The reason I started spinning yarn was because I wanted to create my own textiles for art, function, and perhaps profit. I wanted a creative revenue source that I could maintain while staying home raising children, if that were to happen. I spun yarn for 10 years before we started a family, and now that I'm a stay at home mom of 3 I couldn't imagine being more fulfilled.
I have trekked my fiber tools from Rhode Island to Oregon and back to Massachusetts while my husband was in school. We bought food with the money I made selling dyed processed fiber. I love that I can take my spinning anywhere, and continue business as usual. That flexibility is such a blessing - as you never know what life changes might be around the corner.
I remember one winter, I drove on nearly bald tires to a local yarn shop to teach a spinning class. I made enough that day to get new tires for our car. And that's just one of many moments where I have been rewarded by the fiber community. I do not expect fiber art to pay for health insurance, mortgage, fancy vacations, and multiple cars - but when our family is in a pinch it's there to help offset unexpected costs.
It's something that humanity has in common. Often when I’m spinning yarn I am meditating on women in history who also spun yarn. What was it like to spin yarn thru the ages? In many chapters of history, wool was wealth.
My husband once read a book to me about shepherding after the Oregon trail that read, “Wherever the sheep’s hoof touches, there the land turns to gold.” In this day and age we forget that wool, our clothing, is just as valuable to survival as our roof and food.
One of my favorite Biblical passages is Proverbs 31, which describes a “worthy woman”. This woman is known for her kindness, hospitality, generosity, and work ethic. Her husband and children adore her. She is independent, educated, and humble. I strive to be her. In fact, one of the reasons I started spinning yarn was to play a game in my life where I went thru Proverbs 31 literally. Proverbs 31:13 is my spinning verse. Proverbs 31:15 is breastfeeding children. Proverbs 31:20 is why this website is free.
When I was young, I was often lost in a world of my own imagination and pretending. For years I missed that feeling of getting lost inside my head, daydreaming, and escaping into far away thoughts and ideas and dreams and hopes. Spinning yarn brought that joy back to me. I get to play with color, design, and texture. And the meditative motion of treadling and drafting keeps my hands busy while my mind plays.
When I spin yarn I am usually listening to an audiobook or singing to my children in bed. I am always multi-tasking at my spinning wheel. I see it as a productive way to spend my free time. It also gets me away from my computer and smart phone, which we all spend entirely too much time on.
I can both use OR sell the product. Unlike some other art forms, handspun yarn is in demand by knitters, crocheters, and weavers around the world.Each skein of yarn has countless options of what it can be made into. Each skein of yarn can appeal to a wide range of makers, just due to the color or texture.
I have been purchasing wool from the same fiber farms in New England since 2005. Purchasing local wool goes directly to the care & feeding of these animals, providing income and resources to the families, so they can continue living their passion for generations to come.
There are countless artisans and families who are in the fiber community dyeing fiber and carding batts to spin. These artists are also a valuable asset to the economy and the wool industry. And they make great friends too.
Spinning wheel companies are also family-run businesses. Many of them have been around for generations. Purchasing a spinning wheel keeps these businesses alive for generations to come, and allows the families to pass on their knowledge and experience from generation to generation.
My favorite yarn shop, Madison Wool, has been selling my handspun yarn for several years. I love that when a skein of my yarn sells, not only does it make the customer happy - it supports that yarn shop so they can continue teaching classes, promoting workshops, and selling yarns from artisans around the world.