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And twirling, always twirling!

I really have too much yarn already. There is literally no need for me to buy more. I have enough to make M a beautiful sweater; I have enough for socks for years—it’s seriously like apocalypse prepping in the sock yarn basket—enough yarn for another three sweaters for me me me, and then more yarn again for hats, scarves and any other whimsy my capricious heart demands.

So obviously I don’t need to buy more yarn.

But it turns out I know a loophole before I know one.

It’s been a mildly, but constantly, challenging year, in the arenas of both work and wellbeing. Coming back from an early-morning biopsy at my doc, I realised (a) the appointment had finished early; and (b) my local yarn shop (LYS) was already open. I had scheduled my day around not getting home until 10:00, and here we were at only 9:20! The car basically made the decision for me. I had just had a tiny chunk taken out of my arm and the hole stitched shut: why not treat myself to some yarn?

A bit of broader context: I have spent a lot (a lot) of energy this year talking myself out of buying a loom. I do not need a loom. I don’t care how fast it is and how you can make lovely things with them. I don’t need a loom, and I most certainly do not need another hobby. Then my LYS, blessed be thy name, as if in direct response to this decision, began stocking both looms and wheels.

I was resistant to the wheels. They’re big and expensive and take up floor space I’m not prepared to give. But a plain little drop spindle? That doesn’t take up any space. And they are aesthetically pleasant: I find them interesting. As well as all the wheels and looms, however, the LYS has also started stocking wee bags of sliver (pronounced SLY-ver): fibre that has been prepared for spinning, dyed in pretty little bundles. A little bag with seven bundles of sliver, in pretty shades of purple, red, orange and pink (colourway ‘Autumn’)…well hello there. Cheap, too. A cheap little drop spindle and some cheap little practice fibre (cheap as in inexpensive: this is heavenly soft corriedale, and it feels even more luxurious than it is)…damn it, Ashford know what they’re about.

So I started spinning. I knew the first efforts would be ludicrous; everybody’s first efforts are. With that in mind, I decided to just jump in and try it.

A top-whorl spindle loaded with my very first attempt at spinning.

Oh my. I made string!


Oh wow. Oh no. Oh wow. Why didn’t anyone tell me how much fun it is? And how hard! But also how easy, kind of? It’s not hard to produce something like yarn, but it’s hard to produce something like good yarn and hot damn if I’m not on the hunt now.

My second skein of handspun, pretty orange!

Skeined and everything!

Oh wow.

A multi-pink skein of handspun, my fourth effort!

My fourth attempt! More consistent, and a blend of three colours. Gettin’ clever.

Oh no.

Oh wow.

I excitedly sent my parents a picture: my Dadini praised my lack of overspinning (which was generous, because there was plenty of overspun sections) and he and I had a lengthy exchange about the possibility of buying a wheel and spinning More Seriously. It turns out that Dadini’s mum (something of a pillar in her local CWA and a craftsperson beyond compare) used to do bulk orders of spinning wheels on behalf of her fellow CWA members, and my Dadini would, for a small fee, assemble and test the wheels for them. He is, consequently, surprisingly au courant with the ways of spinning.

Having spun up all the bag of fibre, I, uh, bought more. Proud, on one hand, to have not bought more yarn on that specific occasion; less proud that I bought four bags of prepped fibre. But oh, you should see them. I got another bag of ‘practice’ sliver (this is no shade on Ashford’s prepped fibre: I like it for practising because the different colours allow me to easily remember the order I did them in, and thus track my progress); but then a bag of all-one-colour sliver (purple, because me) which I’m going to use to learn how to be consistent over an entire colour. And then there’s two reward bags. This:

A bag of baby alpaca and fine merino fibre to be spun, in a colour like the feeling of morning sun on your face.

Baby alpaca and fine merino: gotta skill up to earn this stuff.

Alpaca and corriedale, with a sheen of silky pretty something in it. It makes me think of autumn dawns

And this:

A rolag prepared by my LYS owner, in shades of dark purple and indigo.

The prettiest colours. Like a bruise or a poetic midnight.

A rolag prepped, as far as I can tell, by the owner of the LYS herself. It’s gorgeous: midnight blue and purple, with slivers (SLEEV-vers) of silver (SEEL-ver) throughout. Oh dear. Oh nelly. Oh nelly nelly nellington.

There’s been a lot of offers to join/do/come along to things that I’ve turned down on the basis that I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head. But since I got another one of those this year too, in a purely frivolous, non-medical way, why not take up the fibre when the universe drops it on you?

Call me Clotho: she who spins.

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