What makes you happy?

There are a lot of things that make me happy – kittens, a clear sunny day, fresh fleece, antique shopping, museums… The list goes on.  But there is one thing makes me happier than all the rest and that is teaching.  The joy I receive from helping people learn new skills is far greater than the joy of earning a little extra income.  Watching the faces of students as they get past the struggle part of the new skill and to the “I got this” stage.  We had several of those last night.


For instance, Marta was struggling with drafting.  I thought about her all month and how I could help her with this, and decided that taking my own wheel in, setting it up and having her (and another student with the same issues) watch me as I spun and explained what I was doing at each step.  I showed them the difference in speed between what my feet were doing and what my hands were doing and how much fiber I was allowing into the draft and how much twist I was allowing before letting the wheel have it.

It didn’t take long before they were both spinning more even and consistent singles.


This old, old wheel (I believe she said it had belonged to either her grandmother or her great-grandmother) needed a little TLC to get it going.  Watching her trying to start the wheel going around with the treadle was like watching someone start an old crank-start engine.  It took a couple of cranks to get it to “catch.”  So I asked her, “When is the last time you oiled your wheel?”  She looked up at me and said, “Maybe a year a go.”  So I got my oil out and showed her all of the places she needed to oil it.  I even showed her the beginning of a groove of the outside of the orifice because of no lubrication.  And you know what?  That “engine” started right up at the next crank and off she went.  She is the other student having drafting issues and was doing much better by the end of the evening.


Debbie (in the foreground) is still spinning her Pomeranian fur, but she learned how to card it (and some Jacob she brought) into soft, fluffy rolags that made it much easier for her to spin.  She is doing a lovely job.

Brenda, in the bright yellow blouse, learned how to spin top last night by spinning across the tip.  It took some concentration, but by the time class was over, she was getting it down pat just fine.  Except when I told her so, then it slubbed.  🙂 I guess I broke her concentration.

Lynn (in the pink) was working on her second cop of singles on her drop spindle and should be ready to begin plying next time.

Caeli is working on her long draw BLF for a sweater.  She had Navajo plied her first skein of it and it is a wonderfully soft, worsted weight yarn.  it’s going to make a great sweater.


Brenda also had something for show and tell.  This felted bag was knitted using all of her “newbie” and sample yarns as well as some yarn she had dyed at Dye Day and on her own.  There were even pockets inside for her spindle and other supplies.  It was wonderfully thick and she should be able to pass that bag down a couple of generations it is so well-made.


My 7th student was plying on her spindle for the first time using singles of different colors (cream and dk brown).  It’s going to be wonderful yarn for a hat or scarf and I think it would be great if she dyed it.

The really fun part about teaching this class is that each student is at a different place in their path of learning.  Some are getting more advanced (Caeli and Brenda), some are adding to what they already know and others are just beginning their own paths.  This keeps me hopping as a teacher, but it gives me the variety and challenge to keep them all going forward.  No wonder I come home so keyed up that I have to knit in order to relax enough to sleep.  How fun this all is!

Saturday, there is a Spin-In happening at Starstruck Cat Studio from 10-4.  Come and join us whether you are a spinner or someone who is interesting in spinning.  You can come for as long or short a time as you want, but do come.  We’ll have lots of fun.

3 Responses

  1. roxie Says:

    Benita, my dear, you are a fire in the firmament, casting sparks of joy all around you. Look at all those happy women, learning a lifetime of meditative pleasure. I am cheering for all of you!

  2. Cindy in Fl Says:

    The wonder of seeing the light come on in the student’s eyes is the teacher’s delight! That makes a room full of happy people! Great job!

  3. Basically Benita » Blog Archive » First Spin-In a Success!! Says:

    […] and I got there right at 10 when the store opened, and soon afterwards Cheryl arrived with her Great-Grandmother’s wheel. (Remember her from Tuesday’s class? She had the wheel that reminded of me of old crank-start […]

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