Why Did You Learn to Spin Yarn?

Whether you took it up last week or spun your first skein decades ago, do you remember what made you want to learn to spin yarn?

Anne Merrow Oct 3, 2017 - 4 min read

Why Did You Learn to Spin Yarn? Primary Image

Learn to Spin. Photo by Joe Coca.

Once the spinning bug bites you, it’s hard to remember when spinning wasn’t part of your life. Whether you took it up last week or spun your first skein decades ago, do you remember what made you want to learn to spin yarn? Even if you learned long ago, that first reason probably shapes the way you spin today. (If you can’t remember why you learned, here are my 10 favorite reasons.)

Learn to Spin

Bouncy lace yarn like Kate Larson’s makes my knitter’s heart swoon. Photo by Donald Scott

When I started spinning, I had the idea of knitting with handspun. I imagined fine lace yarns, sturdy sock yarns, and plump sweater yarns. I care about elasticity, warmth, and hand. Even though I spin these days for the joy of spinning, I dream of elastic wool yarn, and it still shapes my spinning.

Learn to Spin

Weavers have a well trained eye for color and drape. Photo by Joe Coca

Did you learn to spin yarn for weaving?

You probably care a lot about drape, and you might make different kinds of yarn for the warp and weft of the same project. You might be more likely to spin cotton, flax, or 100% silk . . . but maybe not. You must have learned non-attachment; using handspun yarn for warp means losing a lot of yardage as loom waste (or, as Sara Lamb suggests in Spin to Weave, fringe).

Did you learn to spin to save money?

(Don’t worry. We’re laughing at ourselves.) In her book Spin Art, Jacey Boggs confesses that she did just that. Although you may not see it often, some spinners do economize! They might spin very fine yarns, because as Margaret Stove points out, you can enjoy many hours of spinning from just one fine fleece.

Did you learn to spin to keep ahead of a fiber stash?

Some people learn to spin because they have access to a lot of fiber, either from their own fiber animals or from generous friends. These spinners might need to make a wide variety of yarn from the same fibers, and they probably need to develop excellent fiber preparation skills.

Did you learn to spin for the sheer tactile pleasure?

I bet you choose lovely soft, silky fibers and colors you love.

Are you a history buff?

Was it the urge to connect with people of a different time and place that drew you in? Maybe you love growing and processing your own fiber, choosing sturdy materials, and embracing sturdy cloth.

For whatever reason you took the plunge, welcome. And check out your neighbors; they’ve come a long way, too.


Featured Image: Photo by Joe Coca.