I saw my first spinning wheel when I was in grade school and it totally fascinated me. Our neighbor, Thelma, had a spinning room tucked into the corner of their barn. I remember the wheel as being very big and the room being full of light. I saw my first loom at the weaving a room in the corner of their Then, I saw an advertisement for the 1999 Mt. Bruce Sheep & Wool Festival and the rest, as they say, is history. I signed up for beginning spinning and natural dyeing classes. My daughter Mariah, then age 7, expressed an interest in spinning, too, so I signed her up for the kid’s beginning spinning class. We both took to it like ducks to water. Mariah wasn’t quite ready to spin then, but she loved the sheep at Mt. Bruce Station and feeling their wool. Now, she is able to spin, knit and weave, but prefers it when mom does it for her!
The store came into being because were no similar retail stores nearby. I was mailordering weaving supplies, so I figured other people must be having the same problem. I really wanted to touch and feel the yarn I was ordering and to be able to talk face-to-face with a real person. At first I thought I would wait until Mariah was older, then, the need to open a shop became overwhelming and so pursued it in earnest.
We opened our doors the fall of 2000 – which makes it easy to remember how old we are! Initially our shop was just one room in our current building – the room that now houses the spinning wheels, books, etc. At first we were mostly a spinning and weaving shop but that rapidly changed as I saw that knitters needed a place locally to buy supplies, too. Of course, that meant we needed more space, so we grew into another room. Before long – somewhere in the third year – we took over the entire first floor of the building and have managed to fill it to overflowing. Now, in addition to having a huge selection of yarn, we also have a dedicated classroom, a sock room with over 500 different choices in sock yarn that doubles as the heart of the shop, a weaving room where looms are available for rental, and a dye shop where we dye our own yarn. One of the things that makes Heritage unique is the number of fiber lovers that volunteer here. Their love for Heritage and the fiber arts really help make this place the special place it is. Click here for an on-line tour of Heritage.
Since the beginning I have been a strong advocate of education. When I learned to spin, it had been years since I’d knit and I only learned to spin and weave a year before I opened the store. Talk about hitting the ground running! In my quest to learn more about these new-to-me fiber arts, I have attended Convergence, Complex Weavers and SOAR a number of times. I’ve read. I’ve committed to taking one weaving class a year outside the store so I can really focus. And, I’ve nearly finished my Master Knitting program. Learning never stops – that is one of the things that I love about this field. You can be an explorer for your whole life. There is something new around every corner, with every place you visit, every garment you see in a crowd, every teacher that comes to the store.
My military background in training development dovetailed with my need to develop the educational side of Heritage. After all, I named it Heritage to remind us all of the need to pass-on our love of the fiber arts. We have held classes from the beginning. Recent years have seen the development of our Boot Camp classes, first for knitters, then for weavers and spinners. The Knitting Boot Camp curriculum is now being sold to yarn shops across the country – we are paving the way to create better knitters in a big way! Knitting Boot Camp has been followed up by our Focus classes. These classes are 6 to 8 sessions long and are topical. To date we’ve run: Focus on . . . Fit, Lace, Shetland Lace, and Fair Isle Knitting. Visit our Annual Fiber Art Show in early fall each year to see some of the garments created as a result of these classes.
Over the years Heritage has become a very special fiber community. We welcome each person that comes in our door and we do our very best to make people welcome. The bonds are strong between us all. People come to us in celebration – one knitters stopped at the shop on her way home from the hospital with her brand new baby girl. This year that baby enters kindergarten and we hope to see more of mom again! People come to Heritage as they deal with life changes – empty nest, the crushing news of cancer in themselves or a loved one, or when a job or spouse is lost or gained. I think, perhaps, my favorite sight is when the door opens and the customer steps in and just stops and seems to breathe in the color, the sense of coming home and the possibilities. Heritage is a special place for me. I hope you feel it, too, when you walk in the door.
With your help, Heritage Spinning & Weaving will continue to blossom and grow and become a resource for fiber enthusiasts for a long time to come.