The circle of fiber (long winded)

If I look back over the many years I’ve been involved in the fiber arts, I, or maybe it’s the art itself has a resurgence every 10-12 years. I started out knitting when I was very young, in junior high and high school I was a seamstress, sewing the latest fashions for clients that were teachers at my schools and had them fighting over my time. Made a pretty penny doing that. I knitted, crocheted and did a lot of surface design (mostly batik and other fabric dyeing techniques) throughout that time too. I always had a friend or two that was interested in what ever technique I was doing, Michelle and I batiked, Kim (not blogless Kim) and I sewed and tried out other different surface designs, Betsy and I painted and cooked recipes we wrote down after watching The Galloping Gourmet every chance we could. Once a foodie, always a foodie.

When I looked for a degree program, oh sure I could have become say an engineer, but the arts called my name and I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio and graphic desgin. Part of the program were hours in independant study and I choose to do all of mine in fabric studies. I built looms (my Mom reminds me every time I buy a new loom that I have a few still left in my bedroom closet at home), I studied stains, I batiked to my hearts content. One of my senior show pieces was an installation piece that took up part of a room in one of the galleries. I’ve long since lost even the pictures of the installation. I shared studio space with Harriet Peck Taylor. She’s gone on to fame and maybe fortune. You might recognize her work. I run into it all the time in the west. Bought all my weaving supplies from Halcyon when they were in Denver instead of their more recent location (ha ha) of Bath Maine.

Fast forward a bit and there I was still knitting, then weaving and I joined the local guild. Bought all my weaving supplies from Betty Linn Davenport (of rigid heddle loom fame) when she lived in the same town, and from Weaving Works in Seattle. Fast forward again and we lived in Maryland for a couple years, took classes from Tom Knisley at The Mannings in Pennsylvania. It was there that Knitting Hubby and I learned to process fleece and to spin. Knitting Hubby took knitting classes during this time, and I started my Kim Hargreaves sweater that remains my longest running UFO.

Moved back to our home in Washington and put the knitting down for a while knitting only an occasional mitten or hat. Wove on and off. The fiber bug hit hard about 5 years ago when Knitting Hubby took a sock class, then a sweater class and thought I should re-involve myself my taking a sock class. I – get this – balked at the thought. He had to suggest it numerous times. I took a class at my LYS and have been hooked every since. Now of course I try to spin all my sock yarn, and my roving stash and handspun stash outweighs my store bought yarn by a lot.

What’s come around again? Weaving. Weaving. Weaving. I’ve had a Rasmussen for a while but have always wanted a Schacht Baby Wolf. One followed me home from Portland this weekend.

I’d been searching Ravelry and Craigslist for a Baby Wolf somewhere in the Pacific Northwest and week ago found one in Portland. I wrote the owner and we set up a time on Sunday for Knitting Hubby and I to pick it up.

Galadriel’s home, that she shares with her husband and his art, their cat Nami, and her looms was beautiful. You entered a courtyard through large wooden gates that were decorated with paintings on cedar shakes done by local children. The courtyard had stone pathways and raised flower beds set against a blue house behind it. Galadriel’s home was painted on the outside a warm gold and an inviting red door. As we walked up the path to the door we could see her at (one of her many) tapestry looms. Their home is part of an old neighborhood grocery that had been turned into a gallery up front, the gallery owners apartment on the main road, and their apartment through the courtyard. The inside was painted a southwest/salmon colored red, there was a lot of wood and stone and fibers.
Here is Nami the cat. She was a total sweetheart. She spent some time with me, but really favored Knitting Hubby. Knitting Hubby took all the inside pictures, I had my camera with me but was too busy taking in the sight of the looms in the living room.

The Baby Wolf is an older one, the wood has taken on a beautiful rich gold patina. It’s (I think it’s a she though) an 8 harness and came with a box of goodies including three boat shuttles, a bunch of bobbins and a grand assortment of yarns.



I believe there is weaver’s mojo hiding in the eyes of these heddles. I can’t wait to get started!! Thanks again Galadriel!!


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hazel Spindler
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 20:55:52

    Very interesting history and also great pics! Hazel


  2. heideho
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 22:44:00

    Congratulations! Will you be coming up for air or remembering to blog anytime in the future or should we send in trackers if we don’t hear from you? The loom is gorgeous. What will you name her?


  3. Jessica
    Nov 04, 2008 @ 23:40:45

    Congrats, Susan! I hope you love it.


  4. Dave Daniels
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 04:09:28

    Wow, what a grand home! That’s my kind of environment. Congrats on the Schacht. I’ve got the Wolf Pup, and can attest to the durability of the craftsmanship.
    Woohoo! You’ll HAVE to hand paint some warp. It’s a lot of fun.


  5. Chris
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 08:21:51


    And I love your autumn photos. 🙂


  6. Linda G
    Nov 07, 2008 @ 10:04:07

    You sure have a way with the camera. My first weaving class was with Betty Davenport. I had no idea who she was. Don’t even know if she was “famous” back then. I do know that I sold the Becca loom that I bought from her (complete with her original little Xeroxed booklet of instructions for using a rigid heddle loom) for a song. Nuts. I remember her basement being lined with diamond-shaped shelved packed with beautiful yarns.


  7. Miss T
    Nov 07, 2008 @ 10:59:31

    Ooh, fabulous find! Have fun!


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