I’m learning a new craft. Like many others, spinning yarn is easy to do – but hard to do well.

It is a skill I’ve been wanting to learn for years now. I have always had this urge to go back to the source of things, to be able to make stuff for myself. Needless to say one day I would love to own a few sheep. I learned to knit and crochet when I was about 18, and  and interest in spinning began to creep in soon after.

Or back in, I should say. One of my favourite fairy tales as a child was Rumpelstiltskin; the imp who can spin straw into gold. I’ve never quite shaken off that idea.

This beautiful book has fuelled my imagination for a few years now (it’s a shame that it doesn’t appear to be readily available in hardback – or even hard copy – anymore). But despite my intention to make myself a drop spindle and have a go, I never did. I asked my husband to make me one, and I think he started but never finished it. It’s not that these are complex things to make, really, it’s just that Life Got In The Way, as it does. Then quite recently he asked a clever man we know with a lathe to make me a darning mushroom, which is gorgeous and tactile and USEFUL and mine forever, and now he’s made me a drop spindle too. It. Is. Beautiful.

Handmade wooden drop spindle with woolen yarn

And it works.

I can see as I spin it, my first yarn is uneven and lumpy and likely not the strongest. But the process is soothing and quicker than I’d imagined, and makes me think of clever spiders spinning their webs.

I’ve been processing my first yarn today. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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