Person of the Week

Doris Walsh


Before you know it, you’ll be addicted!

1.  What led you to the mission of being a spinner?

We bought some property and somebody gave us to sheep.  So, after you shear them, what do you do with it?  So, then I had to learn to spin.  I took a course in adult ed at Sumner High School.  Susanne Grosjean was our teacher.  The school is in Sullivan, Maine.  I had my own wool at first when I was still learning.  Then I went to the Common Ground Fair – to the fleece tent – and bought more fleece.  So it just got bigger.

2.  What does this mission mean to you?

I enjoy it.  I must, other wise I wouldn’t go to all the Farmer’s Markets and all this work.   Yes, I really enjoy it.  I enjoy making yarn, blending my own colors, doing my own thing.  I like making yarn.  I just die the mohair and then blend it with the natural color fleece and make different colors.  They come out nice and heavily, you know like that.  So it’s a tedious process, but I like it.

I make hats, sweaters, mittens – anything knitted.  Right now I’m trying to use up all my big basket full of mohair – the odds and ends.  So far, I’ve only done a little bit.  But, it’s interesting – the colors that come out of it.  I buy the die.  I don’t do natural because it takes a while to collect everything and I like the color now!  So I use acid dies, they call them.

3.  What was your best day as a spinner?

Usually I just limit myself to one spindle a day.  I used to spin a lot more, but your knees won’t tolerate it any more.  It’s just one spool a day now.  On my really good day, Good Lord, I could spin three or four spools a day!  But that’s pushing it!  Any of the sweaters I make, I really like.  I always hope they go to a good home.  I just hope they take good care of them and don’t put them in the washing machine.  One learns quickly not to do that.

4.  What was your worst day as a spinner?

If you made a lot of mistakes and you had to rip it all down again!  When you knit, you make a mistake and you don’t notice it until later.  Then you have to undo the whole thing.  Oh yes.  I’ve done it several times.  Hats aren’t bad.  It’s the sweaters.  When you are just about done and you notice that you’ve screwed up and then you’ve got to unroll the whole thing. You could leave it, but then you’d know it’s there, so it has to be undone.  I’ve done that a few times – especially when you do a lace pattern.  Then somebody distracts you and you don’t pay attention.  It is a bad day whenever you have to rip off something.

5.  How did you survive your worst day?

I don’t know.  You just say, “Oh well”, and keep going.  There’s nothing you can do about it.  You just have to fix it.  But, it’s not that bad.  If you have to it over again, it’s like a learning experience.  You always learn from it.  You learn patience, I guess.  You have to because you have to do it over, so, it’s OK.  Things could be worse.

As far as the person reading this interview, whoever is interested should go and spin.  There are so many that are spinning.  Wherever you are, just go on the website and type in spinners.  Go in the yarn shops and ask there.  There are tons of spinners!  You’ll have fun.  By the end of it you’ll be spinning.  There are even wool festivals.  That’s fun too.  Before you know it, you’ll be addicted.