Instant Success

I woke up one morning, picked up a spindle and made the most gorgeous yarn you ever saw. You’d think a machine made it. And then I hopped onto a spinning wheel and did the same thing. I made a 4 ply lace weight cable from Cultivated silk and…..

Said no one. Certainly not me.

Instant success doesn’t usually happen and I can see frustration with people in classes. I can see it in the words in many questions on my Craftsy class. We all want to be an instant success and maybe there have been things in our life that we picked up and we were pretty damn good at it. It’s not always going to happen. Practice. Seriously.

Some of us get so wrapped up in wanting to make yarn like a master spinner does without even thinking how many years that master spinner took to get there. Instant success may be a thing but it’s a very very rare thing and we shouldn’t put the pressure on ourselves to be that instant success story. If it happens, accept it. If it doesn’t happen, practice. You can get there and maybe the journey is sweeter than any instant gratification you would get from making some holy grail yarn.


This is a bunch of my first practice yarns all cobbled together. I think my very first stuff likely got pitched because I didn’t have communities like we have today to help me savor my mistakes. SAVOR YOUR MISTAKES. You will learn as much (maybe more) from your mistakes as you will from your successes. Savor your mistakes. Learn from them.

I practiced spinning. I practiced every damn day. EVERY. DAMN. DAY. Why? Because I wanted spinning to be as easy and simple as other people made it look. It wasn’t instant for me. I understood the mechanics well enough but making my muscles do what I needed them to do, took some effort. I wanted to make all the yarns. I wanted to be a success at it. I practiced.


When you see me spin and you think it looks easy, I didn’t wake up one day and make consistent yarn. I woke up one day and decided that spindle wasn’t going to best me. I was going to spin and learn and make yarn. I was going to make the yarn I wanted and even if that didn’t happen immediately I knew it would happen. I knew it would happen because I would make it happen.

I worked my little fingers until I could make a beautifully consistent yarn. Maybe not supreme mill spun perfection but pretty damn close and then I stopped that. No, I didn’t stop spinning but I stopped working on millspun copycat perfection. I started to work with my yarn and realized a few things.
1. I wanted handspun, not millspun.
2. I wanted to enjoy spinning and not obsess over every little bump
3. I loved every little bump
4. When knit, those bumps mostly disappear.


The joy in working with handspun for me is slight imperfections so that’s where I got to that consistent yarn and went back. Even that took some practice. I think we’re living in a time where we see perfection, we want perfection, and we get down on ourselves when we don’t hit that. Maybe we need a new perfection or maybe we need to be a little more gentle with ourselves?

All I want to say is to stop thinking that instant success exists. It rarely does. Be more gentle with yourself and enjoy the learning process and the practice. In whatever you do. Practice but be kind to yourself and learn from your mistakes.

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5 Responses to Instant Success

  1. Oh Amy, you are my Zen Master of Fiber. Don’t you think that this shift in perspective from the having the perfect handspun to the process of creating the perfect handspun pretty much applies to life?

    Meditation, yoga, running, cooking, raising goats, sheep, and families…when you find the joy in the pursuit, you’ve understood the reason to do it at all.

    As ever, thanks for sharing.

  2. This is a great post and a nice reminder how a lot of ‘spinning mistakes’ definitely do come out in the final knitting and crocheting. I’m always amazed at how many inconsistencies disappear during plying as well.

  3. Nicole says:

    I can’t imagine spinning yarn to make millspun yarn. If that’s I want, I buy it. I thought the point was to make something unique. As for perfection on the first try, that’s just too much pressure :-)

  4. Jennie says:

    Just what I needed to hear….thank you….( I did need to translate a few of the terms in to uk English! )

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