It all started so very innocently…
Jeanette and I were working for a regional agricultural newspaper – she as editor and, on this fateful day, I as photographer. We were in Taos, NM covering the Taos Wool Festival. I had taken all of the photos I figured we’d need for this particular story and snuck away behind the rows of vendor tents to take a break.
While sitting there, though, I was approached by a young lady toting a fistful of wool and a drop spindle constructed out of a dowel, a couple of CDs, a rubber grommet, and a cup hook. She introduced herself (and although we’ve talked from time to time since this day, I can never, ever remember her name), and said “You look bored. Here…” She thrust the spindle and wool into my hands, ignoring my protestations, saying “do it like this” while pantomiming the steps one would take to spin wool into yarn.
Like Mikey from the old Life cereal ads, I started slowly, but began to really get into it…
By the time we left that afternoon, I had around 3 pounds of various fibers and a half-dozen different spindles and a brand new addiction.
Since then, we’ve added weaving (Jeanette has an antique 48-inch Newcomb Weaver’s Friend rug loom passed on from her Aunt Jeannie, a 24-inch rigid heddle, a 16-inch rigid heddle, 2 7-foot trilooms, and assorted smaller trilooms), dyeing, crocheting (Jeanette and Elena have almost always crocheted, but you’ll see what I mean by added later on), knitting (Jeanette never liked knitting, but Elena took to it with a passion), locker hooking, more spinning (we had at one point more than 20 wheels, but thankfully we’re down to around 6 now), and more.
As we became proficient (we’re all a bit compulsive about mastering the things we’re passionate about), more and more people asked us to teach. In order to teach, I started making drop spindles – simple, fancy and everything in between.
Making drop spindles led to making trilooms. Trilooms need weaving hooks. Weaving hooks led to making crochet hooks… and knitting needles, and netting needles, and lace bobbins, and… you see where this is going?