Spinning off…

I wasn’t going to post today, (now that my very will to live has been restored by the miracle of modern air-conditioning and my production has picked right up) but I was inspired by Cassie and a whole other bunch of people, mostly new spinners I have known and loved.

Cassie wrote about the new spinners urge to save good stuff for later, when you are a better spinner, and how she didn’t really get behind that theory a whole lot. I couldn’t agree more.

While (clearly) I have no issues with hoarding lovely fibres (and clearly, neither does Cassie) until their day comes, I also think that there is a great deal to be said for learning to spin with the best materials you can afford.

Nobody needs to be hindered by things that are barely usable, and nobody needs to feel that they are a crappy spinner (or just more crappy than they actually are, since we all suck in the beginning and it is only the length of time that we are sucking for that is really variable among learners). Good fibre makes good yarn.

Good things inspire you. Good things get you to try harder. Good fibre actually helps you spin. Beautiful fibre gives you something to live up to.

Crap fibre depresses you, frustrates you and encourages you to give up and (in the less determined) could cause a fledgling spinner to wander off entirely, thinking that they obviously aren’t meant for this…given that they keep turning out crap yarn. Even the best spinner is going to end up with crap yarn if you start with crap fibre, except at least they are going to know why they apparently suck so hard.

Luckily, there is a practice among spinners, an unspoken code of fibre giving. When a previously normal person gets sucked into the inevitable hole takes up spinning, it is common practice for every other spinner within earshot of the event to take a moment, scour the fibre stash and send a little bit of something wonderful off to inspire the intrepid newbie. Guilds do it, pressing delicious samples on the learner, clubs do it, and the internet does it with gusto, often inundating the newly pledged with bits and pieces of wonderful things, merino, silk, flax and cotton all show up on your doorstep, hand-dyed, plain, roving, sliver, bumps….it is all pressed into your grateful hands with only the lovely phrase “here, try this” to accompany it. The new spinner tries all these things, gets experience, and learns what they like and may invest in.

It’s a wonderful expression of mentorship, and all that you are expected to do in return is to pass on something good..knowledge or fibre…when you have the chance. Brilliant.

Has anyone mentored you with a gift of fibre?

Now that it’s cool enough in the house to move your legs without growing woozy and fainting dead away from the exertion, I spent a little time plying up the latest of Joe’s gansey wool.


To prove to some people (cough-Rams-cough) that I haven’t been just showing the same measly skeins over and over again….


a group shot. That brings the total to about 950m, or roughly (I feel weak when I type this) somewhere between a third and halfway to the finish line. (Yeah. It’s been a year. That’s what I have after a year.)

Finally, I give you a picture of my evening last night.


My pre-cambrian period digital camera can’t quite capture the event, but spontaneously, we had the best evening in the backyard. Sultry heat (now far more tolerable, knowing we can go inside to the air-conditioner) fresh summer berries with cream, good pasta with warm ripe tomatoes and cheese, wine (Laurie, it was a very nice burgundy) and my daughters and a visiting friend from away filled the heavy night-blossom scented air with the Swallowtail Reel, played on fiddle and whistle.

I knit.

(It’s amazing what a tiny little window air-conditioner can do to restore a love of summer.)