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  • 03 Jul 2020 11:56 AM | Treasurer Admin (Administrator)

    Mary and Yoni hosted a studio tour for Local Cloth in June, showing us some of their creations and discussing their creative process. 

    Thank you, Mary and Yoni, for sharing yourselves and your art with us! 

    (Some of Mary's recent indigo rag rugs.)

    How did you get connected with Local Cloth/western NC?

    Yoni and I got connected to Local Cloth through our friend and fellow fiber-enthusiast Sandy, who lives in Asheville and volunteers with Local Cloth. We also have connections to Western North Carolina through having taken summer classes at Penland School of Craft in summer of 2018, which was a real turning point in both of our fiber journeys! 

    Where is your studio located?  How did you come to be in this location?

    Our studio is in our apartment in Northampton, MA. We live in an old mansion that has since been chopped up into several units. We live on the first floor in large, open rooms that flow into each other, as they were likely former parlors and sitting areas. We have repurposed one of these spacious rooms into our studio -- half for Yoni's sewing endeavors and half for Mary's weaving and knitting.

    Tell me about a project you are currently making.

    Mary: I have been really excited to combine my love of natural dye with weaving and tapestry techniques through an ongoing series of upcycled indigo rag rugs. It has been a joy to process discarded t-shirts, experiment with dyeing techniques and turn them into interesting home accessories. 

    Yoni: I am constructing quilted pillowcases for a friend using garments that belonged to her grandmother, which she will distribute among her close relatives. I am interested in how materials have a voice and special meaning within family circles, and how collaborative repurposing can give them life into the next generation.

    (A quilt Yoni made on the occasion of his brother's wedding.)

    How long have you been working in this medium? 

    Mary: I have been weaving for almost 10 years and knitting for seven. I got my start in fibers as Earlham College, a small Quaker liberal arts school in Richmond, Indiana. While pursuing my degree in environmental studies, I was able to take three weaving courses and I was hooked! After graduating, I worked as an environmental educator locally and bought one of the older looms in the Earlham studio at a bargain price from my instructor, Nancy Taylor. I owe it to Nancy for keeping me in the weaving trade as a young adult just getting her start in the world!

    Yoni: I started experimenting with paper and pressed flower collages when I was in school at Earlham College, then took my first fabric arts class during my final semester there. I've continued to learn and experiment with dying, piecing, and embroidery on my own for the past seven years, aided along the way with guidance from friends and short courses at the Hill Institute in Florence, MA and Penland School of Craft in Bakersfield, NC.

    Who are some of the people who mentored/taught you along the way?

    We have both been mentored by the incredible Nancy Taylor, who still leads the fibers program at Earlham College, as well as instructors that have taught at Penland School of Craft, including Tommye McClure Scanlin, Nick Deford, and Katherine Duguid. 

    What inspires you in your work?

    Mary: I am inspired by geometric designs from cultures around the world and magnifying techniques that are usually done on a much smaller scale. One of my favorite rugs in this indigo rag rug series was created by experimenting with hachure, a shading technique traditionally used in delicate tapestry weaving. I try and balance planned design with the unplanned surprises from the dye pot and love weaving with variegated colors.

    Yoni: I draw from my interests in Jewish history, botany, and found images to shape my pieces. I am often inspired to create things for friends and family based on their vocations or the pets in their lives. Fabric and thread are great mediums for considering disparate elements and tying together what is in my head.

    (A quilted collage Yoni is working on, for a friend who owns a fermentation business.)

  • 01 Jul 2020 7:57 PM | Treasurer Admin (Administrator)

    July 1, 2020

    Sustaining Donor Campaign Update #3

    Since we began our campaign at the end of May, we have made it almost halfway to our goal of $15,000. At the end of June, we had $6,100 of pledged support!

    We know this is a difficult and strange time, and we so appreciate everything our members do: organizing groups, volunteering at events, teaching classes, taking classes, being on the board or on various leadership committees, and so much more. Donating your time and/or money are such valuable ways to contribute!

    If you have been considering getting involved at Local cloth, I welcome you to think about becoming a Weld-level sustaining donor. By donating $10 monthly, you get to take advantage of a free studio rental per quarter! Not to mention you get to show off your Local Cloth tote bag at the grocery store or fill it with fiber projects.

    By donating $10 per month, you will enable us to keep classes and events going on Zoom and in person. You will be supporting a truly local organization that connects farmers, makers, and artists; we value these connections and we know you do, too.

    For many of you reading this, I will be preaching to the choir when I say that making things with our hands is more important now than ever. It keeps us grounded, it offers hope, it keeps many of us sane. Thank you for reading this, and for considering becoming a sustaining donor. 

    All the best,

    ~Sandy H.


  • 28 Jun 2020 2:40 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    We are a steady lot.  We love to sit, chat and listen, but we keep our hands busy. 

    Audio books are great, but people becoming your friends with shared interests are the real deal!

    Fiber.  The central theme!  In our group: knitters, spinners, doll makers using fibers, stitchers and cross stitchers; everyone has many fiber related interests.  Some links at the end of the blog point to sources for undyed yarns that we mentioned in the course of our collective stream of information and consciousness.


    This week, Judy was working on a poncho. Always something different and always many ongoing projects.  She is a fiber maniac!

    We discussed what lovely fabric mens ties offer up.  I have a collection of old ties from my husband including Beetles ties from way back. Remember Jerry Garcia ties?   Katya picked up old silk tie fabric seconds years and years ago and is still pulling material for various projects.  Oh, and by the way, did you know that the comedian Stephen Fry loves ties?  He posts different ones on Instagram regularly.

    Katya showed us one of her dolls, it would be great if she gave a studio tour. Virtual tours are difficult though especially for shy folk  And then there are technical challenges.   

    A melding of ideas came together when Katya completed her button workshop. She added the buttons to flowers and decorated her doll stand (sorry no pic!!).  Next to her doll picture is a photo of the sorts of fiber wound buttons that can be produced (at right).

    And here are the buttons as created by Katya.


    Beth was untangling yarn and then working on her rigid heddle loom (Beth did I get that right?).  She over dyed more yarn to match some earlier plum dyed wool.  Sad we don't have Virtual in-home videographers to show us ALL!!

    Nancy was stitching.  Turns out she, and probably Katya as well, are participating in the 25 Million Stitches project to highlight the worldwide plight of immigrants.  Each stitch represents one of the 25 million refugees in the world. Each participant creates one panel of a certain size with known numbers of stitches or at a prescribed density so that global participants will have created 25 million stitches.

    Here is the panel that Nancy is working on. Again, forgive me, but these are iPhone shots of computer screens!!  Good enough I hope to give you an idea.

    Lovely seeing you all, look forward to seeing new and familiar faces next time!



    From 25 million stitches website

    The new opening date for the 25 Million Stitches Project is June 12th, 2021, a year from our original date.

    Our first full installation will be at the Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento, CA

    Some sources for undyed yarn for those that don't spin their own:

    Judy has had experience with KnitPicks.


    Susette has ordered from



  • 22 Jun 2020 10:28 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    You know you don't actually have to be working on something to join us if you feel like chatting about fiber arts and beyond!  Certainly the interesting things we discover often causes me to put down the piece I am working on. Last Friday's group time was as interesting as ever.  

    RE: June 27 Yarn Yard Sale at Local Cloth parking lot (good weather).  I promised first to post directions to the Local Cloth studios in the Refinery Creator space at 207 Cox Ave.  Here is what the building looks like from the front and I will post a screenshot of the map.  Essentially, directions are come down 26 and exit onto Patton Ave. heading into Asheville.  Turn right on Coxe Avenue (next after Asheland) and continue down to 207 Coxe at the bottom of the hill.  It is on the right.  

    The group began with a discussion loosely related to knitting socks using various methods. Judy's favorite is to use Scandinavian patterns and favors using two circular needles, one for the front and one for the back. Any size is good if it is long enough since you are using them straight. That does make a lot of sense to me, I use double pointed needles but the design of the sock takes you on two occasions to using 2 needles (at the heel and at the toe for the Kirchner stitch).  More here on all the types of knitting needles with illustrations.  Someone else mentioned another blog "The Yarn Harlot, where toe up with 1 circular needle methods was mentioned.  Let me check.  Ah, here it is, The Yarn Harlot.

    Paula was doing her least favorite task, tucking in the loose threads on the back of her quilt. Here is a iPhone shot of the screen showing the quilt front!

    Here is a quilt of Paula's from 2015. It was at the NC Arboretum show last year 2019.  Her web page is here.

    Paula mentioned that in competitions, tucking in the ends is a must-do.  The judges don't accept messy quilt backs!  I find the backs can be interesting, and unlike Paula, I don't submit quilts for competitions. My machine does have the advantage that it can cut and tie the threads at the end of a stitch run and they always turn out the same length.

    Katya finished her hat from leftover materials that she has! She followed our suggestion from last time to paint the fabric blue. 

     Then we began reminiscing about play clothes versus school clothes, barn clothes versus dress-up clothes, remembering when in high school skirts were a must, no pants allowed, and then just 5 or so years later, pants but no jeans were the rule.  At Wayland High in the Boston, MA area, skirts were a joke. It was too cold number one, and number two the campus was a grouping of buildings with outdoor walkways in between.  

     Clothing discussion transitioned to dyeing hair red with henna, then lemon-lightening hair as teenagers. Unrelated to hair color, staining cloth with coffee and tea was brought up by Judy. We must have started in on antique fabric stashes.  Since coffee and tea do only stain fabric, it is not permanent if washed. Judy uses it for her samplers to lend an antique air to the piece.  

    Maybe at this point the chickens wandered up to Sebette who was Zooming from the front porch! Pretty girls.  (This phrase pretty girls has also been applied to goats, sheep, and other critters).  Judy has several times mentioned her flock, gaggle, bunch of cats both her indoor flock and outdoor mom plus kittens.  We want to see a picture!!!  By the way it is a clowder or clutter of cats.  Paula watches the neighbor's goats wander around her driveway. And, Sebette has sheep, not just chickens!  Sebette just made a sale I believe to Judy who is interested in spinning Leicester long wools that Sebette has.  Of course, Leicester referred to in the sheep's name is not the Leicester (lee-sess-ter) of NC fame where Beth, Sebette, and I live!

    Judy did send me the link where one can join a Facebook group "The Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep Page" to buy a collection of Kep (Fair Isle Hat) patterns.  "This group has been established to promote the Fair Isle Fisherman's Kep knitting pattern produced by Anne Sinclair, which we send as a pdf to support the George Waterston Memorial Centre and Museum in Fair Isle, Shetland. "  

    These Keps are beautiful!! You have to apply to join the group answering three questions and the site is exclusively about Fair Isle Keps.  

    Signing off till next Friday!

  • 16 Jun 2020 11:57 AM | Treasurer Admin (Administrator)

    Hello Friends of Local Cloth,

    This is a short update to tell you that our pledged support is now at $5,280

    Many thanks to the twenty-one people who have donated thus far. We have a list of your names hanging in the studio. 

    Two thirds of our $15,000 goal remain ahead of us; with your support, we can do it! 

    Do you have a friend who loves fiber arts, taking classes, or learning new things? Tell them about us! Invite them to look at our list of upcoming classes. Let’s keep expanding our community.


    Sandy H. 

    (Treasurer, weaver, knitter, dyer.)

  • 13 Jun 2020 12:38 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    We love to look at pictures, and so I don't feel bad when I upload a bunch of them! We had two new folks yesterday in the V-circle which was fun.  Everyone has multiple talents, it is interesting to see all the various directions we all take in our learning and growth as artists and makers.  Lyn Burkitt hails from Silva and Judy lane lives near Celo, so once again, virtual togethers are a boon both for avoiding driving a long distance and keeping together and growing as a community during the pandemic.

    Judy is a long time expert in twined knitting. Twinded knitting involves no carrying yarn on the back side and the piece lies flat and is stretchy.  Knitty, for example, has a page on twined knitting with pictures of how to and says that Twined knitting dates back to at least the 17th century and was traditionally done using both ends of the same ball of yarn.  Because it is two color and knitted densely because of the yarn twisting each stiff, the knitted fabric is very warm.  Here are images of the front and the back of a hat that Judy is working on.

    Front of the twined knitted had

    Reverse of the twined knitted hat.

    Judy also enjoys covering boxes with hand dyed material, crewel work on the lid, and silk lining within.  In the very top picture at the start of the blog, the upper right hand section is a view of the side of her container, and here is a view of the top.  Realize that this is a iPhone shot of a screen view during our Zoom get together!!  The pictures of the knitted fabrics were emailed so we can really see the pattern and details of the stitches on the hat.

    Katya gave us a fashion show of her finally completed bolaro.  The piece was knitted as one with just increasing and decreasing.  I forget the numbers, but #3 needles and 500-ish stitches at the widest.  [Katya, correct me!!].  She's been working on it for a long time! Here are some shots Katya sent me:


    During the V-circle, I made her turn and pose so many times so I could catch a screen shot with my phone that we started to crack up (insert emoiji's and smiley faces, and hearts here if you can, see pics below)!

    Katya is currently working on a floppy outdoor hat using leftover fabrics.  The lining (or reversible side) of the hat is a beige color whereas the reverse of the hat is a blue pattern, so we discussed the best possibilities for dyeing the beige.  Since she doesn't have many of the materials required for dyeing the presumed cotton material, we ended up suggesting using an acrylic-based fabric paint, either Setacolor or the like, or a silkscreening paint.  Both require heat setting using an iron, but are permanent.  These paints add texture/stiffness to fabrics depending upon the amount of paint applied and whether it is thinned, but since the hat should be fairly stiff to keep it out of the face the extra umphh added by paint would be ok.  

    Then followed a long discussion of steeking.  We hear most about steeking in knitting in the round used to convert a pullover to a cardigan.  Katya and others have used this technique.  Judy added that one could do it with crocheted pieces as well.  Her project involves crocheting a rug like flat piece, then using steeking to create a poncho head opening.  She has also used steeking to inset an arm hole for a pre-knitted sleeve in a tubular knitted sweater body.  Such a variety of approaches to knitting.  I am afraid my approach is simple stuff!  

    Several in our group are intensely interested in a thing called fiber share that I had not previously heard about.  There is an international group and a Facebook page as well.  Check it out!  Maybe June 15th is the next date to participate.  It is fun, you prepare a package, someone else does, you are linked with an exchange partner, wait for your package in the mail!

    The miracles of wooly nylon for darning or reinforcing hand made socks, adhesive spray from Elmer's (I could have avoided the horrible blotches caused when I painted glue on the lamp shade when I made a new hand dyed covering for it), and Eileens tacky glue.  The glues are availabe at Wally's World (you know what I mean!). 

    Ok, it is maybe quarter to 6, our tummies start rumbling.  Guess what we talk about next!?  FOOD! A great discussion on making sourdough bread, Judy gave us her take on how to do it, Lyn also bakes sourdough, and I am going to start!  I love it.  I jotted some notes.

    Lyn and I also finished projects: socks. But no, we did not model them!


    See you next week! Sign up through Local Cloth. Share your stuff on Instagram and Facebook so others know about Local Cloth!


  • 08 Jun 2020 2:27 PM | Treasurer Admin (Administrator)

    Dear Members and Friends of Local Cloth,

    Hello, it’s Sandy here, your friendly treasurer. I want to share with you that our Sustaining Donor Campaign is off to a fabulous start. Six members of our community and eight women on our leadership team have become sustaining donors, committing to support Local Cloth with a total of $4,560 over the next year. Thank you so much!!

    We still have a ways to go until we meet our $15,000 goal, and we believe we can get there -- with your help! The funds you help us raise go directly toward rent and maintaining a studio space for classes, events, and interest groups, while also supporting our instructors who make so much of our programming possible. 

    I want to tell you why I became a Madder-level sustaining donor. It has to do with my love of weaving and knitting, but mainly it has to do with people. In the past two years, I have made connections and forged friendships with wonderful makers through Local Cloth. I choose to donate because I value the artists, farmers, and crafters in my fiber community.

    I choose to donate at the Madder level because $25 per month is about how much I would spend treating myself to pastries and chai tea each month (normally). I am happy to forgo a weekly City Bakery visit in order to support a fiber community which nourishes my spirit! I also look forward to my free full-day class and using my two studio rentals each quarter. After the safety training, I will use the dye studio to create more cochineal pinks like the wool below!

    I recognize that this is a time when many of us are re-examining the aspects of life that are important to us, and deciding where we want to commit our time, resources, and energy. Thank you for considering Local Cloth in your contributions this year.

    Click on the words below if you want to read more about the campaign or donate: 

    Sustaining Donor Campaign

    Thank you.

    Hope to see you soon, be it on Zoom or in the studio.


    ~Sandy Hartmannsgruber

    Thank you to Mamie Fain for the thermometer graphic! <3

  • 05 Jun 2020 6:32 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Here we are, the regulars who love not having to drive anywhere to attend a fun get together!  That is one of the big benefits of our V-circle.  The down side is that we can't really see what anyone is working on unless we say hold it up!!  That was the driving force to start a blog: a place to see interesting things in higher resolution and a place for those who miss a week to see what went on and to catch up with the news.  

    New kittens at Judi's house!!!

    Poppy and Daisy!

    A day or two earlier, Nancy went to Joyce Tromba's V-Bookmaking 1 hour workshop and was working on finishing up her book.  She showed us some of her pages and what the book front looked like.

    On the front of Nancy's book is a window for display of a small artwork.  

    Below Nancy showed us the interior pages of the book.  She claims to have just used old junky paper, but we were struck by the beautiful patterns of colors.  Nancy has developed a method and the habit of placing cellulose papers of all sorts underneath her ice dyeing projects to catch the color and generate materials for collage pieces, and now books!!

    Nancy had to leave early, but later, after she left, we explored some of the wonderful videos she posts on her YouTube channel.  I remember we watched the one entitled "How to Ice Dye a Blooming Bouquet".  :)))))!

    Speaking of flowers, our (collective) gardens and the WNC area is gorgeous now, so many things in bloom, and we have just learned that the Arboretum is now opening (safely) and the Bonsai exhibit will be accessible.  Beth Sellar's husband it turns out does Bonsai at their home.

    Sebette Hamill mentioned that she just bought a small kit to learn sashiko stitching. Sashiko originated in Japan and is a functional embroidery used in mending.  

    I showed the mending in my lap, which isn't sashiko, but just applique with straight stitching to cover the thin spots in my favorite, already mended linen overalls.

    I have tried to learn interesting embroidery stitches. Recently, I bought "The Geometry of Hand Sewing" by Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, The School of Making.  I failed/ gave up, but I need to go back.  Judi Jetson commiserated with me telling us she attended a workshop held at the Univ. of the South in Swenanee, TN and led by a trainer from Alabama Chanin.  She said the stitches are difficult and hard to learn even in person! Check out the links to Alabama Chanin to see samples of these intricate yet simple stitches they have developed and collected.  

    Where the heck is Sewanee?? It is in the southeastern part of middle Tennessee!

    Sebette wasn't spinning this week, but was also mending things, in this case her beloved barn jacket that continually gets torn on overlong screw ends. It is funny how we get attached to certain items of clothing: color? pattern? comfort (!)? hand-me-down from someone we love? just plan functional? So many individual reasons.  I love t-shirts and sweatshirts broken in by my sons, my father, my husband..... They are in rags, but we put off discarding them and mend again.  

    We discussed dyes that "break".  The scientific functional way to separate dye components is chromatography.  Dyes also migrate at different rates through paper or cloth.  This is particularly obvious when one uses a dye that contains multiple types of dye molecules and the ice dyeing technique.  Primary dyes ("The Primary Dharma Fiber Reactive Dye colors that correspond to the CMY primaries are as follows: Magenta #13: Fuchsia Red. Cyan #25: Turquoise. Yellow #1: Lemon Yellow" from Dharma, for example) are combined to make other colors using the CMY color wheel.  In my work, I have found that turquoise is one of the fastest migrating colors . 

    Some folks have been working on cyanotype dyeing of fabrics (blue, sunlight).  Cheap Joe's has 8" X 11" pre-treated fabric for this purpose Sebette mentioned.  My niece Hannah Mode who is an environmental artist has done multiple residencies in at the Juneau Icefield Research Program in Alaska interacting with scientists.  They make cyanotypes on site using rocks, ice and other objects to create art pieces reflective of the environment.

    We all began talking about food as it neared 6:00 pm (wonder why!?).  I personally was amazed at Sebette's love of okra and the multiple ways she enjoys it (fried, roasted, french fried in strips, steamed....) which led us to compare traditional southern foods, there non-availability in New England where some of us grew up or lived (and foods from New England that are less available here!).  Bye-bye dinner time we said.

  • 02 Jun 2020 10:34 PM | Caroline Williford (Administrator)

    About June Artist-of-the-Month, Janice Schmidt of Goddess Rags, in her own words:

    I found out about Local Cloth through some textile artists I met at a few shows.  I admired their work and they spoke highly of Local Cloth.  When I looked online, I was blown away by the breadth of offerings.

    My Studio is in my home in Weaverville.  We moved here almost two years ago and studio space was a priority.  For anyone whose house hunted recently, you know it’s a challenge to find a home that meets all your needs.  In Atlanta I had both a home studio and a studio in a coop that housed mostly painters.  But I love working from home.  I love getting my morning coffee and going straight to work.  The home we bought has a huge formal living room with beautiful hardwood floors and huge windows.  Since we don’t live the kind of lifestyle where we need a formal living room, the space has worked well as my studio.

    Since this pandemic started and the news was upsetting, I started making face masks.  Initially I made them to donate, especially for those on the front line.  But after a month, the requests shifted and the requests kept coming in for masks to purchase.  The orders have come in non-stop for more than a month.  I’ve even gotten orders from high-end boutiques.  I use my kantha scraps to make the face masks using a pattern that fits well to faces.  They now seem to be a fashion statement/necessity!

    I’ve worked with textiles as long as I can remember.  My mother was an amazing seamstress and my grandmother taught me to knit, crochet and bake break (all very tactile).  I did a few commercial wall hangings before moving into making mosaics, which I did for roughly 20 year.  In mosaic you cut up hard materials into small pieces and reassemble them to create an image or design.  It’s all about relationship of colors and creating allusion.  I was exhibiting at High Point Furniture market a few years ago when I ran across some beautiful kantha blankets.  They were colorful and very interesting pieced together cotton sari fabric that was hand quilted by villagers.  I loved the handwork and that buying them helped create an industry for women across the globe.  I started playing with the fabric and the size of my projects grew from belts to garments.  I was hooked.

    I think the fabric itself gives me ideas.  Since the blankets are so unusual and sometimes have odd assortment of colors, I have to think about how to best display the fabric in a three dimensional way thinking about drape and scale.  I mostly make vests and jackets that are reversible.  I pay attention to the look of a garment that I find interesting and might make a good kantha garment.  I love digging through magazine, Pinterest…wherever I see interesting clothing.

    I can’t imagine ever stop creating.  My mother reupholstered her sofa when she was in her 80’s so I have a great heritage of creators in my DNA.  Creating keeps me curious.  It looks like the demands for masks will keep me busy for a while which hasn’t left me time to experiment.  But I can assure you that my curiosity is drawing me toward some of the dyeing workshops at Local Cloth.

  • 01 Jun 2020 4:34 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    As promised, and with permission from Marcia Kummerle at Good Fibrations, I am posting the two parts of the Vimeo videos that comprised most of the tour.  We had some get together time on Zoom: before, during and questions at the end.  

    The videos were taken and edited by Lynnie Wright. 

    You will enjoy these videos!! 

    Good Fibrations video part 1 and video part 2

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