It was late at night and my two young children were finally asleep. The washing machine and dishwasher were humming in the background as I sat watching Oprah and knitting a hat. Oprah was talking about living your passion. It was a great uplifting show and as I fell asleep that night I was thinking about what my passion was.
That night I dreamed of living on a farm surrounded by my own fiber animals and making yarn. It was such a great dream that it was disappointing to wake up! The fantasy occupied my thoughts for the next few days and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was a mental escape and just thinking about it made me smile.
Laughing at myself I explained to my husband what had been occupying my thoughts. He became very quiet and I remember thinking, “Great! I’ve used up my last bit of crazy!” My husband proved once again why I married him by saying, “I think we should go for it, let’s sell the house and get property.”
My life was already full, and I was happy. I work as a 911 dispatcher, it’s a job that I love even though it can be stressful. Our two children were settled in their school and had best friends, my neighbors were some of my closest friends. Yet, I couldn’t wait to feel the fiber in my hands.
Despite feeling like I was out of my mind for chasing such a surreal dream, we actively pursued it. Our kids thought visiting alpaca farms was fun and different. When we told family what we were planning we got stunned responses, but most encouraged us. We listed the house, started shopping for alpacas, and I found a spinning teacher only 45 minutes north of us.
It amazes me how things fall into place when you are on the right track. Our home sold in under a week. We found a short sell property where we could have animals, and the bank had accepted our offer in under a month. I took more spinning classes and attended our Local Fiber Fair. Less than 6 months later, I was a new spinner sitting in my pasture with my own herd of alpacas.
I joined our local guild, Wasatch Woolpack Hand Spinners. I was immediately welcomed and these women became my best friends. They understood my passion and taught me their language. My heart was bursting with excitement so I volunteered to serve as the vice president in 2015, and president in 2016 and again this last year for 2017-2018.
I’ve hosted two spinning workshops for my guild at our little hobby farm. In march of 2015 we brought in Lonna Alexander Steel to teach four different classes. May 2016 we brought in wheelwright Steven McEwen from Montana and several of our local members taught classes as well. Our guild also made triangle looms, my amazing husband did the woodwork and pre drilled nail holes to make over 60 triangle looms. We had guild members hammering nails into looms, taking classes, indigo dyeing and spinning all over our yard. As I looked around I knew that my reality was even better than that first dream.
Our initial herd of 5 alpacas has grown to 10. My children have learned to care for farm animals, do farm chores, and find joy in simple things and celebrate life. They have witnessed the birth of new crias and watched them grow. My kids can give a pretty decent farm tour and know a lot about spinning. Our alpacas have been into the 911 center to visit for dispatchers week and we have taken them to a party celebrating Peru. Both were excellent education experiences.
A few years ago, my son did his science fair experiment on dyeing fiber and mordants. He compared vinegar, citric acid and urine. It was an experiment the teacher hadn’t seen before. During the oral presentation my son’s sense of humor took over, “The best part of this experiment….I got to pee on my homework!”
My own spinning has improved as I’ve taken classes, savored Ply magazine, and learned from other spinners. My confidence has improved with each project. I have found my own style and can proudly declare myself as a spinner that specializes in and LOVES art yarn. I love the texture and the character of the yarn and the uniqueness that it brings to my weaving.
I have opened my home to teach new spinners. I find teaching challenging, because it really requires me to know the technical spinning rules. My most enthusiastic teaching experience…I was contacted by a homeschooling group and taught 25 kids to drop spindle all at once! I also taught drop spinning for 2 years at a local elementary school during their mountain man rendezvous. Triangle loom weaving, peg loom weaving, core spinning, mixed fiber arts bags are some of the classes I have taught at Great Basin Fiber Fair, and at Copper K Fiber Fair in Montana. I have online classes available through CuriousMondo.com. I was invited to do a podcast, “Creativity in Focus”, a new experience since my passion is not technology and I wasn’t even sure what a podcast was.
I feel a deep sense of accomplishment. I love that my children have seen me work hard to follow my passions. They have seen the possibilities and excitement in chasing dreams. I have met new friends, learned more than can be expressed about spinning, fiber preparation and alpacas. I’ve entered fiber arts competitions at fiber festivals and our local county and state fairs and I’m more than a little proud of the ribbons that are pinned along the ceiling of my sewing room.
Spinning means chasing my dreams, courage, new friends, adventure, and sheer bliss. It is a solace and way to relax after a stressful day at work. It connects me to the past as I imagine the history of spinning and it connects me to the future each time I share or teach. Spinning is my own personal journey and all I’ve gained by pursuing it.
Now my kids are a little older, my dishwasher and washing machine still hum almost constantly. As I wait up for my teenagers to come home at night I often treddle my spinning wheel with my cat laying on the rug next to me. A lot of nights I knit. I love knitting breast prothesis for Knitted Knockers, a charity that distributes these handknit breasts for free to breast cancer survivors all over the world. Its a way to share my talents and spread love in my own community. It’s because of this charity that my daughter learned to crochet and knit and often we work on this project together.
No matter what your passion is, I hope you live it. I hope you share it and I hope you discover as much peace and meaning as I have living mine.