spinning a tale

Is it absolutely insane for me to think I can learn a new (very addictive) craft in the spring… when my days are already filled to the brim? When there’s barely a moment to spare, let alone several moments to devote to an entirely new project? So, maybe the timing of this new endeavor isn’t the best, or maybe it’s perfect. We’ll just have to see. But, determination is a guiding light in my life and well, the train is moving now, and I’m afraid (or thrilled, actually) that there is no stopping it! Welcome spinning, to my world…IMG_1915

Over the weekend I stole away from the farm for a day to meet up with my friend at her workplace, the fabulous Haus of Yarn in Nashville, for a little spinning how-to. I felt incredibly self-indulgent, leaving my family to tend all of the chicks, ducklings, and tender plants that needed extra attention as the cold north wind was beginning to howl. These moments entirely on my own are extremely rare.

But this isn’t just a sudden new obsession. This desire to learn spinning has been brewing for years. About eleven years ago, we bought our first sheep, Lincoln Longwools, for the very purpose of my learning about the entire process of working with wool, from raising the sheep, to shearing, to processing the wool, to spinning, and then to knitting clothing for my family. Then I got pregnant with Ira. Here we hit the giant pause button on the world of wool sheep, as babies number two and three also enter the picture and my world then revolved firstly around being a mama, and secondly, helping my dear hubby with maintaining the workings of our farm and business. He quickly realized his own inability to deal with the wool sheep on his own (hand shearing with non-electric old-school shears and no handling facilities, just football-style tackling, rope, and stakes), and shifted into a breed of sheep, Katahdin, that don’t have to be sheared. IMG_1850It was sometime after Olivia (#3) was born, that I got a hankering to knit Opal a skirt for her birthday. I had only knit one scarf, ten years prior, up to this point. My same Haus of Yarn spinning friend, Marissa, was my hook-up for a pattern and yarn and so thoughtfully brought a variety of yarns to me at the Saturday farmer’s market. (knowing the impossibility of my being able leave the bustle of our CSA pick-up with three little ones in tow, she brought the yarn shop to me. What a dear. ) That was the beginning of my obsession with knitting. So obsessed, in fact, that I even figured out how to knit while on hikes with my children. Fortunately, little people walk slowly. Now, a few years and lots of knitted garments later, I could no longer resist the urge to learn to spin and everything serendipitously fell into place for this spinning lesson. Talk about heaven. While I still have a lot to learn, I got the hang of it. And for me, for now, that is enough. I know I will continue. I know I will be making my family clothing from hand-spun yarn. And eventually that wool will come from our own sheep, completing the cycle I dreamed about all of those years ago. (In the meantime, there’s this fine woman named Robin that has lots of wool from her own sheep. I’m thinking I’ll be paying her a visit very soon!)  But somehow, despite my earlier plans of sheep first, then knitting; the reality of this process is manifesting itself in reverse order. I’m fine with that. I realize that if I had stubbornly fixated on insisting that the sheep must come first (sort of like the horse before the cart), that I might still not be doing any of this. I’m finding out that while it is so important to have goals and dreams, the ability to roll with what life gives you might be even more important. This world just keeps spinning around and around, and I am going to spin right along with it.IMG_1934

10 thoughts on “spinning a tale

  1. Hi Cher! I was learning to spin a few years ago, but had to put it on hold. As time goes by I see that it have some other priorities that will come long before I can devote the time for this. For now, I in the process of downsizing and getting ready to move to a much smaller place. I have some roving from Jacob’s sheep that I would like to pass along to you for good use. I’ll bring it to the market next time I see you are coming and let you see if you want it. Thanks for the stories from you and Coree and Robin 🙂

    • Hi Bebe, So nice to hear from you. Now that I am hooked on spinning, I am burning through my roving… I’ll happily be the recipient of any roving you want to pass along! Thank you!

  2. You can stop in for practice at my place any time Cher, and bring the kiddos along too. I have an Ashford Traditional wheel that doesn’t yet get nearly enough use. We can learn from each other. 🙂

  3. somehow i got to your blog. a friend of my brother used to live with Coree. He now lives in Korea near my brother (small world). i have been loving your blog for a couple of weeks! i totally want to live the farm life, and one of the reasons why is because i want to bring my fiber art full circle round. i kind of went backwards, starting with sewing, then delved into weaving, and before too long, i was spinning. at some point, i would like to take it back to the origins and have my own sheep. but the kicker is that not only do i do fiber arts, but i work at Schacht Spindle company. Haus of Yarn is (obviously) one of our dealers. when i saw you were spinning on a Ladybug, i knew i had to comment. It must feel great to complete the circle. Many blessing to you and the ladies!

    • Wow, very small world indeed. I encourage the farm life, and sheep raising, especially when you are already a fiber artist! And how awesome to work at Schacht Spindle Co. (I do love my ladybug!) Thanks for your comment, cher

  4. Cher, this is Jaime from Gamaliel…don’t know if you remember me! Did local pick up of your fall CSA two eyars ago (has it been that long?!). I’ve been quietly reading your two blogs for awhile now. My husband and I recently acquired two alpacas and I thought I remembered that you were learning to spin. Do you happen to know anyone local who shears alpacas? I’ve heard it’s a different process than sheep. Also, do you know anyone who would be interested in buying their fiber? We’re so new to this!
    Hope you and your family are doing well! Tried to come see y’all at the Farmer’s Market when I was in Nashville mid-April, but, sadly, y’all weren’t there that weekend! And neither was my good friend from high school, Mallory, who works with Hummus Chick. 😦

    • Hey Jaime! Nice to hear from you! So sorry to have missed you at the farmer’s market, next Saturday will be our first market for the season. Anyhow, I don’t know of anyone that shears alpacas locally. A friend of mine over in Summer Shade has alpacas, the next time I talk with her I’ll try to ask what they do. (Tracey, if you happen to read this, do you shear your own? Or, who does it for you?) I might be interested in buying a little fiber to play with as I learn to spin. But I’m still a beginner and I understand that alpaca is best for more experienced spinners. It’s such lovely fiber! I wish you all the best!

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