It was a wonderful week of Rigid Heddle Weaving with Deb Jones and the only thing that could have made the week better was to have an Open Quilt Studio at the same time…so we did!
Some of the weavers were beginners and some had previous rigid heddle experience, so there were intermediate-level techniques and project ideas, including weft-faced weaves. Beginners started with scarves, then made a sampler, then had time for at least one more project.
The instructor, Deb Jones, first came to Sievers as a student in Franie Philps’ Intermediate Spinning class in 1991. She continued to take spinning-related classes with Deb Menz as well as weaving, marbling, papermaking, feltmaking and coiled basketry. In 1999, less than a month before Franie was set to teach Beginning Spinning and Rainbow Dyeing, she unexpectedly had to cancel. Her alternate just happened to be Deb Jones. Deb came to the rescue, taught the class and when Franie decided to retire from teaching the following year, we knew there would be no better instructor than Deb. She has taught a variety of classes every year since including beginning and intermediate spinning, dyeing, blending, spinning art yarns, combing, spinners’ retreats and rigid heddle weaving. One student said about her, “Some teachers teach to train, some teach to empower the learner. Deb is definitely the second. Still…an amazing amount of content was covered, all in a very hands-on way. Outstanding!”
Deb has owned and operated her own business, The Fiber Garden for more than 25 years. She regularly teaches, including at the upcoming Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, and sponsors fiber art travel tours. The most recent was a Shetland Sheep-to-Shawl tour. Two more trips are scheduled for this year; a Norway Sheep-to-Shawl and Christmas Markets on the Rhine River. Retirement from her position with the UW Extension allows more time for fiber fun!
Our third of three Open Quilt Studios this season brought quilters together to work on their own projects at their own pace and enjoy some “Island time”. It’s always amazing to see all those little pieces come together so beautifully and the quilts in progress move closer to completion. A little show-and-tell is always fun, too!
Similar to the situation in which Deb began teaching here, the idea for a quilt studio formed when Marla Yeager, former quilting teacher at Sievers, was unable to come for her class only days before it was to start. In speaking with her students, many still wanted to come, even if it was to work on their own projects during the week. The idea took hold and since then, we have included at least one Open Quilt Studio since 2010. That first impromptu quilt studio took place in 2008 and two of the students who came that year were also here this year!
Sometimes, the best laid plans end up becoming new opportunities. We’re grateful for both!Share Sievers with Friends...