This week’s spotlight is on Alicia, @shoelaceswitcher:
Q. Favorite fiber to spin?
Alicia: It’s hard to narrow down a favorite, but the first fiber I ever felt truly comfortable drafting was BFL. It combines the best traits of longwools (long, silky fibers) with the softness of a finer wool and seems to draft without effort. In truth, though, I love exploring fibers (I have a spinner’s study going intermittently on my blog) and will give almost anything a try.
Q. Do you prefer worsted or woolen methods of spinning?
Alicia: Neither! (I’m a rebel.) My ‘default’ drafting method is a sort of short backwards draft (more worsted) while spinning from the fold (more woolen). If I had to choose between strictly worsted and strictly woolen, though, I’d probably go with woolen as I really enjoy carding rolags and using longdraw to create light, lofty yarns.
Q. Who or what inspires you?
Alicia: Oh, so many people, so many things! In fact, I have an entire blog series on my weekly inspiration. But if I were to narrow it down, five fiber artists who always inspire me are: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (all-around knitterly awesomeness), Clara Parkes (knows everything about yarn), Deborah Robson (knows everything about fiber), Jacey Boggs Faulkner (knows everything about spinning), and Jared Flood (inspiring designer).
Q. Any future spinning goals?
Alicia: Again, so many goals! I’m currently having fun exploring art yarns in Jacey’s Spin Artbook. But two more concrete goals I have for this year are to spin a skein of 3-ply sock yarn, and spin enough 2-ply woolen yarn out of some nice Shetland roving to knit a Brooklyn Tweed sweater design.
Q. Do you knit, weave, or gift/sell your handspun?
Alicia: So far I only knit and admire my handspun. I have gifted one skein but have never sold any. I think it would be difficult to price handspun in a way that felt right to me. But knitting with handspun is a true joy, so much livelier than commercial spun yarn!
Q. What has Instagram done for you in spinning?
Alicia: Instagram has allowed me to ‘meet’ so many incredible spinners! The #spin15in15 hashtag is so incredible, I love seeing inspiring yarns, fibers, and tools in my feed every day. It’s especially nice on days when I don’t have time to craft myself, it somehow makes me feel better to know that somewhere out there other people are enjoying fiber. And it reminds me to pick up my own spinning more often than not.
Q. Without spinning, what might your other passions be?
Alicia: I’ve often wondered this, myself. What did I used to do before I spun, before I knit? Looking back, I’ve always made things with my hands: friendship bracelets, beaded necklaces, hemp jewelry. Now I spend a lot of time reading and I also make natural lotion bars and lip balms for my Sweet Sheep Etsy shop, so I suppose I’d put more time towards that if I didn’t spin!
If you haven’t seen much of Alicia’s work, go take a look on Instagram, @shoelaceswitcher
I want to thank Alicia for taking the time to answer these fiber-minded questions and for being part of the #spin15in15 movement on Instagram.