In prior generations, skills such as spinning, weaving, and knitting were routinely handed down from generation to generation, which enabled family members of all ages to work together on a daily basis to make cloth for clothes and household items out of the cotton, flax and wool they produced.
The Ploughshare offers classes on knitting or crocheting as well as on weaving (both on a floor loom and on a simple rigid heddle loom), on spinning various fibers (cotton, flax, wool) using either a simple drop spindle, support spindle, or a wheel. Our classes are unique in the sense that they offer a complete curriculum—and not just individual classes focusing on isolated projects. The goal is not only to teach the basic skills but to bring students to a point where they are free to practice their craft at home at an advanced level without instruction, and to use the knowledge they have gained either to pursue a rewarding hobby, to develop a self-sustaining lifestyle or, even, to begin a cottage industry.
Guest Instructor Workshops
This year Joanne Hall will be teaching classes at the Fiber Craft Shop in February and October.4
In our crocheting classes, you will learn the basics of crochet, including how to read a crochet pattern, and you will make a variety of items. With the skills that you learn in the classes, you will then be able to crochet a variety of projects at home, such as blankets, scarves, hats, discloths and even sweaters.
By learning to knit, you can make coats, socks, gloves, hats, sweaters, scarves and other useful items. Knitting is very portable, and it’s a very enjoyable craft to do together with friends or family. Our knitting classes, will take you step-by-step through mastery of the basic stitches and the making of various projects. In our more advanced classes, you’ll learn how to design and make sweaters with your choice of color patterns and texture, using any weight yarn, to fit any size person.14
Traditionally, all types of woven fabric were hand-spun and hand-woven. Hand spinning, using a drop spindle or a spinning wheel, was an essential daily activity. In our classes, you’ll learn how to prepare your fibers and spin wool, cotton and flax using either a drop spindle, a support spindle or a spinning wheel.
Weaving on the Floor Loom
Cloth for clothing and shelter, along with the looms with which to weave it, has always been considered essential for man’s survival. The floor loom offers many advantages over simpler looms and is very practical for home use. In our classes, you will learn the skills to weave on a floor loom, and the projects that you weave will reinforce these skills as you advance.
Weaving on the Rigid Heddle Loom
To weave cloth, it’s not necessary to have a large, complex loom. Many weavers today use simple looms, such as the rigid heddle loom. It is a simple and inexpensive two-harness loom that is easy and fun to use, very portable and very versatile. The goal of our weaving classes is to take you from the very beginning stages of warping up and weaving on your loom through more advanced levels, where you’ll learn complex designs, double weaving and tapestry.13
All about Sheep
This seminar will cover shearing with hand shears as well as skirting and washing the fleece in preparation for spinning.