My Spinning Journey Part One: Channelling Anita Rani – aka learning to spin

I ‘blame’ Shelia who blogs at Sewchet. Not long ago, we fell into conversation about learning to spin. Since we live in neighbouring counties – we speculated about taking a weekend workshop together somewhere in the middle. However, I knew of an amazingly knowledgeable and talented teacher called Jane Deane, who lives locally to me, so meet in the middle turned into sleep over.

On enquiring, I discovered Jane only runs a five week course on a Thursday mornings and would lend me a spinning wheel to practice in between. It was too good an opportunity to say no. Fortunately Shelia forgave me for abandoning our plan and I signed up.


A couple of weeks before the course started Countryfile looked at the Dartmoor Artisan Trail, and included Jane Deane teaching Anita Rani to spin. Anita turned out to be very good and Jane told her she was ‘natural spinner’. The moment I heard those words, I so wanted to be a natural spinner. But with my lack of coordination, I thought it impossible.

Almost as soon as I arrived at the spinning class – well, after the all important tea and cake – another lady brought up the subject of Countryfile, so I had to ask…

‘Was Anita really that good?’


Jane is an incredibly genuine lady, so her answer was, of course,Β ‘yes’. Jane went on to say that Anita is a dancer and in her experience dancers were good at picking up spinning quickly.

No chance for me – I thought – I can’t even ‘dad dance’ well.

So I started, and it turned out I wasn’t so bad at treadling and coordinating my hands afterall. Could it be that Antia had left a little of her magical spinning ability in the wheel?


I’m not saying it was all plain sailing, and there was gnashing of teeth – and not just around more cake – but Jane did eventually declare that I was in Anita Rani’s class. She also gave me permission to quote her on that.

Of course a couple of hours spinning does not a spinner make…


…but I’m looking forward to my spinning class this week.

21 thoughts on “My Spinning Journey Part One: Channelling Anita Rani – aka learning to spin

  1. It sounds amazing, would love to give it ago myself, but for now trying to get my head and hands around crochet as I have always been a knitter! My teapot jumper is nearly finished and I am so pleased with it. (I am the lady you met in the village with the apricot labradoodle and then afterwards in The Woolly Beaded).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Maria, Great to hear from you. I learned to crochet a few years ago, having always knitted since I was child. So I can empathise – it takes a bit of getting used to. For me, knitting took over again, but funnily enough I was looking at some crochet patterns again, for the first time in ages, this morning.

      Maybe spinning after you’ve got to grips with crochet? I’d thoroughly recommend Jane, if you do. I attended a natural dyeing workshop with her last year too, so already knew how fab she was.

      Great to hear you’ve nearly finished the teapot jumper and that you’re pleased with it. Would love to see a picture when you do finish.


  2. This looks interesting. We found a spinning wheel in the attic of my grandparents “new” house and I had a go on it a few Christmases ago but never really got round to learning to spin. I tried plying a few strands of commercial DK together, which worked relatively well. unfortunately the drive band on the wheel was broken so I had to use a makeshift one that I created with what I had in the house at the time so it wasn’t the best.
    Maybe I might try actually learning at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that would be an interesting PhD. I do wonder if I wasn’t as bad as I thought I’d be, because I cycle a lot, so my feet are used to peddling without me really thinking, so treadling while concentrating on blending the fibre came more naturally?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done you! I have no idea who Anita Rani is – but it sure looks like you are channeling someone if that is the outcome of your first lesson! I’m sure I’ve mentioned to you before that my output when learning to spin resulted in enough yarn spun at surprisingly varying tensions to weave a ‘poncho’ that was clearly not much use for being anything other than a floor rug……….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely and very interesting post. πŸ™‚ I very much enjoyed it and could just picture the spinning, tea and cake, and all the fun happening. Absolutely awesome. Your yarn looks amazingly soft and fluffy. Can not wait to see more of the spinning happening. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahh, glad to read more about the class. Of course you are a natural. πŸ˜‰ now all you need to do is practice a few minutes a day for a few months and you will be more than competent. 😜 isn’t it fun??


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