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Spinning Out Of Control!

September 11, 2011

hand spun yarn

Of the many things we did in the studio this summer, one of the most fun for me had to be spinning with a drop spindle.  In the past I had always thought that it made no sense to spin my own yarn.  Really, does it make any sense to add another level of time and effort to the creating of an item?  As an artist it is already a challenge to create and then set a monetary value on an object or garment that reflects the time it took to make it.   But we were doing the Children’s Fiber Art Camp in July and it seemed like it would be a great learning activity to have the kids build their own spindles and learn to spin with them.  So, with a dowel, a rubber bumper and a tiny cup hook we made a simple tool that has been used for hundreds of years to spin fiber into a strong filament for use in our textile projects.  What I didn’t realize was how totally relaxing the process was going to be.  We started with simple and cheap materials for our first attempts.  Ripping strips of newspaper and spinning it was a huge success.  We created a strong paper string.  Of course we ended up with ink on our hands, but the paper string would be great as a creative ribbon on gifts or for other crafty packaging projects.

hand dyed pencil roving

Next we hand-painted some wool pencil roving that a customer had donated last year to the studio. (Thank you again anonymous donor!)  It was rather scratchy, coarse wool and some had been moth eaten.  But it dyed up beautifully and was easy to get the hang of spinning with.  When I plied it with softer, finer yarns it became somewhat more pleasant and could be used for decorative items, if not for wearable pieces.

Dropping the spindle and watching it wind up the fibers over and over creates a relaxing rhythm.  No real thoughts or worries can distract you as you keep a steady drop, spin and draw of the fibers through your fingers.   It is easy to stay in the moment and becomes almost meditative.  It isn’t exactly a method suitable for mass production, but you probably could have guessed that.  It is however more about the process than the product.

We are offering a Wild & Wooly Wednesday class series this fall for adult students (why should kids have all the fun?).  This Wednesday, September 14th we will be painting and dying wool yarn and roving with acid dyes.  Next month, October 12th we will be building drop spindles and enjoying the Zen of Spinning.  November’s second Wednesday will be Nuno-felting basics and in December we will be creating for the holidays with Needle-felting.  Join us for one or all 4 classes.  They are sure to relax and unwind you as well as stretch your creative abilities!  Please visit our Studio Class page for more information and to register for these and all of our scheduled Fall Classes.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Nida permalink
    October 6, 2011 5:31 pm

    I really like the work here…I am a Textile Design graduate and wanted to work with you may be as a volunteer/intern/teacher….

    This is Nida from Plainfield Illinois…

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