Why I Spin Yarn
and why you should too!
I started spinning yarn as a poor newlywed in 2003. I had no idea at that time that it would blossom into such a delightful and successful career that would bless my family. Here are some reasons why I spin yarn - and why maybe you should too!
It is fulfilling work I can do from home - The first reason I started spinning yarn was because I wanted to create my own textiles for art, function, and 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.
It supports family farms. I have been purchasing wool from the same fiber flocks 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. America was built by farmers, and family farming is quickly becoming a skill of the past. Handspinners are a valuable part of the local wool economy. Let's keep it strong by supporting each other's families.
Wool is a renewable resource. I love creating with materials that are sustainably grown. It just makes the creative process more joyful for me. And every year I look forward to shopping for more fleeces at local fiber festivals for next year's yarns and batts. There's no political drama or environmental guilt when you create with locally grown wool.
It is a portable career. I have trekked my fiber tools from Rhode Island to Oregon and back to Massachusetts while my husband completed his career. While he was finishing his degree, our groceries were purchased with profits from my carded batts and dyed tops. 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.
It helps make ends meet. I remember one dreary winter, I drove on nearly bald tires to a local yarn shop to teach a spinning class. Thanks to the students who wanted to learn how to spin creative textured yarns, I made enough in that day to get new tires for our car. And that's just one of many moments where I have been blessed by the fiber community. I do not expect fiber art to pay for health insurance, mortgage, and multiple cars - but when there's a little "emergency" it's there to help offset unexpected costs.
It supports the arts & independent artists. - Not everyone has the space to raise sheep, but 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.
It supports family-run manufacturing. 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.
It results in a sellable product. Unlike some other art forms, handspun yarn is currently 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. From my experience as an artist - selling a skein of yarn is much easier than selling jewelry, oil paintings, or pottery.
The profit range is high. Depending on how you look at it. When I spin yarn I am usually watching Netflix or putting my children to bed. I am always multi-tasking at my spinning wheel. I see it as a productive way to spend my free time. I do not track my hours. As a stay at home mom,
It supports my local economy. 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. Since I started spinning yarn, most of the yarn shops in my area have shut down.
It keeps my hands busy and productive. I get great satisfaction and joy from that sense of accomplishment. Spinning up a bobbin of yarn while I sing lullaby hymns to my children has become my favorite bedtime routine.
It is a fulfilling creative play - When I was young, I was often lost in a world of my own imagination and pretending. As I grew up, pretending become childish, and I stopped pretending altogether. 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.
It helps me meditate -
It is a worthy, historical task -