Cassie McMurry
Cassie McMurry

VAN WERT – For local spinner Cassie McMurry, it all started when she started work for a photographer in Decatur. She (photographer) wanted thick and thin baby rainbow hats to photograph children. McMurry had a small amount of experience at the time in knitting and she taught herself to make the hats.

“I bought a spindle and taught myself how to use it,” said McMurry. “Everything I do is self-taught. But when I work a spindle for eight hours a day with one hand, it would get quite wearing.”

As she continued to learn new things, she realized that the purchase of a large spindle would be beneficial for her. She remedied that need when she purchased an Ashford Spinning Wheel when she attended the Portland Fiber Festival.

“That was a lot faster,” said McMurry. “I crank it with my feet like I’m riding a bicycle. I didn’t have to generate manpower with my fingers.”

These days, McMurry, a Parkway student who graduated from Vantage, works with all types of plant and animal fibers in making her own yarn. She loves to knit, crochet and weave.

Most of her fleece comes from sheep wool, but she also uses camel fiber and wool from alpacas.

“I blend this fiber with bamboo, soybeans, milk fiber and milkweed fiber,” said McMurry. “I also work with a synthetic fiber called, ‘faux cashmere.’”

McMurry said that she blends the fiber on a board where she mixes the colors. She mixes the fiber and colors until it is eventually ready to go to the spinning wheel.

These days, she enjoys making hats, scarves, blankets and other clothing that will come together with her yarn. She has also taught herself to eat with indie dye.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” said McMurry. “I am completely self-taught in everything.”

In addition to teaching herself, she looks at lots of YouTube videos with other spinners, lots of groups on Facebook and participates with five separate groups of “encouragers” that answer each other’s questions.

Several years ago, she went through a very tragic time in her life. It was during those days that she learned the value of investing time in hobbies and mixing with other friends to help get her through those days.

“This is my stress reliever,” said McMurry. “I’m not a drinker. It is my way to let my emotions out. You can tell how my emotions are by my products. You can tell what my mood is by the colors, mixing and designs I use.”