From Loving Hands…sharing stories to honor the past


Schacht Spindle Company in Boulder recently celebrated a 50th anniversary and it got me thinking about people who helped me get started in spinning, weaving and other textile pursuits. We never get to where we are without a helping hand and honoring those who came before – the ancient ones and those closer in time – enrich our textile history and culture. There is no better way to do this than sharing stories.

I recently moved across country and my two big looms stayed behind with wonderful friends to start the next chapter in their story. And I am the proud owner of a shiny new Schacht Wolf Pup loom. As I worked to assemble it I was also knitting a cowl with very special handspun yarn that I have saved for years. It was spun on a Journey Wheel by my first spinning mentor, Edith Marsh, who was also a weaver, knitter and natural dyer. She loaned me that same spinning wheel in a box to take to the Toronto Handweavers meeting long ago. Her handspun yarn is a gift of remembrance.

I decided that my first weaving for the Wolf Pup would be made from that same handspun, a silk and wool combo, dyed with madder, in honor of Edith and all who freely pass on their knowledge. She was the consummate example of our guild’s motto Each One, Teach One, her generosity a model for all to follow. I have tried to honor her legacy by sharing my experience and enthusiasm. I bought my own Wee Peggy spinning wheel kit from New Zealand many years ago and still keep it by my side for the long rainy winters in the Northwest, but my “extra” spinning wheel lives with a friend in Colorado who is new to spinning. And so, on we go, sharing and teaching those who come into our lives with loving hands.

As an anthropologist I often yammer on about the critical importance that history and culture play in our textile continuum. All art, craft and making come from culture and reflects those who are part of that culture. Schacht Spindle Company has a culture and a history. They celebrated 50 years of hard work in an ever-changing textile world. There is a huge group of young and enthusiastic textile kids out there and we all need to band to together to keep things moving forward. You have a history that surrounds your textile work and you can honor that by sharing the history and the culture that grew your interest in textiles with the next generation.

Cloth is part of our past, present and future. It can tell the stories of our lives in a beautiful way.

Textiles Through Time, a video about my textile journey can be found by clicking the link.

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