Have you ever just happened to meet the right person by chance at the right time and which leads to a whole new adventure?
Three months ago while I was working at Ben Franklin I helped a customer pick out some yarn for a sweater she wanted to make. We got to discussing yarns and why prices were what they were and she mentioned something about not having to buy yarn for a while because she had been used to spinning her own yarn. I mentioned to her that I had taken a one hour class to try it out but wasn’t sure if I should jump in the all the way because of the cost of the wheel itself.
A huge smile came across her face as she excitedly told me about where she goes once a month and who she meets with. I learned that only 15 minutes from my house is a lady who teaches spinning and actually lends out traditional wheels for free. I couldn’t believe the blessing. Here I was meeting a lady who knew a lady that could teach me to spin!
The story behind all this interest started about 10 years ago. (Might have been more because it was when we first moved back to the PNW) Every year at the state fair they have a a barn set up with sheep and all the wonderful things made from their wool and all the tools that go with it. I saw a flyer for Northwest Regional Spinners and had kept it ever since.
Fast forward a couple of years and I am still entranced watching a spinning demonstration at a Scottish Highland game and clan gathering. I actually looked at the cost of wheels their different brands and realize that spinning would be and investment for a later time.
I’m not sure what pushed me over to the spin side when I finally paid for a lesson to try out a wheel and see if it was for me. Where I live is rich in fiber producing animals as well as dairy animals and other sorts of farming. There was a home fiber business in the town I live in called Elizabeth’s Fiber to Yarn that I had visited many years ago. I knew I had seen spinning wheels in her shop and I knew it still existed so I made an appointment with her.
Elizabeth has massive amounts of experience that goes back to the 70s or 80s when she started spinning. Back then you could not buy wool yarn, the only thing available in stores was acrylic. For our area she is one of the original pioneers of getting natural fibers popular because of all the resources she pushed to have available. She’s has been running her shop and providing great wool products for years. Her focus is on products and not so much the teaching part. We all have our niche and I knew I was going to need more of the class part.
I put the spinning bug aside for a while and just kept knitting as much as possible until I met the right person at the right time. As far as my knitting goes I had reached a burn out point. It happens every now and then and the timing of meeting the group of spinners was perfect.
I found a wheel at the Spring Fair with the help of my spinning friends. I had been practicing for a month and was ready for my own wheel. I was able to get in the fair for free because I would be volunteering to help with fleece judging. That volunteering would increase my fiber knowledge 10 fold. I learned that I would really like to try Romney fleece. I had been practicing on Shetland and didn’t really like how scratchy it was. I saw that Merino was really slippery and would be hard for me to control for now. So, Romney was just right for what I wanted to achieve.
The wheel I bought was only $250 with a lovely heritage behind it. It had been owned by a lovely lady who produced beautiful yarns and helped others in their spinning adventures as well. The wheel had some quirks that had to be fixed but it spun like a dream for me and the size was perfect for me. It is an older traditional Ashford and I’m not sure the year of it. I have filled about six bobbins and made a total of one skein on my new wheel.
I have also broken a few different different parts of it as well! But, that’s all about learning. The wheel is so old that it has a leather part that isn’t on newer wheels. This was what broke so I had to hunt down the right replacement part and oddly enough I found it on Amazon.
The main thing I have learned through all this is that you never know the timing of how things are going to work out. If you have a dream, an inkling or a budding interest don’t forget about it and don’t give up on it. It will happen.