MCL Makers is a DIY series that highlights Multnomah County Library staff who make things in their spare time. Our first MCL Maker in the series was Anne Tran who taught us about all things soapmaking. Our second MCL Maker is Library Assistant Donna Cain. Donna is active in the fiber arts community and shared with us about her craft.
How long have you been handspinning fiber into yarn?
I've been spinning for about 25 years.
How did you learn how to spin?
In the beginning, I bought a used Ashford spinning wheel and took an eight week class at the Multnomah Center for the Arts. I've been happily turning fiber into yarn ever since. I'm a member of the Aurora Colony Handspinners' Guild, and am always learning new things about the craft. Handspinning is one of those crafts that you can learn in a day but take years to truly master. Luckily, every step along the way is a joy.
Have you used any resources from the library to further develop your craft?
I've checked out hundreds of craft books, including books on spinning, from the library over the years and we have a good selection. Even better, the library has great DVDs on various aspects of hand spinning. How cool to check out a DVD and learn a new technique from a nationally known expert. You'd have to travel and pay a substantial fee to learn from someone like that in person!
Have you taught others how to spin or shared your skill in any way?
I love bringing new spinners into the craft and have taught lots of people, mostly one on one. Currently, Librarian Judy Anderson and I are teaching spindle spinning (Drop Spindle Basics) as a library program.
What advice do you have for the new spinner just starting out?
I would encourage anyone interested in handspinning to start by taking a class. We continue to offer Drop Spindle Basics through the library. I am also available to teach drop spindle or wheel spinning at the Belmont Knit Fix program. In addition, classes are available at some yarn shops and through the Aurora Colony Handspinners' Guild. Another great beginning (activity) is to attend a fiber festival. They are listed on the Guild's website. It's a great way to see lots of spinners in action and experience the wonders of the fiber world.
For more information on all things handspinning, be sure to check out this curated list. Happy crafting!