Reverb 2016: Best Gift I Ever Got

The Best Gift I Ever Got: We all remember That One Gift that gave us The Most Joy.  Show us what that gift was for you and describe why it makes gives you all the feels.

Rachel:   I think the best gift I ever got was my first spinning wheel.  I’d learned how to drop spindle spin at Fiber Camp and I was itching to try out a wheel.  But they’re expensive and at that time they were completely out of reach for us money wise.  So I had sort of resigned myself to having to save for a couple of years or else just not have one.

I was sharing my pictures of my spindle spun yarn on my livejournal and lusting after wheels I saw.  A friend of Katie’s who we knew through livejournal read my posts and told me that she had a spinning wheel sitting in her attic collecting dust and that if I wanted it, it was mine.  She even had it mailed to me!

New Spinning Wheel!

She arrived safe and sound, well padded by piles and piles of wool!  It was love at first sight.


New Spinning Wheel! And in no time at all I was spinning some AWFUL yarn on her! 1st spinning attempts on the wheel

But, as they say, I got better 🙂 Over those intervening years, I’ve improved at least a little 😉 But it it hadn’t been for Pam’s astounding generosity, I wouldn’t have been able to have a spinning wheel for years. Spinning brings me so much comfort and happiness and I can’t thank her enough. I LOVE my little Ashford Scholar.


This last year I was able to afford a second wheel, an Ashford Joy and now that we’re a two wheel household I can start teaching other people!!  So, yes, that little trusty wheel is one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten.


The Magic of Spinning


I have been trying to get Katie into some kind of fiber craft for ages and ages, and so when she recently said that she might like to try drop spindle spinning with me, I was over the moon!  I think I may have actually jumped up and down with excitement.  She has always been game to try out any craft I’m into, she’s made some beautiful granny squares, and even contributed one to the blanket several friends got together to make for our dear friend, Bethany, when she went away to a university in far away Michigan.  But none of the fiber arts that I am completely crazy about seemed to check the boxes for her.  Although she does have a beautiful loom and has woven some truly gorgeous projects on that.

But spinning!!!  I practically SHOVED fiber and my simple Ashford drop spindle into her hands.  And then I went online and ordered her a whole bundle more so she would have variety :3

And we’ve been spinning together.  And it gives me such JOY.  When we went to the Common Ground Fair last year we both brought our spindles along and while we sat waiting to watch Sheep Dog demonstrations, we spun together.  Sitting side by side on a little red wooden bench spinning wool on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Seeing her discover that she likes spinning rekindled my love of drop spinning too.  So portable, so magical, so… perfect!


I’ve said before that knitting is magic.  And I’m going to do that thing again.  Spinning is MAGIC.  Seriously.  And it’s science.  It’s this blow your mind cool fusion of old magic and modern science.  When you spin, you’re literally expending physical energy when you put twist into your yarn.  This is kinetic energy.  If you’ve studied physics then you know that energy can never be destroyed.  It only changes shape.  The energy from your body, your movements, goes out from yourself and into the yarn.  You are both physically and metaphysically sending your energy into that craft!

This idea isn’t really mine though, I got this Mind Blown moment from reading the book Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont.  She talks about the physics and the moving energy.  My brain exploded into the witchy magical side of it all

And right now I’m getting ready to add a new spinning wheel to our house.  I’m saving my pennies (and you need a whole heck of a lot of pennies to get one of these beauties!) for an Ashford Joy.  It’s this beautiful folding wheel and I should have enough saved in about two weeks!  I can’t wait to tell you all about her when she arrives.

If I’ve piqued your interest in spinning, and I hope that I have, I absolutely recommend that book I mentioned, Respect the Spindle, and I recommend that you hop over to YouTube.  Short of having someone teach you in person, Youtube is the second best way to learn to drop spindle spin.  It’s this ancient and simple process that connects you with generations of people who went before you.  Taking your energy, a spindle, and a little wool, you can create something from practically nothing.  And that is just SO COOL.


A multihued beginning: Arboreal Rainbow

Here there be dragons.

Okay, so it’s more like here will be knitting, ferns, tea, and magic.  My wife, Katie, and I share a little white house in New Hampshire with our two cats, two finches, and too much wool (it’s all mine).

I’m a librarian who loves knitting, spinning wool, and making messes in her studio.

Rachel at the Fairie Festival 2015

Katie is a writer who loves ferns, trees, and art supplies.

Katie at the Fairie Festival 2015

We got married in sandals in a backyard almost eight years ago and we try to fill our lives with faerie things, magic spells, and tasty noms.  You’ll find glitter glued to the floor of my studio (it was mostly an accident–a happy accident), antique field guides to birds and wildflowers overflowing Katie’s shelves, and a pot of tea brewing when you’re at our house.

And these are our adventures.