Southern California might seem like an unexpected place to produce spinning and weaving fiber, but people have been processing plant and animal materials here for thousands of years. San Diego is in the territory of the Kumeyaay people, who have lived here since time immemorial. The Kumeyaay processed milkweed, dogbane, agave, yucca, bark, and rabbit skins into garments, cordage, netting, and other items.
Handspun yarn has always been a favorite of mine for knitting. It makes fabric with interesting textures and color combinations, and I always feel excited about how the fabric will turn out. These yarns are also wonderful for weaving fabric for the same reasons. Anything made with handspun yarn has a bit of magic in it.
The trip I went on in May with Rowan Tree Travel to southwestern England was so wonderful that I had to go again on a similar trip in northern England at the end of September.
Are you “up to your neck” in a project or in stash? Perhaps you’re concentrating instead, and you’ve hunched up your shoulders practically to your ears. That experienced spinner at the guild meeting, she stands “head and shoulders” above the rest.
We all find comfort in the flow of fibre through our hands and the gentle rhythm of treadling and drafting. And it turns out it’s all because spinning does good things to our brains.
Much has been written about finding time for ourselves. Especially during the COVID-19 lockdown in the United States, I saw many articles discussing the ways in which one can take advantage of the downtime. “Learn a new hobby!” many suggested. “Read these books this week!” I saw, too. Back when we thought the pandemic would last a whopping two weeks, we saw people find new ways of spending their time.
Let’s face it. Comfort spinning is a thing. So I turn to my wall of tubs – 42 tubs stacked against the west wall of my bedroom, my entire stash and most of my spindles, all that remains after serious destashing and moving halfway across the United States during the first summer of Covid.
I always admire those who are able to spin mountains of yarn for a big project, ready to knit a wonderful sweater or cardigan. It is a satisfying feeling when you finish all that work, especially if you started with washing and combing the wool or even raising your own sheep.