Tuesday, October 30, 2007

in the beginning

I'm mom and stepmom to way too many kids--between us, my husband I have nine, including our twins. My mom first taught me to crochet when I was five and I learned to knit (mostly from a book) when I was twelve. For many, many years, my "LYS" was Walmart's craft aisle and the like. My hooks and needles saw sporadic use--sweaters for neices and nephews, afghan wedding gifts. A few years ago, my next-to-youngest daughter, Emily, asked me to teach her to crochet and then to knit. We discovered knitting on the net, knitting in public, knitting books, real yarn stores and the overwelming joy of natural fibers. True passion was born.

Em and I learned how to spin after buying a couple of spindles in August 2006. Mine was a 1.4 oz Kundert and I only had that one spindle for months. In February '07, I bought a lighter spindle.


My youngest son (then eight, with mild cerebral palsy that affects his hands) wanted to spin so he borrowed that second one. Once you have more than one, how do you make do with less? I had to get it back!

My husband ordered some toy wheel spindles on Ebay, enough for ALL the kids . They were too heavy and wouldn't spin. I--owner of exactly two spindles, with only vague knowledge of the use of power tools (OK, my grandfather taught me how to refinish wood furniture one summer when I was a teen and I'd done quite a bit of that sort of thing since so not entirely unfamiliar with wood) --decided *I* could do better.

Thus began my quest for the *perfect* (OK, reasonably inexpensive, fairly light, decent spinning) spindle for my kids to use. I made the first at the end of April. It was a toy wheel spindle, the wheel itself stained a lovely cranberry...

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and it didn't spin. So I tried other toy wheels, including spoked ones.

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Those were better, still not great.

By the middle of May, a lot of people in my life were getting darn sick of hearing "spindlespindlespindle" and my ideas for "spindlespindlespindle." Except my husband-- he just kept buying me more tools in response to my, "This is what I want to do, how do I do it?" questions. And then some of my friends stopped tuning me out and actually looked at my spindles again. They tried spinning with them. "Hey, these are pretty cool. You should do something with them. Sell them or something." What else was I going to do--I gave them spindles.

By early June, I had spindles everywhere--my desk, kitchen table, nightstand.
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I decided I needed more fiber to spin with all these spindles...oh yeah, and some for the kids. While shopping for fiber online, I wondered if anyone would buy my spindles? I started setting up a shop, just for the heck of it, before I lost my nerve. And one of my spindles disappeared from my shop while I was still setting it up. Where'd it go? A glitch? I clicked the wrong thing? No. A sale.

And here we are...

To be honest, I don't really make much money from this venture (when I asked my husband what, exactly, he expected from my spindle-making, he replied, "Enough to support your fiber addictions"...he's a good man!) because I put way more into each spindle than I would ever charge for them. But it's not all about the money.