As a beginning spinner I am always learning things that surprise me. I attended a spinning retreat in Northern Indiana recently and some things I learned amazed me.
1. Some spinners think it’s easier to spin a thin yarn than a bulky. Along with this goes the belief that it’s difficult to control the thickness of the yarn. I am NOT an expert spinner by any means, but I know the secret. It’s nothing glamorous and your parents and grandparents knew it. It’s practice! Simply practice spinning different types of yarns to get better control. Along with this goes acceptance of what you make. Let go of the need for perfection. Things made by humans cannot be perfect. I think even DaVinci had days he felt that everything he made was junk!
2. Some spinners don’t like to knit. They make yarn and save it or give it away. That amazes me. But see the next point to understand about giving away precious handspun yarn.
3. Spinners are generous. As a newbie (first time I attended), I received a gift that included two rovings and some llama fiber. Someone else gave me a beautiful handmade shawl pin. When I asked to buy a second one for a friend she would not accept payment and insisted on giving it to me.
The spinners donated an enormous pile of hand knit outerwear to a women’s shelter in Gary, Indiana. Some of them knit all year long and fill shopping bags and totes full of hats, gloves, scarves, socks, children’s wear. They’ll never meet the recipients or hear a thank you from them.
They also created a piece of art when they yarn bombed an old chair. It was given to an art studio.
I love these people!
4. Other spinners love to try new things too. There were spinners teaching themselves to spin coils, to spin bulky yarns, to chain ply. I sold many rolags to people who were excited to try them. Here’s one that sold.
I will see the buyer regularly, can’t wait to see what she created.
5. I can spin without hurting myself! This is marvelous news. For a long time I didn’t understand how to stay pain free when spinning. I’ll blog about it soon.
6. My yarns don’t have to look like everyone else’s. They are still beautiful. Most of the spinners were spinning, white, cream, gray or black wool into fingering or worsted weight yarn. I was spinning bright batts and hand dyed rovings into colorful super bulky yarn. And that’s ok!
One of the things I enjoy most about spinning is the endless opportunities for learning. I plan to attend the retreat again next year. I’m looking forward to seeing all my new friends again, and immersing myself in three days of spinning and learning.