Spinning yarn at The Spinning Room

The Spinning Room.jpg

Where the spinning wheels spin

By Amy Brozio-Andrews

Plenty of people have taken up knitting, but if you want to create something "really" handmade here's the closest way short of shearing the sheep yourself --spinning your own yarn.

Spinning wheel.jpgYou can buy yarn pretty much anywhere, and if you count the time it takes you to spin, it's less expensive just to get it off the shelf -- so why would you take the time to spin your own? Well, for one thing, it's a way to get exactly the yarn you want. Spinning gives knitters the flexibility to custom-blend their own yarns by material type (wool, silk,etc.), color, and thickness. Some spinners do it because they like the process and the feel of the fiber, and for others spinning just adds to the whole do it yourself aspect of knitting.

The last Sunday of every month The Spinning Room offers something called a "spin in." People who own wheels meet up at the shop on Main Street in Altamont to spin yarn. If you don't own a wheel, but you'd like to give one a spin (groan) you can use one from the shop (as long as there's one available). They sell wheels along with all kinds of yarns (even regional yarns) and knitting supplies. Spin-in details can change from month to month, so you'll want to check their website or call ahead before you go.

The spin-ins might be a good place for a beginner to observe, or get an old hand to let you try a wheel or give you some pointers, but they may not be the place for a newbie to just jump in. The process is a little complicated at first, so The Spinning Room holds classes for beginners. Two 4-hour sessions will cost you $60, but you can take a wheel home to practice during the week between sessions.

Spinning wheels aren't cheap (they run from $350-$745). If spinning appeals to you, but you're not ready to go all-in on a wheel of your own, they'll rent you one for $35 a month.

If you're interested in seeing the entire "sheep to shawl" process, you can check out the Third Annual Sheep and Wool Gathering at Thatcher Park. It's June 13, 2009 from 10 am to 4 pm. 

Find It

The Spinning Room
190 Main St.
Altamont, NY 12009

W- 10-8:30
Th, F 10-6
Sat 10-4
Sun. 10-2


oh boy, i drive past this place everyday on my way to work in altamont. never been inside tho...my *sad* attempt to learn to knit this winter was unsuccessful.

I've just taken up spinning on a spindle and find that it's very relaxing! The initial cost is quite low, it's very portable, and if you get really, really, good at it it can actually be more productive than a wheel. I wish I hadn't resisted it for so long!

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