Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Annie MacHale in her own words

Today I want to share the story of a friend I admire very much. She is an active, respected and talented member of the Aromas Hills Artisans. Her name is Annie MacHale. Weaving is a mystery to me, so I'll let Annie tell you all about it in her own words.

At the young age of 17, I discovered Inkle weaving, made it a part of my life, and 35 years later I realize that it was one of the best life choices I’ve made.
Inkle looms are designed to weave narrow pieces, usually limited to 4” in width. When I saw someone at a craft fair making belts and guitar straps and such practical things, I decided right then and there that I wanted to try it. The local library shelves produced a book on inkle weaving which included plans for building a loom. With the help of my father, I made a loom and began to weave.

Over the years, I’ve woven miles of narrow bands and am still discovering new things constantly that keep the craft exciting and intriguing. There are always new yarns and materials, new patterning techniques and new things to inspire my imagination.
I’ve always loved patterns and look for them in everyday things. Playing with color is a constant amusement. While I have tried to study color theory, I find that I do best when I let my instinct tell me what to do. Sometimes a single thread of a different color can make the whole pattern pop!

The setup (or warping) of an inkle loom is so simple that I can often accomplish this first step in 10 to 30 minutes. The weaving itself can go quickly with heavy yarns and a simple pattern. Some pieces are complete in an hour or two. Others take up to 15 or more hours if I choose to do a complex pattern technique. These techniques require that I stop every row or every two rows to pick up or drop individual threads out of their regular pattern sequence. One of my favorite patterns to weave is a Celtic knot.

A very good market for my work exists in the world of historic re-enactors, those who love to re-create history and usually make their own costumes. For many years I have attended Mountain Man Rendezvous events, re-enactments of the American Fur Trade Era. More recently I have included Renaissance Faires, re-creation of Medieval Times.
I also enjoy showing at local craft fairs. At all of these events, I am able to have my loom on hand and to demonstrate the craft. Many people in modern times have not been exposed to weaving and find it a mysterious process. I love showing them the simple process and the many practical and beautiful things that this small loom can produce.
Guitar straps have always been a good seller for me.

Custom orders are always welcomed and I enjoy working with a customer to take their vision of what they want and create it with them. Guitar straps can be customized with a band name or song lyric woven in.
Several customers have been Native American dancers, having me create a sash for their “Regalia”.

My weaving has been a life-long passion and creative way to share myself with people I meet. Many of my friends have come from the craft fairs and organizations I belong to. My husband was one of my best customers; we met at a Rendezvous. Now, through my blog, Facebook page and two Etsy shops, I have connected to other weavers throughout the world. We exchange ideas, information and inspiration. If I post photos of my latest piece, I can get comments from 8 countries, sometimes in languages I don’t understand.

My business name, ASpinnerWeaver, is a holdover from my maiden name of Spinner.
You can follow along on my blog at : www.ASpinnerWeaver.com to read about the things that inspire me and see the latest works. Or keep up on my Facebook page at:
www.Facebook.com/ASpinnerWeaver For online sales, check out my Etsy shops at
www.etsy.com/shop/iWeaveSashes or www.etsy.com/shop/aspinnerweaver

Upcoming events include:
San Jose Renaissance Faire, August 6 & 7, Guadalupe River Park, San Jose
Mountain Man Rendezvous, August 13 & 14, Roaring Camp, Felton
Ardenwood Renaissance Faire, September 10 & 11, Ardenwood Historic Park, Fremont

Thank you, Annie Spinner MacHale. Sounds like you are fulfilling your destiny beautifully.


  1. Annie --love hearing the genesis of how you became a weaver and fell in love with the inkle loom.