Handspinners please note.
If you’re not interested in making better yarn – leave now.
Do not read the rest of this post.
Because what comes next will change the way you think about your handspun yarn.
What comes next is a not-so secret formula – written by Lee Raven and published in the Winter 1983 issue of Spin-Off Magazine.
It’s both a how-to and a challenge.
It’s a simple equation – and it’s a doozy:
“Good Fibers + Skillful Control = Superior Yarn”
And by doozy I mean game changer.
Because if you read those words and think about how that statement applies to the yarn you make, you’ll start thinking about yarn differently (and not just your own yarn – you’ll probably think differently about commercial yarns, too).
So if you ignored the warning at the beginning of this post, be aware of the consequences.
Everything you know about fiber, yarn and spinning has undergone a subtle but undeniable alteration.
Your brain has begun to reorganize and re-frame all the information you’ve gathered about making yarn – including what you do, how you do it and what you think about the end result.
You might not recognize the change right away. But it will begin to show up in the questions you ask. Questions you might not have asked yourself until now.
- “What qualities define a good fiber?“
- “Are the fibers I usually spin considered good fibers?“
- “What makes some spinning fibers good and others not so good?”
- ” What do I need to know about fibers so I can tell if they’re good fibers or not?”
- “What does skillful control mean?”
- “What skills do I have and how can I modify what I already know?”
- “What is it – exactly – that I’m supposed to control?”
- “What skills and techniques can I practice to gain more control as I spin?
If you continue to seek answers to questions like these – and if you incorporate what you learn into the yarn you make, – you’ll know if you have what it takes to make superior yarn.
Let your questions – and your preferences – lead the way.
Maybe you’ve been wondering how to change something about the yarn you spin – how to make it thicker, thinner, smoother, or more textured?.
Maybe you’d like to try spinning something different – something you’ve heard other spinners say is too hard, or too tricky or too expensive.
Maybe you want to weave with your handspun yarn.
Maybe you want to raise your own sheep but aren’t really sure what breed is best for your purposes.
Maybe you don’t give a rodent’s patootie what someone else thinks is “superior” – maybe you just want to be able to make whatever the heck kind of yarn you want to make.
So what’s stopping you?
What do you need to know before you can move forward?
What part of that equation don’t you understand?
(I’ll tell you about some of the things I didn’t – and still don’t – understand in another post).
But right now – I gotta go look through a few more of my old Spin-Off magazines.