To begin with, Abby’s parents were anthropologists with interest in textiles and moved when she was a child to Peru to study. A fond memory for her was falling asleep under her father’s loom. Living in a spinning and weaving community, where all of her peers also did weaving and spinning, it was natural for her to pursue fiber arts as well. As a teenager, of course, she wanted nothing to do with it but thought she would be a musician then with computers. Found later that what she’d learned as a child, many crafts begin with yarn, Knitting, Crocheting, Weaving, and spinning is how you GET yarn; and there’s always more out there! IT’S A YARN THING!
She says, ten or twelve years ago, there wasn’t as much out there as options for purchasing yarn. She became what she calls Professional Yarn Dork, dividing her time between production, teaching and other business activities. Traveling to teach, too, fills a lot of her time and she will be going to Norway, Rhinebeck and SAFF later this year, teaching spinning with some weaving. When someone wonders why yarn ‘didn’t work’, Abby says a little bit of spinning knowledge or effort can either make us understand what can be done with a skein, or how to make that beautiful skein work how you would hope. Sometimes those discoveries just don’t become apparent until they are put to needles or hooks.
An interesting discussion here was that some Yarn Shops hesitate to offer spinning classes for fear that those students will cease to by yarn. Abby’s answer is to compare with cooking, that just because you can cook doesn’t mean that you’ll never eat out again. Later she said, the POTENTIAL of the yarn in your shopping bag, or sitting on your desk, even before you started working on it, is like the food in your cupboards and fridge. She herself appreciates the yarns that are available, perhaps with a bit more understanding. Having multiple yarn projects and it’s benefits, was also discussed, so that you always have something in case of emergencies and teaching opportunities.
We also heard here a lot of interesting things about the history of fiber:
- how textile creation became the basis for computer programming based on the punchcard technology used to create jaquard, was shared by Abby, who learned this from her dad who would speak at MIT about this.
- learning and understanding math, LOTS of personal struggles shared here.
- Gandhi’s spinning for the good of his countrymen, for industry also on a personal level, to be patient with the world situation, even requiring his cabinet to start their day with spinning.
More information from Abby can be found at her WEBSITE and she is also on Facebook, so knowing if she will be at your next local event would be easier to find! Her YouTube channel was mentioned (I got sidetracked there!) and her book Respect the Spindle (Amazon Link). Because, as her tagline says, ‘One way or another, it’s all about Yarn.’
If you missed hearing this wonderful visit live, it is available as an archive: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing/2015/05/21/abby-franquemont-of-abbys-yarns or in iTunes.