Turn of events

If you have been spinning a while, you probably know there is more to making thread than appears on the surface of it. It is not just the technique nor skill involved, but the way your life becomes entangled in unforeseen connections. If you are new to spinning, you may already have experienced some amazing coincidences and become a new source of interest to your nonspinning friends. There seems to be no warning or rules about this. You become akin to the wisp of fiber that vanishes into your orifice at the turn of the wheel to reappear on the bobbin. From the moment of creation, the possibilities are endless. Sometimes looking back, we are astonished at the turn of events. Here are two such experiences found in recent newsletters, and my own experience.

In 1995, noxious weeds were responsible for the friendship that grew between Kathy Stanko and the Mesa County Weed and Pest Inspector, Jude Sirtoa. Their friendship blossomed over the years as Kathy and her husband began raising llamas and cashmere goats. Jude is a spinner and member of the Mesa Fiber Arts Guild (Colorado) and offered feedback on the animals’ fibers. Just recently, Kathy proposed to the Grand Mesa Llama and Alpaca Club that it become a member of the guild. Jude proposed to her guild that it invite club members to talk about their activities at the guild meeting. The club went prepared with raw fibers, yarn, felted hats, and handouts on llama fiber. As it happened to be the guild’s annual fiber exchange meeting, there were bags of fiber and skeins on every table. Show and Tell made more connections for both groups as common interests and new ones emerged. The guild offered to demonstrate spinning at the club’s llama show in April. Kathy says, “It always just amazes me where one handshake, one new connection will take me . . . We all had a great deal of fun and look forward to a long and prosperous connection.”

The impact the Pinellas Weavers’ Guild (Florida) has made in the life of Kristin Geeslin is one of inspiration. At the first monthly meeting she attended, she felt “as if I had entered a web formed by people who not only created beautiful items together, but shared the beauty of life’s journey. I looked around and imagined how the faces in the room had found their way to rich lives of creative expression. The power in the room informed me that these guild members had supported each other in this richness despite all the imaginable challenges of life.” In the last two years she has found the mentoring, monitoring, and “help making stuff” a way to soften her day-to-day routines.

Though I love to spend time spinning, I work as a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) with few opportunities for talking about this interest with coworkers. A few weeks ago, I received a belated thank you from Jenny Allman in Hinkley, Minnesota. Back in the 1990s, we worked together for a brief time as COTAs and I invited her to our annual Spin-In on our farm during National Spinning and Weaving Week in October (sponsored by the Handweavers Guild of America). When she saw us spinning, her “love for all things fiber” awoke and made a lasting impression never forgotten. She wrote that a few years ago “some heartbreaking events spun me back into fiber and I picked up knitting again. I told my husband that I always wanted to spin. He surprised me and bought me a spinning wheel and a drumcarder.” This spring, she obtained some fleeces and opened a small yarn shop, Bamboo Needle Knit Shop. “Cruising through the Spin-Off magazine at hand, I saw your name and remembered you and the rainy day we went to see a guild event . . . thank you for introducing me to the art.”

Whether you spin in a closet or in a circle of friends, you are a thread in this fabric being created by spinners past, present, and future. You are a connection to our worldwide spinning community. I would love to know your story. Drop me a note at spinnersconnection@interweave.com. Let’s stay connected!

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