How to Meet Other Handspinners

Debbie Held has been told on several occasions that she has more close friends who spin than the average handspinner. Here are her tips for meeting other people who spin.

Deborah Held Feb 12, 2020 - 5 min read

How to Meet Other Handspinners Primary Image

Long Thread Media founder Anne Merrow had been spinning for less than a year when this photo was taken in 2006 at the Spin Off Autumn Retreat (SOAR), and an added bonus was that she also made many new friends. Photo courtesy of Long Thread Media

I’m pretty lucky in that a good number of my local friends are handspinners. Of the people I regularly hang out with, about half of them either know how to spin on some level or make handspinning a routine part of their lives. I have been told on several occasions that I have more close friends who spin than the average spinner, and so, I started thinking about how that came to pass.

Below are my tips on meeting more potential friends who spin:

Enjoy Complementary Crafts
Most of us have an interest in more than one fiber craft. I met my closest, local pal in 2005, when we both attended a weekly meetup of knitters who happened to live by a particular coffee shop. It would be 7 more years before she loaned me that life-changing spindle and introduced me to our local spinning guild (at the time, I’d never heard of such a group). You just never know who you will meet when you attend a sewing class, a weekly knitters’ meetup, a weaving lesson, a guild meeting, or even when you say yes to lunch with a fellow crafter in your area.

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Go to meetups and get to know other crafters in your area. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Socialize Online
The internet makes close friendships possible for people who may or may not be able to meet in person. I met another friend on Instagram (really!) after admiring her knitting projects and realizing that her recent family photograph had been taken in my hometown. We later, and coincidentally, purchased our spinning wheels right around the same time. Our friendship has blossomed into something I never could have anticipated from liking an Instagram post.

Use social media. Through private and public spinners’ groups on Facebook, spinning-related hashtags on Instagram, and of course, Ravelry (see more below), we are exposed not only to inspiring content and conversations but also to fun and equally inspiring people. Eventually, you start to see names and faces you recognize from one platform to the next and engaging with them becomes more natural.

Utilize Ravelry
Ravelry gets its own category because it is truly a platform unto itself. From events to groups, there are virtual conversations just waiting to be made. (You can even find yarn shops based on geographical area.) Can you make real friends this way? Sure. Some of the friendships I value most were born on Ravelry and shifted to our phones and emails. It won’t happen overnight, but just as you start seeing the same people in the social-media crossovers mentioned above, you’ll notice the familiar spinners on Ravelry in your favorite forums.

Southeastern Fiber Fair

Fiber events near home, such as Southeastern Fiber Fair seen here, are not only more fun when you go with a fiber-loving friend, but the costs of travel can be a lot less expensive when you divide the expenses. Photo by Deborah Held

Think Outside Your Own Backyard
Fiber festivals and retreats are wonderful places to meet other like-minded people, but they are also luxuries not everyone is able to enjoy. If attending a retreat across the country is your dream, ask family members to chip in for the holidays or your birthday instead of buying you gifts. Still not within reach? Look a little closer to home. Fiber-festival season is nearly here, and new ones are popping up all over the country. There could be one near you.

Friendships tend to form from common interests, and I happen to think that spinners make excellent friends. If you’re looking to add more of them to your friendship circle, there’s always this idea: teach someone you know how to spin!

—Debbie

How do you make fiber friends?

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