Is spinning yarn worth it? A Master Handspinner Answers with 11 great reasons.
If all you want to do is save money, is spinning yarn worth it? No. You won’t save buckets of cash spinning yarn. But there is a whole lot more to spinning yarn than just money.
You may be wondering. If you’re a master handspinner, and you’re not saving buckets of cash on yarn, why do you spin yarn?!
That is a great question. I’m so glad you asked!
Here are 11 reasons why spinning yarn is worth it.
Let’s break this down.
- Historical connection – If you ever find yourself inclined to do historical reenactment, or you are driven by a curiosity of how folks lived in the past, you might enjoy making spun yarn. A drop spindle or spinning wheel is a great way to add historic accuracy to a period display. I’ve also found myself feeling more connected to our ancestors when I find spinning artifacts dating back thousands of years in a museum display.
- Tactile pleasure – Let’s face it. A nice soft wool roving feels good. So does alpaca and cotton. Cashmere, lord have mercy. I know it’s not just me. Feeling a buttery soft spinning fiber flow through my fingers, making a handspun yarn I can then knit into a sweet sweet sweater. Oh yeah baby, twist my arm.
- Meditative process – Once I got past the beginner stage, I found the rhythm of treadling my wheel an excellent focus point to enter into a meditative state. Watching the flyer spin around the bobbin as the roving gets pulled up by the twist is also an easy focus point to shift into a relaxed meditative mindset. It is by far one of the best ways I’ve found to destress, and when you’re done, you have handspun yarn. Yeah boy, this rocks!
- State of flow – This is very closely related to the meditative features mentioned above. When your fleece and raw fiber have been well prepared into a roving, top or sliver, turning out a nice sock yarn for knitting or an art yarn feels as effortless as it looks. And being in a state of flow triggers both a sense of clarity and happiness which boost your mental health.
- Community – I find there is something very special about being together with a group of spinners. Whether it is the comradery of being with people who love what you love, or the sort of people who find spinning attractive, I don’t know. What I do know is that I have met some of the most wonderful people in my spinning group who can speak the language of fiber even when words fail.
- Perspective – I am never more grateful for the miracle of modern machine made clothing than when I’ve finally finished enough wool yarn to make a sweater. While I love the process, spinning yarn is not fast. This is why you don’t save money. If I had to clothe my family with my own handspun yarn, my kids would have one set of clothes just like their ancestors did 150 or so years ago.
- Artistic opportunities – After you learn to spin a consistent yarn, and maybe you’ve played around with weaving, crochet, knitting or whatever strikes your fancy, you begin to notice the possibilities of what you could do when you go about to spin yarn. Colors, textures, yarn strength, it’s all on the table now. Creativity blossoms here.
- Memory Making – Some of my favorite memories are of my toddlers putting their small hands on mine and their feet on one pedal as I worked the other. There are not many activities that are so easy to share with young children while you still actually make something but spinning yarn is one of them.
- Tradition – Whether you are starting with raw fleece and working toward finished socks, or creating an art yarn for weaving, there is a tradition of fiber craft that links you with people going back long before ancient Egypt. There is also a yearly rhythm to the craft, with shearing and harvesting done at specific times so you can weave and knit as fall turns to winter. I find life makes more sense when it fits in these time patterns.
- Bragging Rights – Let’s be honest, we all have areas where we like to seek status. If you enjoy, say knitting or weaving already, a sheep to shawl project, making a finished garment or fabric with your own handspun yarn from raw fiber or fleece can be a big accomplishment.
- Complete control – When you have mastered the art of yarn spinning you can produce yarns that you simply can not buy. You can blend fibers and do color effects that machines can’t duplicate. You can twist your 2 ply yarn widdershins for better crochet lace if you want. Your finished yarns become a work of art all on their own.
Is spinning yarn worth it then? Well, that’s up to you.
It’s true that between the cost of spinning fiber, be it raw fleece, roving, wool, cotton or alpaca, and a drop spindle or spinning wheel you are unlikely to save money. Add in the time it takes even an accomplished spinner to make a finished yarn and you are better off heading to the store to pick up some commercial yarn. Because when it comes down to it, it’s your time spent that makes the difference.
That is unless you value these 11 things. If you have an appreciation of history and tradition, if you have specific artistic visions, love the feel of soft things and find the rhythm of the twist soothing and like the idea of getting to know the sort of people who love these things too, then you might be a spinner.
So if you are considering learning how to spin, if you inherited spinning wheels from an old relative or were gifted raw wool and you want to know if it’s worth your time to attempt to learn handspinning, consider these 11 reasons.
You may find that you enjoy spinning wool or cotton. Learning the ins and outs of choosing a high whorl spindle to make a 2 ply yarn for that lace project. You may even find yourself taking a raw fleece to a finished yarn for your next crochet head cover.
Like everything else, spinning is not for everyone. But if this list resonates with you, you probably already know the answer to, ‘is spinning yarn is worth it?’ Don’t ya?