Spinning With Amy Tyler at Interlochen College
|Amy likes to spin… a lot! Check out this beautiful stash. Photo: Amy Tyler.|
|Amy's Wool into Stone Afghan was featured in Spin-Off Winter 2015. She used natural colored fibers to knit Michigan Petoskey stones. Photo: Amy Tyler.|
Next week, handspinning instructor Amy Tyler will be teaching a beginning spinning workshop at the Interlochen College of Creative Arts in Michigan. The college has a robust summer schedule of adult art programs that range from Chamber Music Camp to Introduction to Coil Basketry. Amy's Beginning Spinning workshop on August 25th still has a few spaces left for lucky future spinners. Known for her enthusiasm and blend of creativity and skill-building, Amy will introduce students to drafting, plying, fiber preparation, and wheel maintenance. I asked Amy what her own beginning spinning experience was like:
"I learned how to spin in 1999, I think. I was living in Omaha, Nebraska, then. I'd been an avid knitter for a decade or so at that point, and I'd known for years that I wanted to learn to spin. I finally tracked down the Omaha Weavers and Spinners Guild. I attended one of their monthly spinning meetings, dragging with me a drop spindle and some not-so-nice wool that I'd purchased as a kit. I asked the spinners if they could show me how to use it. As it turned out, they all preferred spinning on wheels to using drop spindles. One of the spinners offered to sell me some wool fiber (that was much nicer than the stuff I'd purchased), and another spinner offered to lend me her spare wheel for a couple months—an Ashford Traditional. They showed me the basics, and I haven't stopped since. I owe a great deal to those generous spinners. They changed my life."
Interlochen College offered its first Fiber Arts Weekend last fall as part of an effort to support the development of a northern Michigan fibershed network. Amy taught at the event, as well as in several other workshops through the Adult Arts Program. She spreads the spinning-love as often as possible in Michigan and beyond! Later this year, you can find her at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, the first ever Fiber Arts Fest at Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio, and more. You can keep up with her on her blog.
|Happy handspun ready for Amy's next project. Photo: Amy Tyler.|
And just for fun, what have you been spinning this summer, Amy?
"Early this summer I spun an interesting blend of huacaya alpaca and Babydoll Southdown wool, from nearby fiber artist Tracie Herkner. It was one of the strangest blends I've spun because it acted like alpaca—long, silky, nonelastic, soft—and it acted like Babydoll Southdown—short, superelastic, not so soft. I spun some fingering-weight yarn. Right now, I'm finishing up a pair of socks out of that yarn. I am thrilled with how they are turning out: elastic and silky. They make me wish for snow.
"Then I spun some wool yarn from a sheep named Lucy. I'd purchased her fleece for several years in a row, but she died in 2014, so I only have a bit of Lucy left. She was a mixed-breed sheep: Romney, Corriedale, and Border Leicester. I designed and knitted a Christmas stocking from Lucy. You'll see that in the upcoming Winter 2016 issue of Spin-Off."