How The Fiber Addict Came About
I was exposed to knitting and sewing as a young girl still in grade school. Knitting was short-lived – the knit and purl stitches were easy enough, but I could never figure out why my cables twisted different directions. Those jumbled cables were such a frustration that my knitting days were quickly history!
Sewing, on the other hand, was simple for me. It was just constructing 3-dimensional objects using fabric. Creating shapes came easy to me. But, soon, sewing your own school clothes was not the cost-savings measure it used to be. So, I focused on tailored clothes – coats, lined suits, clothes with a lot of detailed construction and hand-stitched features.
As I grew older, I tried other textile arts – crochet, machine knitting, embroidery, cross-stitch, needle-point, macrame and basket weaving – but hand-spinning was an accidental discovery!
One of my long ago purchases was a used knitting machine and several cones of yarn. Teaching myself to use the knitting machine was very satisfying but it was going to take me years to use up all those cones of yarn! And, a knitting machine wasn’t exactly a portable tool. I had an idea to strand multiple yarns together to make a thicker yarn. Then, I could try hand-knitting again and see if I could figure out how to knit those cables!
In my quest to figure out how to make a thicker yarn, some one suggested a drop spindle to twist the strands together. When asked how many yards of yarn I wanted to twist together, I said ‘thousands’ and was immediately told, ‘you want a spinning wheel’. I had no clue where to buy a spinning wheel or how it functioned. My idea of a spinning wheel was something Cinderella or Rapunzel used in a fairy tale!
Well, one thing led to another, I ended up with a spinning wheel and some spinning lessons. I purchased a few ounces of raw fleece, and a fiber sampler from an on-line shop. I tried spinning cotton balls from the store and lint from the dryer. I joined a spinning group focused on studying various breeds. I conducted my own breed study. I started buying raw fleeces. I started buying other fibers. I started collecting my dog’s hair. I tried twisting blades of grass, stalks of plants, anything that was pliable got twisted between my fingers! I started playing with dyes. I started carding my own fibers. I tried spinning with different types of spindles. I lusted after more spinning wheels! You get the picture – I was addicted!
Soon after, I started my business and appropriately named it The Fiber Addict.
I’ve picked up knitting again, but haven’t tried any cables or made a significant dent in those cones of yarn. Mostly, I spin!
~ Merri Williams
The Fiber Addict
An addendum — since writing my story my fascination for all things fiber continues as does spinning them into yarn! I’m finding fiber blends interesting with each fiber type bringing it’s own characteristics to the blend. Exotic fibers are interesting also and I really like silk! My fiber collection keeps expanding. My hand-knitting projects frequently include trying out a new-to-me technique. Those cables are no longer a mystery, lace knitting with or without beads produce beautiful results! I’ve tried entrelac, double-knitting, slip-stitches and brioche too. I still have several of those original cones of yarn hanging around — some day they’ll tell me what they want to become!