Handwoven editor Susan Horton shared the weaving superpower she has—and the ones she wants. Like her, I see my craft as a superpower; spinners wave a magic wand (OK, spindle) and transform loose fluff into a strong tie that binds. See if my spinning superpower wish list matches yours—and tell me which you have or want.
Low-whorl pushka spindles from Peru. Photo by Matt Graves
The power of spindle levitation. Jokes about “drop” spindles aside, I have ruined some beauties by spinning over concrete or asphalt. Watch Abby Franquemont with a spindle and you’ll swear she has a superpower.
The power to find the end of the singles after it breaks and winds onto the bobbin. Coaxing with a toothbrush or patting with tape sometimes draws it up . . . but I have gotten out the scissors more than once.
The power to remember the whorl size, tension, and treadling rhythm when I return to a project after time away. (Or I could listen to Beth Smith’s advice in Spinning to Get Even and take a few notes.)ADVERTISEMENT
Maybe Beth Smith’s superpower is the willpower and memory to take good notes . . . Courtesy of Long Thread Media from Spinning to Get Even: How to Spin Consistent Yarn by Beth Smith
On a related note, I’d also like the superpower of maintaining consistent grist, not spinning finer and finer along a braid of fiber so that the first yards are fingering-weight and the last are froghair. Oh, and twist, so that one set of singles isn’t corkscrewy while the other lies calmly.
The power to wave my hand over the fleeces at the wool show and immediately choose the best one for my needs. You can learn a lot by listening to the judges, and in Three Bags Full, Judith MacKenzie shows you how to make the most of a less than perfect fleece, but it would be so nice to have the equivalent of X-ray vision for breaks and scurf.
Sure, I know Judith MacKenzie’s ability to choose a fleece comes from years of experience—but doesn’t she look like some kind of wool dowser? Courtesy of Long Thread Media from Three Bags Full by Judith MacKenzie
The power to make empty bobbins appear from thin air. Conjuring would save trips to the store and endless rewinding sessions.
The power to always set the wheel or spindle going in the correct direction. It’s not hard to do; it’s just so easy to forget and wind up with one bobbin spun left and one spun right. (With those yarns, though, you can make some bouclé or art yarn. Just ask Esther Rodgers—or watch How to Spin Art Yarn.)
The power to divide singles evenly onto bobbins so that they ply with no leftovers. (In the meantime, I keep a stash of leftover singles and occasionally play with new combinations, as Judith MacKenzie does in Spinner’s Color Toolbox.)
If you could choose just one spinning superpower, what would it be? Send us an email here. We love hearing from our readers!
Anne Merrow is a cofounder of Long Thread Media.
Originally published July 17, 2017; updated May 5, 2023.