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Jul 15 2009

episode 80: “SOAR Project”

Published by Meghan at 2:47 pm under Babble,Podcast Episode,SOAR knowledge,Spinning

episode 80: “SOAR Project”

The month of July’s donation incentive is sponsored by Cosymakes.
She has graciously donated a copy of her book “Knit One, Embellish Too”
she is ALSO going to give you some of her hand dyed farm wool!
interested in seeing all of the patterns, fiber, handspun yarns she also has available? check out her etsy store!
all it takes is a donation to the podcast during the month of july. you’ll help pay for podcasting costs and have a chance at winning this lovely fibery goodness!

This is my SOAR Scholarship project. Its what I am sending off to the scholarship committee at Spin-Off Magazine and Interweave Press to show what I have done to share my knowledge with the world!
I wanted to also share my application essay, so you guys can see what my goal was with the scholarship.


“I was up again at 1:00 AM drooling over photos on my computer monitor. Amazing twists and turns, techniques I’ve never seen before and colors to suit every palette. “Wow….How did they do that?! I had no idea it could be so beautiful! More… I want more.” It was obvious I had a problem. An obsession, really. How could I let it get this out of control? What would I tell my husband? It’s time to admit it…I’m addicted to handspun.
Just six months ago, I didn’t even really know about handspun yarn. I was working full time in the mortgage industry. I was a mommy, a wife and an isolated knitter. I truly enjoyed knitting, but for the most part, I practiced my craft at home. I didn’t know that anyone else around my age knit, and it didn’t seem socially acceptable to have a hobby like this. I knit my socks, sweaters or mittens secluded in the privacy of my own home. Only my friends and family knew about my love of yarn, and it didn’t seem to bother them. Some call it a gateway hobby. They aren’t kidding.
Around this time the company I worked for was starting to suffer and my son was diagnosed with his hearing loss. Needless to say, I was extremely stressed out. I turned to my old standby to help calm me down; knitting. I’d sneak in a row or two on small projects at work or in doctor’s waiting rooms when no one was looking, hoping they wouldn’t think my new smile was peculiar or notice the telltale pieces of fiber clinging to my shirt. My coworkers started asking questions like “Where’d you get those socks?” and “Is that hard?” Knitting had become a security blanket and meant so much more to me then a hobby. I realized I had an opportunity to share this gift, so I took it. I started teaching 15 people how to knit and crochet during lunch breaks at work.
Because I had invited people to join me in my hobby, I felt the need to locate more resources and options. Finding patterns, videos, and techniques led me to Knittinghelp.com, and eventually to Ravelry. Oh Ravelry. A black hole of craftiness that sucks knitters and crocheters in before they realize it’s too late. All of a sudden casual stitchers become hardcore yarn users, making lace shawls, amigarumi, cabled sweaters and a pair of toe up socks all at the same time. Ravelry exposed me to patterns I’d never seen, groups of people I’d never come in contact with, and that’s when it happened…I saw my first photos of handspun yarn.
A simple series of two photos was all it took to pull me in; one of the roving and one of the resulting handspun. My mind boggled. “How could they get that from this?” In that one skein of yarn I fell in deep. I read every article, watched every YouTube video and joined every online spinning group I could find. I poured over drop spindles, spinning wheels and lazy kates. My brain was hungry for knowledge and I had to feed the hunger with more. I found online fiber clubs where people posted photos of their yarns, each of the yarns was unique, but they all originated from the same type and color of fiber. My mind was blown away by the possibilities.
I finally confessed to my husband what I had been doing on the computer all of those late nights. Although he was puzzled by my new obsession, he embraced it. Knowing that I turn to my knitting for stress relief, he felt spinning would do the same for me. I signed up for a class, bought a drop spindle, tried a wheel and then it was all over. I was truly a spinning convert. Shuffling money around, we managed to come up with enough money to buy a wheel for Christmas.
Eventually the mortgage company I had been working for closed their doors, I was unemployed, and I was once again an isolated knitter. Around this same time I decided I needed a way to talk to other people about my interest in yarn, knitting, and spinning. I wanted to form a community where my voice could be heard; a way to facilitate communication and learn together. That is how Stitch It!! Podcast was born. In December of 2007 I recorded my first episode, and 16 weekly episodes later, I have over 900 listeners worldwide and gain new listeners every week. Who would have thought that many people would enjoy hearing about my knitting, my life and most importantly, this new spinning hobby of mine? I’ve shared how I came to find this obsession, how enraptured I am with the whole process, buying my wheel, my successes, and my “learning opportunities”. As a result, many of my podcast listeners have started trying spinning too. Mostly people are starting with spindles, however, some have gone on to purchase their first wheel. In our Ravelry Stitch It!! Podcast Listener group over 240 members have the opportunity to talk, discuss and share. We have a discussion thread where we share photos of our handspun, discuss techniques, and welcome new spinners.
Like me, my listeners haven’t found many people around them with an addiction for spinning, so they are turning to a friendly voice they hear on a weekly podcast for help. They want to know what wools work best for what project, how to properly ply yarn, what books or supplies would be their best investment, how to tell if they have enough twist in their yarn and how to successfully spin sock yarn. I really want to help, but I don’t know all of the answers yet. Being unemployed and unable to afford to go to workshops and take more classes, I’ve turned to a local guild for education. While I do learn something every time we meet, monthly meetings don’t seem to be enough. The hunger for knowledge, on my part and my listeners’, has grown to ravenous proportions. My novice spinning experience isn’t enough anymore. I need guidance, a mentor; a spinning Yoda.
I’m hoping that by attending SOAR, I will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn from experienced spinners. I want to be able to answer questions and teach new techniques with confidence and skill. I want every one of my listeners to want to try spinning and enjoy it as much as I do. I want my listeners to experience the joys of knitting with their own handspun yarns and find themselves wanting to buy fleece instead of sock yarns. While at SOAR, I’d also love to have the opportunity to record interviews with teachers and students to share on my podcast. I want to talk to people who are spinning newbies as well as with people who have been spinning for years. I want to ask how they got started in the world of spinning, why they wanted to learn to spin, how they learned and what keeps them motivated to continue spinning.
I want to know what I’m talking about, both for my podcast listeners’ and my own benefit. I would like to share weekly techniques, methods, and resources; not just to my local groups and guilds, but also through my podcast, which is available to people all over the world. I’d love to start hosting spin-a-longs each month in my Stitch It Ravelry group and make video tutorials so that we can learn new techniques together and share our results with one another. I also would love to teach spinning locally and form a new spinning guild. I’m hoping to make spinning spread like an epidemic and help spinning become more popular then ever. I want other people to stay up until 1:00 AM marveling in awe at photos of handspun yarn. Most importantly, I want to be a guide, a mentor, and maybe even someone’s spinning Yoda. I believe SOAR would give me the foundation of knowledge, the support and friendships to help me achieve these goals.
You can learn more about me at stitchitpodcast.com or download Stitch It!! on iTunes

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “episode 80: “SOAR Project””

  1. Chrison 16 Jul 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Hey Meghan,

    I just listened to your latest podcast and read your show notes. I just wanted to tell you that chills went down my spine when I read:

    “I want other people to stay up until 1:00 AM marveling in awe at photos of handspun yarn. Most importantly, I want to be a guide, a mentor, and maybe even someone’s spinning Yoda. ”

    Why did I get chills? It’s you, and your podcast, that got me interested in and has taught me nearly all I know about spinning. It’s because of you that:

    I stayed up until 1:00 AM last night spinning, marveling in awe at handspun yarn, and what was most amazing is that it was yarn I’d spun…ME, a shy, hermited little mouse, who just happens to have an ipod and internet access.

    You ARE a guide, a mentor, to me. You ARE my spinning Yoda.

    Thank you.

    mrsmouse on Ravelry, tho without any spinning pictures up yet, I don’t think.

  2. KnittAJon 16 Jul 2009 at 4:13 pm

    I listened to your podcast this morning on my way to work. I have to say…I enjoyed every minute of it!! Listening to the comments from other listeners…some of whom I regcognized from others I listen to as well. So many people in your project referred to pre-SOAR and the interviews while at SOAR. I now have to go back and dwnld all of your podcasts!!
    I have only been knitting a since the beginning of the year and spinning since May. I love all of your segments!!! I love to hear “little man” at the end of the podcast say “bye-bye”. Keep up the good work.

  3. Leslie (iluvlux)on 17 Jul 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I’m very happy that you got the SOAR scholarship. I was a novice spinner when I started listening to your podcast last year and didn’t even understand what SOAR was or meant. Listening to you over this year, I have been amazed and impressed as you taught me (and every other listening) all the knowledge that you gained at SOAR and your personal experience in spinning. I hope that the people at SOAR recognize that you have touched so many people and show such enthusiasm for spinning that you were absolutely the best person to be given that scholarship. I hope that you get to go back to SOAR in next year, and the year after and the year after that….

  4. Carolon 07 Aug 2009 at 9:10 am

    I love your essay. It makes me want to learn! I’ve been avoiding every thing spinning even though I’ve been tempted b/c it takes time and money and I didn’t have a lot of either. Now, though, I found a spinning wheel at a garage sale and I bought it for $60. The only downside is that it was hand made and it is missing a whorl and bobbin. I still bought it and then went to Ester’s Place and The Fold. Ester’s Place gave me contact information on someone who makes wheels. Right now he is working on making the parts. Hopefully he will be done soon. There are so many hobbies I want to learn. I just sort of learned crochet. I still want to learn how to sew and spin. I need more time! I just have one more year of grad school and then maybe I’ll have more time. Right? How do you do it?