Stuff can take up a lot of space. The deeper we delve into our spinning, the more, and often larger, tools we tend to accumulate. It’s easy to see how our work can spill out into common spaces in the home, and more so if like me, your space is small.
My house consists of two rooms and sleeping lofts, which come to 530 square feet that I share with one cat, two dogs, and my spouse who is also an artist. Neither of us has an outside studio space. It can be challenging to keep tools and materials on hand for your projects while also respecting the space of those you share it with.
Here are five useful tips from my tiny home to yours.
1. Choose a Special Spot
In my house, I have a “wool corner.” It’s the space with my wheels, baskets, and a studio cart for keeping tools and supplies, including my combs, handcards, and my Electric Eel Nano. This corner isn’t the only place that I craft, but it is where everything goes when I’m done. If your tools and your wheel have a designated place in your home, it’s easy to put them away and less tempting to leave them somewhere else.
2. Tuck It In, Put It Away
The amount of space that you can save by simply pushing your wheel treadles under your spinning chair is more than you realize, and it protects your wheel from accidentally being jostled by a passing child or creature. Also, choosing not to leave your yarn swift up or spinning tools on a flat surface keeps them from looking like clutter.
3. Get Creative with Storage
Many of us don’t have an entire closet to devote to our fiber stash or the yarns we create. Look for unusual places where a tote or bin might fit. For example, our couch is built like a large chest with a long cushion on top of it, so my yarn stash lives inside. Additional options include brilliant containers designed to fit under a bed or drawers built into stair risers.
4. Indulge in the Small Things
One of my favorite parts about fiber arts is the tiny tools we can use. Instead of filling our spaces with oversized tools or adding yet another wheel (so tempting, I know!), let your imagination be captivated by a new spindle or a copper or glass dizz to use with your combs.
5. Going Big
Do you occasionally need access to larger tools? Join a guild! Guilds aren’t only sources for information, inspiration, and good company. Many spinning guilds have lending libraries with more than just books. Find spinning and weaving tools available for members to rent. My guild has drumcarders, warping boards, combs, several different looms, and even wheels! Renting equipment keeps you from having to store it when you’re not using it. And who knows? You may find yourself invited to a carding party with a guild mate who has the space to lay everything out and share.
Madeline Keller-King is an avid fiber artist and natural dyer living in the woods of northwestern Montana. You can find her work and adorable canine assistants on Instagram @woolywitchofthewest.