My grandmother taught me to knit when I was eight and it had always been a favorite hobby. As an adult I became intrigued with the idea of creating an article of clothing from scratch - from fiber in its raw form to finished piece. A number of years ago my husband surprised me with a gift of an antique spinning wheel (circa 1801)! Not knowing how to spin or whether the wheel even worked, I sought help and advice from the Cape Cod Spinners Guild. I joined the guild, learned to spin and found my passion!
As with most things in life, one road leads to another. As my interest in spinning grew so did my knowledge of fiber and its many diverse uses. I began experimenting with needle felting* and sculpting with wool to create a range of realistic to whimsical creatures and eventually wool “paintings”. The next turn in the road was felted soap (soap and a washcloth in one!). Unable to find a suitable soap for felting I learned how to make my own and I now produce a line of handcrafted soaps, including several varieties of beer soap (made with our local Cape Cod Beer).
Hence was born Woodside Woolies, a fiber arts business located in West Barnstable where I reside with my husband, and our fiber producing Angora (mohair) goats and Angora rabbits. Their coats, sheared twice a year, are used to make much of the yarns I spin.
I continue to create knitted items, including unique knitted and crocheted jewelry.
I have my spinning wheel on hand at the shanty for demonstrations. I try to educate those interested, about the history of spinning, the many sources of fiber and its versatility in creating practical items as well as works of art.
(*”Needle felting is the process of interlocking wool fibers with a barbed needle. The barbs catch the scales on the fiber and cause them to tangle and bind [felt] together. To create a 3D sculpture, it can take hours of work and literally thousands of stabs from start to finish.”)