Cashmere Fiber Is Not Like Chocolate or Red Wine

Do you save the best for last? Eat the lima beans first, save the chocolate mousse for dessert, and generally delay gratification? Save the good bottle of wine for a special occasion? Cashmere fiber is just as sensuous and delightful, but you should definitely not save it for last. (I do not recommend enjoying cashmere […]

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While Kate Larson takes a writing break to make hay for her flock, we’re taking the opportunity to learn about her Yarn and Yoga at the Hot Springs retreat coming up this October in Montana’s Peace Valley. “For me,” Kate says, “spinning yarn and fiber work has always been a path toward mindfulness, healing, and […]

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Break the Rules! Spinning with Joy

What if most theories you’d heard about spinning were wrong? What if woolen and worsted didn’t mean anything, there was no correct amount of twist, and it didn’t matter whether you drafted forward or backward? And what if the person who said this wasn’t a casual novice but one of the most respected, meticulous spinning […]

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Spinning Binge

We like to say that spinning is meditative—but should we say mesmerizing? I bet that once upon a time you’ve looked up from your spindle or wheel and wondered, “Have I really been spinning for hours without stopping?” Before the Binge 1. Shape Up. Runners train, cyclists train . . . and spinners should train. […]

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What’s Your Spinning Super Power?

A few months ago, Susan Horton shared the weaving superpower she has—and the ones she wants. Like her, I see my craft as a superpower; spinners wave a magic wand (OK, spindle) and transform loose fluff into a strong tie that binds. See if my spinning superpower wish list matches yours—and tell me which you […]

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Handspinner: What I Really Do

Describing yourself as a spinner can lead to confusion. To clarify, we offer our updated version of an old meme. Top row, from left: 1. Fidget Spinner, a 2017 craze popular among the under-25 set. Supposed to be soothing but presents a choking hazard. Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images. 2. Spinning, a stationary cycling […]

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We’re getting ready for the 40th anniversary celebration of Spin Off with the Fall 2017 issue. For me, this means browsing back issues in search of gems from the history of handspinning that today’s readers should see and remember. I began with the issues included in the Ultimate Spin Off 15 Year Digital Collection, and […]

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Les Tricoteuses: A Bastille Day Yarn

On July 14, France celebrates Bastille Day (or as they call it “Quatorze Juillet”), the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 that marked a turning point in the French Revolution—well, the first of their revolutions, anyway. Joseph Marie Jacquard was still a decade away from developing his famous punchcard-driven loom, though […]

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Signs You May Be a Spinning Geek

When I was a kid, “geek” and “nerd” were insulting labels your annoying classmates (mostly boys) called you. Today, at least three holidays celebrate geeks: Geek Pride Day (May 25), National Hike with a Geek Day (June 20), and Embrace Your Inner Geekness Day (July 13). I fell in the nerd camp then, but now […]

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Margaret Stove may be the most soft-spoken rebel you ever meet. It’s not that she enjoys being contrary; it’s just that when you spin the way she does, the usual rules don’t apply. Margaret spins extraordinarily fine laceweight, generally from New Zealand Merino fleece, and knits it into lace so fine that spiders are ashamed […]

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