Tips in Motion

What I love about spinning is the generosity of the process. Spinning is not like making TNT, where the steps and proportions have to be perfectly precise (or else), or like computer programming, where every step has to be in logical order. With spinning, you can improvise. You can problem-solve. You can have a three-way conversation with your wheel or spindle and your fiber. You can invent.

Spinners are awfully good at inventing. I almost laughed the first time I heard Margaret Stove describe washing a merino fleece one lock at a time. But you know what? It's a really efficient, effective way to wash a fine fleece. I would never have thought of that. And the first time I heard of Navajo plying, I sat open-mouthed at the cleverness of it, especially as applied to variegated yarns. Now, these are both big inventions, yet all of us invent to some degree almost every time we sit down at the wheel. We devise ways to undo or work around our mistakes, we discover ways to push our equipment to new levels of performance, we discover new yarn designs or new color management tricks. Don't we?

The other thing I love is that spinners are so sharing of their discoveries and inventions. That's why I'm inviting you to share your own special tricks and tips in a new project we are planning for early summer. The cool thing is, you can send us your idea as a video, if you have the ability to do that. It doesn't have to be great quality—just the sort of thing you might post on YouTube or send to your kid or grandkid when you're on vacation. Look at my little video on how to make a Turkish spindle out of a zucchini (left) and you'll see what I mean. I wrote a short script with a marking pen, taped it to my husband's chest, and sat across the breakfast table while he taped me doing my nonsense. Easy. For our project, we're looking for quick tips that can be expressed in a minute or a minute and a half.

If you don't do video, that's okay—send us your hints and tips in words, photos, hand-drawn pictures. If we use yours, we will send you a free copy of this new mystery project. We think you'll like it. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 You can send ideas to Anita Osterhaug at


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