin. And a porch for outside spinning.
What’s your current spinning soundtrack?
Right now I’m listening to the new Alabama Shakes and Trombone Shorty. I can’t wait for Florence + the Machine’s new album to come out! I also love audiobooks. I do my most focused spinning when I’m listening to a book. I just finished All the Light You Cannot See and recommend it highly!
Anything else you’d like us to know?
I always take time to play and laugh at my mistakes. Spinning is joy not work–even though it’s my job!