Anne O'Connor's spinning wheel clickety clicked as her feet alternated the pedals that propelled the spin.
Arnetta Davis' wheel, on the other hand, remained silent, spinning in full force to produce the ideal yarn.
But the sounds of the spinning wheels became indistinguishable when laughter and creative exchange of ideas filled the colorful, yarn-packed room of A Tangled Skein, a knitting and spinning store in the heart of the Hyattsville community.
As has been the tradition for the past two years, last night beginner and experienced spinners gathered in the "A Chance to Sit & Spin" workshop with spinner extraordinaire Anne O'Connor for an event free of charge and registration. The class is held every fourth Friday of the month at A Tangled Skein and offers an opportunity for relaxation, stress relief and creative incitement.
"There is no other store that has the rooms, the variety of materials and friendliness," Connie Burke of Takoma Park, who found the store a month after it opened, said.
Cheryl Hoffman and Larry Paulson, A Tangled Skein's owners, opened the store three-and-a-half years ago in an attempt to provide the Hyattsville community with a cozy environment and plenty of resources for all those driven to knit and spin.
"Our customers say they like us a lot," Paulson said. "We think we have a pretty good formula – comfortable atmosphere, helpful and friendly people."
And so far it is "the formula" that keeps customers coming back for more.
"Thank God they are here," Donna Sherwood, 59, who is currently knitting a wallaby, but hasn't signed up for spinning yet, said. "I got myself into enough trouble with knitting. So, they've been very accommodating."
"I've walked into places that totally ignore you," Joyce Griffin, of Greenbelt, who was drop spindling, said. "Here, when you need help, everyone is trying to help you out."
Today, the store has grown to five part-time staff members who are professional spinners and knitters, knowledgeable on the variety of yarns and materials available that the store receives primarily from large companies and a few local, small operations, Paulson said.
One of those staffers is O'Connor, who joined in August but has been teaching spinning for three years.
"Spinning is like magic," she said. "It has a special character to it. Although it's not as consistent as the machine spun, you have more control over it and how your yarn will look."
Davis, who has been knitting since she was eight years old, began spinning six months ago, purchasing her first spinning wheel last month after testing multiple wheels at fiber festivals so she could find the "right fit."
"They got me into it," she said. "It's addictive. And I'm having a lot of fun."
In order to produce the yarn, the spinners will separate the fiber and pedal to allow the wheel to add a twist to make that desired yarn, O'Connor said. Initially, students are taught on the drop spindle, a hand-used spin device that is often much more affordable and portable than the wooden wheel, yet slower, she said.
"Six hours of consistent spinning on the wheel will turn four ounces of fiber into 520 yarns," O'Connor said. "Of course, using a spindle, it would take longer than that."
And for student Susan Kitzmiller of Hyattsville, who spins before she goes to sleep to relax, spinning with a drop spindle "can get a bit frustrating."
"The thing about [the] spindle is that is gets a bit frustrating because it's hard to get a grasp on it," she said. "But, once you learn, your hands will remember it forever."
In addition to the more traditional wool and cashmere, modern spinners are extending boundaries of fiber varieties used for spinning, including dog and cat hair, milk and corn fiber and chitin, a fiber of the crab's shell, O'Connor said.
"Chitin is supposed to make the socks less smelly," said Jennifer Woods of Silver Spring, who works at the store and enjoys knitting socks. "Once you start making your own socks, you'll not going to want to give them to anyone."
Nesting in the cozy environment of A Tangled Skein has become a valuable commodity, which is, unlike the knitted socks, shared and communal.
"The true thing about knitting and spinning is that we are like a true extended family," Kitzmiller said. "Sometimes, we are even solving world problems while we are having fun knitting and spinning."