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The Place is spinning

Putting good spin on a bad situation

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At the occasionally hectic Open House for Tacoma Art Place on Saturday, a woman sat placidly working on something that appeared to be a toy.

As a round block of wood spun, dangling a dowel, a bundle of fluff on the table became organized into string.

Brenda Groboski pointed out to me, as I asked what size needle or hook such a fine denier yarn used, that the yarn “fluffed out” to a normal yarn thickness. She demonstrated, I was impressed, and my fingers twitched for a pair of needles or a hook; and I was in the perfect place to find them.

It was the perfect place for her as well, though she wasn’t there through advance planning. Days earlier, she recalls, “I walked by and I saw the sign on the door. The sign had a picture of yarn.” She says she was excited to go to the Open House, to find out what the mission of the space was, and felt immediately connected to it because “it fits in with an idea that I had had at one time.”

She’s already been asked to teach spinning at Tacoma Art Place, though details haven’t been firmed up, and she’s already intent that her family will “all join up and be members,” speculating that time currently spent in front of the television can be spent helping make a difference while enjoying her craft.

The day of the event, Groboski conveyed her delight at having a space to be in that recognized fiber as an artistic medium, too. The knitter next to her nodded and worked an impressively even row of stitches as the crowd around the two swelled and moved like a living sea; they both remained unflappable even as the room became loud.

“It’s very relaxing,” Groboski confirms of spinning, “You get lost in it, mesmerized by the thing spinning. The world can just go away.”

Groboski took up spinning about a year and a half ago. At the time, she reflects, she was cooped up in a wheelchair, where she convalesced for six months after her leg was badly injured in a fall.

“I had always been active and athletic, and I wasn’t able to do any of the things I loved to do,” she says, adding, “I needed something to do with my hands to keep myself busy because I couldn’t do anything else.” She found spinning.

Then she began selling her items on a Web site, which redirects to her shop on the Etsy Web site, a virtual haven for people who buy and sell cool craft items.

You’ll see Groboski doing her spinning thing as she hangs out at the Art Place, or you can visit her Etsy site to see the yarns she creates (, type in “”Naturally Spun” to see Groboski’s yarns. They’re cool, as is the entire site.)

[Tacoma Art Place, 1116 S. 11th, Tacoma, 253.756.5544]

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