When it comes to cleaning, most handspinners would rather spin. It seems perfectly reasonable to push off tidying up until later or decide to not do it at all. I am most definitely guilty of putting off housework in favor of a calming spin session. However, there’s something about the change of seasons and the opportunity for a fresh start that brings on a bit of excitement.
Here in the Midwest, springtime carries in its wide arms the fresh breeze, rain clouds, and flowers. Winter’s end makes it feel like a reset button has been pressed, which usually includes: a change of wardrobe, a fresh flow of creative ideas, and spring cleaning. Let’s face it—for the fiber artist, spring cleaning really means rediscovering, or finding, all of the misplaced bobbins, spindles, and fiber tools. Although some actual cleaning is involved, it can help jumpstart the organization process, too.
With that in mind, let’s get started with a game plan. Here’s my favorite approach:
1. Make an Equipment-Inventory List
How many bobbins do you have for each wheel? What are the weights of your spindles? Make note of how many you have on hand that are visible and be sure to include any strays. Be sure your fiber-tool list includes other tools, too: handcards, combs, hackles, nøstepinnes, drumcarders, and niddy noddies.
2. Go Hunting for Treasure
Check your project bags and remove any bobbins, spindles, and tools. You might be surprised by what you find in a long-lost tote bag. Discover a forgotten purchase, anyone? Check all tables, bookcases, deep storage drawers, plastic bins, and baskets. You’re bound to find a lost bobbin or wraps-per-inch tool.
3. Give Every Tool a Home
Separate your bobbins, spindles, and tools into separate piles. Seeing everything in one spot will help you find just the right storage solution or display. Here are some ideas:
• Be mindful of your space. If you have limited floor space, take advantage of wall space. Use shelving brackets for storing the interchangeable parts of a modern wheel.
• Get thrifty. Repurpose wine racks, and other display shelving, for rehoming bobbins.
• Use deep storage drawers and plastic bins to avoid the unwanted accumulation of dust. They’re fairly inexpensive and often stackable, making it easy to assign different tools or parts to each drawer or bin. Create your own dividers using foamboard customized to fit your bobbins.
• Put spindles on display. Use an inexpensive grid shelving to display and show off your favorite spindles. Use a vertical grid and spindle bowls for a beautiful display of your support spindles.
• For those handspinners with extra space, create a personalized workstation to reduce foot movement but help increase productivity. Think about placing like items together. Attach a ball winder on one end of a table and a swift on the opposite end.
• Don’t forget to remove the dust. Wipe down surfaces and get rid of dust bunnies.
If this all sounds like too much to do alone, get a few extra hands involved. Small children make great helpers and can assist with simple tasks such as weighing, sorting, and counting.
Heavenly Bresser is the owner of Heavenly Knitchet. She is an award-winning handspinner and teacher at major fiber events all over the United States. Aside from spinning and teaching, she can be found dyeing fibers and making jewelry. Her goal is to inspire, encourage, and uplift other fiber artists. Visit her online at www.heavenlyknitchet.com.