Spinner’s Questions? Ask Rita Buchanan

My first question, when I was learning to spin many decades ago, was "why does this darn doorknob thingy keep dropping on the floor?" Well, that was a long time ago, and it really was a wooden doorknob on a dowel, and I was trying to spin grease fleece. Why indeed!

Over the years, the questions became more interesting and less plaintive. And for several years in the mid-1990s, master spinner Rita Buchanan fielded a range of them, answering with depth, wisdom, and humor in Spin-Off magazine. Her standing column was "Spinner's Questions," and in each issue she tackled one issue in depth. Now you can have all those answers with just a click or two of your keyboard (and a credit card number).

– Some questions were mundane but necessary: How do you change a drive band? How do you avoid pills? How do you keep your stash from driving you out of house and home?

– Some were aimed at practical mastery: How do you spin a good sock yarn that will last? How do you make joins that won't pull apart? How do you block your yarn? How do you avoid color streaks when you're spinning from a not-entirely-uniform fleece?

– Some were sort of mathematical: "Is a three-ply yarn rounder than a two-ply yarn?" (The answer might surprise you.)

– Some were philosophical: "Is there a right way to spin?"

Spinning is fraught with questions. There's very little black or white, right or wrong, yes or no.  That's why we never get tired of it. There's always more to try, more to learn, more to challenge our hand skills and our brain. More to argue about!

The wisdom Rita packed into answering even the seemingly simplest question has proved timeless. I'm glad she agreed to let us make this information available again.

—Linda

 

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