I’ve always wanted to learn to spin. When I first started knitting, my first yarn store was to Mind’s Eye Yarns. It’s small but bright and packed with fibery goodness, and when I went in, Lucy was spinning. She very nicely helped me pick out some yarn that would make either a lovely scarf or a nice hat, and told Jason one of his favorite catch phrases: “Hats are the snack food of the knitting world.” He is immensely pleased with himself whenever he can deal out that platitude, and he’s even more proud whenever he sees me whip up a quick hat.
When Lucy put those first circulars and DPNs into my beginner hands, and gave me my first skeins of alpaca, she joyfully watched me caress, fondle, and yes, even sniff the fiber, and she told me, “It’s only a matter of time before you start making your own yarn.” It’s funny that she could identify that desire so quickly.
Today, I took a step toward that goal, and met with Jill of Lady Peddler, an antiques and fiber shop in Hastings, MI. First of all, Hastings is a really cute town, and I definitely want to go back. Second of all, Jill is completely awesome. Her spinning lessons are incredibly reasonable, and she has a ton of fiber to choose from (though it’s okay if you bring your own, as I did). Sarah recommended Jill’s expertise to me, and she didn’t disappoint.
I spent a little time with my beginner’s drop spindle, working on the mystery fiber that came with it when I bought it in a “Learn to Spin” kit at last year’s MI Fiber Festival. I was having a bit of a hard time with drafting. I was nervous and so my hands were sweaty (embarrassing but true), and so I couldn’t get the fiber to draft enough. After some practice I felt a little bit better, however, and Jill let me try out a wheel.
I can’t begin to describe how awful I was with that wheel. I kept pulling the fiber too tightly, and over spinning to the point that what I went home with wasn’t yarn, but a bunched up, curly tangle. I’ve been practicing with the drop spindle tonight while we watched a movie, however, and I do feel I’m getting better. Today’s creative exercise (in addition to belly dancing, whoo-hoo!) was a lesson in patience and humility. I need to accept that I will not be an expert at everything I try; I need to cut myself some slack, practice, and relax.
I’ll definitely be back for more lessons.
*The spindle is nestled among the gorgeous flowers KV sent me for my birthday. Thanks, pal! They make me smile every time I pass them.