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Interview with Spinderella's Creations
When I googled fiber processing in Utah, I was only looking for someone to process alpaca fiber. What I found was Spinderella’s Creations, a family owned business located in east Salt Lake City. When I went to deliver my fiber I met Lynn, and her husband Jim, who together run Spinderella’s. On that visit I became quite a bit more knowledgeable about my fibers and was fascinated by all her stories about her line of work. A month later I was back, tape recorder in hand.
Alex: How does fiber go from sheep to yarn?
Lynn: The sheep gets sheered with something
that looks like a razor. So they get
sheered, it all comes off in one piece.
You take all the little junk off the side,
you take all the manure off the bottom.
Then you take that fleece and you put it
in very hot water, about 150-160 degrees, and lots of soap. You let it sit for about
30 minutes. Wash it probably again. Rinse it. Then you let it sit out in a big
drying room, you could either use heat and a fan or sun. As it’s drying you fluff it
up so that all the vegetation comes out of it. Then you take the dried fleece and
you have to treat it with an antistatic, which is an emollient, to help the fiber get
across the carder. You put that on a mill carder. It goes over a series of rollers
and it opens up the fibers. Then you turn it into roving. You take it from that and
you run it through another machine that makes it even thinner, all the fibers are
now going parallel. From there it goes back to a spinning frame where it gets
measured determining the diameter on the yarn. You can make it thinner or
thicker, more twist or less twist. That’s how that goes.
Alex: What are the best and worst parts of your work?
Lynn: I would have to say that [the best parts are] being your own boss, kind of naming
your own hours, simplicity. I enjoy washing fleeces, you think I would get tired
of it and I don’t. The worst part of the whole thing is trying to educate people
about their fleeces and how good or bad they are. Nobody wants to know that their little sheep has terrible fiber. Or if somebody brings in fiber filled with all kinds of sticks and twigs and dirt and you say, we can’t get this back clean, it’s going to have stuff in it and they don’t believe you. We deal with a lot of really cool people. I think one of the worst parts is when we have say 100 lbs of white fiber to card and I’m sitting there for hours winding white fiber, or brown fiber. I like the variety, that’s what’s really fun.
Alex: What got you involved in fiber processing?
Lynn: It was a mistake. It was a hobby, and I had done some fiber for myself just
playing around. I’d send my fibers off to go get processed and I used to take my
hand spun yarns and cut them up, when I had ends. I’d put them back into fresh
dyed wool, ship them off, have them recarded. I went to a spinning meeting with
my fiber and everybody wanted to buy it. I actually started in business just to do
my own product and it grew from there.
Alex: Have you always had a passion for fiber work?
Lynn: Not at all. I was a tomboy when I was a kid. My grandmother from Russia tried
to get me to knit and crochet, and I would just sit there and knit one or two
stitches, throw it at her, and go play ball. I was interested in weaving because I
home schooled my kids, so, when my kids were little, we were doing a project
and we made our own looms, and we
began to weave different things, and I
became very interested in it then.
Alex: What kinds of fibers have you worked
Lynn: Wools, goats, yak, buffalo, silk, not as
much cotton, dog, cat, alpaca, lama,
possum, fox, camel, rabbit, bamboo,
chinchilla, soy silk, made from protein
when they make tofu. We have worked with synthetic fiber (as a blend) because it’s sparkly.
Alex: What is your favorite fiber to work with?
Lynn: I really like wool and I like a medium grade wool, like a Cory Dale. It’s fine enough to wear next to your skin but it’s not so fine as a merino that it pills, and merino to me feels cottony, instead of nice and warm and stretchy. There’s something about wool, it’s got a nice feel to it. I really like it.
Alex: What were you like when you
Lynn: Most people would say I was nuts. I was a tomboy. I liked swimming and music
and art, not so much fiber but art with my hands, I liked the outdoors, and I liked
playing. I got in lots of trouble, but impish kind of things, not really bad trouble.
I was kind of goofy.
Alex: What would you tell girls who are interested in working with fiber?
Lynn: I say just have fun and experiment and kind of just let your creative energy come
out. Patterns are suggestions, not something to follow. Do not color in the lines.
Lines are suggestions. People need to have fun and enjoy what they’re doing.