My name is Heather McCloy, and I am a fiber addict.

Spinning, knitting, crochet, embroidery, kumihimo, weaving, dyeing, it doesn't matter - if it's string, I'll play. Some call it an obsession. Others call it (very quietly behind my back) a mental illness. I call it a hobby, a calling, "cheaper than therapy," a way to keep me out of the bars, a path to inner peace.

Spinning is my main passion. There is just something so soothing about watching a pile of fiber slip through your fingers and become yarn - it's like magic. I've been spinning for over half my life now, and it never ceases to amaze me that it actually works. And there is nothing more satisfying than taking the yarns that I spin and transforming them into a bigger project, be it through weaving, knitting, crochet, or any of the other fun methods of making things out of string. (Be sure to visit the Photo Gallery to see some of the items that I've created throughout the years!) I enjoy doing all of these things, but it's the spinning that I truly love.  

I learned how to spin when I was 15 years old from an incredible, wonderful, fabulous, amazing woman named Paula Vester. She was one of our "band moms" who chaperoned my high school band during the football games and concert performances. She usually did this with a dropspindle in her hands to pass the time, and all too often my eyes would be drawn to that rotating spindle instead of the game - or the directions from my band director! I finally got up the nerve to ask her to make some yarn for me so I could knit with it. She wouldn't spin the yarn for me, but she offered to teach me to spin so I could make it myself.   A week later, I rode the bus to her house after school and came home with a spindle and a ball of wool roving...and I've been doing my best to leave a trail of string (and spinners!) in my wake ever since. 

I spun on that spindle for 4 years through high school and into college, where I met up with some wonderful folks from the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) group now called the Barony of Hawkwood based in Asheville, NC. My hobby fit in beautifully with these people who studied the various arts and arms of the Middle Ages, and I have been playing with them for the last 13 years, now under the name Mistress Siobhan nic Dhuinnshleibhe. One of them even sold me my first spinning wheel (an old Clemmes and Clemmes) which I restored and took with me everywhere - SCA events, college, camping name it! In the 12 years since then my "collection" of spinning wheels and other textile tools has expanded to 8 wheels, 2 looms, a host of other neat tools used to play with string (lucets, kumihimo stands, inkle looms, felting needles, etc.) and as my husband says "way too many" boxes of wool in my fiber room.  I now enjoy sharing my hobby with others by teaching and lecturing at various textile gatherings throughout the southeast, but mainly through the spinning guilds I belong to - the Company of the Silver Spindle in the SCA and the Peachtree Handspinners Guild in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Company of the Silver Spindle

Last modified on Saturday, June 7, 2009
Copyright 2006 Heather McCloy. All rights reserved.