Do you save the best for last? Eat the lima beans first, save the chocolate mousse for dessert, and generally delay gratification? Save the good bottle of wine for a special occasion? Cashmere fiber is just as sensuous and delightful, but you should definitely not save it for last. (I do not recommend enjoying cashmere fiber at the same time as chocolate and wine.)
When you buy something truly luxurious to spin, you might feel tempted to wait and spin it until you can do it justice. Amelia Garripoli advises spinning short cotton on supported spindles so you can hone your skills before switching to something more expensive such as yak or cashmere fiber. It’s certainly reasonable to want your first cashmere-spinning experience to be delightful, but don’t lock away your treasures for a rainy day.
Here are the two biggest drawbacks to this approach:
If you save it until you think you’re good enough, you may never spin it.
When I was learning to spin, I bought some lovely fiber that I tucked away to spin when my skills improved. Some of that fiber is still in a bin, as un-spun as the day I bought it over a decade ago. No one will appear next to my wheel and pronounce me good enough to spin the good stuff.
You get to be a better spinner by spinning a wider variety of fibers. Making better yarn makes you a better spinner; using yucky fiber makes it hard to spin lovely yarn.
Anne decided not to save her Kyrgyz cashmere fiber from June Cashmere for a rainy day.
Unlike a fine bottle of red wine, fiber does not improve with age.
There are smart, careful ways to protect your fiber stash from moths and humidity. Even when carefully stored, fiber can get matted (even felted) and roughed up. While you’re waiting for your skills to improve, the fiber may be wilting in your stash. Here’s the good news: The goats are growing more cashmere fiber all the time. But don’t buy it and store it away; spin it up and enjoy every moment.
Anne Merrow is a cofounder of Long Thread Media.