I’ve Fallen Down the Rabbit Hole, It’s called Spinning

Posted on | November 9, 2014 | 8 Comments

For years, I have resisted the siren call of spinning. I had too much on my plate with designing and just couldn’t afford to give any of my time away to one more hobby. I used every excuse in the book. It takes too long to spin yarn. Why spin it when you can buy it. I can’t afford a wheel and I HATE spindles. I live in a NYC apartment, I can’t possibly fit a fleece in here!

Well, it seems that I have succumbed to the wheel. Hard.


It all started when I got this great idea on the drive up to Rhinebeck. My friend and I had taken a spinning class together at Brooklyn General about 3 years ago. She stuck with it and I did not. While I was trying to ignore the wheel, she was busy taking classes, buying up a closet full of fleeces, and just might have had an extra wheel I could work on. I thought it would be a great idea to buy a fleece and she could walk me through the steps required to process it and help me a little with my spinning. I think she was secretly waiting patiently for this day to come.

So I bought a fleece! I purchased a 5 pound natural grey Border Leicester/Corriedale cross. What does 5 pounds of fleece look like? Like this. It took up just about all of the available floor space in my living room.photo 1(1)

If you follow me on instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen some of my progress already. So far, I’ve managed to wash a bit of fiber (In my bathtub! With a kitty litter pan!), learned how to card, made a huge pile of rolags, and have spun up two very uneven, but tolerable skeins of yarn.


photo 2(1)

I have to say, it’s quite a process to turn a greasy sheep into some beautiful yarn! My goal is to turn this fleece into a sweater quantity or two of yarn. I say go big or go home! This means that I need to practice up on my consistency skills, and most importantly, not get discouraged in the process. It’s hard learning something new and the frustration of it not being perfect is a hard hurdle to overcome. I have to accept this and just enjoy the process, especially the experimentation side. I’ve found over time that I don’t allow myself enough time to experiment – whether it be with my sewing or knitting or selecting a new book to read. Since my time is precious, I just want to get right to it. I don’t want to waste time on a project that might fail, try a technique that might not work out,  or pick up a book that might not be good. Honestly, this can be absolutely paralyzing! I end up not starting at all, the yarn sits instead of becoming a sweater, there are piles of fabric everywhere, and good books to read that I’m missing out on.

Maybe spinning will help me to let go of this irrational fear I have of failure. Some of our worst mistakes can also be our most important learning experiences! Is this something you have experienced with your crafting as well? If so, how have you overcome it?



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  • Monica

    yay for taking on spinning! I love it…and am on the second wheel already! :-) gorgeous fiber btw!

  • neoknits

    My wheel is a loaner so far, but if I stick with it, I’ll be purchasing one! Probably a Matchless.

  • Laura Chau

    Spinning is a great way to let go of perfection! If you’re spinning up a lot of yarn, I would recommend spinning all (or at least a big bunch) of the singles first. Wind them off the bobbins into balls if you need to for storage. Then when you go to ply, mix them all up so you get more of an average across all your singles!

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    If I really take to it, I’m thinking of purchasing a Matchless. I’m lucky to be able to borrow the ladybug from a friend for now.

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Thanks for the tip Laura! Does winding them into balls affect the twist at all?

  • Laura Chau

    I would probably leave the singles on the bobbin at least overnight or a few days to let the twist settle before winding off. But my super-spinner friend just winds them right onto the ball winder!

  • Kym Terranova

    Yay spinning, and yay Doc Martens in the background!

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Do you like how the Docs co-ordinate with the color of the chair and wheel? Haha!