Spin Cycle

Ladies, I won’t mince words here. There’s a certain time of the month where I want to do only two things (okay, well, only two fiber related things; sleeping and whining do not count)…

…destroy sweaters and spin yarn.

That’s right, PMS means I can’t be having with this whole “designing patterns” and “dealing with logic and structure” business. My creative energies become nascent and embryonic, existing in a state of pure yarn, only yarn, with little concern for what the yarn will someday become.

If you are both female and creative, I recommend – nay, URGE – you to keep a diary or journal of your creative activity and related moods for a few months at least. You might discover, as I did, that different times of your cycle demand of you different activities if you want to keep your mood and your life balanced. Hell, do this even if your journal doesn’t focus on your creative activity.  Hell.. do this even if you are male.

And so having identified why I would become so unhappy if I tried to work on designing a pattern during a specific time of the month, I can put away my pattern designs without guilt until the moon changes.

And spin.

Because the twirl of the spindle, and the fiber in my hands, and the blending of the colors soothes the wretched hormonal beast that is trying to claw its way to the surface and make me feel miserable.

I spin on a drop spindle (top-whorl), often referred to as the thing you spin on when you can’t afford/don’t have room for a spinning wheel. But this little device deserves much more credit than just being the cheap, space efficient alternative – it’s design is ancient and it’s an absolute pleasure to work with.

There’s not nearly as many resources that specifically talk about drop spindling as there are for spinning on a wheel, but a quick search on Google or Pinterest can give you enough information to get you started, including DIY versions of drop spindles – although for a maximum of pleasure and minimum of frustration, I would recommend just buying a good solid wooden spindle. My first one was only $15 from the local fancy shmancy yarn shop, and it included roving as well.

There’s a pretty decent starter video here. I learned from videos at first, but I have to say that my spinning only dramatically improved after getting an in-person lesson (from Natalia Wilson, who helps organize YarnCon in Chicago – check it out if you are in the area!).

About 240 yards of pure, 1-ply hormonal therapy.
About 240 yards of pure, 1-ply hormonal therapy.

If you are interested in learning to spin, be my buddy on Pinterest and check out my Spinning, Dyeing, and Weaving board.


8 thoughts on “Spin Cycle

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  1. I’ve never seen a spinning device such as this…would be interested to see how it works…from raw fiber to spun yarn…
    And the colors of that yarn you are spinning are just awesome….making me drool even more than chocolate.
    (and I’ve passed the age of PMS! THANK HEAVEN!)

    1. I highly recommend trying out the drop spindle, it’s a pretty minor startup investment and very, very addictive once you do it! Plus there’s something really satisfying about working with those colors 🙂

  2. I love your photo description – 1ply hormonal therapy lol

    Regarding the monthly cycles we go through, that is a concept I have never considered. Sure, I have mood journaled as in how happy/sad I am on a scale from zero to ten. Yet, I have never thought to creative mood journal. What a great way to save all that time on tedious outbursts when I can’t design, I can freely associate my synapses with less intense crochet and craft choices.

    I am going to join you on Pinterest and look into a drop spindle. Once again, a brilliantly original post and superb photos.

    1. Thank you! Yes, mood journaling my creative activities, paying particular attention to my menstrual cycle (or the moon, for our post-menopausal or non-menses friends) practically saved my creative sanity. 🙂

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