Saturday, October 29, 2011

Michigan Spinning Company - Review and Extra (Easy) Entry {#MadeInMichigan}

This is a review for one of my sponsors of the Made in Michigan Blog Giveaway Hop, which will take place from October 28 – November 2. I will be offering my readers the chance to win a (Hand)Made in Michigan prize package worth nearly $200! Please take a moment to read about this wonderful Etsy shop and then fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a very easy extra entry into the giveaway.

We all wear clothes, right? (Well, most of us - Little Guy has decided to venture into nudist territory lately.) Did you even consider the fact that everything we wear - from wool to cotton to synthetics all start with spinning fibers together to create a thread or yarn, which is then woven into some kind of fabric and put together into clothing. Now, consider how long people have been doing this. These are the kind of thoughts that are akin to contemplating how insignificant one is, while laying on a hill and looking at stars on a warm summer night. The thoughts that come rushing in can be mind-boggling. Well, at least, that's how it's been for me for the past two hours.

Debra, owner of Michigan Spinning Company on Etsy, sent me a handmade (in Michigan!) Maple & Birch Top Whorl Drop Spindle and some beautifully hand-dyed Shetland Wool Roving (also from Michigan!) to try out. Now, the closest I've ever gotten to working with roving was when I was about 10 years old and visited Greenfield Village. One of the displays had a basket of freshly-washed wool, some carding supplies, and a giant spinning wheel all ready for inexperienced visitors to try out. I think I made the biggest ball of fuzz on a string in the history of humans spinning!

So, you can imagine my apprehension when I opened the package from Michigan Spinning Company and had the weird spindle thingy in one hand and a giant roll of loosely-braided roving in the other. How in the world can I use this stick with a circle and hook on it to turn this fluffy stuff into something I can knit with?! Then I calmed myself by remembering that someone, a very, very, very long time ago, figured out hoe to do this without the benefits of having the roving and spindle delivered by USPS and the Internet with Google and YouTube videos! Now, I don't have sound on my computer, but just watching a few of these videos and the various techniques people use made it possible for me to feel confident enough to get started. And, you know what? I MADE YARN! Really!!! All by myself - for TWO hours. Debra warned me that it was addictive, but I really had no idea it would be such a great feeling. Oh, and meditative, too. For those two hours, I was able to just stare at the spinning spindle and contemplate all those ideas I mentioned above.

Now, I have to share Michigan Spinning Company's Mission Statement because they've succeeded 100% by simply sending me these things to review.
"Michigan Spinning Company is dedicated to promoting and preserving Fiber Art Traditions, including but not limited to, the art of natural fiber processing, hand dyeing, handspinning, knitting and weaving. We have a hands-on approach to learning and eagerly share our experience and enthusiasm for the Fiber Arts through informal informational videos, audio/video podcasting, newsletters, and participation in local Fiber Festivals and Events. We believe in the importance of introducing young people to the Fiber Arts, educating them in the traditions of earlier generations, fostering their love and appreciation for things handmade, and encouraging them to pass on their acquired knowledge and enthusiasm to future generations."

Did you take note of the mention of "young people" and "future generations"? My kids will be learning how to do this, too! My oldest has the most agile fingers and I just know he's do well with it. And, even at three, Little Guy could do this. Just think of the education and pride they'll get out of learning this. And, as kids who've been taught to ask questions, I know that we'll probably end up heading to the library to learn more about different fibers used for clothing, the science behind spinning, how clothes are made... the possibilities are endless!

You can find Michigan Spinning on Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also follow on their Blog!
Disclosure: I received one Drop Spindle and +/- 6 oz. Wool Roving from Michigan Spinning for the purpose of this review. I have received no other form of compensation. All opinions are 100% my own.