• strandedkiwi

Ain't No Room for OCD in an Advent Spin

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

Planning and preparation. These are good habits to have in life, and definitely when spinning fiber to make yarn. Over the holidays, when spinning was still a new experience for me and I was learning all about SAL's and fiber updates, I saw many of the spinners I idolize on Instagram posting their daily Christmas Advent spins. I missed out on all of them, so when the Nest Fiber Studio Valentine Day Advent popped up in my feed, I was elated. I loooove her Superwash Merino. I missed the first advent release because I didn't realize the frenzy that ensues when new fibers are released, so as soon as she restocked I put my crazy 'shop update face' on and snagged mine. Let the planning begin.

It seemed pretty simple: get the fiber, separate it into equal amounts and pair each bump with its intended spindle. But when the fiber arrived in the mail and I realized just how much there was, my plans changed. Each day of the advent is approximately 1 ounce of fiber. That is a generous amount of fiber! So I decided to be creative and split each day into halves - one half would be spun on a John Galen Designes supported spindle, and the other half on a drop spindle. Dancing partners, so to speak.

I learned so much during this spin, about myself, about my spindles and... about my OCD tendencies. I am very much a worker bee, I like my checklist to be full in the morning and all my to do's checked off by the end of the day. Well, on day one of the spin, I quickly realized that I may have set very lofty goals for myself. I was bound and determined to get each day spun on THAT advent day. No exceptions. Even if it killed me. As you can see, I'm still alive, but not without having to forgive myself for this ginormous failure AND allowing myself to change the rules along the way. Even now, writing this Valentine's Day blog on March 3rd, I'm telling my OCD self "It's ok girl, it's OK..."

As you can see, Jen with Nest Fiber Studio does not mess around - these daily advent packages were put together with thoughtfulness and care.

This was Day 1. I had put zero forethought into photography, but I did manage to capture the fiber and spindles before getting started on my first day of spinning.

Then I decided to capture a photo each day (there are many ways spinners process their advent packages - I opened mine one day at a time). In an effort to avoid spoiling the advent for other participants who might see my daily posts on Instagram, any fiber photos I posted were in black and white. On day 2, as I was taking the daily photo, I was already way behind and still spinning the fiber from day one. By day 14, I was 4 days behind.

If you look closely, you will see Day 13 is missing. Let's just say there was a mishap with a very full mug of coffee and a very vulnerable pile of fiber on the table next to it.

Now, I just started my spinning journey in November 2020, but I have managed to curate quite a collection of spindles from many makers. Prior to this spin, most of them have just been on display in the stands McDreamy made for me. Participating in this advent gave me the opportunity to actually spin on many of my untouched spindles, and that was pretty amazing. I learned that my #galengirls can hold quite a bit of fiber- probably more if I wasn't so obsessed with giving them big sexy curvy cops. I learned that not all drop spindles are created equal- some you can roam around with and hang out in the garage while you spin (I do this often in the evening when my hubs is tinkering on his cars) and others you need to sit low to the ground with a fluffy pillow below to break the fall (hard lesson learned when I dropped a Golding during it's first spin and bent the hook). I learned that Elizabeth Dailey of Greensleeves and Enid Ashcroft both add a distinct feminine quality to their wood turning. And I learned that the eternity of 2 whole months that it takes for Allen Berry to get to your name on that list of his is well worth the wait.

I learned some things about myself as well. Numero Uno, I love my husband. He is probably the only man on the planet who could possibly tolerate AND cheer me on during this daily process for over 2 weeks: 6am coffee while spinning on the couch; spinning all day in between any other possible work items or household chores that could arise; hours of spinning on the couch in the evening, just so that I could somehow try to catch up. That did not happen during this advent. But when I finally finished that last spindle full of fiber, I felt like I had accomplished the impossible.

Throughout this advent spin, I would touch base with my girlfriend, Lori, giving her my daily updates as to how far behind I was. She very gently reminded me that there are no rules in spinning, no rules in advents, and it's not a race. Lori is a very wise lady, and if you don't have a friend who shares in your passion for all things fiber, I hope you find one. But not Lori, she's MY bff (best fiber friend).

Things I may do different during the next advent

- Use my wheel more. On day 3, when I was still spinning fiber from day 1, I decided to

spin days 3 & 4 on my new wheel. Genius. As much as I love my spindles, if I am going

to set a goal I need to make it attainable. I love wheel spinning and it zips by, so I would

definitely do that.

- If possible, get the fiber before the start date. DUH! Had I ordered this fiber on the first

release, I could have planned better and possibly gotten a headstart so that my daily

spins were all done by the last day.

- Only spin half an ounce each day. Holy hell why didn't I think of that in the beginning??

If you are hoping to participate in a future advent, do it!!! It was fun, the fiber was amazing and you end up with a ton of yarn. And seeing the care and intention Jen put into this advent, I will do hers again and I will highly recommend them to other spinners.

Fiber used in this spin was a special advent and no longer available, however she has other lovely fiber and montly clubs available at Nest Fiber Studio

Spindles can be purchased at:

John Galen Designs

Allen Berry

Bosworth Spindles


Enid Ashcroft

Golding Fiber Tools

If you are interested in learning how to spin, what fiber to spin, or anything fiber related, my beautiful friend Ashley Flagg is an instructor with years of experience and is a wealth of knowledge. She can be reached on Instagram at @artemis4242

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