Sunday, September 18, 2011

Coming back to color

Wow, it would seem that we don't have much to say at New Threads, since we haven't blogged since last spring, but that wouldn't be true. The opening and running of a gallery, shop and workshop space has been engulfing, all-encompassing and time-consuming, to say the least! But we've had posts in mind that Facebook couldn't do justice to along the way, and one of those involves color. 

Dyeing is one of my favorite fiber arts, since it's practically instant gratification. It's an "I made this!" activity, and if you know some simple techniques, you can dye at home. I dye fiber and yarn every Sunday here at Nice Threads, and our Space Dyeing For Beginners class is a regularly scheduled class for people to try out those simple techniques.

But that's a process class - what are the steps, what equipment, what are the chemicals, how long do you heat, etc. What we can't cover in a drop-in class is 'what colors should we use?', and 'how do we achieve those colors?'

Remember those Tiger Beat and Seventeen interviews with teen stars that always included the cheesy questions like, 'What's your favorite word?' and 'What's your favorite color?'  That hasn't changed much these days, but what color Scott Baio liked in the past, or Taylor Lautner likes now makes practically no difference in your life, while your favorite color could be pivotal when you plan to knit your next sweater or weave your next scarf.

It's so interesting when Project Runway contestants choose their fabrics from Mood, taking their inspiration from rolls of fabric that someone else designed, with colors that a fashion industry committee chose. Even when they were allowed to design their own fabrics this season, I noticed that they -unanimously - chose black and white. Not many people have a powerful relationship with color, and those that do, frequently don't know how to create those colors. So we usually get our inspiration from the shelves of yarns at the local store.

But how personal is that? Have you noticed that sometimes you can't find the colors you like, or that the shades are off, or that some seasons, everything is just dog-ugly? Sometimes you are stuck with what you can find. But that doesn't have to be the case.

They say that Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Color is also a matter of personal choice. But how do you choose? It's a journey that most fiber people take at some point in their development, and it's a fascinating one. And fun. Revel in discovered color, capture color in it's element, master your palette and make color serve your inspiration, rather than the other way around. Come and join our Color Journey for Fiber Artists class, a comprehensive study of color and fiber. Beginning in early November, we'll meet for 3 hours on 3 evenings to develop our color path and then take 2 workshops of 6 hours each, learning to create those colors in the dye kitchen. Open to anyone, at any level. Just email us to get the schedule.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Straight from the source

It is one of our highest commitments at Nice Threads to carry local fiber for spinners and felters. We've put the word out and many farms have brought us luscious rovings and fleeces, most identified by the name of the sheep or alpaca previously wearing that fiber. We recently heard from the Diastole Alpaca Farm down the mountain in Walkertown, NC and received some samples that were outstanding. I asked about their processor (call a Fuzzinator)  and how they'd package the fiber and got the email that follows as a reply. It's more than a business letter, it's a snapshot of the world of fiber animals. Notice also that they welcome volunteers on shearing day, so you can use Jim's links to find out more.

We will definitely carry Jim and Sandy's alpaca blankets so come on over in a week or two to see them.

Hi Leslie,

This is Jim, the head pooper scooper at Diastole Alpaca Farm answering for Sandy. 

We have 6 - 8 blankets left from last year that have been cleaned with our Fuzzinator. Basically a tumbler that we run the fleeces in for an hour on a clear, dry, windy day (or we use a blower on the tumbler). We have been very impressed with the job that it does. It takes minimal picking of debris (seed heads or small twigs) by hand to have a very nice clean product. We also have some seconds and thirds that are cleaned. 

We will be shearing on April 14th and cleaning will begin ASAP (weather permiting) afterwards. We just switched everyone over to fresh pastures yesterday with lush green grass. They really have fun when they are let into a pasture they have not been in for several months.

As for packaging - we will do that however you like. The blankets will mostly range from 4-6 pounds - we do have two boys born last fall that will be much less - even though they think they are as big as anyone.

Sandy is working M - W this week and is off the following week (shearing). I can package up what ever you would like and get it out directly. If there are some 2010 fleeces that someone really likes we can reserve this year's shearing for them as well.

A great web site for anyone interested in shearing alpacas is . We make it a prerequisite for anyone helping us on shearing day. We want it to be a low stress day for the alpacas and the folks we use for the actual shearing have produced this for their customers. 

Looking forward to hearing from you - beautiful Black Mountain should be starting to "green-up".

Best Regards - Jim Morris
Jim Morris

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Is Nice Threads a Yarn Shop?

The short answer is yes and no.
Our name gives you a clue. We are a Gallery/Studio. We showcase the work (and play) of Fiber Artists, mainly from Western North Carolina, and we sell the fibers and tools our crafts require. Yarn plays a big part for most of those artists. Nice yarn.

Part of our mission is education and furthering the Fiber Arts and we have classes, demonstrations and open studio time so everyone can get into the act. The fibers and tools we sell are used in our classes.
The wealth of knowledge in our small Studio is huge: felting, weaving, spinning, dying, knitting, crochet, embroidery, lacemaking, tatting, papermaking, book arts, couture sewing, wild and out-of-the-box designing, fiber prep... I could go on.

One of my rules for good design and happy process outcome is  to have a lot of stuff to work with. And having the materials I want to work with, in the quantities that I need and the colors I choose.

Somehow, fiber consumers have been led to believe they need to buy yarn in quantities they don't need, in colors chosen for them by someone else. At Nice Threads, yarns and fleece are purchased by the ounce or pound, and we can order almost any yarn in it's natural color and teach you how to dye to get exactly the color you want for any project you can dream up.

We also have local handspun yarns and are getting fleeces in from our local farms as the shearing season is beginning. It's exciting to see our shepherdess' coming into the studio with big bags. We open and ooh and ahh and smell and feel and touch and our minds and hands and hearts are  full of fabrics to come.

I invite you to come visit us at Nice Threads,see, feel, touch and discover the interweaving of your inner and outer fiber creativity.

The No? Yarn isn't the only thing we have. Nice threads is a lot more than a yarn shop..

Come on by and we can talk about it with a chai and a freshly shorn bag of wool.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fiber Salon- Riches from Rags

Thursday at Nice Threads Ellen came in and said she had  something to make us laugh. Several years ago she had knitted and machine-fulled a bag, hated the finished product and threw it in the closet.

Leslie  looked at the bag - misshapen and poorly assembled - and complimented the colors and hand of the fabric and started pulling and forming it into interesting shapes and the ideas started to flow. A few hours later Ellen had created a lovely clutch bag with decorative hand blanket stitching to hold her most-used and often- misplaced purse items. All that was needed was a closure and we'll work on that soon.

This is my vision for Thursday afternoons. A Fiber Salon, if you will, where we can bring in what we are working on, even if it's only in our minds and watch as the magic of many creative hands, eyes and hearts do their work. It's amazing how someone else can pick up where I am completely stuck and make perfect sense out of what has me in a creative tangle. Part of the creative process is feeling free to ask for help.

I'm sure to need your help soon enough, so please come on by and ask for mine. The resources - studio space, material and tools of Nice Threads might also be what you need to move you to the next step, and hard to do at home alone.

Come on out of that closet along with those projects!

See you soon at Nice Threads- Fiber Salon Thursday 1-4.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

All Wool Is Not Created Equal

Nice Threads is of the fiber, for the fiber and by the fiber and fiber people and fiber artists. Part of our mission is to create easy access to the best in supplies and tools for fiber arts.

We've only been open a week, and so far our selection is small,  but we can tell you where our supplies come from, how to use them and how they will perform, because we use what we sell.

At left are some of our felting wool and needle kits. Different breeds of sheep, felt and pattern differently, and experience is the best teacher. When you purchase supplies from Nice Threads we will educate you to  buy the fiber best suited to your creation.

I invite you to join us for
Beginning Needle felting - Paint and Sculpt with Wool
all levels

Through the magic of wool and the felting needle we will learn to create 2 and 3 dimensional projects for fun, fashion and function.
February 24 11-2. Follow the link for online registration or stop in and see us.

The Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle looms are here and they are a joy to weave on.
Beginning Rigid Heddle Weaving; Skein to Scarf in Three hour
all levels
Using beautiful fibers and a simple loom you will learn to warp and weave a fashion scarf in one session. We'll begin by creating a simple woven journal to record our experiences.
presented by Robyn Josephs
March 2, 16 (3 hr class, offered Wednesday afternoons)
1pm - 3pm
$40 class fee, Materials fee $10.      

Your first scarf will let beautiful yarns do a lot of the work as you build your weaving skills. Because we sell yarn by the pound it is very economical. You can buy what you need, and soon you will be dying your yarns and creating the colors you want!
 Please stop by with any questions and just to hang out and talk fiber. The coffee pot is on!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

All In an Opening Days Work

 Friends and Fiber artists were knocking on the door before we unlocked it this morning.
Many stopped by with good wishes and all agreed Nice Threads was wanted, needed and loved in Black Mountain and the Fiber community.

Dave stopped by with the first edition of Exclusive to Nice Threads Hand Turned Drop Spindles.
Needless to day, I dropped everything and spun up a beautiful yarn.
Eileen came by on her way to open house at Echoview Farm( more on that later) with her intriguing loom shaped and naturally dyed jackets-Yes- Eileen is teaching at Nice Threads- photos to follow soon.
Mountain Lady came and gave me a big hug, and lots to dream on...........
and more than my tired brain can type at you now.
Thanks to all for stopping by and making our first day memorable
Thanks For GETTING
what Nice Threads is all about.
Fiber and folks who Love
and the artisans and tools that nurture and support us in playing, working and living the arts and crafts we love.
Thanks to all and to Leslie for making it all real.
See you tomorrow,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Here Come the Threads!

Stunning handwoven wearable art by Liz Spear, Neal Howard and more.
This flared jacket handwoven, designed and tailored by Liz Spear, and marbled by Laura Sims.
Yes, you can come in and try it on-just in time for Valentines Day, or any day, or night.
This is just a teaser- come see us Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11-4 to find out what is happening at Nice Threads.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Open House at Nice Threads

Spinners, Shepherdess' and Wannabees Flash Mob Nice Threads.
What happens when you mix together
Friends and

Look left and see Eileen and Nancie in the Cotton Corner uncovering the mysteries of the Charkha and their smart phones.

Thanks all for joining us as we begin the Nice Threads Fiber Journey.
Late Winter and early Spring class schedule coming soon.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nice Threads has a Sign!

What's black,white,yellow, a thread of red and leads you to the new Fiberart Gallery/Studio  in Black Mountain, North Carolina?

It's a sign! Beautiful work Jimmy, in three dimensional lettering ( no special effect glasses needed).


Friday, February 4, 2011

Getting there is half the fun

Yes, we are having fun! Painting is done and the Gallery is ready for moving in day. Thanks once again to the many hands who helped to make work light.

Nature abhors a vacuum and the Call for Entry for Nice Thread's first exhibit will be posted soon. Watch this space and Facebook 
for up to date details.

Leave a  comment  to get on our mailing list, say nice things and ask any questions you might have about Nice Threads.



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Transformation by paint

This photo is already old news, as we extend heart felt (pun intended) thanks to everyone who has supported us with hard work, friendship and laughter this weekend.

Farewell to green and purple- hello Nice Threads!

Many hands made light work, good food and a few beers-thank you Leslie- helped as well.

Work continues this week as we transform this random space into the home for our fiberarts community.

Get on the mailing list, ask about consignment and workshops,
Share your dreams for Nice Threads.

Leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Slow but steady - tentative scheduling for opening

Opening a commercial enterprise has been a learning experience. In fact, it feels like jogging through jello. Everything takes longer and costs more than we planned, but that's the learning part. At this point, I've got some tentative dates for opening to the public.

Our target for opening is now February 12th, the Saturday before Valentine's Day. We'll be open that Saturday the 12th, Sunday the 13th and Monday the 14th. Robyn will be demonstrating needle-felted heart pendants and I'll be making wet-felted heart pins during those three days. We'll be closed on Tuesday (likely we'll be recovering!)

On Wednesday, February 16th, we hope to be open for our regular winter schedule, Wednesday through Sunday. Our hours will be 10am - 4pm. Our demonstration schedule will begin that week too, Weaving Wednesdays, Tangled Thursdays, Felting Fridays and Spinning Saturdays, from noon til 4 each day. Look for more information on demonstrations to come.

These dates could easily change in the next two weeks, but this is our goal. Again, a learning experience in living with uncertainty. It may take a few weeks more to completely set up with all the inventory items we'd like to offer, but we know that you will understand.

So stay tuned for updates and if you haven't already emailed us to be on the mailing list, or Liked us on Facebook, then do so now and the updates will show up on your computer.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beginning the Journey - A new space for Fiber

The last several months we have been working on the dream of a space for a fiber gallery along with workshops and a place to shop for fiber materials and tools. During the buildup to Fiber Action's last Anything Fiber Yard Sale, I came across a space that was going to be opening up in downtown Black Mountain. A space that even a poor fiber artist could afford. Well, we've been waiting and planning, and now we are seeing the reality of our dream. Nice Threads Fiber Gallery/Studio will be opening in February... just a few weeks away. This blog will document the day by day news and updates and also the delays and frustrations, but especially the surprises and joys.

I hope you'll come along, both on the blog and in person.

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