Take a look in Judith MacKenzie’s "Spinner’s" Toolbox


Judith MacKenzie explains that being able to make yarns to fit a project is the basis of the spinner's toolbox.

Judith demonstrates worsted spinning.

Judith demonstrates semi-worsted spinning.

What do you have in your toolbox?

I have to admit that, as a spinner, I have a weakness for tools. How could I not? All the beautiful handcrafted equipment, with the most amazing woodwork, offering clever solutions to the spinning challenges all of us face. And as a tactile person, I must tip my hat to all the manufacturers for making such lovely and enjoyable objects to help me create the yarn I love. What a win-win that is! And, while the word "tool" initially conjures up visions of buttery inlaid wood spindles and perfectly sanded wheels, my vision for the word "tool" was majorly expanded while watching Judith MacKenzie's new video A Spinner's Tool Box, which was recently released on DVD in the Interweave Store (and is also available for download).

Judith's video doesn't focus on these physical tools but a whole different sort of tool (although one just as important to create the yarn and textiles we love). It focuses on our internal tools that each spinner has, which help us create the right yarn for the project ahead of us and to know it will be successful. In this two-disc DVD set, Judith outlines six drafting techniques or tools, discussing the nuances of worsted and woolen spinning (and four of the variations between the two).

I know by watching it my own toolbox has to have at least tripled in size (I am a relatively new spinner, after all). But even in areas I felt I had a solid base, my knowledge expanded and my tools increased.

In this job, with access to so many masterful spinners, it is more apparent each day that there is always something new to discover about spinning. And for me, Judith is an amazing teacher. She speaks my language. She mixes technique with great stories, teaching how spinning it fits into history and many different cultures.

And, while watching this DVD hasn't taught me about adding beautiful hand-turned spindles to my collection as I might have initially expected, it has given me something more valuable, new skills that I have added to my own spinner's toolbox that will make me a better spinner forever.

Spin on,

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