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  • 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

  • 30 May 2020 11:30 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Here we are at a relaxing, exciting, informative, cozy, getting to know people better V-circle session (Do I have to type Virtual Handwork Circle?).

    Beth and Nancy hadn't met yet so there were a few introductions (both lived in Ohio) and getting to know each other chat.

    Beth was happy to see Sebette (she had missed the last two workshops when Sebette had started joining us.  It was "accidental", because Beth really got involved in what she was doing and the time just blipped by!  Unusual focus for a maker?  Nope.  We forgive her.   :)

    Next up: our let's-see-what-you-are-working on bit of the V-circle.

    Nancy is developing a workshop project that would work very well in a virtual or in person setting.  All you need is old wool sweater & scissors & cloth scraps & needle & threads!  I'd attend and the others were equally enthusiastic.  What about you all? We want her to do one at Local Cloth.

    Beth is finishing a project started last year that needed finishing. She wants that loom for a more important project and some yarn was begging to be used up... We witnessed it when she cut the piece off of the loom and were totally impressed on how long it was and the beautiful colors. Some of her wool was hand dyed and it included handspun art yarn.

    Sebette was spinning.  Sheshowed us the "before" and "after".  She has a few more bats to spin before finishing this project.  

    Do you know what impresses me?  Both Beth and Sebette who spin and weave (Sebette do you weave? I can't remember) do not knit or crochet.  Well, as a knitter and crocheter, I was flummoxed!  Sebette even mentioned that she didn't always know what to do with the yarn when she was done.  I bit my tongue (thought bubble: give it to me!!!!!!!!!).

    Here are the socks that I am working during our recent sessions. It is lovely sock yarn that I am working with:  Alegria.  

    I asked the next question and really benefitted from group knowledge (although Nancy might have been bored to tears on this one!).  What about spinning wheels for someone who has never done it?? What types have you used?  We discussed mostly electric wheels such as the Mano Electric Eel E-Spinner (that Beth started on) or the Ashford Jumbo for art yarns, maybe not for beginners, instead the regular Ashford, or the Lyndrum starter wheel.  I could go on the Anything Fiber Facebook page "in search of" to look for a wheel for beginners.  This is a relief to have a small number of wheel suggestions to begin investigating.  When I searched for spinning wheels for beginners, Google returned 52,000 results in 54 seconds.

    We saw Beth's triangle loom on the wall which was loaded with warp ready to go in beautiful blues and greens.  She confessed to having gotten bored with it so now has become a wall hanging.  I had loved seeing Marcia Kummerle's mohair and wool shawls that had been made and designed on a triangle loom at Good Fibrations.  I am hoping to post in another blog the links to the videos she made as a part of the Local Cloth studio tour she presented a few weeks ago.  Wonderful goats and yarn and shawls!

    Speaking of acquiring more yarn (were we?), Beth mentioned that Local Cloth might host a yarn sale.  It could even be outside adjacent to the studio where social distancing, etc. would be easier and safer.  I am all for it!

    Fun fact: Susette, Beth, and Sebette all live in the same area in Leicester and have the same postman, Rex!!  He is a treasure we all agree.

  • 24 May 2020 9:17 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Time slipped away and I am writing the blog this Sunday afternoon remembering our previous Friday get-together.  I apologize if this picture was taken after you dropped out.  You know what to do! Send me a pic!

    We welcomed a new hand worker to our session, Sebette Hamil.  Sebette is actually a near neighbor of mine in Leicester!  The best part of our virtual handwork circle is that we get to meet and find out about more artists in our area.  We are lucky to live in WNC in Asheville and its surround.  Local Cloth takes in a radius of 100 miles as its fiber shed.  I found out yesterday attending the studio tour of Marcia Kummerlie that there are 500 fiber farmers in this watershed!!!  Plenty of folks to meet!

    In the process of everyone showing what they were working on, we touched on several topics, including

    • how to reinforce hand knitted socks with nylon.  Purls in town might carry it, but in searching the internet, I found a very informative article summarizing many aspects of how to and materials to use.  The internet is flooded with helpful advice! 
    • pros and cons of Noro Silk Garden yarns and where to find them (Judi it nuts about them)
    • Yummy Yarns up in Burnsville and the great yarn selection.  Susette's Hand Dyed Art (that's me) will have a pop-up shop there June 20, 2020 if the creek and the coronavirus doesn't rise!!

    Some of the folks hadn't heard the complete story of Nancy Gamon's project (see May 15, 2020 blog) and so Nancy explained more about the project she is hand stitching.  A year or two ago she and the poet Wendy McVicker were community artists-in-residence where the theme was Common Threads. Ms. McVicker is currently the poet laureate in Anthens, Ohio. Together, they focussed on  the following question with participants:  "What would you like to invite into your lives?" Those at the workshop wrote these short words/phrases down on cloth, used a colored piece of cloth as a backing/frame, and pinned them to a blank garment (mumu like dress).  Now, Nancy is painstakingly sewing each of these pieces to the garment.  We are all curious as to the final results and what words will populate this dress!  Here is an in-progress picture of the garment with the words.

    The rest of us hand workers are still working on things begun previously: a 1 piece knitted bolaro, sweater, and socks.  And this led us to consider our project bags. I mean the bags themselves!  Judi has one for every project and showed us one that a friend gave her. I would like to solicit everyone to send me a picture of one or more of their project bags or baskets!  I would like a montage of knit project bags/baskets/boxes.  Your favorites.  Why they are your favorites (susetteshanddyedart at Here is Katya's current project bag (!):

    Somehow we started discussing how to edit Zoom recordings, because who wants to listen to the extra hums and haws? This is especially relevant when recordings are to become a permanent record or to be shared publicly. Judi Jetson mentioned Camtasia (upfront software purchase, free trial period, easy to use--I concur since I used it for some training and to prepare for an article on methods with videos.).  Filmora, iMovie (on Mac) were also mentioned, but of course are not the only choices out there. 

    Judi Jetson has been shoring up on many aspects of leadership and skills to promote Local Cloth as well as the company that she still works at part-time by attending a class on social media marketing given by Sarah Benoir at JB Media.  JB Media is a local Asheville social media marketing firm.  Sarah Benoir's specialty is training crafters and artists on social media.  In addition, the JB Media (JB standing for Justin Bellamy) provides classes on how to teach on line. Great insights such as 1) don't speak for longer than 20 min at a time, and 2) have breakout Zoom groups for participants were included.  

    Another amazing thing Judi witnessed was "graphic facilitation".  The graphic artist attends a conference or meeting, converting everything (things, people, and concepts) into graphic art, with arrows and such to connect concepts.  This talented person would be something to behold in action!!!!  

    The weavers in our group found that the CONVERGENCE in Nashville is cancelled this year, rescheduled to 2022.  This led to a recollection of the fashion show part of that gathering. The most memorable was when Nick Cave presented a show showcasing his Soundsuits.  This was maybe sometime in the 1980's...  You have to see it to appreciate it!!!! We all watched together!  He is amazing, and apparently a very nice man.  The youngest of an unbelievable number of brothers who learned to sew to personalize his hand-me-down hand-me-downs.  

    I apologize for any mistakes, omissions of interesting tidbits etc! Email me with additions and pictures and corrections!

  • 16 May 2020 5:25 PM | Caroline Williford (Administrator)

    About May Artist-of-the-Month, Ann Hord-Heatherly, in her own words:

    I am a life-long lover of textiles.  I learned to sew on my grandmother’s treadle machine when I was about six years old.  She would stand by nervously, just sure I was going to sew through my finger.  (So far, thankfully, I haven’t.)  I sewed for myself, then later for my children.  When my children outgrew my sewing skills, I became interested in art quilting and appliqué.  About twenty years ago I discovered art dolls, and I have been hooked ever since.  I have had opportunities to learn from some highly accomplished doll artists... Akita Blount, Dede Triplett,  Lisa Lichtenfels, Charlie Patricolo,  Barbara Willis, Leslie Keeble, and Deborah Pope to name a few.  I belong to Go Figure, a figurative art guild, where we are always learning from each other.  

    My studio is in the basement of the farmhouse I share with my wife and a menagerie of animals including cats, dogs, goats, and chickens.  We live on what was her family farm in in the Jupiter township of North Buncombe County.  We spent most of our adult lives in Charlotte, but had dreams of moving to the mountains and renovating the old house. That turned out to be the creative endeavor of a lifetime, but we love being here and having the opportunity to bring the farm back to life.

    We introduced goats to the property in 2014, shortly after we moved here full time. That is when I became involved with Local Cloth.  I have always been interested in fiber and textiles, so raising my own animals and producing my own fiber was irresistible.  I learned quickly that farming is best accomplished with a community of supportive friends.  While I have learned a great deal from reading, that can’t take the place of an experienced friend when you need advice or help with medicating an uncooperative goat.  

    I admit to having more ideas than time and energy.  There are several dolls in various stages of completion in my studio. My loom is warped and the heddles are threaded, but I still need to sley the reed.  I have a sweater mostly knitted and pair of socks that only lack one toe.  I have eleven raw fleeces waiting to be skirted and washed, and the garden still needs to be readied for spring planting.  But the materials I ordered to try out block printing came this weekend, so there’s that.  I’ll need to live to be 130 to finish what I’ve started, but my favorite project is always the next one.  I’ve loved the variety of classes I’ve taken through Local Cloth and the people I’ve met along the way.  I feel fortunate to live in an area with such a rich heritage and vibrant creative community.

  • 16 May 2020 4:36 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    We experienced another easy going session and two new faces (Paula Entin and Nancy Gamon) plus regulars.  Paula is a quilter and has lived in Asheville for some time. Just before the pan-you-know-what, Paula had an art quilt show at the NC Arboretum.  We started to discuss various ways that one can make cords from yarn including using a double point needle and we recalled the mushroom things that we as children used to make a tubular knitted rope. 

    Nancy was working on a project sewing small pieces of cloth to a mumu type of garment.  The pieces of cloth had been created by various people, and here I get a little fuzzy and hope to ask Nancy to explain it again, but I believe workshop participants were expressing feelings using a word or two that they printed on the cloth.  This one garment will hold them all.  We thought back to the previous week to Judi Jetson's Virtual Studio tour where we saw her kimono that she made by printing reproductions of get well cards onto fabric and then sewing onto a background of red kimono fabric (see the previous blog!)

    Later in the session, after we had lost one or two to dinnertime obligations, we started talking about beads and we had some fun with show and tell, one of our favorite highlights during the meetings.  Leigh was able to pop out of the room and grab a beautiful beaded, knit kimono that she had made.  Here are some pictures! She did a wonderful impromptu modeling of the sweater.  

    Fun facts (for some maybe!!):

    • Paula and Susette went to the same high  school in Wayland, MA.
    • Nancy Gamon and Leigh Stewart just moved to the Asheville area

    We talked what folks are doing in the rest of their lives, how their textile projects are coming along, and more that I am sure I cannot remember.  See ya'll next week! 

    For those interested in the construction and more detailed pictures I include them below.

  • 09 May 2020 6:21 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    Judi Jetson of Weaverville led us (virtually) through her house to show of some of her pieces and then downstairs to her studio where she houses lots of fiber and tools with which to process and dye them.  

    Judi has taught at John C. Campbell Folk School  and of course at Local Cloth here in Asheville.  You can read more about her here.

    Fun fact: Her favorite spinning wheel is a Wee Peggy, but unfortunately it is no longer being manufactured. However, a Google search shows pictures of them and informs us that one can get them second hand.  Newer models based on it are being made as well.  

    Judi was kind enough to share some images of her work and to demonstrate some of her favorite tools.  

    This first piece is a memory coat.  Get well cards Judi received during an illness were scanned and transferred to fabric to remember all her friends and their sympathy.


    Like some of us, Judi designed and started a quilt years ago, then moved from place to place carrying it with her.  Finally, the quilt is complete!


    Here are some more of her pieces.




    Downstairs, Judi's color and idea inspiration wall is a collection of various tests and workshop pieces. These next two images are full of technique and color ideas.



    You might have guessed that Judi has a stash (ahem, a STASH)!



    Now for her favorite tools!  These relate to processing wool prior to spinning it (first two photos) and a handy spinner (to speed the efficiency of hand washing wool and yarn).  



    And a finished or nearly finished batting that she demonstrated during the tour.  Ta da!  You will have to quiz her later on felt balls, beehives, and specialty yarn.


  • 08 May 2020 6:53 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    We had a lovely visit together earlier today and a guest, Ellen Knoefel from Weaverville, told us about Project Linus and a little of its history.  We thank her for joining us!

    Originally, Project Linus was founded in 1985 to provide a pediatric hospital with security blankets for their young cancer patients.  Nearly 8 million blankets have been donated since then!    

    Project Linus of Western North Carolina is our local branch (12 counties currently participate) and it has its own history.   Project Linus WNC has provided 80,000 blankets made by 500 volunteer blanket makers. You can find the recipient organizations that hand out the blankets under history.

    There are multiple drop off areas for volunteers to bring their blankets for donation (in the Asheville area there are two, one in Weaverville and one at Joann's).  

    There is an extensive process that the volunteers carry out monthly in a work-together setting to process the blankets which includes labeling them and packaging in plastic bags.  The label that cites Project Linus contains a poem and also the maker's name!  

    Volunteers make blankets that are:

    1. new
    2. washable
    3. child friendly!

    And they can be:

    1. knitted
    2. crocheted
    3. sewn or made from fleece

    Once made, they are dropped off at specific collection locations which other volunteers collect from weekly.  Finally, they are delivered to the organization that have "ordered/requested" them to be given to the children.  

    The biggest requests are for medium (40" X 50" and up) and large (50" X 60" and up) sizes and fleece ones (single layer) are very popular.  

    Project Linus is an amazing organization that has grown out of need of the children for comfort and from the willingness and enjoyment volunteers receive for their participation.  

  • 07 May 2020 12:21 PM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

    localclothinc posted and I re-posted on Instagram and Facebook!  Are you on either?  it is a great way to share with others some of your projects and to spread the word on the Local Cloth community.  

    Our Virtual Handwork Circle tomorrow will feature Ellen Knoefel at about 5 pm in the midst of our chatting and making get-together who will describe the Project Linus.  Since we are all makers, this is one way that provides an outlet for our creative outlets and provides value to children.

    Ellen Knoefel of Project Linus is going to share how 500+ blanket makers help children in need all over WNC. For more info check out their website: and sign up for Friday’s circle at #localclothinc #localcloth #localclothavl #localclothwnc #fiberart

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