Spinners, knitters meet weekly to share craft and friendship

Wheels turned smoothly and silently as spinners Deb Colson and Bev Richardson plied their spinning craft on March 16 at a weekly spinning and knitting session at the Spin a Yarn shop in Brewer.

Colson and Richardson have known one another only a year, but they have plenty to talk about. They discovered they both had lived in the Princeton-Woodland area for years without ever crossing paths, only to meet now that they are residents of Orrington.

The paths Colson and Richardson took to learn to spin diverge, too.

About a dozen years ago, Richardson said, her sister’s husband gave her sister a spinning wheel and six spinning lessons as a gift. “The lessons were in Aurora and my sister didn’t want to drive alone all the way out there,” Richardson said. “She wanted me to go with her, so I went and learned along with her and the next Christmas my children bought me a wheel as a gift.”

Richardson said the first time she discovered that spinners met as a group was when Cityside Yarn shop, which used to be in business in downtown Bangor, hosted a group. That was when she found out others were as passionate about spinning as she is. “Spinners, quilters, knitters, they’re all down-to-earth people,” she said.

Now retired, Richardson spent her working life as a beautician, manager of the JoAnn Fabric store and working for the Maine State Department of Transportation and the Maine Department of Conservation.

“I was always fascinated with spinning,” said Deb Colson, a former elementary school teacher. After years of wishing she had a flock of sheep, she finally got one when she and her husband bought a farm in Princeton in the 1980s. Her “flock” consisted of three sheep.

“We had no fences, and we trained them to follow us around like pets,” Colson recalled. “They would come when I called, they’d run right into the barn.”

In those years, as her flock of Romney and Border Leicester sheep grew, Colson also had on the farm a flock of children, including her two daughters, an adopted child and foster children. “We also had 15 goats, 36 Angora rabbits, two llamas, an alpaca, and a pony and seven horses,” she said.

These days, Colson’s nest is empty of children, sheep and other animals, but her two small grandsons show an interest in learning to spin. The 5-year-old, she said, already can draw out a fairly smooth thread all on his own. “He learned to spin from the time he was a baby sitting in my lap,” she said.

Both Richardson and Colson said they’d rather spin than knit. Richardson spins yarn for her own use, knitting sweaters and mittens. Colson markets her yarns — some of it hand painted — at local yarn shops.

“Spinning is just plain fun,” Richardson said.

The half-dozen knitters gathered around a table in the shop said the same thing about knitting. They showed off their projects, including a sweet little baby sweater in cupcake colors of pink and white, and a boa-like scarf knit in ribbon yarn. Some of the knitters also are avid beaders, but that’s another story.

The spinners meet 10:30 a.m.-noon Fridays. The knitters meet 10 a.m.-noon Mondays, 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesdays and 10:30 a.m.-noon Fridays.


To access a list of spinners groups that meet throughout the state, visit mainespinnersregistry.org.

A knit-spin group meets 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays at One Lupine Fiber Arts, Park Street, in Bangor. The group is open to fiber folks of all experience levels. Visit ravelry.com for information.

The Fiber Floozies spinning group meets at 6:30 p.m. each month at Purple Fleece in Stockton Spring. Visit ravelry.com for information.

Beads and Baubles Downeast Spring Bead and Jewelry Show set for May 4-5 is accepting applications from artisans and craftspeople. The show is suitable for bead and jewelry makers. The show also is open to vendors selling commercially made beads, vintage beads and buttons. For information and an application visit GiftedHandShow.com/events.htm.  Applications also are being taken for the 2012 Gifted Hand: Fine Art, Craft and Gift Show in November.

To view a video about a rabbit that herds sheep, visit youtube.com/watch?v=qeuL5IGimCQ.

SAD 22 Adult Education Program in Hampden will offer a six-week course in Ukrainian egg dyeing 5:30-8:30 p.m. starting Monday April 2, at Reeds Brook Middle School. For information, call the adult education office at 862-6422.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email ahamlin@bangordailynews.com.