Sunday, May 22, 2011

Focus on Workshop Instructor, Nancy Barnett

This year we will have Nancy Barnett teaching four different workshops at festival.  If you are interested in learning new techniques in spinning then check out her workshops before they fill up. 

#322 Spinning Simple Silk  Friday AM
#331 Spin With Some Bunny Friday PM
#421 Amazing Angora Rabbit Saturday AM
#530 Embellish your Yarn  Sunday PM

For complete workshop details and registration forms visit our Michigan Fiber Festival website.

Nancy Barnett lives in the Missouri Ozarks and has been spinning and raising sheep for 25 years and Angora Rabbits for 22 years.  Nancy raises Shetland,  Border Leicester, and Blue Face Leicester Sheep and French, English, and German Angora Rabbits and sells breeding stock and processed rovings.  She is a popular teacher at several Missouri fiber events throughout the year, The Fiber Event in Greencastle, IN, Southern Indiana FiberArts Festival, Corydon, IN, Shepherd’s Harvest, Lake Elmo, MN,  Fiber Christmas, Kellyville, OK, and Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, Jefferson, WI.   She is the winner of two Sustainable Agriculture Grants, one of which is for her Angora/Wool socks.  She lives with her husband, Bill, in a l935 rock schoolhouse constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Focus on Workshop Instructor, Amy Tyler

Amy Tyler lives and explores the fiber arts in beautiful Benzie County, Michigan.  She has been teaching spinning and knitting at the Michigan Fiber Festival since 2006.  In addition, she has traveled far and wide to teach for fiber guilds, at retreats, at fiber festivals, and at weaving conferences.  Her teaching destinations include New York, Vermont, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and – of course – Michigan!

Amy trained for 20 years as a dancer, followed by many years of graduate and post-doctoral work in the movement sciences and then 9 years as a professor in physical therapy education in Iowa and Nebraska.

Her teaching experience is as broad as her educational experience:  she has taught modern dance and ballet, exercise physiology, neuromuscular physiology, motor learning, motor control, statistics and research methods, and evidence-based practice in physical therapy.  As a consequence, she has a deep understanding of the process of learning skilled movements (such as spinning and knitting).  And she has honed her skills at sharing that knowledge with her students.

In 2004, Amy left the world of academia to devote herself full-time to the fiber arts.  She now spins, knits, teaches, writes, designs, and has even begun to weave.  Her fiber arts work is influenced by her fine arts training and her science training:  common to both is an appreciation for movement skills, composition, pattern recognition, and systematic exploration.  The result is her focus on spinning techniques, yarn and knitting texture, three-dimensional structure, and knit designs that exploit hand spinning techniques.  Central to her philosophy is the notion of spinning as a dance between the spinner and the spinning wheel.

You can find her work published in Spin-Off Magazine, as well as in their recent special issue, Interweave Knit & Spin.

Do visit her blog,, where she writes regularly about her fiber endeavors, including the creative process, spinning and knitting techniques, her occasional forays into the world of weaving, fiber animals, fiber travels, and sometimes the weather!
And you can see pictures of her fiber work and lists of her past and future fiber activities on her website,

Amy will be teaching the following classes at MFF this year:

            #103:  Blending Colors at the Wheel, Wednesday all day
            #223:  Plying for Texture, Thursday morning
            #231:  Plying Balanced Yarns, Thursday afternoon
            #321:  Mechanics of Your Wheel, Friday morning
            #330:  Spinning Marl Yarns, Friday afternoon

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Focus on Workshop Instructor, Beth Smith

Over the next few weeks we will be featuring the instructors teaching at the 2011 Michigan Fiber Festival.  Our first featured workshop instructor is Beth Smith.
Beth Smith has built a strong and loyal following who know her and her world-class fiber shop, The Spinning Loft in Howell, Michigan, as the go-to resource for specialty wools for handspinning.  A passionate advocate for greater understanding of all the possibilities offered by many types of wool, Beth has spared no effort to study with master spinners from all over the world. She brings together a deep and complex understanding of many spinning traditions with a clear sense of the contemporary spinner's goals, questions, and options.  She aims to empower spinners old and new to embark on their own voyages of discovery, to make confident choices to achieve their desired results using all of the tools available, and truly experience the astounding scope of one of humankind's most long-standing resources: wool.
 Beth will be teaching the following classes this year:
#122 Beginning Drop Spindle Spinning      Wed AM
# 131 Getting more from your Drop Spindle     Wed PM
#222 Beginning Spinning     Thurs AM
#230 Beginning Spinning Part 2     Thurs PM
#301 Wool Breed Study Friday     ALL DAY
#420 Drafting Methods     Sat AM
#430 Mastering Hand Combing     Sat PM

You can register for one of Beth's Workshops by visiting our website 
or filling out the registration form in the Fiberline Magazine.  

Make sure to send in your registration soon because workshops are filling up fast.