Guest Author - Laun Dunn
I know this may sound a bit extreme, but have you thought about your spinning from a safety perspective? Having been employed in industrial safety and design before I learned to spin, brought me to examine the question: Am I spinning safely? I know that spinning is something that I want to be able to do for the rest of my life, so I want to make sure nothing prevents that from being possible.
One of the first things to examine is your chair, and how you sit while you are spinning. There are numerous spinning chairs out there to examine, but personally I use a piano stool. Pianists need to be able to sit for long periods of time and still maintain mobility in their feet as they play, which are the same requirements we spinners have in seating. At first, I thought a cushion might be best, but I do not use one, as it is better to get up from the stool to stretch now and then, and a cushion might have been too “cushy”. Be sure that the chair that you choose has a firm footing and doesn’t slide about as you are spinning. The stool should also be at a height that allows you to have your hands resting on your lap and still be at the same level as the orifice of the wheel.
Also, try to be aware of your posture as you are spinning. I think one of the reasons I favor the long backward drafting style is that it is done while sitting up and somewhat away from the wheel. If I were to sit leaning forward as I have seen many inchworm drafters do, I don’t think I would be able to spin for more than 15 minutes or so before my neck and shoulders would start screaming. If it is uncomfortable to spin, listen to your body and try to adjust your technique. Remember, discomfort is the warning from your body that you are eventually going to do greater harm.
While drafting, be aware of how hard you are having to pull the fiber as you spin. If it is taking more effort than you can accommodate while continuing to spin, maybe consider pre-drafting the fiber as a separate step prior to spinning.
I think we need to be aware the risks posed by repetitive motion during the drafting and spinning processes. Repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel, could end spinning as a hobby. Don’t be afraid to stop working on one project to change it up a bit with something else. I recently finished spinning about 6,500 yards of two and three ply llama yarn that was so uniform that I needed to add in washing fiber for other projects, otherwise the repetition would have done me in.
I realize that there can be too much made of safety issues, but it is worth the time to examine our hobbies so we can continue them throughout our lives.