Black Sheep Family Wool & Crafts
Old Man Wool Farm

Kathryn Grafsgaard Handweaver

Why weave when I could buy textiles much faster and cheaper? Weaving is fascinating because of the combinations of interwoven colors and textures. Creating cloth from fine threads is satisfying in a way that purchasing commercial textiles could never be.

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I begin each project with an inspiration, usually from the way certain threads or colors look together.  Generally I buy interesting yarns as I come across them, so my stash is fairly large. I like to work from my stash instead of buying yarns for a specific project. Working within the limits of what I have helps the creative juices flow. I put colors and textures together that I probably would not have thought of otherwise.

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For me the love of fibers is bred in the bone. My ancestry is Norwegian, and Norwegians have a long history of beautiful handwoven textiles. My mother was a weaver who enjoyed the traditional Norwegian patterns and subtle colors. The loom I weave on at the Anoka Fiber Works was my mother's loom, and her teacher's loom before that. I'm largely self-taught, preferring to learn from reading and experimentation.

 

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In recent years since I retired from teaching, I have come to value the community of weavers in our area. Having a studio in a public commercial space gives me opportunity to talk with people and hear their stories. Many people, more than I would ever have believed, have stories of looms in their basements or barns, grandparents who made handwoven rugs, or experience with weaving themselves.

Kathryn's vest


A common thread in the conversations we have is the time it takes to prepare a loom, weave a project, and do the finishing of a piece. Many people say that they would like to learn to weave, but don't have the time. For most weavers, time can't enter the equation. It takes time to weave well. The payoff is that weaving is calming and meditative, as well as inspirational. It connects me with the past and our human history of making things with our hands. I haven't found anything else that gives me this profound satisfaction.

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