Natural Disaster And The Procrastinator

First I need to say that in no way is anything I am about to write meant to minimize the suffering of those around me in southeast Texas. I have lived in Houston since 1979. I have had an on again off again love affair with the city. Most recently it has been on again as I wrote about on my other blog, Just One of the Sheep. It pains me beyond belief to see what has happened here, yet what a powerful testimony to strength of character and love has been demonstrated by the citizens of the Bayou City. It is humbling.

I didn’t suffer damage to my home, but we were forced to evacuate just in case. We were blessed. 

I’m not really sure where the month of August went, but it is gone and September, cooler weather, and football season have all arrived. It is a beautiful thing. When I couldn’t take the twenty four-seven coverage of the flood ravaged city anymore I decided to get up and do something about my studio room. It has been languishing in some state of partial completion for three months. I needed to get some things moved out and everything organized. Wow! Was that a sobering task.

I moved bags of yarn out of the room completely along with containers of odds and ends leftover from Yarntopia. This freed up space I could then fill up with the materials and tools I would need for The Twisted Spindle. What I discovered along the way was a huge pile of unfinished projects – mostly crochet – that I know I would love if I just spent some time with them. Each one is in its own little project bag, patiently waiting its turn. I pulled out a blanket that I started about this time last year. After the craziness of the the past month, I need something that is simple, soothing and will keep me warm. Single crochet…chunky yarn…warm fall colors…and a little sparkle. Perfection.

I still have moving and purging to do. Now that the humidity is gone for a few days and the temperatures have cooled significantly, I can get out into the garage and figure out what is to be kept, donated, or discarded. There is a small yarn shop full of things out there. Not yarn, but all the other stuff I just couldn’t deal with when I closed the store. Not being sure what my new path was gong to be, I decided to just cram it all in the garage and wait. Time is a great purifier. Things that held sentimental attachment now don’t seem so important. What is important to me now is taking the time to create, take care of myself, my family, and my fiber family.

I have been able to work through so much and know that my cherished role in this crazy world is to support, encourage, and guide others in their creative journey. I love to teach beginners to knit, crochet, spin or weave. The look on their face when they realize they have made something with their own two hands is an amazing gift. I am passionate about unlocking that creative potential in others and helping them find joy in making. In addition to this blog, the supplies on the website, I am on Instagram and Facebook and have yet to really explore all that has to offer. What a wonderful time we live in; we can be connected through our love for wool despite living in different parts of the world. For those of us in the Houston area, there is also the opportunity to meet up in different parts of the city to encourage one another in person. I hope we can meet in person one day.


Flying By The Seat of My Britches

To those who know me, this is no surprise. I plan…really I do, then I change my mind. Often, to the untrained eye, it looks like I just make things up as I go along. Little do they know how long I’ve been thinking, planning, sketching, rethinking, planning and sketching. Then one day – TA DA! I put whatever it is out there for the world to see. And so it is with my little fledgling business.

After closing Yarntopia I knew that I didn’t just want to sit around (despite being very good at this) and I certainly don’t want to go back to work for someone else. The only thing left is to get creative and get busy. Knowing Yarntopia was not going to make it, I’ve been mulling over possibilities for a while. Foremost in my planning was being sure what I wanted to do was something I feel a passion about; something I love doing and helping others do as well. The natural first stop was crochet. But I felt I had “been there, done that” and didn’t want to go backwards. I want to provide fiber folks with beautiful products all while doing what I love. 

I decided that I would just step back and see what it is I really did once the store was not the motivator. I found the answer interesting. More often than not, I picked up a spindle and made yarn. I made yarn to weave with and I’m still working on my first yarn for socks. I enjoy spinning on my wheel, but it is spindle spinning that really makes me happy. I don’t know if it is the affordably beautiful tools I can collect or the intimacy of making yarn slowly, but I truly love it. When I am not spinning I knit or make fiber art with my hand spun yarn. So, you see, for me it is all about the spinning.

I got to work, bought the domain names and started building the shops. Neither is as full as I want but I have started. I’m starting small and will grow this thing organically. I have so many ideas for products. I’m not reinventing the wheel, but I am putting my unique twist on things and hope that others will love what I am doing.

I don’t have a specific studio set up where I can do everything. This is a situation I hope to remedy soon. In the mean time I store fiber and yarn in the spare bedroom, the dining room is my office and now I am putting merchandise in the living room! This last situation is very temporary!

I’ve had grandchildren for two weeks out of the last four which has rendered the spare bedroom unusable for my purposes. The last one will be going home tomorrow. Let the cleaning and organization begin!

The other thing that has kept me busy is designing and making things for my Etsy shop: The Twisted Spindler’s Art (TwistedSpindlersArt). This is where I will be selling the handmade items I make, primarily with my handspun. The Purl & Loop looms I love so much are a big part of what I make for the shop. Whether it is home decor or personal adornment, I love creating with this product.

So, as I push forward I hope you follow along. My goal here on my humble little blog is to entertain and inspire fellow fiber and yarn lovers on their journey of self expression. 

Let’s get twisted!


Good Things Ahead

Amazing things are happening here at Casa Twisted Spindle. First of all, I finished getting all my legal ducks in a row to do this Etsy thing. I am now busy working on merchandise, taking photos and getting ready for my August 1st opening.

The other very exciting news is that I am now a very small helper over at THISyarn. THISyarn is the brainchild of Dayna Mankowski and Ashley Martineau. Both of these talented ladies are art – or creative – yarn spinners, fiber artists and business women. I am honored to be able to help to move the dream forward. This online publication exists to help with the age old question: “What do I do with this yarn?”

As a former shop owner I have helped answer this question so many times it makes my head spin; and after a while I felt like I just ran out of ideas. That is where THISyarn comes in. Here you will find articles about makers, sheep and their humans, and most of all inspiration for creating your own unique items using yarn that is hand spun.

Hand spun yarn rarely meets the gauge standards of commercially spun yarn. It isn’t supposed to. It is hand made…one of a kind…special. Spinners are humans not machines, so each spinner is going to have a different style, preference and color palette that sets them apart from the rest. That is why we call it art. Just like paintings and other art forms come in a variety of techniques, abstract, cubism, realism, modernism, still life, art yarn can be anything hand spun from a fingering weight to a super bulky with locks, curls, and all sorts of bits and bobs hanging from it. There is something for everyone. 

My passion for hand spun yarn is very deep and it is my purpose to expose as many people to it as possible. From the techniques used to make it to the yarn itself and ultimately to a finished item, art yarn is in my blood. 

Admittedly art yarn is not for everyone. There are many knitters who must have the precision of a commercially made yarn and for the things they love to make that is completely understandable. We won’t even discuss my fingering weight yarn collection! My position is not for art yarn to replace all commercial yarn; rather it is to allow those who are so inclined to use it and guide them accordingly. This is why my passion is a perfect fit for THISyarn. What Dayna and Ashley have created is something that floated around in my head but never got off the ground. I believe it is because I was not supposed to be the one to do it, rather I was in preparation for what is happening now. I am coming alongside these women to move the dream forward.

I encourage one and all to visit THISyarn, even if it isn’t your cup of tea it is good to see what can be done with yarn that is different. Follow THISyarn on Facebook and Instagram (be sure to follow Twisted Spindle too!) and then stay tuned here as I prepare for the big launch!

I’m Home

My yarn shop has been closed for six weeks. The clouds are parting and I am beginning to see the light. My journey for direction and purpose has led to new doors opening, and I feel as though I have been reborn.

This amazing yarn journey twelve years ago when I, along with my business partner, began the planning for our yarn shop. During the research I discovered something being called art yarn. Artisans around the country were spinning the most amazingly colorful, highly textured yarns. I had no idea how to do it or what to do with this new kind of yarn, I just knew I loved it and had to have it. My love affair with one-of-a-kind hand spun yarns continues to this day.

All my energies were funneled into learning to run a yarn shop, so spinning yarn had to wait. When presented with the opportunity to take a one day spinning class, I jumped on it. To say I felt like a miserable failure is an understatement. But, over time and with lots and lots of practice, I finally mastered the drop spindle and felt ready for a wheel. I had become a spinner.

Art yarn was a hard sell for my shop. A mix of customer personality and the fact we live in the very hot and humid climate of Houston, Texas. And, as a yarn shop owner, I always felt I must work with yarn people will buy, so if I couldn’t work with hand spun, then why spin? Well, it seems there is a very good reason.

I spin yarn because I am a happier person when I do. I spin yarn because the very act of creating yarn is a soothing and satisfying activity. I spin yarn because I love yarn. But, the interesting thing about my journey is that I worked so hard to get to a spinning wheel only to return to the spindle as my spinning tool of choice. I am most intimately in charge of spinning when using a spindle and I love the connection to the very first spinners who were likely shepherds following their flock while twisting fibers into a long string we now call yarn.

I am honored to carry on this kind of tradition.