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A Gift from Laurel: My First Handspun Shawl

In the Fall 2012 issue of Spin Off, Joanna Johnson shared a simple, quick knit and the story of a special gift from her then ten-year-old daughter.

Joanna Johnson Nov 13, 2020 - 7 min read

A Gift from Laurel: My First Handspun Shawl Primary Image

Joanna Johnson’s ten-year-old daughter, Laurel, really wanted to learn how to spin. Joanna (already a knitter, designer, quilter, sewer, and author) didn’t think she had room in her crafting life to acquire another skill so that she could teach Laurel. However, a friend offered Laurel and Joanna a free spinning wheel, and soon the two of them were figuring out how to make yarn. Joanna discovered that she had room in her crafting life after all. Photos by Joe Coca

As the mother of three young children, I am very accustomed to being a giver. It is what I do. The occasional gifts I receive from my children are things such as dandelion bouquets, fruits and veggies from our garden, and handmade poems, stories, and drawings.

This year, however, I received a very special gift from our ten-year-old daughter, Laurel. It was the gift of spinning. For two years she had been asking me to teach her how to spin. The problem was I didn’t know how. I had already taught her the very basics of how to knit and crochet, how to embroider and quilt, but spinning was not in my repertoire. I am a prolific knitter and just didn’t think I had time or space in my life for any other yarn-related activities.


Joanna spun a laceweight singles at 2,500 yards per pound for her shawl from a handpainted top in the Zumba colorway from Enchanted Knoll Farm.

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