Having recently moved to the smokey mountains of TN and being from a family who is historically from the area I felt compelled to learn about the area. My two little girls were just at their grandparents in SC for a few days so I took the opportunity to drive to all of the local yarn shops in my surrounding area. That's one thing I love about having something you are passionately interested in is it gives you great excuse to explore and meet new people. I found many different and interesting yarn shops from Atomic Fibers in Oak ridge ( named for the towns ties with nuclear power) to Clinch river Yarns ( in a cute old house in Clinton TN ). I also made the short trip from my new home to Gatlinburg TN to visit a place called " The Spinnery" It's a lovely drive past Dollywood down a winding road that cuts through the mountians, moss and over a creek to Gatlinburg. The Spinnery is located right downtown and is a trove of beautiful yarns, fibers, wheels and tools. One of the laides who worked there spent lots of time explaining all of the different historical fiber processing tools to me. I am thrilled that I picked up a new pair of hand made wool combs which will greatly help with processing my Tunis wool for my shop.
I appreciate all of the time spent on me because I know they two ladies there were working very hard restocking the entire store due to smoke damage from the recent tragic fires in Gatlinburg TN. Even though we were living in TN at the time it's easy to feel removed from such sadness. I am so thankful that this lovely store and all of it's history was saved. If you looked out the windows you could see directly next door a building and surrounding woods were completely gone. They were very happy to tell me that "Ms. Ruby" a life size wool felted and ceramic statue of an old woman weaving was still safe. She is made by a local ceramic artist who tried her hand and felting and did an outstanding job. She is so life like she's almost creepy.
I found this great old video from 1947 about the people and heritage of the Great Smokey Mountains. They of course all reminded me of Ms. Ruby. The whole 15 mins is great but if you skip to 8:30 it has a short bit about hand spun yarn and weaving.
It all reminds me of one of my favorite sayings