Fiber-minded women gathered at my friend's house today from all over Texas. The house and various outbuildings are fairly stuffed from one end to the other with spinning wheels and looms, at least ten of each. It's like something out of Hansel and Gretel: everywhere you look there are skeins of homespun hand-dyed yarn, home-woven rugs, drawings, paintings, and carvings. Outside there are cisterns, barns, chickens, bathtubs full of Louisiana irises and lily pads, handmade concrete paving stones set with old pieces of china or license plates, fruit trees, vegetable patches, roses, wildflowers, and a lot of cats and dogs.
We dyed some cotton, wool, and silk fibers and fabrics with indigo. One of our company tried to figure out how to make an old fiber-carding machine work that someone had found. The newbies among us practiced spinning; I discovered the problem I was having on my own wheel (aside from the difficulty in keeping the newest dog from eating it) is that the treadle doesn't function smoothly. Having used my friend's better wheel, I'm inspired to fiddle with mine and improve it. I'm not quite ready to bring a loom into my home, though, a fact that should comfort my husband.