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Skagit Spinners

Skagit Spinners is a group of handspinning enthusiasts. Our members incorporate handspinning in a wide variety of fiber arts including knitting, weaving, rug-making, felting, crochet and many others. Our members spin a variety of fibers including wool, mohair, alpaca, silk, cotton, ramie, angora, camel, cashmere, flax and dog hair. Our members sometimes volunteer to demonstrate spinning at local events.

"We host three spinning sessions a month, one morning and two evening sessions. Please contact the coordinator for more information.

Meetings include the exchange of expertise, information on members' projects, informal spinning, and sometimes a short program. Periodically, we sponsor workshops conducted by members and guest instructors. All meetings are free and open to the public. We welcome both new and experienced spinners. Skagit Valley Weavers' Guild membership is required only if you want to check out library books or equipment. For more information or to be added to the low-volume email list, please email Contact Us at: skagitspinners@skagitvalleyweaversguild.org




Local Resources for the Beginning Spinner

Local Resources for the Beginning Spinner








History of Skagit County Spinning Groups





compiled/edited Dec. 2015 by Vivian Mizuta Contributors: Megan (Merritt) Jones, Jean Lohman, Sarah Hayduk, Gloria Williams, Nancy Hansen, Vivian Mizuta, Kim McKinnon, Sue Perry, Kathy Crone
Editorial Commentary by Vivian:


The Skagit county area has had a long spinning tradition and at no time was any of the organized part of that affiliated with the NorthWest Regional Spinnerʼs Association. There was never even a thought of trying to create a region “between Snohomish and Bellingham”, as we were always perfectly happy with no dues, no officers, no potlucks, no raffles, no bylaws and mostly no business meetings or hierarchy. We have always been just a group of spinners. And we were pretty much exclusively socially spinning in the early and mid periods. When the group re-formed (c.2007) after the demise of The Tuesday Spinners, there became a much larger focus on holding workshops and having mini-classes, watching DVDs and having demos or Show & Tell at the monthly spinning sessions. This was partially a response to the many very beginning spinners at that time, and also due to an explosion of new equipment (both wheels and carders) and commercially prepared fibers available, along with the always-wonderful SpinOff Magazine and now PLY magazine focusing on rare breeds and new techniques. Most recently there are many DVDs by spinning teachers featuring art yarns and work with color, as well as perfecting older draw techniques and yarn styles.

Pre-history period 1970s(?) to mid-1980s


Anacortes area had an evening spinning group. Megan took a spinning class in 1985 at Coupeville Spinning & Weaving Shop and started going to those meetings, also attended by regulars Gloria Williams, Helen Nichols, Vera Stuber, Dora Coffelt, Mary Lou Morgan, Fran Park. Gloria adds names of Herta Kerp, Kiltie Ross and she thought it was late 70s or early 80s; she & Vera learned to spin at the Coupeville shop also.
Megan writes: 1989 -The first participation in the Skagit County Fair, with weaving and spinning categories for individuals to enter items, and the beginning of the Sheep-to-Shawl event. We had 2 teams from the Skagit Guild the first time. In following years, a team from Whidbey joined in the competition.

History c.1985 unofficial spin-off study group of Skagit Valley

Weaverʼs Guild: The Tuesday Spinners

In the early 1980s, the “mainland” Skagit spinners began meeting in homes, with the first Spin formed by Sarah Hayduk at Anna Mae Kinkade′s home in Mount Vernon. Jean Lohman recalls it being evening, and winter as there was a fire in her basement rec room. That group was nameless for a few years and even met on Thursdays. In a short time they began to meet daytimes, in member homes, and became The Tuesday Spinners. This group met weekly from 10 to 2, with members bringing sack lunches and hostess providing a dessert and coffee/tea. There are fond memories of friendships from this frequent group, whose names include: 1986 (from Vivian) Vivian Mizuta, Betty Fellion, Ann VanDenBurg, Sandy Shin, Jean Lohman, Penny Good, Lori Biss, Anna Mae Kinkade. 1988 (from Vivian, now attending weekly) the above, plus Alice Hendricks (87), her mother JoAnn, Pat Skelton (88), Florence Scott (Nancy Scottʼs MIL), Nancy Scott,Patricia McDonald, Dixie Snow.

Jean Lohman writes: I′m not sure of the date but our first Mt. Vernon spin was in the basement of Anna Maeʼs house. It was in the evening and winter, because I remember it being dark. Anna Mae had a fire going in the insert that was probably never used again; she was nervous. It was not long before we began to meet during the day, and at each other′s homes. We were nameless for quite a few years, and also used to meet on Thursdays. As time passed, we grew in number; some came and some left, some of us stayed forever. The breakup was, I think, mainly due to age, the core group always was a group of mainly Weaver′s Guild members (a lot of guild business was conducted on Tuesday mornings) and we all just got older. It seems to me that we tried meeting every other Tuesday, then it was swapped to evenings to make it more available. I have fond memories of those days - the summer potlucks on the lawns, the dye days in our milk house, Loriʼs baby shower on our side lawn, the “special lunch” days when one of us suffered the loss of family, and we just sat together and spun, and somehow, being together seemed to ease the hurt. I remember Pat Skelton′ʼs 60th birthday - we gave her a surprise birthday party at her house, taking everything with us from the cake and candles, paper plates and plastic cutlery, and of course the potluck lunch. She thought she was hosting the group for the day, and was she surprised! We were more than a group of women who like to spin yarn; we were a support group, we were true friends.

Vivian Mizuta writes: I learned to spin in 1985, possibly Oct 23 - for sure at the home of, and from,Anna Mae Kinkade and with fellow student/friend Anna Mead. We had both borrowed Ashford Traditional wheels (mine from Mt.Vernon resident Anita McGraw) and went to a Fleece Sale at Penny Goodʼs westside MV farm on Dec 15, 1985. In those early years, the only fiber to spin was local raw whole fleeces; take them home, skirt them, wash them, drum-card them and spin it! Sarah Hayduk was also selling fleeces from her Fir Island home about that time and some members raised sheep; Pat had over 100 llamas. Vivian started going to, and frequently hosting, the weekly spinners in Mt. Vernon in 86/87.

Vivian recalls the early 80s in downtown Mt. Vernon, when she was weaving but not yet spinning. It seemed like the entire weaving guild was on a spinning craze and they were organizing wheel purchases in bulk. Ashford was selling kits of Traditional wheels in shipments of 10 from New Zealand. Rita Koetje had a small yarn shop on the south end of the main street in Mt. Vernon and one lower shelf of weaving yarns (c. 1976/77) and may have been involved in these wheel shipments. (aside: Current yarn shop very close to that location, Wild Fibers, is owned by a niece of Rita′s). At some time later but prior to ʻ85 there was a small co-op selling venue for local fiber arts, at Pine Square nearby Ritaʼs Yarn Shop and I know that Debbie Crowley was involved with that. Vivian met Debbie in 1980 and thinks she was a spinner, but Debbie didnʼt join the weekly group.

1991 - the first dates that Vivian has for Tuesday spinners being hosted in Anacortes, by Megan and by Gloria, although it is possible that the groups merged prior to that date.

1990-95 Continuing to meet as Tuesday spinners, add names of Karen, Mary Margaret Eighme, Penny Brown, Nancy Hansen, Sylvia Trask, Kathryn Alexander, Arlene Summers, Bev Sundean, Mary Lou Morgan, Jean Nelson, Jean Ferguson, Indrid Shellenberger, Renee Delight LaTorre, Gwyn Jackson, Barb, Laura.

Still meeting weekly in 1998. This is a social group; chat and spin. There was only one workshop (Diane Varney on Designer Yarns) that comes to mind, and that was for spinners but sponsored by the weaverʼs guild. The spinners met weekly except in summer months (though there may be a special occasion picnic) and none in late December.

This core group met thru most of 1999 until it seemed that age took it′s toll. The founding members when Vivian learned to spin at age 38 were mostly 10 years older than that and by the mid 1990s these women were busy with grandkids or back to working daytimes. The group eventually tried to meet every other Tuesday and swapped to evenings to make it more available.

2000--- blank for spinning, but a LOT of weaving guild activity with monthly meetings, board meetings, numerous workshops and study groups, attending Convergence and conferences, the Skagit Fair 2nd week of August

2002, 2003, 2004 (all beginners) 2005 (add intermeds) and 2008 , 2009 Vivian gets a grant for 6 table looms with the Anacortes Senior Center and starts teaching beginning weaving there. She did one month of weekly spinning lessons in 2011 but that did not result in a long-term or revived group of spinners. Sheila Pritchett and a few other experienced spinners assisted with that class.

Current/Recent reorganized group of “Skagit Spinners”

Jan 8 2007 -- Kathy Crone & Sue Perry learn to spin at Vivian′s house, Fir Island

This began the desire to resume a local spinning group, daytimes when Sue wasn′t working which became 3rd Monday mornings and since Sue was an early-riser, it was set for 9:30 with sack lunch from 12 to 12:30..
Kim McKinnon writes: We got our first 2 alpacas in 2008 and when we had sheared in spring, I bought an Ashford Traditional on Craigslist; took spinning class from Margaret Magic at NW Handspun (Bellingham) and joined SVWG in Fall 2009 because I heard they had a spinning group that was closest. It was meeting in peopleʼs homes on 3rd Monday when I started - Vivian was coordinator and Maybe Renee Delight LaTorre was president of the weaving guild. I remember going to Val′s house and Vivian, Kathy, Sue, Megan, Carol and a few others were there. I think Sue Perry got her Majacraft wheel shortly after I joined the group. A bunch of us went to a spin-in that Spindrifters (Bellingham) had in October 2008 at BHS and shortly after that I bought the package that had my loom/carder/Schacht wheel. At some point I took over the spinning group coordination from Vivian (who was overburdened with guild presidency as well) ... 2009 or 10 or 11. We started spinning at night so that I could spin twice a month, and then settled on 1st Wednesday eves and when I went to full-time work, that was all I could attend. When I became guild president, Vivian enlisted Roxie Rochat to assume coordinating the spinning group and she continues to very capably handle the email newsletter to this day.

Kathy Crone writes: I bought a wheel at the guildʼs Christmas auction when Renee was president -- Vivian taught Sue and I at the same time.

Sue Perry writes: Kathy bought her wheel at the auction and Vivian was going to teach her, so roped me in as well. The weaving guild library was at Arleneʼs home and some equipment also, which included an Ashford Traveler wheel that was available, so I thought I should learn to use it.

The early core group of Skagit Spinners, meeting monthly on 3rd Mondays c.2007: Vivian Mizuta, Sue Perry, Kim McKinnon, Kathy Crone, Val Gleeson, Carol & Kevin Osterman, Megan Jones, Pat Skelton, Nancy Schwind , Stephanie Porter, Renee Delight la Torre, Arlene Summers,. Added to that are Gloria Lebowitz, Roxie Rochat, Anne Lorgen, Elinor Tapio, Louise Bayma, Anna Hosick-Kalahan, Alex Keggan, Diane Hill.

From dates on Vivian′ʼs calender we can see that the Skagit Spinners continued to meet in homes at 9:30 a.m. on 3rd Mondays until nearly the end of 2013 when meetings were moved to the Mt. Vernon Senior Center. At that point, the group attracted spinners that were not necessarily members of the Skagit Valley Weaver′s Guild. We had regularly been having 10-12 (or more) show up and homes that could handle that many wheels were few. It was “etiquette” to show up with a wheel no matter when you arrived, and you set it up, and usually did spin a bit. Very rarely did someone just sit and knit.

Here are some of the local spinning “events” that were not associated with Skagit Spinners or Tuesday Spinners, but kept us busy and driving around:

Whidbey Spin-Ins, Fiber Fusion at Evergreen Fairgrounds, Yvonne Madsenʼs barn sales, St. Distaff′s Spin-ins at Lake Stevens, NwRSA groups Snohomish & Bellingham, workshops here & all over from Sarah Anderson, Amelia Garipoli, BJ Seeler; Anacortes Arts Festival, Skagit county fair, demos in Anacortes library & museums.