Hello Stitch & Unwind readers! I’m Jessica, and I’m the editor of FaveQuilts.com and AllFreeHolidayCrafts.com. I usually blog over at the FaveCrafts Blog, but I’m here on Stitch & Unwind today to tell you about a craft I’m really excited about! It’s no secret that although quilting has a special place in my heart, my first love will always be knitting. That’s why I tagged along with the other knitting and crochet editors last week when they attended STITCHES Midwest.
I spent the day reveling in a rainbow of hand-dyed yarns and trying my hand at weaving, rug hooking, and needle felting. Here’s a sampling of the gorgeous stuff we saw:
But these delights were nothing compared to the fun I had learning to spin yarn at STITCHES! I took a Spinning for Knitting class taught by master spinner Merike Saarniit. I was really excited to take this class, especially because I had purchased a spindle last year at STITCHES and had no idea how to use it.
If any of you are thinking about learning to spin and you’re hesitant about it, I hope this post inspires you to try! To be completely honest with you all, I was horrible at spinning when I first tried it. The teacher laughed and called my spindle a “tinker toy” when she saw it, I broke the yarn every 3 minutes, and my first skein was termed “art yarn.”
I was ready to give up on spinning after my first try. It was making me feel seriously inept and I wasn’t getting anywhere. But then my boyfriend (in one of his shiniest moments) said “Even the most intelligent person has to learn to walk.” I later found out it was a quote from his 6th grade English teacher, so he’s not as clever as I had hoped, but it still gave me the motivation to pick myself up and shop for a new spindle. I bought this lovely drop spindle at Carolina Homespun, with the firm knowledge that spending a bunch of money on it would guilt me into trying spinning at least once more.
I forced myself to try the spindle again when I got home that night, experimenting with the many different kinds of fibers I got in class. My first few yarns looked a lot alike: lumpy, uneven, and fuzzy. But something awesome started to happen with the fourth yarn: without even making some sort of breakthrough, my yarn started to look like yarn. It was becoming smoother and prettier. It turns out practice does make perfect!
Even though my ever-supportive boyfriend still says my yarn looks like “twined beard hairs,” I’m pretty darn proud of it! I’m spinning so much that my spindle has been stained by the dye from my jeans, and I’m starting to panic about where to source my next batch of wool. It’s only been 2 days since my class, and I’m already spinning something that resembles yarn. If I can do it, so can you!
Swag Bag Giveaway!
You didn’t think we’d go to Stitches Midwest 2012 and not bring back something for all of our lovely readers did you? We collected all the swag we could into a large Stitches Swag Bag Giveaway! We picked up some awesome prizes from Lion Brand, Red Heart Yarn, Tootsie P Yarn, and much more! So don’t hesitate; enter today by answering the question below in the comments section.
- Contest open to US and Canada residents 18+
- One comment/entry per person per blog post.
- Contest closes Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 11:59p CST.
- Please comment on any of the Stitches Midwest 2012 blog posts to enter.
- Winners will be posted on StitchandUnwind.com and notified by email.
Have you ever tried to spin yarn? Tell us about it!