Spinner Spotlight :: Dana Mattner
Happy Hallowe’en! While I am busy getting the kids ready to go trick or treating, I hope you enjoy reading another month’s installment of Spinner Spotlight!
The Handspinner Spotlight is an opportunity for me to share with all of you some of the amazing handspinners out there in our community. It is an opportunity to see some of their work, as well as start to get to know a little bit about who they are and what brought them to spinning.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Dana’s work on Ravelry, both of us commenting back and forth on each other’s projects. She has been endlessly inspiring and I hope you enjoy reading about her journey! All photographs are Copyright Dana Mattner.
Let’s hear from Dana:
My name is Dana Mattner. I am a wife, mother of three, a son (married) and two daughters, all in their young 20’s, a musician, pilot, artist and native Southern Californian!
I have always been involved in art in one way or another from art and music summer school programs to ceramics, oil and watercolor, and my major in college, graphic design. I worked for 20 years in the fashion advertising, booking models and locations, heading up photo shoots as the art director on set. Sometimes it was quite glamorous!
I guess you can say that I have always been attracted to good design, color and texture. My grandmother taught me to crochet at a young age and I crocheted all things granny square! During college my mom taught me to knit and knitting has always been my creative outlet…until I learned to spin!
I found myself scouring the Internet in 2009 after joining Ravelry, for information on dyeing yarn after seeing beautiful yarns by indie dyers and what was available out there. Which also led me to look for a class to learn to spin. I found a class that offered spinning and weaving through Adult Education, and let’s just say my world was “rocked”!
My first lesson was learning to card “in the grease” locks and make rolags, then trying to spin on a drop spindle, emphasis on the “drop”. I wasn’t happy about this because I wanted to learn to spin on a wheel. Over the next few weeks I moved to a wheel. There was a method to the teaching which in the long run taught me a lot about drafting and twist and eventually plying. I was told that I was a natural, and I got comfortable very quickly.
There were a few very helpful women there at class and they offered to let me borrow wheels so I could spin at home and within a few months I owned a Lendrum DT.
I enjoy spinning for a fingering/sport weight yarn. It’s probably my default yarn. Of course when I was first learning I spun a much fatter yarn and thick and thin, what we would now call art yarn. I wanted a thinner yarn for yardage, since I knit a lot of infinity scarves or shawls. Living in southern California there isn’t much need for heavier weight yarns.
It’s funny to see how my desires have changed in my spinning also. I used to only want my colors to line up in plying or not think about how I split my fiber up. Now I tend to lean toward more barberpole yarns, very colorful and spin for fractal or gradient yarns. But lately I enjoy spinning from fleeces that I have processed.
I love processing a fleece, from the beginning of researching, to holding the greasy locks in my hand, to scouring, combing and finally spinning. It makes me so happy, I even like the smell!
I’d say that having a good set of combs is something that is a necessity. I have very fine combs for my finer fleeces, such as merino and Cormo, and some 4 pitch combs for my Romney’s and long wools.
I also recently got a drum carder. I have only used it to blend some fibers in the past. I’m sure I could get through my fleece much faster but I really like spinning my hand combed fiber. There is so much pleasure in saying you knit a sweater or shawl from the fleece of a sheep that you spun into yarn!
I would like to be able to spin a laceweight yarn from the fleeces I process, and also to get better at the long draw.
Advice to a new spinner…slow down, practice treadling until you don’t have to think about it. Watch videos, practice everyday if you can and just have fun!
You can find me here ::
Thank you to Dana for taking the time to answer my questions and share a little of her journey. Go check her out on Ravelry if you have not already!
Until next time,
Now all you need to do is to raise the sheep yourself. I spin and weave the wool from our own flock of Ryelands here in the UK