Spinning nirvana

Although I do have a wheel (an Ashford Traveler) and use it occasionally, I really am just a dabbler when it comes to spinning my own yarn. This could not have been more apparent than it was this weekend, during my teaching jaunt at Abby Franquemont’s Stringtopia Spring String Fling.


I was surrounded by some world-class spinners and spinning teachers, and people seemed a bit perplexed by how fascinated I was watching them spin yarn when it was second nature for them.


They used all sorts of spindles and wheels. Abby knows lots of craftspeople and artisans who make truly gorgeous spindles and other spinning-related apparati (many of these beautiful items are made from reclaimed woods).



I learned a little bit about some antique wheels and learned the term “Frankenwheel” (as in a wheel assembled of parts by different makers), but the photo which follows is NOT a Frankenwheel, obvy.

wheel 1

I couldn’t follow some of the conversations about whorls and top vs. bottom and supported vs. unsupported and worsted vs. woolen but it was fun listening anyway. I heard about some funky new-to-me breeds of sheep (Polypay, anyone?).  I got some spinning pointers from the eminent Beth Smith


(by pointers I mean she yelled at me a lot).

I taught five classes, and was impressed with the very experienced and knowledgeable knitters in my classes. They were also super-nice and I hope I run into them again! They were very kind about sharing their spinning-related experience with me, and also let me pick their brains about looms. Which is a whole ‘nother story….

handspun 2


I ran into a former Philadelphia knitter (waves to Naomi!)


I got to spend time with Morgaine of Carolina Homespun, and she is awesome beyond belief.  Since my drive home was 9+ hours, I’m a bit bleary-eyed, so I’ll leave you with a few more photos and sign off. If you’re a spinner (or weaver or dyer or knitter), you really ought to think about coming to next year’s Stringtopia. (Here’s a link to the Stringtopia blog.) I am filled with fresh resolve to improve my spinning skills before next year.

antique winder







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