The ancient craft of "backstrap" weaving is still practiced by many indigenous weavers across the world today. In its very simplest form, threads are suspended between a weaver's body by way of a cord or strap...the "backstrap"...and the big toe. Both plain and patterned narrow bands can be woven in this way....a completely portable and inexpensive way of weaving! Watch as Laverne Waddington, who has been studying with indigenous weavers of Central and South America since 1996, shows how backstrap looms of various sizes and complexity are used to create bands and broad pieces of cloth. Come and try your hand at weaving a narrow band!
BRITISH SHEEP BREEDS
Experience the variety of sheep breeds that England, Scotland and Wales have to offer without leaving the USA! The UK boasts over 85 recognized breeds of sheep. Susan Withnell, of Ewes-ful Fiber Arts in Westminster, MD, spent 19 days in the UK, doing spinning demonstrations and helping her friend show Ryeland sheep. Taking part in the Royal Agricultural Show of England, the Great Yorkshire Show, and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, provided an opportunity to study and learn about most of the British sheep breeds. Visit her table to see videos and pictures of sheep such at the Bleu de Main, Ryeland, British Rouge (with a PINK face), Badger Faced Welsh Mountain, Llenwanog, and MANY others.
Cotton has been used as a handspinning fiber for thousands of years, yet today many people think of it as a difficult fiber to work with because of its short staple length. Joan Ruane from Bisbee, AZ has been teaching spinning for over 30 years. After taking a class with Persis Grayson, Joan fell in love with cotton. It was important for her to learn all she could about this wonderful soft, short staple fiber. So she studied with Harry and Olive Linder who were the known experts in cotton spinning. Joan will be joining us to share her knowledge of cotton and cotton spinning.
CREATING ARTISTIC YARNS
If you like to spin "out of the box" yarns full of expression and texture or if you are curious about corespinning, coils, chain plying, tailspinning, using add ins and the like, come hang out with Christiane Knight. Christiane is the owner and artist of Three Ravens Fiber Studio who blends amazing fibers, colors and textures into tactile rainbow of awesome.
FIBER BLENDING ON A DRUM CARDER
Sally Jenkins will demonstrate several techniques to prepare wool fibers for spinning. The demonstration will include blending fibers for color, fiber characteristics and fun. Visitors will be encouraged to drum card wool in preparation for spinning textured novelty yarns. Sally will show you how to put slubs and bumps back into your handspun.
Mandi Elliott Bird will show you how to take flax straw and process it into spinnable fiber. Using antique equipment, Mandi will show you how to break the straw and scutch it. She will then use a number of different hackles to clean the remaining fiber and make it usable to spin.
Carol Ireland took a semester weaving class in college, and was hooked. Over the course of the last 40 years, her interest in weaving has expanded to include spinning and natural dyeing. It has also led to numerous trips to study handcrafting of textiles in other countries: Thailand, Laos, Morocco, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. After purchasing a Navajo hip spindle on one of her trips, Carol was thrilled to have an opportunity to learn to use it in a workshop taught by Mary Walker. Come see this spindle in action.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR SPINNING WHEEL HAPPY
We are often asked about the maintenance of spinning wheels. Even competent and experienced spinners sometimes lack the understanding of what is required to keep their wheel in tip top shape. Many times a simple cleaning, oiling and the tightening of a few nuts and bolts are all you need to have your wheel spinning happily. Ron Woolcock will discuss how to keep your wheel running smoothly and if a more serious problem arises, he will give you some helpful ideas on what to do to revive your wheel or put it out of its misery. Bring your questions or better yet your wheel to have Ron look at it. From 1:00 to 4:00 only
As an active member of both the New Jersey and North American Mycological Association, Susan Hopkins has been studying mushrooms for over 25 years. Although her initial interest in mushrooms was learning to identify them, she soon became fascinated by their dyeing qualities. Come and see Susan use fungi (mushrooms) to color yarn from a pale gray to olive green, rust or magenta, depending on the variety used.
Anne Marie Decker will demonstrate Nalbinding, an ancient technique with roots back into the Stone Age. For millenia, nalbinding filled the need for flexible, seamless construction. The technique uses a single eyed needle to sew short lengths of yarn into a meshwork fabric of interlocking loops. Most nalbinding variants do not unravel, even when cut, as the yarn is drawn completely through each stitch. The resulting fabric is generally built spiraling up row by row and can be very elastic or quite stiff depending on the variation and material used.
Roclan is a small sheep farm owned by John and Kate Bostek in Fairfield, PA specializing in blanketed fine wool fleece. Along with Cormo and white and natural colored Border Leicester, Roclan is the home of registered Rambouillet sheep and Angora goats. Both Border Leister and Cormo sheep will be joining them so you can become more familiar with these breeds. John will be demonstrating sheep shearing and Kate will show us how to prepare and spin these wools.
TAPE LOOM WEAVING
Imagine getting up every morning and having to "tie" on your socks, petticoats and other interesting clothing! In the 1700s, all local PA German farmhouses had their own tape loom to make the tape ribbon that tied on your clothing. Susan Weaver will have a variety of tape looms on display to examine, as well as samples of traditional patterns and contemporary tape ribbon. Folks are encouraged to drop by and weave.
TARTANS, TWEEDS & WAULKING THE WOOL
When wool tweed or blanketing comes off the loom, it is not yet ready to use. The traditional Scottish method of finishing woolen cloth was a social occasion involving a group of neighbors, a large table and probably a little whiskey! The cloth was wetted and passed from hand to hand in a thumping rhythm kept going by suitable songs. We will skip the whiskey at our wool waulking but have lots of songs! Melissa Weaver Dunning will also have a display of her many woven tartans and tweeds.
SPINNING ON A WOOL WHEEL
With the new and improved spinning wheels of today, the Great Wheel or Walking Wheel has been relegated to a piece of furniture in the corner of a favorite room. Why not learn how to return it to the fabulous spinning tool it once was. It is fun to use and not as scary as you think. Ron Tyler will help you discover the joy of spinning on this wonderful wheel.