From Loving Hands – Sharing Stories that Honor the Past

by Judy Newland

Schacht Spindle Company just celebrated a 50th anniversary and it got me thinking about the people who helped me get started in spinning, weaving, and other textile pursuits. We never get to where we are without a helping hand and honoring those who came before – the ancient ones and those closer in time – enrich our textile history and culture. There is no better way to do this than sharing stories.

I recently moved across country, and my two big looms stayed behind with wonderful friends to start the next chapter in their story. I am the proud owner of a shiny new Schacht Wolf Pup loom. As I worked to assemble it I was also knitting a cowl with very special handspun yarn, a silk and wool blend dyed with madder, that I have saved for years. It was spun by my first spinning mentor, Edith Marsh, who was also a weaver, knitter and natural dyer. She loaned me that same spinning wheel in a box to take with me to the Toronto HGA meeting long ago. Her handspun yarn is a gift of remembrance.


I decided that my first weaving on my new Wolf Pup LT would be made from that same handspun, in honor of Edith and all who freely pass on their knowledge. She was the consummate example of our guild’s motto Each One, Teach One, her generosity a model for all to follow. I have tried to honor her legacy by sharing my experience and enthusiasm. I bought my own spinning wheel kit, and still keep it by my side for the long rainy winters in the Northwest, but my “extra” spinning wheel lives with a friend in Colorado who is new to spinning. So, on we go, sharing and teaching those who come into our lives with loving hands.

As an anthropologist I often yammer on about the critical importance that history and culture play in our textile continuum. All art, craft, and making come from culture and reflects those who are part of that culture. Schacht Spindle Company has a culture and a history. They celebrated 50 years of hard work in an ever-changing textile world. There is a huge group of young and enthusiast textile kids out there and we all need to band to together to keep things moving forward. You have a history that surrounds your textile work and you can honor that by sharing the history and the culture that grew your interest in textiles with the next generation.

Cloth is part of our past, present and future. It can tell the stories of our lives in a beautiful way.

Textiles Through Time, a video about my textile journey can be found on YouTube.

Judy Newland

Judy Newland is a textile artist who has a passion for history and culture.