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  • 20 Nov 2023 11:20 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    On Sunday afternoon Nov 19, 2023 Local Cloth (LC) hosted a spinning party.  It was actually the regular monthly meeting time for the LC Spinners Interest group down at the studio (408 Depot St, Asheville, Western NC). 

    I didn’t take a single picture at the event, so some of the photos you see are from other times.  I had the urge to snap photos you see, but my hands kept moving to the spinning wheel instead. 

    Spinning Interest Group at Local Cloth (June 2023). Photo by Susette Shiver

    My first spinning wheel. Photo by Susette Shiver

    In preparation for the event, all the long tables had been pushed back to form a rectangle.  Inside the rectangle chairs were arranged to face inwards, forming a large circle.  Twenty two spinners assembled together with all but a few bringing spinning wheels. Unbelievably, of the 19 women spinning (one couldn't because she was missing a piece of her wheel assembly, and two didn't spin because they were the guest speakers).  In all, only two of the wheels were identical: a small type of e-spinner.  About 5 participants brought e-spinners and the rest brought portable wooden floor models, all different yet similar: wheel that goes round, tension to control the spinning process, and foot treadles to generate rotation.  What is an e-spinner?  Rather than spinning wheels with one or two treadles worked with the feet to generate the spin, the e-spinners rely on electricity: plug-in or battery pack.

    The fiber colors were wonderful.  Everyone had different types of batts, roving, rolags, or top to spin.  All the fiber was hand dyed. I was plying yarn using the chain ply method, Beth spun art yarn, Lorena was using a long draw.  Some folks were novice spinners, some lapsed spinners, and many were long-time spinners; everyone spun while chatting or listening.  

    Hand dyed fiber for spinning. Photo by Susette Shiver.  The results of participation in the Dye Lab monthly get-together at Local Cloth.

    When all were settled down, Judi Jetson introduced herself (instigator of the Spinning Interest Group, major mover of LC and longtime spinner), then everyone introduced themselves in turn. Finally, our guests spoke. Martha Owen from the John C. Campbell Folk School spoke about her teaching and roles at the Folk School and how she lives the fiber and banjo life in the country. Martha then introduced Elizabeth Johnston (shetlandhandspun on Instagram).

    Elizabeth Johnston (middle) in Detroit area "wooly" gathering.  Her pattern is displayed in different colors. (Photo from Martha Owen)

    Elizabeth is from Shetland and teaches at the Folk School with Martha. In between teaching they often tour together giving workshops and lectures whilst spreading information via their works. Elizabeth has many personally knitted examples of traditional Fair Isle knitting. Sometimes she is laughingly accused of being too contemporary in her pattern designs. She brought to show us an example of a hand spun, dyed, and knitted Hap, a Fair Isle Allover sweater, and one of their Shetland fleeces.  Wonderfully soft it was and full of lanolin (grease).

    Click link here to see Shetland sheep and the scenery. 

    Elizabeth and others feeling a Shetland fleece. Photo from Martha Owen.

    Shetland Islands. Photo link here.

    Elizabeth hand processes the fleece, then spins lace weight yarn and yarn for her Fair Isle sweaters, hats, haps, and dags.  She uses natural dyes to create colors, and tones of brown, grey, and white come directly from the undyed fiber.  

    What are the meanings of Allover, Fair Isle, hap, and dag?  Illustrations and explanations can be found on Elizabeth's Instagram page

    • Shetland Allover (Fair Isle knitted Shetland sweater with a pattern that is all over the sweater and not just on the yoke, for example), 
    • Haps (lace Shetland blankets for babies), 
    • Dags (fingerless mittens)

    Martha Owen wearing an Allover, click here.

    We were able to view her slides and had the opportunity to ask questions on the above (new to some of us) words such as hap and dap!  A few years ago, SpinOff magazine published several articles with photographs that tell more of her story (Elizabeth Johnston, 2017 and others)

    Did you know that Shetland wool from Shetland is rather much finer (the fiber diameter is smaller) and softer in general than the Shetland wool grown in the US. This is principally because of the diet, genetics, and other sheep life factors. The fleece are much cleaner because of the lack of air pollution that can stick to fleece and cause dirt to stick. There is no dirt or leafy matter there, so-to-speak, since the sheep roam on gorse and the soil is peaty. The peat bits more easily fall away during cleaning and spinning, unlike other vegetable matter that catches in the fleece. The gorse sticks mainly to the belly and neck which is separated from the rest of the fleece. On rare occasions, skirting the fleece results in a handful of thistle (ouch!). The wind is strong, trees are rare, growing only in very sheltered spots such as adjacent to a house. It is windy, cold, and wet much of the time in Shetland. Wool clothing is warm and can be manipulated to maximize retaining heat by choice of spinning and knitting techniques. Spinning Shetland wool "in the grease" keeps your hands coated in lanolin, ...nice!

    Enough for now, but I want to explore the differences between Fair Isle, stranded, Intarsia, pattern, and double knitting in the future!

    let's spin!

    Susette Shiver

  • 21 Oct 2023 11:05 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    The Virtual (V)-Handwork Circle Zoom attendees meet every 2nd, 4rth, and 5th Thursdays from 1-3 pm.  Everyone is welcome to attend, just sign up so that you get the link!  Susette Shiver organizes this portion of the Handwork Circle, but an overlapping set of folks prefer the in person comradery at the Local Cloth studio and the ability to touch and see handworks in progress.  Ceil Jensen and Rebecca Norris are the mainstays at the in person meetings. 

    The zoom loyalists have a different set of advantages compared with the in person handwork circle. One major delight is the impromptu ability to run and get something in the house or studio to show and discuss.

    Katya is producing these small detailed shapes for a larger project she is working on.

    Tina embroidered a photo printed on cloth and is working on another. This one is sentimental--a photo of Tina and her brother she recently finished.

    Ceil was showing us aspects of a priest's stole she is making for her book project.  The design rests on historical themes including sculls which you can see just above her head hanging from the door.  She is working from her small studio where she has collections of pottery and handmade items related to her book in progress.  This book will have an extensive collection of handmade items illustrating the lives of her ancestral Poles migrating to the Detroit area. 

    In the handwork circle we like to talk about our ongoing creative and craft projects. Sharing them with our friends over zoom is satisfying even though the visual is less accurate than in person (see previous Handwork Blogs at this Local Cloth blog site).

    I took a screen shot of Martha's project that is almost done. She later sent me a photo.

    We share screens to see actual photos.  We commiserate.  We support each other.  We critique our works.  We save commute time and depending upon where we live that time can be considerable. It is crazy fun to meet up with a Zoom attendee for the first time in person! (we are a much less formal in our home settings compared with our "going out" clothes). 

    I am looking forward to this afternoon’s meeting!


  • 08 Sep 2023 11:36 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)


    Coming October 20-22, 2023

    Here is a correction to the initial version of this blog on SAFF! 9/19/2023

    Don't be fooled by this link as I was: where you see a link at the bottom to ...event-schedule/  where "coming in October" is displayed.  That link was never updated

    INSTEAD make sure you click on the "SAFF 2023 Information" in red at the TOP of the page.  This is what you will see (below).  Be sure to sign up for classes.

    In the pull down menu you will see the correct links but they won't be correct in the boxed links lower on the page.

    So many things to do and see.  What to do first?  It depends on what interests you most: classes, events such as sheep herding, demonstrations?  Walk into a auditorium space and be knocked over by the grand, copious, extensive, unbelievable vendor displays of fiber for felting and spinning, yarns to knit and crochet, yarn shops moved lock stock and barrel to the vending space (it seems to me), rug hooking, weaving, hand made fiber items, tools for working with fiber, and so on. 

    I like to visit the animals and hear the sounds they make.  Totally weird and amazing if you never have heard them. And of course, each breed of sheep or goat, for example, looks so different.  How about an angora goat (mohair) compared with a Jacob conservation breed sheep (wool)?

    As a knitting and crocheting enthusiast I have spent previous years at the SAFF trying out different yarns. I bought my first merino roving there with the notion that I might like to try felting.  That's not the only possible new hobby that I saw demonstrated.  At a spot where the vendor was working on an Australian Locker Hooking project, I found she sold all the necessary materials for joining in.  

    I have also established an ongoing relationship with vendors that don't  live close by.  I wanted more of a particular type of knubby cotton yarn that I haven't seen in stores and was able to order more. 

    Do you want to buy a fleece and start from scratch?  This is a good place to shop and experience the array of choices. 

    Lots of other vendors sell finished products in addition to offering raw materials and you might fall in love with some beautifully knitted baby booties as I did.

    Are you competitive?  Enter the competition by clicking here. There are lots of categories to chose from.

    *! Seek out the Local Cloth table which will have information on our non-profit organization centered in Asheville.

    • Local Cloth is a non-profit whose motto is "growing the fiber economy".
    • The surrounding 100 mile radius comprises our Blue Ridge Mountain Fiber Shed where our members, including the farmers and artists, live and work. 
    • And, Local Cloth volunteers will be running free "Make and Take" mini-workshops there.

    SAFF starts on the Friday; classes start early on Thursday (no retail or events events).

    Note for the SAFF that at the Ag Center only gate 7 is open. On the Events page at the SAFF webpage you will find entry price and directions to the Ag Center in Fletcher where the SAFF fair is held.

  • 26 Jul 2023 10:48 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Caps for Cancer at the NC Mountain State Fair is now posted online.  The fair runs September 8-17, 2023 at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher where the caps we have been working on will be displayed. 

    This competition event is in its first year at the fair and should run at least the next three years.  Caps are entered in the competition or are just plain donated.  All of the caps will be delivered to the Messina Cancer Centers of Western North Carolina.  

    We (Judi Jetson, Martha Brandon, Katya Krenov-Hoke, and Susette Shiver) have been making hats over the summer.  We are finished!  I delivered 26 hats to the Fairgound yesterday Sept 5 under the name of Local Cloth  While there, I saw the display site as hats were being added.

    Our group made a straightforward donation, so the hats will be displayed but not judged. 

    The display is in the EXPO building:

    Here are our hats!

  • 10 May 2023 11:42 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    5/16/23 last updated

    Dear HC friends

    We are starting our second collaborative project. If you want to join in and I don't know about it yet (you haven't received an email), let me know by emailing Susette Shiver.

    Tori is going to start, Since she was interested in knowing the order beforehand, lets all think about it and sign up below (It's not binding!!  We are a flexible group): think about whether you care to be in the early vs. latter stages of the project.  If no one wants the 2. position I am happy to take it on, Tori, as you are just down the road!

    Remember, we aren't in any rush or deadline, and each artist adds after the piece "speaks to them"! As before, I will finish and prepare for hanging unless someone else volunteers.

    1. Tori, thinking "Japanese kimono fabrics and maybe some Sashiko"

    2. Susette

    3. Katya

    4. Paddy

    5. Ceil

    6. Rebecca

    7. Mary

    Carolyne has been busy on Thursdays and so has decided not to participate in this second collaborative project.  

    Tori began with silk pieces and slow-stitched appliques.  Susette took up the piece and added stitched hemispheres.  The stitching yarn is undyed silk/cotton (45%/55%, respectively). The navy linen was discharged in the presence of indigo to create the pattern.


    Next, Katya, then Paddy!  Stay tuned.   

    It is in Ceil's hands now, 7/6/2023

  • 26 Mar 2023 11:12 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Theresa Stenersen, Franklin, NC, Member since 2022

    Spelling Tuesday Farm, with a breeding flock of Icelandic sheep.

    Theresa is one of those people that can have a full time job as an Child Care Health Consultant with a nursing background, be a fiber farmer with 18 Icelandic sheep in Franklin, and take classes and expand her fiber art repertoire in spinning and weaving.

    Although her father’s mother and sisters were avid knitters (and crocheters, quilters, even doing some tatting!), Theresa didn’t really learn to knit until later in life.  However, the family was quite close and her grandmother who lived until 101 years old was attended by her knitting daughters at home every day. Down time was spent gathering round and knitting, remembers a young Theresa.

    Her first zap of inspiration into the fiber world was actually what Theresa calls “reversed engineered”.  In the late 1990’s, she attended a sheepdog competition.  This inspired her.  But, to have a sheepdog, one first must have animals to herd. Once you have the sheep, you have a lot of fleeces, and so on.  (More later on the number of fleeces in various stages of processing that have been collected into her basement). 

    Somewhere along the line, Theresa met her husband who is Norwegian and a software engineer.  She moved to Norway and lived there from 1999-2011. During this period, she knitted quite a few items to keep herself warm in that cold climate. 

    As a means of sharing her life with her parents back in the states, and with the help of her husband, Theresa began her own knitting blog and website.  If you recall, during that era, the idea of blogging was just getting going and few blog sites were out there to enjoy. Soon a “web ring” developed of knitters with about 30 websites.  This was essentially a group of folks that became friends over the internet and around knitting.  Amy Singer, the instigator of saw Theresa’s blogs and invited her to contribute technique articles, “Techniques with Theresa”.  Cool huh? 

    Theresa has also contributed a pattern tDebbie Stohler’s “Stitch ‘n Bitch” and went on to start Norway’s version of Stitch ‘n Bitch (in Norwegian which she learned being plunged directly into the culture). She and a friend are currently hosting a Stitch ‘n Bitch in Franklin at the Rathskeller Coffee House and Pub on the first Sunday of every month.

    Currently, Theresa and her husband live in her grandparent’s old house in Franklin.  This was where she became a fiber farmer following up on her interest in sheep dogs.  In Iceland, these sheep provide fiber, meat, and sheep’s milk. Did you know that there are four types of cheese that are traditionally made from sheep’s milk: Feta, Roquefort, Manchego, and Pecorino? More commonly in the United States, only fiber and meat are used from the sheep and that is what Theresa and her husband Sid provide. However, as I mentioned early on, much of the fiber from Theresa’s flock of Icelandic sheep have ended up in her basement. 

    Recently, Theresa attended the first of the Fiber Farmer Listening Sessions at Local Cloth.  There she met Jonathon and Ben Hearn, a sheep shearing father/son team. (Their partner, Charlotte Crittenden, has been shearing for Spelling Tuesday farm for a few years now.)  She also networked with other farmers and artists. Theresa is hoping to move the fiber from her basement into projects and sales with the help of Local Cloth and its members.

    Learning to spin and weave is taking up more of Theresa’s time at present so that she can begin to effectively use her own fiber.  Icelandic sheep are interesting in that their fiber consists of an under layer of short, soft fiber (thel) and a top layer of longer, coarser fiber (tog). These fibers can be separated, for example, using a comb or spun together into Lopi, which the Icelandic word for unspun or lightly spun yarn. Alone, the tog is quite useful for projects requiring greater strength such as in rugs, or as a weaving warp. Theresa has recently joined the Nonah Weavers in Macon County.  They have a large space and multiple looms available for use, and many experienced weavers who can provide mentoring.

    Follow along on new adventures – and baby lambs! -  on Spelling Tuesday Farm’s Instagram account.

    Interview by Susette Shiver

  • 24 Mar 2023 10:54 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    May 2023

    We have finished our first Handwork Circle collaborative project! It is on display at Local Cloth Studio, 408 Depot St, Asheville NC. Note the circle!!  Also, can you find the brillig and the slithy toves? [Jabberwocky, by LEWIS CARROLL, "  ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves  " ] They are thanks to Rebecca Norris, the literary type. These and all the other elements are interwoven into a piece that was created impromptu as we passed it from one to another and let it speak to us individually.

    Google us at Local Cloth Handwork Circle to see blogs about our activity (or scroll through the blogs).

    Our second project is just beginning if you want to join in (email Susette Shiver).

    The Handwork Circle piece on display at Local Cloth (at the back on the left of the studio).  The participants are embroidered around the edges.  

    Susette is showing Judi Jetson elements of the piece.


    This is an ongoing piece that will be finished when our new project is finished!!  The v-handwork group had the idea it would be fun to start a project that would be handed off in turns to all who wanted to join.  I started off by giving Carolyn Morrison some hand dyed linen pieces left from my previous projects.  

    The order of participants: (in progress)

    1. Susette Shiver
    2. Carolyne Morrison
    3.  Ceil Jensen
    4. Katya Hoke
    5. Paddy Lynch
    6. Rebecca Norris
    7. Tori Masaki


    1. Susette

    2. Carolyne

    3. Ceil


    7. Tori

  • 24 Mar 2023 10:11 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    This is a blog that is ongoing and will be updated with subsequent discussions, decisions, resources, patterns, etc as we move forward!  Check back periodically!

    Feb 23, 2023

    The handwork circle (both in-person and v-handwork settings) have been busy this year initiating two new projects.  The first, a collaborative fiber project I will blog about separately.  The second opportunity is to make caps for cancer patients that have received chemotherapy and lost hair.  

    The subgroup of cap-makers from our handwork circle include: Martha Branden, Gail Cable, Katya Hoke, Susette Shiver, Ceil Jensen, Paddy Lynch, Mary Kelley, Kathleen Lewis, Tori Masaki, Victoria Robertson, and Sara (with tunis, we need her last name!!)

    This year the NC Mountain State Fair (third largest in NC) occurs September 8-17, 2023.  A new category for competition is the "Caps for Cancer" in which all the caps will be donated to Messina Cancer Center in WNC.  

    The information that we have at present is detailed in this pdf document.  Our group plans to enter in the Club Showcase Class including in the crochet, knitting, and constructed categories.

    Yesterday, Thursday Feb 23, at our zoom v-handwork get-together, we discussed for the first time this project.  We all agreed that knitting colors for different cancers was "too much information".  Privacy might be preferred by the patients when out in public! 

    Secondly, some of us prefer knitting or crocheting while others prefer constructing interpreted by us as sewing hats.  We will not use wool or chenille as suggested (see above pdf document link). The caps should be silk, soft baby acrylic possibly or cotton, tencel, or bamboo. 

    We all like fleece hats, and Ceil has several that she wears that would be excellent to sew (with the serged seams to the outside so that the inside is perfectly smooth and soft) with perhaps a ribbon on the brim or other types of decorations added. The hat can be worn in various ways and looks almost like a beret but with a band that can be pulled down as far as you like. 

    Silk caps or caps with a turban-like design with added embellishments were proposed as well as reversible, and other types. 

    We closed agreeing that we all could try and identify hat styles, patterns, and resources to consult that might be useful.  Before launching into making multiples, we will make prototypes to test and discuss. And, we will strive to make hats of the recommended sizes with the dimensions listed in the above link. 

    The deadline for delivery to the fair is August 25th, so the hats will be collected to one place and then delivered to the county fair on that date.  The fair organizers promise that all the hats will be displayed during the fair and then donated to Messina Cancer Center.  


    Hats for consideration prior to choosing ones for prototypes

    Here are some hats for consideration:

    1.  2.  

    3.  4.   5.   6.   7.   


    Knots of Love website with patterns-all about cancer caps

    Ravelry, Chemo Caps
  • 21 Mar 2023 11:57 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    The Spinning Study group of Local Cloth meets once per month to congregate, share spinning projects and a variety of fiber preparation and spinning techniques. 

    This past Sunday afternoon the topic was how to diz.  I learned to spin during the 2020 pandemic with a couple of lessons to get me started. Since I was out-of-commission for a year I have missed many wonderful spinning study group sessions.  This particular diz event is my first time back in person at the Local Cloth studio with the group.  It seems everyone was interested as there was quite a crowd.  Most did not have much experience with the use of a diz to make roving, but several who did shared their knowledge and equipment.  We explored with hands on the  results from using a diz to make roving from blended fibers generated with a blending board, hackle, or a drum carder.  Sally Thomas showed us how to make diz directly from combed fiber still attached to the comb (Fig 1-3) . 

    Time out!

    What is a diz?  This link takes you to a Spin Off article with lots of information on the diz and what is used for.  Even more information on the design of dizzes and the outcome of using one that impacts the type and thickness of the yarn that is spun is found at this link.

    Fig. 1. An example of a diz and a button that could be used as a diz.


    What is a hackle? A quick search found these interesting links, from Majacraft, a maker of spinning tools, and from Spin Off and one on blending colors using a hackle.  I have so much reading to do.  But, we just jumped in and everyone tried several approaches.

    Fig. 2. A hackle for blending fiber.

    What is a blending board?  Here is a YouTube movie from Ashford illustrating blending different colors or types of fibers using the blending board.  Of course Spin Off magazine has an excellent article on generating rolags for spinning yarn using a blending board. We used the diz to create roving instead of rolags.

    What is a drum carder? Here are some photos of various drum carders.  Drum carders can be manual crank or electric, you apply fiber at one end and a small drum aids loading of the fibers onto a larger drum. The action of the drum blends and aligns the fibers.

    Judi Jetson chose Corriedale locks and aligned them blunt cut end to tip end.  Then Sally Thomas demonstrated loading locks onto the comb and combed locks using two combs to transfer fiber back and forth. This eventually resulted in neatly combed fiber (see below).  

    Next, Sally used the diz to pull fiber from the comb. Sally has a wonderful small kit of dizzes in different colors with tiny to larger holes. 

    Fig. 3. Judi Jetson sorting locks blunt cut end to tip for loading comb; first lock placed on comb blunt end to back of comb, tip in left hand.


     Fig 4. Combing the fiber, and locking down the fiber-loaded comb to the table.


    Fig. 5. To start dizzing, a crochet hook is used to pull fiber through the hole; just starting to pull fibers through hole; a later stage when dizzing is nearly complete.


    Fig. 6. A fine roving that is easy to spin is the result.

    I blended off-white Shetland wool with small amounts of various colors i wool on a small drum carder.  Then I used a washer (found in a tool box) to diz roving off of the drum carder. The Shetland I had purchased locally from Hidaway Farms Shetlands & Icelandics, Hendersonville, NC. 

    Fig. 7. Shetland roving; blended fiber from drum carder  which was dizzed straight from the drum carder; spinning the fiber; yarn spun and plyed using the chain ply technique.


    Fig. 8.  The spinning study group in action.



    Photos by Susette Shiver and Kathleen Lewis

  • 21 Mar 2023 11:53 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Vendor Spotlight:
    Betty Hilton-Nash, BHN Designs

    Since Betty was 8 years old and her mother taught her how to sew, she has been a textile person. In addition to being a tapestry weaver for the past 30 years, one of her textile explorations involves dyeing silk, rayon and bamboo scarves and rayon tunics.

    She has always been fascinated with color, its effect on the eye and the emotions. She starts with a white scarf and adds color randomly, and with intent, using Shibori resist techniques. She loves the spontaneity of the process. She works intuitively, reacting to the first color applied in deciding what color to apply next. She has recently added rayon tunics, which she dyes using a 3-color immersion process, employing block resist or banded resist Shibori techniques for a decorative element. She uses primarily fiber reactive dyes along with indigo.

    A scarf is the perfect size canvas on which to record a creative moment. It forces the artist to put their first and best effort on the fabric. The scarf allows the wearer to express their creativity in pairing with an outfit as well as experiencing the luxury of fine fabrics next to their skin. She has been pairing these scarves with the new tunic line to achieve a complete look for the buyer.

    Betty sells silk scarves, rayon tunics and skirts, bamboo socks and small tapestries in the shop.

    Image above: Betty Hilton-Nash

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