Roving Reporter: Spinning Tools for Travel

Woolly Dispatches (and Kate’s Favorite Spinning Tools for Travel)

Welcome to the new Roving Reporter! I’m Kate Larson, a frequent contributor to Spin Off and author of The Practical Spinner’s Guide: Wool. I love spending time at home with my flock of Border Leicesters, but I also love adventures, both close to home and far away. When I started teaching spinning and knitting workshops on the road in 2006, it was a joy to combine so many of my favorite things—travel, wool, and the ever-growing community of interesting and creative handspinners around the world. This year marked my tenth year traveling and teaching. I worked with guilds and conferences in ten states, making my way from Atlanta to Anchorage, and spent nearly every weekend of the year with wonderful spinners (and fleeces).

Like any frequent traveler, I continue to perfect my list of must-have items. I’m often asked what fiber gear I wouldn’t leave home without, so here are a few of my favorite things:

Estonian knitting bag

Knitters in Estonia have long carried bright patchwork bags so they can knit a few stitches between other tasks. My bag was made in Estonia and reminds me of my life-changing visit there in 2011. Flight delays are no match for a well-prepared fiber artist.

Yarn, DPNs, and spindle. A spinner’s hands are never idle! Photo: Kate Larson.

Yarn, DPNs, and spindle. A spinner’s hands are never idle! Photo: Kate Larson.

Spindle from Spindlewood Works

Spindles offer a heady combination of simplicity, mobility, and beauty. I most often travel with a sturdy, yet lightweight, spindle from Spindlewood. I love carrying such a fine tool with me without worrying excessively about it getting broken in my bag or rolling off a table.

My trusty Lendrum

I purchased my folding Lendrum about the same time I started teaching. This trusty wheel has travelled an amazing number of miles by car, plane, and ferry. It fits nicely in a large suitcase, surrounded by fiber and tools.

Kate demonstrated spinning at the Indiana State Museum’s bicentennial event. Photo: Kate Larson.

Kate demonstrated spinning at the Indiana State Museum’s bicentennial event. Photo: Kate Larson.

Next year’s adventures await, and I hope you will join me for a weekly dispatch from my woolly world!

Check out Kate’s book, The Practical Spinner’s Guide: Wool.

—Kate Larson


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