In the Spring 2018 issue of Spin Off, we asked Anne Hanson to share how she became a handspinner and about how spinning fits into her busy life.
Tell us about building your yarn career.
I’ve been knitting since I was a small child and experimenting with design since my teen years. A more serious focus on design evolved during my twenties through my work as a tailor, patternmaker, and draper in the fashion industry. I began blogging in 2006 as a way to explore writing about my passion for fiber arts, and through my blog I began publishing patterns for my designs at the request of readers. Soon designing was my full-time vocation, and I’d learned to spin my own yarns as well.
I was fascinated by the unique properties of various fiber types, something we don’t really experience when working with most commercial yarns. I wanted to share what I was learning with others, so we began offering yarn clubs in 2011 with the idea of introducing artisanal yarns in natural shades. Many of these yarns needed to be custom spun, and that was the birth of our yarn label. I wanted to make yarns that felt like handspun and provided the experience of knitting with lively, unaltered fiber.
How did you become a spinner? How does spinning fit into your life?
Actually, I was rather coerced into spinning by a yarn shop owner who wanted me to teach it. I had no real aspirations to learn on my own! But once I was introduced, I was hooked. I enjoy every facet of this craft, from the meditative rhythm of working with simple materials and machines to the exploration of wools and other fibers to the experience of creating with the final product. I used to have time to spin for a couple of hours nearly every day, but right now, my handspinning time is more restricted. I usually enjoy spinning time in the evening at the end of a busy day. It helps me relax, organize my thoughts, and think about design.
Tell us about your spinning space or studio.
I have a study on the second floor of our home that is filled with books, yarn, fiber, a couple of wheels, and my knitting chair. I like to listen to audiobooks while I spin and knit, so I also have some nice speakers for that. My fiber stash is kept in a cedar closet that my husband designed and fitted especially for this purpose.
What are your spinning goals?
Making time for more spinning would be my first goal! I would like to learn to spin worsted better than I do and also to spin yarns of larger diameter with more control.
What is your favorite thing about spinning?
The focus and precision of a very simple action; it allows my mind to relax. Also, the endless variations in wools. Each fiber has a unique potential that must be discovered to coax out the yarn within.
Find out more about Anne Hanson and Bare Naked Wools at www.knitspot.com.
Do you know someone whom we should feature in “I Am a Spinner”? We’re especially interested in spinners with unusual careers, locations, and perspectives. Drop us a line at [email protected]. If we use your suggestion, we’ll send you a treat from our stash of fiber goodies! Because of the volume of submissions we receive for this feature, we will only notify you if your nomination is selected.