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Canal Spinners and Weavers Guild celebrating 25 years

| May 21, 2019

Members of the Canal Spinners and Weavers Guild meet at the Pomerene Center for the Arts once a month, September through May. Pictured are: Front row – Theresa Fry and Sara Rausch. Back row – Gabby Denslow, Jean Kehn, Elaine Ashcraft, Caryol Jean Neff, Patty Rausch and Allie Rausch. Jen Jones | Beacon

COSHOCTON – In 1994, a group of women took a class at the Joint Vocational School (now the Coshocton County Career Center) to learn to spin. When the class ended, they decided to start a group so they could continue to learn from each other and have fun. That group, the Canal Spinners and Weavers Guild, is celebrating 25 years.

Caryol Jean Neff is one of the charter members of the group. “We just kept up the class – it’s been such a joy to me. When we meet each month, we are all usually working on something. We have a program that we decide at each meeting and it varies all the time.”

Neff became interested in spinning when she inherited a spinning wheel from her husband’s grandparents. “The date on it is 1823. I don’t use it – it’s just too beautiful with lots of hand carving.” Neff uses the yarn she spins with her knitting hobby. “It’s just so satisfying to make something from start to finish.”

Another charter member of the guild is Theresa Fry. “The focus of our group is just to enjoy the fiber arts. Some of our members raise sheep and use their own wool, process it, spin it and then knit or crochet it into wearable items. There is a great sense of satisfaction in being able to take the raw fiber from the animal, process it and make something useful. Being involved in fiber arts of any kind allows you to use your creativity and make one of a kind items.”

Elaine Ashcraft is the president of the guild. She became interested in fiber arts when her children started 4-H and they purchased a market lamb. Now, she raises her own sheep and uses their wool for her art. She said she enjoys spinning because her brain can be elsewhere. “It’s relaxing to me. Weaving is a mental challenge. If the loom isn’t set up perfectly, your project won’t turn out the way you want.”

The guild has been offering classes in Roscoe Village and other places so people can see that heritage crafts are still alive. “Roscoe Village has been very open to our ideas for workshops. People are enjoying the classes and they are well-attended,” said Fry.

Fry said the group always sets up during Apple Butter Stirring and the Farm Foliage Tour.  “We get lots of interested people from all over the state.”  She also said the guild is sometimes invited to other areas of the state to share their knowledge of fibers, spinning and weaving.

“Our group is open to anyone. You don’t have to spin or weave. You just have to like to be creative and have fun,” said Fry. For more information on the guild, you can check their Facebook page or contact Fry at 740-973-9070.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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