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All the Strands Come Together: A Life in Fiber Arts

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All the Strands Come Together: A Life in Fiber Arts

November 15, 2021

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Nora Schacht grew up making textiles and has launched her own dye kits to help other people enjoy the same crafts. This path was probably inevitable—since she’s the daughter of Jane Patrick and Barry Schacht, she dove into spinning and weaving from a young age. Now she’s added natural dyeing, and her new kid-friendly kit introduces makers of all ages to dyeing and simple weaving. Schacht Spindle Company packaged her kit, their Easel Weaver, and an online course. We interviewed Nora about her childhood at Schacht, her crafting, and her passion for outreach—providing an opportunity for people to enjoy fiber and textiles, as she has done all her life.

Get the whole family into textile crafts this holiday season with the Dye and Weave Craft Kit & Course. Dye the yarn, then weave friendship bracelets and a mini rug on Schacht’s Easel Weaver.

Schacht: What do you remember about your childhood at the Schacht factory?
One of my earliest memories of being at the Schacht factory, was when I was about 4 or 5. I would sit and talk with Cindy {Lair}, who still works at Schacht, while she was working. As I got older, I helped with different things, making copies and helping out in assembly. I enjoyed being able to help out in several different areas of the company, and being a part of the Schacht community.

Nora helps Cindy Lair in the assembly department.

Schacht: When did you first learn to weave, spin, and dye?

My first memory of weaving, is when I was in preschool. I wove with other kids on a table loom. In second grade, I wove and helped teach my class how to weave on a table loom.

When I was young, I treadled on a wheel at home, but it wasn’t until later that I begin spinning. At Convergence in 1996, I decided to teach myself how to spin. I practiced and practiced until I figured it out. At shows, I would always help teach others how to weave and spin. I especially loved working with kids and teaching them the processes that I grew up around. Teaching kids is valuable in getting them involved in this field from an early age, and I have always enjoyed working with them.

Nora helps take down the booth after a successful show.

I started dyeing in 2014 using Kool-Aid at the beginning. I had so much spun fiber, and figured I ought to try dyeing with all of this beautiful yarn I had made. Researching was a big part of my process at this point, figuring out the best way to go about these processes I was interested in trying.

Schacht: What is your relationship to weaving and spinning now as an adult and mother?

At this point in my life, spinning has become one of the most relaxing and soothing activities. Spinning was something I could easily do when my kids were young—I could spin for a while, and easily stop and start as I was busy with the kids. I love spinning now because it is something that comes naturally and doesn’t require much thought. I can take a minute out of my day to truly relax. I do some weaving, but have recently been more drawn to spinning. I am also always busy learning new techniques. I have recently been doing a lot of chain plying.

Three generations of Schacht Spindle Company. Barry Schacht, Jane Patrick, their daughter Nora Schacht and her husband Michael Yaeger enjoy an autumn day with children Jessie and James Yaeger.

Schacht: How did your outreach develop? What are some of your outreach experiences?

It started with a passion for weaving. This is something that I have been doing my whole life, and I’ve been teaching in a variety of forms since a young age. I’ve learned to simplify the process to make the information accessible to a variety of audiences.

My first major experience with outreach was when my son was in 4th grade. I was working with his teachers, and realized that weaving fit perfectly into the 4th grade math and history curriculum in Colorado. Students are learning about measurements, geometry, and fractions. I taught the 4th grade students about weaving on an Easel Weaver loom; they learned application of the math they were being introduced to.

I now work with the school librarian in the Makerspace, where kids can learn to and practice weaving.

Schacht: What is your philosophy on teaching children about weaving and spinning?

I believe in fostering and nurturing the arts in young people. Art has been a major part of my life, and I want children of all ages to have that opportunity as well. I love getting to talk to people, show them something that I love, and see them discover its possibilities.

Schacht: What inspired the dye kit?

With this dye kit, I was really looking for something that was simple, easy to use, with everything included in one kit. I was doing research for years about all the dye kits out there, and wanted to create something that was unique and would inspire people to begin dyeing. I wanted to create something that was accessible for anyone to use at home. When my kids went back to school, it was the perfect time to dive into this project, and figure out something I had been interested in for years.

The Dye & Weave Craft Kit—price includes access to the online course at the Textile School.

Schacht: Can you tell me about your process for developing and creating the dye kit?

The first and foremost part of my process was figuring out the correct ratios. I worked in my studio with a notebook, and tested all the different possibilities. I was looking for a kit idea that would allow for people to jump into dyeing quickly and easily with a kit that included everything they needed. Bouncing ideas off of others is also an important part of my process. I develop ideas through discussion, testing, and then finalization.

As a part of my process, I also had friends test out the kit. This helps me to see if it is easy to use and if it works well for other people. Feedback from others is what allowed for me to create the quality product I was looking for.

Schacht: What are the most unique elements of this kit that people can’t find anywhere else?

This dye kit is made with dissolvable packets. It is safe, easy to use, and after dyeing there are no leftovers. You can jump right into the project. The dissolvable packets are not something you can find anywhere else, and this makes the process completely safe for users of all ages. Oftentimes for dye processes, you don’t want to use any containers that will later be used for food. However, this dye kit can be used with any containers you have at home. It is a simple, easy, and fun process that will be perfect for kids and adults alike.

Get your own Dye & Weave Craft Kit here, and jump into exploring dyeing and weaving this holiday season.

 

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