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Artists and their work were displayed by Mountain Weavers Guild

The Inter-Mountain photo by Eliana McCutcheon A Mountain Weavers Guild artists demonstrates her skills at Darden Mill in Elkins.

ELKINS– The Mountain Weavers Guild at Darden Mill showcased many talented weavers who demonstrated their talents to the community during the 83rd Mountain State Forest Festival.

“I am just a beginner in weaving. I have been at it for three long days! Some people here at the guild showed me how to do it so I just started practicing. A lot of it is just practice.” says Cindy Proudfoot.

Proudfoot explained the process of how yard from wool is made.

“To make the yarn out of wool, it is all about twisting. Wool has fibers that connects to itself really well,” she said. “It has little scales just like your hair which attaches together, making it relatively easy to spin. Wool is much easier to spin than silk or cotton. Its pretty cool how yard is made.”

Furthermore, there are more steps that go into preparing fresh wool before the fun begins.

“With unprocessed wool, you have to wash it and then you have to comb it out to get all of the fibers to go in the same direction. Then, you start weaving!” said Jinny Byer.

“I just starting weaving this week. We are a group of people that come together and help each other learn. They gave me some tips on where to find everything,” Byer said.

Another skilled artist, Joan Pitts, described how she makes a patterned piece.

“I am making Christmas ornaments. To make the pattern it is a combination of how you treadle and how you set up the loom,” Pitts said. “When you set up the loom, the reed determines how close together your threads are and how wide your piece is going to be.

“You have to thread each individual piece. That and how I use my feet determines how the pattern will be. It generally takes longer to set up the loom than to create a piece,” Pitts said.

“I have been at this for just about 40 years now. When my son was a baby, my husband and I went to an auction. Well, I went to go change the baby and when I came back my husband told me that he had bought me a loom.

“It was a pile of lumber because it was an old barn look that was taken apart. So, we got some books and figured out how to set it up. He actually had to make some parts for it because all of the pieces were not there,” she said.

“We took a class down in Salem to learn how to use the loom. That was many many years ago and I am still doing it! I am retired now, so I have more time to weave,” Pitts said.

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