The Free Motion Quilting Project: Hiking and Spinning

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hiking and Spinning

Today Josh and James and I rolled out of bed and decided we needed to get out of the house.  Working at home combined with James being out of school has finally started to wear in a big way.

We packed up and headed for South Mountain State Park, which is only 30 minutes away from home and one of the most beautiful (and gloriously empty) places to hike in NC.

For a quilter, hiking presents a pretty obvious dilemma - you can't hike and quilt at the same time.  

It's just a bit too tricky to space perfect stitches when climbing over big boulders and giant steps carved into the mountain.

But today I was able to test my ability to spin and walk at the same time.  I knew from books like The Red Tent that it is possible to spin while walking, and that in fact women in some countries and throughout history have spun continuously throughout their daily chores, but I'd never tried it before.

So today when Josh was packing food and water bottles, I was packing my smallest, lightest weight spindle and a pack of pretty blue wool.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
I figured in the event I got worn out before the guys, I could plop down on a park bench and sit and spin while they walked ahead.  But then I made the mistake of getting the spindle started and the feeling of the soft combed wool sliding through my fingers (literally feels like butter) was just too nice to resist.

Rather than put the spindle away, I began walking and quite easily fell in to a nice rhythm of spinning short segments of wool, then winding them on the spindle as we worked our way up the mountain.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Eventually the terrain got a bit too rocky and unsteady to multitask this way.  James's short little legs didn't need much help going up the mountain, but they sure needed a lot of help back down.

Still, I feel that I've stumbled across a terrific new way to fit more spinning time into my daily routine.  In normal (cooler) weather, I really enjoy walking a mile or two in the morning.  From now on, I'm going to try to combine that mile with a bit of wool and see what spins out of it.

Let's go play with yarn, fabric, or thread!



  1. Way to go. Except you might miss some observations along the trail while your eyes are on your hands. I spent a lot of time with hand spindles this past winter. Amazing how much can be accomplished with such a simple tool

  2. I love that you're spinning (and it is beautiful, by the way!), but remember your Tolle, in the moment, give yourself a break from multi-tasking!

  3. Way to go. I spent a lot of time spinning silk and merino on drop spindles last winter. It is quite possible to walk and chew gum as well as spin yarn

  4. I know that women are terrific multitasker, but I've never seen anyone doing that! What will you do next?

  5. Ah, You made my day! I am not the only 'quilter' that has wooly interests as well! :?}

  6. Hi I like youe work I' follower now
    kisses for you from Argentina

  7. Have spindle. Have combed wool. Have not gotten the courage to risk that beautiful wool in my untalented hands. I feel like I should practice on something like dryer lint but I know that while I'm not spinning it, that wool is wasting in the closet. Good for you and all your talents. Lane

  8. I would LOVE to learn to do that! Will you teach it?


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