Monday, September 27, 2010


Most people who have attended my book store talks for Spin a Wicked Web have heard the story of how I learned how to spin.

I was enticed inside a yarn and fiber store in Snohomish, Washington by the tempting window display. It was called The Fiber Attic, and in addition to selling all sorts of luscious and interesting yarns the owner, Kris, also sold raw fiber for spinning. She sold spinning wheels and looms and even better, she offered lessons on both.

The baskets of fluffy, raw fiber drew my fingers toward them immediately. Knitting store junkies understand. Soft, colorful, rough, silky textures scream touch me, touch me! Add in Kris, sitting in the corner, spinning and chatting, and I was hooked. One offer to try out the wheel progressed to taking lessons, borrowing a wheel, and finally buying my own.

And the fiber stash began to grow alongside the yarn, notebook, fabric, handmade toiletry and miscellaneous craft stashes.

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Wool roving

Office and art supply stores, fabric, yarn and craft stores – I could spend hours in them. Think about all the things to make. Learn to paint! Learn to sew! That fiber over there, combined with that one and using my oversized fly wheel would give me a great chunky yarn for a scarf! I know – I’ll make ALL my Christmas presents this year!

Oh. Wait. I need to write a book. Or two.

067Latest purchase from Your Daily Fiber. I like working with cotton more in warm weather, and this is soft, soft, soft. 

Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all about the promise these stores offer: You can create flawless beauty and utility.


There is the intrinsic, sensuous engagement of the raw materials, of course. But isn’t it mostly about what you imagine doing with them?

People sometimes ask which of my books is my favorite. I’m not lying when I tell them it’s the one I’m developing at the moment. See, that’s the one I haven’t written yet, so I haven’t sullied the perfect idea lurking in my mind by actually executing it. According to Plato, reality only reflects the perfection of our ideas. Actuality is inherently flawed, and we can only strive for, but never reach, perfection.

Oh, but the excitement (lust, even) that we feel in the knitting shop or office supply store is captured in our collections of fiber and fabric, post-its and paint, notebooks and notions. We make our purchases, and then stock our own shelves with the richness of possibility.

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