Located in a charming old house, a few blocks from downtown Howell, The Spinning Loft is jammed packed with every type of spinning fiber you’d ever hope to try. From luscious blends, to dyed roving, to silk hankies, this was the biggest selection of spinning fiber I’ve ever seen. My biggest surprise and not-for-long-best-kept-secret is the broad selection of fleece (buy it by the ounce of the pound) owner and spinning expert, Beth Smith (Pink) stocks. If you want to explore long and short wools, The Spinning Loft is where you want to go. Also, Beth also specializes in spinning wheels and tools.
Thanks to Beth for inviting me to teach patterns and textures on the rigid heddle loom in her delightful shop, with fun and interesting students. When I spoke to my husband, I reported that I felt like I was at Girl Scout Camp, or rather, a sleep over. Beginning Friday evening at 6:00, we spent three hours learning about using pick-up sticks, some classmates retired to a nearby motel, while others brought out their sleeping bags and blankets and spent the night in the shop, giggling for most of it. Saturday we spent the day with more pick-up stick patterns and then my favorites, finger-controlled weaves.
Second Stop: Woven Art, East Lansing
Sunday, Beth graciously drove me to Woven Art in East Lansing, owned by Nancy McRay. Located downtown not far from the university, woven art is a weaver’s delight. The front of the shop is stocked with luscious yarns, including unusual selections such as paper yarn and stainless steel. The spacious classroom is filled with looms, as well as coned yarns a gallery featuring changing textile exhibits. The class this day was two-heddle weaving, including double weave.
Side Trip: Heritage Spinning and Weaving, Lake Orion
During my stay in Michigan, we took a quick trip to visit Joan Sheridan Hoover at Heritage Spinning and Weaving. Located in charming downtown Lake Orion (pronounced Or-e-on, not like the constellation), Joan’s shop offers a wide variety of weaving and knitting yarns, even a whole room devoted to sock yarns. She has an extensive offering of classes.
I encourage you to Shop Around, as each of the above shops has its own personality and specialty. All are worth a visit.