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I first learned to knit when I was in my late teens. I was fascinated; the idea of being able to construct useful things that were also beautiful appealed to my sense of self-sufficiency and skill-building. Knowing that I love to deep-dive into hobbies, friends told me, "next thing you know, you'll be spinning your own yarn."

"Why would I do that? That's silly," I said.

Then a few years later, a friend offered to teach me how to spin. And again, I was hooked: not only could I knit something beautiful, I could make the raw crafting materials that would allow me to knit something beautiful. I bought a spindle and borrowed a wheel and dove into my new hobby with all of my effort and time. 

"Next you'll want to process your own fleece," friends said. 

"Why would I do that? That's silly," I said.

And the next thing I knew, I was buying raw fleeces online, learning to scour them and card them into the fiber I could use to spin. 

"Next you'll want to own the animals that provide the fiber," my friends said.

And here we are.

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Now my family and I own a small herd of four alpacas that provide me with beautiful fleece that I use to spin unique handspun yarns and create blends of fibers for other handspinners. Raising our alpacas has been one of the biggest joys of my life; not only are they amazing, hilarious, inquisitive creatures with their own unique personalities, but they've enabled me to spend the last decade honing my skills has a handspinner, working with fleece straight off the animals.

Spinning, to me, is wonderful and deep and full of craftmanship. I approach spinning yarn with the same care and meticulous attention to detail that a fine furniture maker would when creating their pieces. I thrive on being able to plan, design, and create yarns for specific purposes, such as durable socks or lacy shawls, but I also thrive on creating colorful blends of fiber for other spinners to do the same. I hope that you feel the same sense of wonder about fiber and craft as you browse the items that I and the alpacas make.

Ways To See What We Do

In addition to the blog here, where I write articles about what I make, I also stream the fiber arts process live on Twitch on Monday, Thursday, and Friday nights. On any of those nights, you may tune in to find me combing alpaca fleece, carding fibers on the hand carders, spinning on a drop spindle or the wheel, using the blending hackle to make colorful blends, or using my drumcarder to make batts. Some of the things I make on stream will go into the shop, and subscribers to my Twitch stream get special discounts and benefits, so check it out. 

Caryn Vainio
Washington State, USA