I'm taking spinning classes at Birkeland Bros. and it has been quite the experience. Vanessa Cunningham teaches the class. She's a really down to earth, laid back and patient gal who is perfect for the job. There are about eight of us learning so she's perpetually juggling all of our questions and panic attacks simultaneously pulling it off quite gracefully. I found it somewhat of a coincidence that she was teaching the class since she recently graduated from the Capilano College (now University) Textile's program, the very program I am going into this September (and I might add, am giddy every day in anticipation). Shortly after I made this connection between Vanessa and I, I discovered that she is the creator of the woven shawl that I came across while researching the program at the Cap College website. The very shawl that inspired me to apply (as you can see it's beyond beautiful). Needless to say I was star struck. So, in an attempt to do some networking and friend making with Vanessa I showed her Vancouver Yarn. As I clicked through the many pages I'd worked so hard to perfect we landed on the News and Events page. "See!" I said, "there's even a yarn news and events page, so you can see what crafty things are going on in the city." She responded with a pause and then a wide eyed look of surprise and finally said, "Oh, do you know what that says?" I squinted my eyes to focus and then took a double take at what was suppose to be a title for the upcoming Knit in Public event. To my dismay it read, KNIT IN PUBIC! Needless to say we had a good laugh and I continued to nervously chuckle for the last hour and a half of the spinning class.
Spinning is my new favourite hobby! I recently purchased a spinning wheel off Craigslist. I couldn't find a second hand Joy Ashford (a travel wheel), which would've been my first choice seeing as I have already wanted to bring my wheel to friends houses for movie nights. Yes, I'm one of those OCD crafters. I am very happy with the wheel I got though. It's an Ashford Traditional and it came with a bunch of extras (jumbo flyer, extra bobbins etc.).
So, if you are interested in learning how to spin, Birkeland Bros. is the place. Spinning doesn't have to be too much of an investment craft either. I found my wheel for a mere $200.00.
Janna Maria Vallee is a tapestry weaver, longtime knitter, and 2013 graduate of Concordia University's Fibres and Material Practices program. In her art practice Janna combines textiles and socially engaged media. She founded VY in 2008.