When I was young and lived at home, I didn’t have a dedicated space just for spinning, so I made mine portable. My spinning fit into a basket, which held wool, handcards, a spindle, and a current spinning project. This made my spinning easy to put away and fit into my room, as well as making it possible to tuck it under a towel or blanket to keep it safe from the cats. Another advantage was that I could grab my basket and spin wherever and whenever I wanted.
Later, when my partner and I shared an apartment, my spinning space became a corner of the living room. This corner provided a place where I could have a bin of wool, put my spinning wheel when not in use, and keep my spindles. It was part of the public area, so I always tried to keep it contained. However, this led to tension for both of us. My partner wanted a living room and not a studio, and I didn’t want to pack away my spinning every time I finished for the day. I often dreamed of having my own space just for spinning.
When we bought a house, I made sure to look for a space I could make all my own. Now, I’m lucky to have a room that is a dedicated fiber studio. It has enough space for a large floor loom, shelves for books, a place for my spinning wheel, and storage for fiber. Since I set up the room, I have moved things around as I learned what I wanted from a spinning space. Here are a few things that work for me in my space.
A Comfy Chair
If you are going to spend hours at your wheel, you need to be kind to your body. A comfortable chair that fits you and your wheel is important. My spinning chair came secondhand, but it provides good back support, and it’s just the right height for me. I can leave my wheel permanently set up and positioned, so all I need to do is sit down and start spinning.
I have hard flooring in my studio, and I used to have trouble with my wheel slipping. I cut a rectangle of non-slip mesh, the kind used under area rugs, and set my wheel on it. This prevents any wheel movement.
Tools within Reach
Next to my chair, I placed a small side table with space for my spinning-wheel oil, orifice hook, extra fiber, spinning journal, a beverage, and anything else I could need. Once I sit down at the wheel, life is so much easier with everything close at hand.
I built some storage into my studio, too. I have spindle storage racks hung on the wall. Under them, I placed a waist-high bookshelf, which I use to store books below, and on top, I clamped a swift, drumcarder, bobbin winder, and combs. Recently a neighbor was getting rid of a chest of drawers, so I put that in the studio, as well. The drawers make excellent storage for fiber, handspun yarn, and extra bobbins or flyers for my wheel.
The Taming of the Stash
Initially, I kept stacks of bins with fiber and yarn along the wall of my fiber room, but I found that I needed the space more than I needed to keep everything in one place. Since I have the luxury of a large closet in the attic, I now store bins of spinning fiber up there. My stash has grown to alarming proportions, but I try to keep only fiber for active projects in the studio. Fiber for future projects, teaching, or from purchases, some of which fell into my lap just for being pretty, stay safely tucked away in bins in the attic and are sealed from attack by dreaded moths and kept clean.
Even with my dedicated fiber room, I still keep a portable spinning space. I continue to keep a basket with a small amount of wool, a spindle, and handcards for taking to family dinners or barbeques.
One can make space for spinning to suit any living situation, from a single spindle and a few ounces of fiber in a basket to a room filled with tools, a wheel, and fiber.
Devin Helmen has been immersed in fiber since learning to spin at age 8. They spin, knit, and weave in beautiful Minnesota. Devin enjoys writing and teaching about fiber arts and has a passion for spindles and everyday textiles. They blog, intermittently, at www.afewgreenfigs.blogspot.com.