A curious learning journey
My alarm buzzes and beeps, and as I snooze my way into a new day, I see my Wolf Pup loom waiting patiently. My Sidekick greets me with anticipation, anxious to go on a trip; knowing it fits perfectly into my luggage when we journey cross-country to a fiber arts retreat.
When I first learned to knit, I found its repetitive rhythm meditative and knew I wanted to learn more about other fiber arts and how they might influence my knitting. In the beginning, spinning and weaving felt complicated and unattainable, but I was continuously reminded that the textile arts hold a never-ending opportunity for creative expression—if I just give myself the gift of time, seek guidance, and am patient with myself. As I learned more, my interests expanded to dyeing yarns and roving, to weaving, and eventually, to spinning. I found the processes of spinning and weaving, like knitting, created a feeling of comfort, meditation, and calm. I find at each turn new curiosities about fiber herds, processing fleece, and the preservation of rare breed sheep.
In other cultures the story begins at the beginning, with caring for a flock, cleaning and carding wool, then progresses to spinning, weaving, and/or knitting. This dichotomy fascinates and inspires me. I think about the talented hands of other civilizations and how knitted or woven pieces are used to show rank, convey emotion, and tell stories. I find the process of spinning meditative, and am hypnotized by the magic of twisting singles into a plied yarn.
My most recent obsession has been learning about rare and threatened sheep breeds, the symbolism in Navajo tapestry weaving, and how cultures use knitting and weaving in their traditions. I’m lucky enough to have a craft studio where my reference library, collection of tools, and bountiful materials provide inspiration. I learned early on to invest in quality tools so the process is as lovely as the finished product. My favorite tools and most treasured artifacts, however, take residence in my bedroom. My Sidekick and Wolf Pup are among the last things I see each evening; standing guard as I doze off to sleep after another day of discovery.
Kyle Kunnecke is a designer, maker, teacher, author, and volunteer. He believes that creativity has the power to heal and has been involved in using fiber arts as a tool to combat depression and anxiety. Kyle lives in San Francisco.