My Story: Debbie Drake

Debbie Drake – The Call of the Fiber

Debbie photo

When I was a young woman, my grandmother taught me to tat and I became proficient and passionate about it over the years. Eventually, I found a wonderful group of friends on-line that shared my passion and learned of their many other fiber-related hobbies, such as bobbin-lace, knitting, weaving, spinning, and so on. They were constantly trying to expand my horizons and infect me with their passions. Though I resisted (really I did), I gradually relented to the call of the fiber that runs deep in my soul.

When my mother passed away, I inherited her seldom-used knitting needles and taught myself to knit. My fiber-friends saw my new enthusiasm and suggested spinning my own yarn. I bristled, telling them I didn’t need yet another passion. With a twinkle in their eyes, they just smiled, knowing that the allure of our craft was more compelling than their words could ever be.

One of my fiber friends eventually tempted me with the gift of some fluffy rich green merino fiber and the loan of a drop spindle to get started. The hook was set! It didn’t take me long to spin through that, search out local fiber sources, and begin the search for a spinning wheel.


I found an ad for a beautiful Schacht Matchless (1988) and my wonderful husband bought it for my birthday. We brought her home, oiled her up, and named her “Bella.” Despite her age, she spins with the easy handling and drive of a finely crafted automobile. I was so impressed with the quality of this wheel that it became impossible to resist adding both a Sidekick and a Ladybug to my “stable” when the opportunity presented itself.  I don’t really need three wheels, but can’t bear to part with any of them.

Many fibers have been transformed on these wheels – cotton, alpaca, wool, cashmere, silk, and even yak. I, too, am transformed with every rhythmic treadle and every bit of fluff that passes through my hands. What a thrill to create lovely yarn with my own hands and then to knit or weave it into another form altogether. The things we, as humans, learn about ourselves through tactile experiences (such as these) are truly invaluable.

-Debbie Drake

Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960s and its accompanying craft resurgence. Their first loom was a simple tapestry loom, a version which they still make today. Over nearly 50 years, Schacht has developed a broad range of high-quality hand weaving and hand spinning tools, including their popular Cricket Loom and Ladybug Spinning wheel. Schacht’s mission is to create beautiful and well-designed products that enhance customers’ weaving and spinning experience through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service. Schacht’s family-owned business is located in Boulder, Colorado.