Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fibers of the Lost Art

We often spin in public, and many people express the desire to learn more. Unfortunately, very few schools offer courses in fiber arts; in fact, only two in Texas offer degrees in it. There are some practical impediments preventing many people from mastering fiber arts on their own. 

1. As a very kinesthetic skill, requiring muscle memory, it is very difficult to learn to spin exclusively from book and internet resources.

2. Most of the equipment is expensive and difficult to acquire. While this is not a problem for knitters, crocheters, spinning wheels alone cost $500-$10,000, making them unattainable for most students and many members of the community. Drop spindles offer a reasonably priced alternative, but without a mentor's help, the learning curve can be even sharper than that of a wheel.

3. Even when spinning wheels are purchased, there is enough variable between models, skill sets, styles and goals that it is very hard to choose a wheel before trying it. Which, of course, can't happen before the basics are learned.

We would love to start the Fibers of the Lost Art Club and meet periodically for fellowship and to share our resources with upcoming fiber artists both within the student body and the community to support the preservation of these long forgotten skills. 

Over the past several years, we have acquired a lot of equipment that we could use in this endeavor. This includes:

A variety of drop spindles (which predate spinning wheels by at least 1,000 years)

A huge array of knitting needles - practically all sizes straights and rounds

An assortment of crochet hooks - many sizes both bamboo and metal

A large amount of yarn that would be offered free to members.

Many books and publications- on spinning, knitting and crochet 

Weaving and Knitting Looms 

7 foot Triangle Loom

Homemade Quill Wheel - based on medieval designs 

2 Ashford Traditional wheels - recommended for beginners

1 Schacht/ Reeves 24" Saxony - advanced wheel

1 Country Spinner 2 - for art yarn

1 Neo Lana Electric Wheel

1 Calypso Kick Spindle - a hybrid between a drop spindle and wheel

Fancy Kitty Drum Carder

and a Box Picker

All of these we would bring to club meetings and encourage members to bring their own equipment so that we can support each other and ensure that the fiber arts never truly become lost arts.

Please email Madeleine at if you are interested in joining.