Pine Ledge Fiber Studio
Handspinning, Handweaving and Hand Dyeing in Vermont
 by Joanne Littler

Contact by phone: 802-849-2876




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Studio Profile


About My Workspace



Things are always getting changed around a lot - one of the challenges of having one's studio/store in one's home - but this is how part of my downstairs space looks in the summertime.    Once it gets warm enough that we don't need to use the woodstove, the small loom takes up residence and replaces a stack of firewood.  This particular wheel and loom are my firsts and favorites: well-loved and well-used.   And this is the wheel I bring along to Farmer's Market on days I choose to demonstrate.  It's an Ashford Traditional and has been able to make every kind of yarn I've ever dreamed of. 

The rest of this room is shelving and cupboards - full of spinning fibers, yarns, and books. Upstairs the official loom room has my other two floor looms, a warping board and reel, shelves with books, notebooks and samples, and three terrific windows.  One strategically positioned so I have a view of the UPS truck (or anyone else) pulling in the driveway.  The other two let me look out into the woods while I weave.

Our upstairs hallway is lined with shelves filled with cones of weaving yarns.  Overflow is stored in the basement and barn. 

About Me

I began spinning in 1982 after attending a class presented by our local Cooperative Extension Service (in NY State).  The class was called "Working with Wool", and it was all about choosing a fleece and getting the fibers ready to spin: sorting; washing; picking; teasing; and carding the wool.  I think each of us in the class had about 10 minutes to try using a wheel.

It was certainly not meant to be much of a spinning lesson, but for me, it was plenty.  I was thoroughly entranced - and bought my wheel within a few weeks.

The following year, my husband gave me a loom - a cute little counterbalance loom, with a 27 inch weaving width.  At the time, weaving with my handspun seemed like a reasonable next step along the path spinning was leading me, but it was several years before my technical skills caught up with all the ideas I had for handspun handwoven fabrics. 

 In the meantime I practiced a lot, made presents for family and friends using commercially available yarns, and read as much as I could understand.  

 Around the time we moved from rural NY to rural VT, I was asked by a friend to weave cotton fabric (similar to my heavy weight toweling) large enough for a blanket.  Her son was involved in Civil War Re-enactments and  several of the men in his regiment were eager to have handwoven cotton blankets made to their specifications. 

Word got out and inquiries started coming in from all over the US. The business of my weaving began in earnest. 

Most recently, I find myself creating fabrics to sell at the Burlington Farmer's Market. 

Much of what I've learned through the years, I've been able to access through books and periodicals.  My handspinning changed dramatically when I decided to use the Handweaver's Guild of America COE (Certificate of Excellence) in Handspinning as a study guide. 

Instead of spinning for the fun of it, - developing the technical skills to control twist and grist suddenly became a passion. 

Let me be clear:  I have not completed the program.   It served as a most excellent guide and propelled me towards finding out (and being able to do) what I like to do best - weaving with my handspun. 

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to  attend a workshop by Paula Simmons the very first year I learned to spin.  "Spinning for Softness and Speed"  undoubtedly influenced me most as I began to develop my own spinning style. 

Only on rare occasions do I find myself in the right place at the right time to be able to attend classes with the people whose books and videos have taught me everything I've ever wanted (and thought I needed) to know.  In 1997, when SOAR came to Vermont,  I was able to attend fiber workshops led by Patsy Zawistoski, Jane Fournier, and Patricia Emerick.  In 2000  I traveled to Webs in Massachusetts to attend a weaving class taught by Virginia West,  and in 2002 I went to Harrisville, NH in order to breathe the same air as Deborah Chandler.  Really. If it hadn't been for her book, "Learning to Weave", I never would have understood that I could love measuring yarn and dressing the loom as much as (or even more than) the weaving itself.

 It may sound a bit silly, but these people are some of the rock stars of the spinning and weaving world.  They've been my teachers for the past 24 years, - whether they know it or not - and I've wanted to thank them for all the help they've given me.  I'm sorry I 'missed' Mabel Ross, but her work continues to inspire through her books and video.



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