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16 October 2007



Oh, well! You "made me" buy these spindlers (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22891756@N00/886285409/). I've never thought about spinning until I found your blog and now I have no one but two spindlers and no idea how to use them! I'm goint to try anyway I'm just waiting the cold to try because south of Spain it's too hot in summer to even think about it ;)
Happy Rhinebeck!!


Oh, well! You "made me" buy these spindlers (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22891756@N00/886285409/). I've never thought about spinning until I found your blog and now I have no one but two spindlers and no idea how to use them! I'm goint to try anyway I'm just waiting the cold to try because south of Spain it's too hot in summer to even think about it ;)
Happy Rhinebeck!!


Yes. ;)

But not "should" as in, they're not 'real' knitters if they don't make their own yarn. (And I know that's NOT what you were saying.) "Should" as in, they're missing such a wonderful experience if they don't spin. The benefits: tactile pleasure, understanding yarn construction, getting in touch with tradition, relaxation, creativity, double value (pay for fiber once, get to spin it AND knit it)...

I am thrilled that you lured me in and taught me to spin. No, not in person, since we live so far apart, but in encouragement and info and enthusiasm. I thank you, wool woman.

Did I mention the tactile pleasure?

Caroline M

I think all knitters should spin enough yarn to knit something with at least once. Going beyond that, spinning makes you a better knitter. Once you understand about the different fibres and how they behave you have a better chance of making winning yarn substitutions and once you understand about yarn construction you have a decent chance of choosing yarn for socks that will survive more than a month. It is cheap to try and uses only the simplest of tools (I have spun on a potato and a skewer and made a spindle from K'Nex but a proper spindle is less than £3).

I've done the quick demo of a spindle to a total stranger, I often wonder whether she took to it (yes, she bought the spindle)


I definitely think everyone should try it, not just once, but until they get the "Aha!" moment. After that, either they can't help themselves and must continue in their new obsession, or they just shrug and say "Hmm, so that's how you do it" and continue on the path they were on before.

I can't think of anything worse than being made to continue beyond the "Aha!" without the passion driving you on. Let's just say that while I do know *how* to sew a fine seam, it's been many years since I did any serious sewing - apart from mattress stitch ;D


Of course everyone should spin! One of the reasons I wanted to learn was because you talked about it so much and I wanted to be a part of that. As for notches on my spindle (i.e. others I've taught to spin) I think I'm up to 3 now. I'll be looking for conquests this weekend.


Hell yes, everyone should spin :-). I am picking up the Norm Hall wheel that I have been waiting 7 long years for, so I will surely be enabling people all weekend! Wheeeeeeeeeee


Hmmm....No. I don't think you have to know how to spin to be able to substitute properly. I don't think you must be able to produce yarn to understand it. It might help, but it's not a requirement.

And yes, I know how and I have a wheel and some lovely fiber. I don't practice enough to get good at it because there are only so many hours in a day and my knitting has priority. I did get some wonderful alpaca and some alpaca/silk roving recently that have me leaning back that way though...


At the very least, everyone should try it out if they have the opportunity. That said, I don't think I've ever seen "I'll just try it once" NOT turn someone into a spinner in due time. Especially if they try it enough to have the Aha! moment that Catherine mentions.


I've been toying with the idea of taking up spinning, actually. But I'm afraid it's going to be addictive (I mean, after all, it IS yarn, right?). Can I really afford to take on another healthy obsession?

Seriously though, do you need to buy a wheel and about another gagillion doodads to spin, or is there a beginners, qhick and dirty option?


Well, you did "dare" me -- so here goes. Saying all knitters need to learn how to spin is like saying all knitters need to master tailoring, so they have a proper understanding of fit and construction. There's a logical connection sure, and admittedly benefits to be gained, but it's not a requirement to make a lovely knitted garment.

Besides, if I started bringing home unspun wool and stuffing THAT into the closets, the family would riot. Some of us are better off on the consumer end of the yarn process!


I agree completely with Catherine's comment.


I don't know whether spinning makes people better knitters, but I do know that since you introduced me to spinning I love doing it. I'm far from great at it -- I wouldn't even say I'm good at it -- and I have yet to learn how to ply properly, but I still enjoy it immensely. Spinning is one of the most meditative, centering things I do. I wish I had more time to do it and I would love to take a class somewhere, but I'll get there eventually. I certainly feel more connected to the whole process when I spin (if that makes any sense). I owe you a debt of gratitude for introducing me to it, so thanks! I look very forward to meeting Sigga this weekend (if time and circumstance allow it to happen!).


does this mean you're offering to give me a wheel lesson at rhinebeck? my dog (literally) ate the spindle i brought home two years ago but i think that after several rhinebeck's worth of wanting to try a spinning wheel but being a fraidycat, this might be the year.


I dunno... If everyone was spinning, there might be less wool and AbbyCrack for me... ;-)

Rachel H

I don't know if everyone should spin, but everyone should be made to understand how important spinning is to every part of the post industrial revolution world we live in and not dismiss it as some sort of cute little hobby. The phone lines we've been talking on for decades? Twisted Pairs. Why are they twisted? Strength. Where did the understanding that twisting would give strength come from? Spinning.

There are so many examples to pick from our lives. We don't need to convert everyone, but we can't let them diminish it. (Can you tell I spent time listening to Judith MacKenzie-McCuin? Inspiring)


I think that everyone should try spinning, bu I'm also so biased -- I love it and can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to at least try it out! But this applies to lots of crafts; I'm a dabbler at heart and don't entirely understand people who say "I could never do that" without giving a try.

I do think that all knitters can benefit from some spinning know-how. Even if it's only to help be more discerning about yarn-shopping (e.g. you need "worsted", but do you want singles, 2-ply, 3-ply, 10ply?), having a greater understanding of yarn production can really make knitting better and more fun too.


Well, I admire spinners and gleefully purchase their wares, and I've definitely been mesmerized watching someone work the wheel, but I'm content with that. I would love for my mother to learn how, I think she'd really enjoy it, but I don't have a lot of interest in it myself. I don't think spinning is required to make good yarn substitutions. It can't be; so many fabulous knitters don't spin. I think everyone who has an interest should learn, but if the basic interest in doing it isn't there, then why force it?


I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say no, not everyone should spin. I think that anyone who has an interest in fiber should understand the basics of spinning because no matter what their persuasion is (knitting, weaving, crochet), knowing the technique involved in making yarn is certain to help them. I know knitters who don't have the patience to learn how to spin, who totally freak out if they drop a stitch, and I don't know that their personalities would mesh with spinning. But maybe spinning is exactly what they need. Good question!

Susan Pandorf

Well, I do think that we learn by doing, so I appreciate the whole "know more about the properties of yarn" aspect of spinning. And it is a natural outgrowth of knitting. We begin by buying someone else's yarn to make someone else's pattern. Inevitably, if we allow ourselves to grow, we begin to think, I could do that!

So we either make our own yarn, dye our own yarn, or write our own patterns. I have gone in the direction of the latter, but that doesn't rule out a future experimentation in spinning once Sunflower Designs is safely on her feet, and our house is sold so I can afford to make new messes, and my husband is looking the other way (self-explanatory.)

Blessings (and have fun at Rhinebeck, you lucky dog!)


I tried spinning a couple of weeks ago and I didn't like it. It didn't make my hands sing. I wasn't longing for my next chance to do it. So I decided it's not for me.

I enjoy watching spinners. I know that I've expanded my knowledge of fiber by reading the blogs of spinners. But I really just want to knit and there's not enough hours in the day as it is. I love stitch patterns and wrapping my brain around the rhythm of a new way to put the knits and purls together.


I avoided the spinning bug for a long time but I'm not sorry I finally gave in. I will say that currently my knitting and my spinning live in different compartments of my life since I haven't knit with anything I've spun as of yet. I enjoy the spinning just for itself.

I think that knitters can be spinners and spinners can be knitters but it's not a foregone conclusion if you are one then you would enjoy the other.


Yes, I think everyone should spin! I had a fiber stash even before I bought a spindle or wheel. It was inevitable. I also have a friend I've never met flying out (from Pittsburgh) for a visit and a trip to Rhinebeck. It's so freaky & wonderful!


I have no excuses - I am a non spinner who wants to learn and hopefully will very soon - waiting for the next class to start at my LYS and I'm there :-) My SP even sent me a spindle and fiber and I have no clue what to do with it. Soon, real soon :-)


No excuses here. I signed up for drop-spindle class at my LYS as soon as I had heard about it!

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