Illinois spinners and weavers explore and share their crafts

Here's an invitation no spinner would pass up: Learn a craft that is both ancient and modern, create yarns that are perfect for your special projects, spend time instead of money, and enjoy every minute of it! These are the guidelines for members of the Hollow Tree Spinners, based in the Woodstock/Marengo/Harvard area of Illinois as far west as Rockford and extending over the Wisconsin state line. This group explores every aspect of the process of turning raw fleece into finished garments, learning any fiber art including (but not limited to) handspinning and knitting. The guild's challenge this year is to make a handspun scarf from yarn spun on a hand-powered spindle (drop, supported, or hooked stick). No foot-driven wheels or twist multipliers (such as a charkha) are to be used. The yarn may be plied using any equipment, and the technique, design, size, color, fiber, and intended recipient (man, woman, or child) of the scarf are the spinner's choice. Entries will form part of an exhibit of handspun articles at the Harvard Diggins Library and also an October show managed jointly with the guild's sister organization, the Woodstock Weavers Guild. As member Barb said in a recent newsletter, "To the uninitiated, spinning is magic. Here's a handful of fluff. Here's a disk on a stick. In between them is yarn. How did that happen?" At a recent guild demo, a young girl about the age of ten seemed fascinated with the process while watching with her mother. Barb offered to teach her to make her own yarn. And after fumbling with flicking, then learning to keep her thumbs straight while drafting, she exclaimed, "Mom! Look! I made yarn!" They walked away with a drop spindle, a ball of roving, and a beginner's book on spinning, and Barb stated "I don't know who was more proud-the girl, her mother, or me."

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