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Weaver Profile: Birgit Greer
June 12, 2016
It’s all my daughter’s fault! I began spinning many years ago when my daughter gave me a fleece from her Future Farmers of America summer project. The fiber was way too short to spin, but I did not know that and loved the way it felt. Soon, I was looking for a spinning wheel. Garage sales and second-hand shops scoured, I had nearly given up when my husband surprised me on my birthday with a spinning wheel. Oh! My! God! I had wanted a spinning wheel for a long time, but having a huge box plopped in front of me, I was happy but also afraid that I would not be able to figure out how to spin at all.
I had never seen a spinning wheel up close, nor did I have any friends who spun yarn. But learn I did, from books and through trial and error. In the beginning, I was just happy if my yarn did not fall apart, spinning a lumpy and bumpy novelty yarn. With time I learned to treadle evenly, steadily draft the fibers in my hand, and more. Most of all, I had fun!
That day was the beginning of a long-time love affair with spinning, yarn, and fibers. Not only did I fall completely in love with the soothing rhythm of the spinning wheel and the textures of the various spinning fibers, but spinning led me to work for a local fiber store which, in turn, led my husband Jim and me to open our own business. Small at first, Pacific Wool and Fiber has grown from an eBay seller to a national online retailer, as well as a retail store in Newberg, Oregon. As our business grew, so grew my interest in the fiber arts. Soon, my growing stash of handspun yarn led me to learn to weave first on a rigid heddle loom and later, hooked again, on a floor loom.
Our spare bedroom, called “the studio,” now also houses two looms, one of them a Schacht Baby Wolf with a High Castle Tray (a “must-have”); a Schacht warping mill that lets me whiz through warping; and a double-ended bobbin winder that not only winds my bobbins, but does double-duty for rewinding yarn when I need to split cones for weaving. Instead of buying two cones of the same yarn, I simply use one of my (sometimes) empty spinning wheel bobbins to wind off yarn from the original cone. In this way, I can warp with two ends instead of one. Do it with a second color and I can warp with four ends.
With over a decade in the fiber arts business. I still get excited when new spinning fibers and yarns arrive. I love planning new projects. At this stage of the process, the possibilities are endless and the dreaming can begin!