Learning to Spin

first attempt with a drop spindle

As a knitter, I guess it’s natural to want to learn to spin fibre into yarn. I’ve seen those large fluffy bats of wool and alpaca and wondered how it was done. For some reason, I had always thought that spinning fibre involved a large investment in a wheel (you know the kind from the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty where the princess pricks her finger on the needle of a spindle). 

About a month ago, I was surprised to see that the One of a Kind Christmas Show was offering hands-on workshops for the first time this year. One of those classes was “Handspinning with Shawn O’Hagan“. Wow! What drew me to the class was that in an hour Shawn would teach me to spin my own fibre and provide me with a handmade drop spindle that I could keep. I was intrigued. I was planning to go to the show anyways (as I do every year for the past 10 years — yes, I have to admit I’m a craft show geek) and the workshop included the cost of admission, too. What a treat! 

I was surprised to learn how relatively simple it was and I can see how it could become very addictive. There’s something about mixing your own colours, textures and types of materials to create your own yarn that draws you in and drives you to keep exploring. 

I’m hopeful that I can keep practicing (at the moment it takes me a long time to get just two ounces of fibre spun) and maybe use my newly learnt skills for Project Zoo in the near future. 

Also, OOAK posted some photos from the class, including one of me and looking very pregnant indeed! Check it out!

Project Zoo

Project Zoo

Project Zoo

Those that know me know that in my university days, I used to be a zoo camp counseller at the Toronto Zoo, teaching kids about animals and conservation. It was one of the most fun and rewarding jobs I’ve had. So, when I recently learned about a project that connected knitters with fundraising for the zoo, I joined immediately!

“Project Zoo” was started by local crafter, Ladee Bee  after a recent trip to the zoo where she purchased a skein of camel hair yarn from the gift shop and wondered, “Why was the yarn at the store from an animal far, far away when we had our own animals at the zoo? Why couldn’t the fibre be collected, processed and knit up into items that could be donated back to the zoo and sold?”

What a great idea, right? Can you image a drapy cowl or cozy scarf in warm camel or alpaca, or other exotic fibres from the our own zoo animals! How wonderfully yummy! If you want to get involved, visit our group page for more information about the project.