I am often asked how I got into spinning, why I started spinning, and other similar questions. The answer is typically vague because it's a long story... literally. Today I decided to share this very long story with you all; My journey of learning to spin
It all began when I was eight years old....
We moved to Montana just before I turned eight and made friends with a family who had their own farm, were heavily involved in 4-H and raised their own angora rabbits, milk goats, and other critters. They did all sorts of crafting and even owned a spinning wheel. It was the first time I’d ever seen a spinning wheel and I begged to learn how to use it. The mom of this family gave me one very short lesson and let me spin for a while. I was terrible at it and didn’t understand the concept of spinning, how yarn is made, or anything. I fell in love with the wheel and would beg to spin on it every time we went to their house, but alas… it was not to be. There was always a project on the go and so my spinning journey would have to wait.
When I was 10, we moved to Georgia to be near my mom’s family. We attended several historic fairs and festivals where I watched all sorts of old crafts in action. I was allowed to use a simple weaving loom and watched a woman spinning on a great wheel. My brain could not grasp how spinning happened, but the hunger to learn was overwhelming. As life went on, I learned to lay all my dreams at the feet of Jesus and accepted they may never come to fruition.
Growing up, my mother thought it was more important to home school than work to pay bills and/or feed us healthy food. She spent much of her time depressed and neglected a lot of mine and my sister’s care, but she did teach us how to cook, clean, and sew. I learned to make due with what we had, how to stretch a dollar, and I worked hard for every tiny thing I needed or wanted. These skills were further developed while I was a young adult, wife, and mother. I got married to an abusive man at 19 and we had four children together. I learned to quilt, tried to home school, and continued to stretch every dollar as far as I could. I tried many work from home gigs, did alterations for friends and friends of friends, babysat, anything to help pay the bills.
In 2012, I divorced my husband and started living on my own. The freedom was amazing! I spent the next two years figuring out how to be a single parent, learning to know myself, going to college, and healing. I got remarried in 2014 to an amazing man who also became an awesome step dad to my kids. He taught us to dream and resurrected the dream of learning to spin my own yarn. I bought my first drop spindle and fiber with his encouragement and found spinning to be amazingly easy and fun! In 2015 I began working for Nicole Taylor of Adonai’s Alpacas. She was dreaming of having her own fiber mill, but at that time was processing wool out of her kitchen, teaching spinning and felting classes, and running her alpaca farm. I did farm chores in exchange for spinning fibers as my budget was super tight at the time. I learned I loved to farm as much as I loved to spin.
Spring of 2016 I received my first spinning wheel and learned to use it mere weeks before unexpectedly losing my beloved husband to a heart infection. Spinning became a way to honor his memory yet was often a painful reminder of the love I’d lost. It would be a year before I found my passion once more. When I did, I had an all-consuming desire to share my dreams and passions with others, so I started a YouTube channel.
While discovering the wonders of Instagram, I found a sheep farm local to me and scheduled a day to bring the kids over and visit the farm. This meeting was the beginning of something great and has led to starting my business, partnering with local sheep farmers to sell their lovely fluff, and I was re-introduced to Nicole (now Spirit Fiber Works) who needed some extra help in her mill. I started off making dryer balls for Nicole and eventually started working with mill machinery. Nicole quickly realized my skills match her need and she started seriously training me to run the mill during inevitable long absences of shearing season. Nicole’s mill is proof that dreams can indeed come true if you work hard enough and believe in yourself.
I continue to spin, dye, knit, and explore new ways to work with different breeds of sheep wool. I enjoy creating custom fiber blends, working with wool other spinners might deem unspinnable, and sharing my discoveries and journey with you. My greatest desire is to show through example that there is no obstacle too great to overcome, nothing keeping you from learning to spin and process wool. Yes, it can be an expensive hobby, but there are ways to do it that are less costly than purchasing pretty braids of hand dyed fiber and all the expensive and pretty tools. I love pretty tools, don’t get me wrong (and hand dyed colorful luxurious braids of fiber)… I dream of owning a fancy spinning wheel, big electric drum carder, and a floor loom… but while waiting on these dreams to eventually come true, I work with what I have and what I can afford, save up for those larger than life purchases, and believe in a brighter future. But most importantly, I never give up on the dream of running a successful fiber business and having my own little farm one day. Who knows, maybe I’ll start up a mill of my own.
If I can find success in bringing long-dormant dreams to life, then so can you! Keep dreaming, keep working, keep enjoying what you do, and never, NEVER give up on the things in life that bring you joy. Love and Hugs from my heart to yours