I’m a spinner and I’m a doctor, although perhaps not a spinning doctor. That is to say, I enjoy turning fiber into yarn as a hobby and am an Internal Medicine board certified physician but I’m probably not worth much if its your spinning that needs doctoring. On the other hand, as a t-shirt I bought my husband says— “I’m not a doctor but I’ll take a look” and I certainly tend to have an opinion. I plan to use this space as a place to put my thoughts about spinning, my early attempts at learning knitting and a bit of crochet, and of course a bit about health. Because in the end, I enjoy spinning and so many of those other crafty hobbies but I live and breath medicine— it is what I’ve devoted my life to.
On the hobby side, I grew up around fiber. My mom is obsessive about all things fiber arts and so it was only natural that I would learn to spin too; I think I first started around 10 or 12 years old. I took a holiday from the fiber world for several years while going through medical school and the earliest parts of my career as I moved to Omaha, El Paso, and then four years in Germany. When I moved back to the Pacific Northwest and set up shop in our new house with my parents living just downstairs, it was the perfect hobby with which to spend time with my mom and escape some of the demands of my job. Not only did I grow up around fiber and fall back into it with some of the same obsessiveness my mom has, but my mom and dad are also the primary owner/operators of Fibers First, Inc, a fiber processing mill located in Post Falls that uses 19th century equipment to turn raw fiber into their amazing roving, so I’m surrounded by fiber constantly. My mom and I are both members of Northwest Regional Spinners Association and attend multiple spinning events and retreats. Indeed, it seems that fiber takes up more and more of my attention and energy. Spinning up this red and black Alpaca, Merino and Corriedale from Compass Moon Creations was a treat and, of course, I love supporting Jennefer who processes some her fiber through Fibers First, Inc. But really everyone should have a hobby, right? It seems intuitive that having a hobby is good but it turns out that the evidence seems to support it too.
A quick literature review showed several studies have demonstrated beneficial health benefits from leisure activities which includes hobbies such as spinning as well as participating in sports, socializing, or just spending some time in nature. An article entitled “Association of Enjoyable Leisure Activities With Psychological and Physical Well-Being” published in Psychosomatic Medicine clear back in 2009 described several studies demonstrating improved health outcomes. Their study, a small metanalysis, demonstrated that high levels of involvement in leisure activities were associated with lower blood pressure, lower levels of a stress marker cortisol, lower waist circumference and BMI, as well as less depression and who couldn’t use some of those benefits?!
I love that I've expanding from just spinning to some knitting. I recently finished my first ever knitted project from handspun yarn. I love being a doctor, the relationships with my patients and the rewards of solving a diagnostic puzzle make it all worthwhile. But like so many other professions, I often find myself with long hours and stressful days. I’m so glad that I’ve fallen back into fiber arts and look forward to the chance to share my exploration of the hobby with you and maybe as I get deeper into this newfound hobby I’ll be able to offer some advice regarding spinning and can actually earn my self-assigned pseudonym
— The Spinning Doctor.