Friday, May 07, 2004

Why Spinning?

Okay, so I’ve been knitting for a few years, and have only been spinning for three weeks. Here’s why I’m already enjoying it so much.

  1. It’s economical. Spinning my own yarn will stretch my fiber budget, as well as the amount of time that I can enjoy any given fiber that I have., since I spend the time spinning it as well as knitting it. For $20 on eBay, I bought a spindle, Lee Raven’s wonderful Spin It! book, and enough roving to create a hat’s worth of yarn, if not more. At the MD Sheep and Wool Fest, I spent about $15 on over a pound of roving - how else can you get a pound of wonderful, wooly, hand-painted, handspun yarn for only $15?

  2. It’s portable. Portability is one of my favorite things about knitting, and while spinning isn’t quite as handy, it’s easy to carry along a spindle and some wool.

  3. It increases my appreciation for the diversity of yarn. If you’re like me, you get annoyed when people ask you why you don’t just buy a sweater instead of “wasting” the time and effort to knit your own. There’s so much design and individuality and creative energy that goes into producing your own piece. There are so many choices to be made, just in the yarn: color, fiber, weight, not to mention stitch patterns and construction… spinning wool into yarn myself has made me more aware of further dimensions involved in the process of creating a finished product.

  4. It’s relaxing. Not that knitting isn’t relaxing, but there’s something even more zen about spinning - the concentration it requires, the attention that you to your hands, the repetitive motion. When I get frustrated with my life, I recenter by knitting, and when I get frustrated with my knitting, I can recenter by spinning.

  5. It’s gratifying. After three weeks and a little frustration, I can create yarn without too much trouble, and I can pick it up and have enough yarn to wind some onto the spindle in just a few minutes. I’ve spun over 100 yards, which is enough for a hat, in the space of a few hours, and now I have all that knitting to look forward to!

Here's the yarn I'm currently spinning, from some fleece bought at MD Sheep and Wool. I'm mixing the colors by hand, mostly by taking pieces of a bunch of different colors, separating them, and mixing them back together. I'm sure this would be easier with some sort of tools, but I've really just learned, and figure I should do some trial and error experimentation before spending more money on toys (although a friend of mine is selling her wheel, and it's very tempting).


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