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Handspinning: The Art of Letting Go

  I once took my spinning wheel to a nearby farm for a weekend event. People traveled from urban areas to see, taste, and touch local agriculture. I sat under my canopy selling yarn and offering spinning demonstrations while looking out over a corral of alpacas. A man and woman on holiday from the East Coast eyed my wheel with curiosity. When I asked if either of them would like to try it the woman excitedly sat down. I helped her feel the rhythm of the wheel and the movement of the roving. She quickly progressed to drafting when I noticed the tension mounting in her shoulders and brow. The roving was moving faster than she wanted. Her response was to grasp it tighter,...

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Shetland

Ewes from Ananda Hills Farm Shetland wool has a rich and time honored history of devotion from its shepherds, including some of our own right here in the Pacific Northwest. Ananda Hills Farms, Whoamule Farm, and Thistle Hill Farm are neighbors to Abundant Earth Fiber and producers of the wool used to spin the 2016 Shetland Project. This project is more than just locally raised wool, though. It is a window into a remarkable breed that articulates the abundant nurture of our earth.  In a world where white is the dominant color of commercially processed wool, Shetland offers a wonderfully diverse pallet of natural color. The breed recognizes a mind boggling aray of colors and markings. It is impossible to...

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A Girl and Her Mill

My name is Lydia Christiansen, I own and operate Abundant Earth Fiber, a small textile mill located on Whidbey Island. If you drive about 35 miles north from Seattle and cross the cool waters of the Puget Sound on the Mukilteo ferry, you will find yourself in the rural town of Clinton. Just a few blocks from the water, down a quiet residential street is the unassuming building where I turn wool into yarn.  The entrance takes you through a small room facing the water which is the epicenter of my creativity. This is where my single treadle Lendrum spinning wheel and four-harness Leclerc Artistat floor loom (two pieces which arguably started it all) are used regularly in designing, testing,...

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Jabberwock's Child

Cotton and Silk Embroidery on Denim, by Lydia Christiansen Field Notes: 10/4/2016 I have spent many bedtime tuck-ins reciting Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky to my children. I don’t remember exactly when it started, but there came a point when I discovered I could use my voice to experiment with different perspectives on the words about fear, stereotyping, and how we can sometimes get tricked into celebrating both. I recently doodled this embroidery, and couldn’t resist the urge to write it a poem about my response to Jabberwocky. I don’t have any significant experience studying or writing poetry, but as a medium, I love it. Jabberwocky in particular reaches out to me with words unrestrained by familiarity, which opens the door to many possible meanings....

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