Saturday, November 3, 2012

Judith MacKenzie - Spinner Extroidinaire

Judith MacKenzie, is the reason: I have a passion (some would call it an illness); a guest bedroom unfit for guests; and a potentially lethal bomb in the form of vacuum packed fibres and fleece and, as my husband often worries 'if just one of them pops, just one, it will have a domino effect; each bag exploding into the next until the whole house will explode outwards, with fibre bulging at every seam'.
Judith taught me to spin, and weave, and dye. She didn't just teach the techniques, she inspired with her knowledge. She taught me 30 years ago and I spun, knit and wove up a storm for a few years before my career took over and I put my loom and spinning wheel aside only to take them out again a few years ago.
Thirty years later, Judith is internationally renown. She has many articles in Spin-Off, books and DVDs (see below).  
[Photo:From Judith's textile stash - African fabric]
Two years ago, I met up with Judith on the Olympic Peninsula when I took her Tribal Textiles workshop (see the blog post here). Judith now lives in Forks, Washington, the centre of vampire Twilight country (ask any female teenager) and set up her teaching studio in an old historic building used by the local theatre group and arts groups. That building burnt down last week and Judith lost all her wheels, looms and OMG, her stash!
I know, I am guilty of wishing for a fire every now and then to clean out my guestroom but it is only a fleeting idea and it feels like such a sick thing to even think even if it is internal lighthearted humour to avoid the actual act of de-stashing. My stash isn't that exciting. It is merely a stash made by not being able to resist any fibre while I had unclaimed cash in my pocket. But consider Judith, who knows her fibres so well and has been collecting only the best, the unusual, the interesting. When at the Tribal workshop, Judith mentioned Texas mohair, I asked her what it was and she replied 'only the very best , the softest, the finest, mohair'. That night she dug into her stash and the next day presented me with a bag of it.  That's Judith. Not only does she know exactly what you need to do to improve your spinning, but she is so kind and thoughtful.
Franklyn Habit (that hilariously funny and slightly outrageous male MUST read his blog) posted the news on his Facebook page, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, who also keeps us in stitches, blogged on her Yarn Harlot blog
about the tragedy. Her fan club 'Daughter's of Judith, in Ravelry have a discussion thread on it too. Friends have rallied and have created a web page 'Rebuild Judith's Studio' and have a Paypal link if you wish to donate:
I've put an amazon list of her books and videos below, but you can also purchase them from Interweave.

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