SpinKnit, where you want to be

Spinning sisters in Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: Robert Medlock.

Amy Clarke Moore takes you along to a spinning retreat in Forks, Washington.

Tom Forrester sharing in his Toronto workshop. Photo: Sandi Wiseheart.

No need to be envious—join us!

As the editor of SpinKnit, I sometimes get jealous. It seems like all the authors I work with are off to somewhere fascinating.

Linda Ligon went to Chiapas, Mexico, where she met Tzotzil women who keep sacred sheep. In the marketplace of Chamula, she watched a spinner wield a supported spindle lightning-fast as her sister carded. Around the corner, she saw a weaver set up her backstrap loom to weave the yarn into dense fabric.

Amy Clarke Moore spent an enchanted (if slightly damp) week in Forks, Washington, made famous by vampire romance but known to spinners as the site of Judith Mackenzie's Tribal Textile Treasures retreat. Amy learned to shape cedar in traditional ways, taking classes in Quileute roses and Makah woven baskets from artisans in those tribes.

Sandi Wiseheart went to visit Tom Forrester in his Woodshaper Studio outside Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he showed her all the steps to making one of his signature spindles. She saw him select and shape a piece of wood into a Russian spindle before her eyes.

Fortunately, when these writers finish up their adventures, they bring us goodies. They take photos and videos that almost make me feel like I was there, and they tell stories of the amazing spinners, knitters, weavers, and other artisans they meet.

But holding down the fort here can be great, too. When Jacey Boggs was in town, she spent some time demonstrating how she creates one of her most fun textured yarns—by tailspinning. Listening to Jacey explain the technique and watching her hands as she spun, I felt like I was getting a private lesson. (Don't worry:mdash;I'll share. Jacey's video and her pattern for Tailspun Mittens are in this issue.)

And it's not too far from here to Lyons, Colorado, where Joanna and Keith Gleason are building America's first flock of Bond sheep. I'm sorry I couldn't take you along when I drove out to meet the sheep, but I did bring back videos demonstrating how the Gleasons feed, clothe (yes, clothe!), and shear their sheep to make sure they produce wonderful fleeces for handspinning. And I couldn't resist sharing some lamb antics, too.

While hearing about these journeys makes me wish I could go to these places, touch these fibers, and meet these people, experiencing them through SpinKnit—seeing photographs, watching videos, hearing experts tell their stories—is the next best thing.

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