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Tavern takes weaving skills for a spin

Posted on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 10:32 am

Tavern Spinners and Weavers members Kathy Rohacek, Helen Bell, president, and Sandi Petty look forward to sharing the group’s work at the Westmoreland County Museum for a month starting August 16.

The Tavern Spinners and Weavers (TSW) artisans will display an array of their fine homespun crafts at the Westmoreland County Museum’s original building in Montross for a month starting Wednesday, Aug. 16. The opening reception for this month’s Pop ‘n Art is from 5 to 7 p.m. with complimentary hors d’ oeuvres, and soda pop purchases that support the museum’s roof replacement fund.

Always wanted to give weaving a try? Stop in at the opening because TSW plans to bring a small loom for demonstrations, and so that interested people can try their hand at it. The looms and spinning wheels TSW uses have been purchased, donated or are on loan; these dedicated members have even been known to rescue a large room-size loom that the owner no longer wanted, storing it until they could find it a new home in North Carolina.

Although the group meets at one of the oldest wooden structures in the Northern Neck, Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern in Heathsville, members come not only from the Northern Neck but Richmond, Williamsburg, and Abingdon.

Past-president, Sandi Petty of Kilmarnock, said the group formed in about 2008 when founding member Cate Kauffman of Heathsville needed a place for her loom and approached the Tavern with the idea of keeping and using it there. Now the second floor Yellow Cat Saloon room (named for the cat that came with the Tavern when it was being restored) houses a variety of looms and spinning wheels, and that’s where members meet and people can see them at work. Besides traditional weaving some members practice Kumihimo (Japanese braiding) and inkle loom weaving, which, according to on-line sources, came to the United States in the 1930s, but has been around for centuries elsewhere. It can create strong flat bands useful for belts, reins, or guitar straps.

Read more of this story in the August 16 issue of the Westmoreland News.