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Spinner Profile: Allison Thistlewood
March 13, 2016
Spinning—It’s Better than Sex!
When I first got back into knitting, I ended up getting fanatically into it. My friend who owned my LYS said, “Now we’ll just have to get you spinning!” to which I replied, “No way! Never gonna happen!” You’d think I’d know by now to “never say never.”
One day while reading Knitty magazine, I saw a review of the new Schacht Ladybug Spinning Wheel. This adorable, little wheel blew away any pre-conceived notions of what a spinning wheel was supposed to look like (hey, I’ve seen Sleeping Beauty, okay?). I was smitten!
I ventured to sign up for a spinning class, but it was not for the faint of heart! More than once I thought that there was no way I was coordinated enough to be treadling and drafting and faffing about with fluff and fiber – ALL AT THE SAME TIME! But I stuck with it and, finally, it clicked for me: that moment when you’re concentrating so hard that your mind empties of all but the spinning – there’s no room to think about anything else! And then the payoff – the realization that you’re actually creating yarn!
My own yarn! It was a hand-carded, fanciful bit of fluff with some sparkle in it, too, that reminded me of a unicorn’s tail. It’s silly, but it’s still in my stash. Afterwards, feeling refreshed and giddy with spinning success (“It’s better than sex!” we joked with our spinning teacher), I drew the parallel between the clarity of mind I gained from spinning and the mindfulness of meditation. I’d learned about meditation as part of my post-cancer treatment self-care, but hadn’t been terribly good at it. Apparently, my mind doesn’t know how to rest! But it did with the spinning, and it was so peaceful. I told my partner afterwards, “Even if I only ever spin bad yarn, it will be totally worth it.”
Our five year wedding anniversary was not long after. Wood is the traditional gift, and he bought me my Ladybug. Five years later (and the addition of a Sidekick, not to mention a Cricket and a Zoom Loom), I’m no longer spinning really bad yarn. It’s not always good yarn, mind you, but I’m spinning! It’s an ongoing process of learning, exploring, and trying new things. Spinning has helped me to understand and appreciate the fiber arts even more than I thought possible, fueling a love of all things woolly that borders on irrational. What’s next on this fiber-y adventure? I’m ready!