We asked members of the Weavers Guild Board some questions about their weaving and spinning journey. Read on to get to know Melba Granlund on a more personal–and creative–level.
Board Term: September 1, 2015- August 31, 2019; current co-chair of the Volunteer and Outreach Committee
Member of WGM since: 2005
Craft of choice: I can’t honestly state that I have a choice – my problem is that there are too many choices and I like them all. It might be better to describe me as one who likes to dabble with weaving, spinning, natural dyeing, felting, knitting, nalbinding, sewing, embroidery and wire jewelry making. I’m especially drawn to historical handcrafts from Scandinavia.
Skills I bring to the WGM board: Ability to organize and prioritize, research and write, lead, teach, coordinate and network.
My fiber story: I have been a “fiber” or “textile” person all my life. My mother taught me sewing and embroidery in grade school. When I started working, it was not uncommon for me to go home and sew a dress for the next day – but, of course, it was the 60’s and we wore sleeveless “shift dresses” with matching brightly colored shoes. While living on the family farm in the 1970’s and 80’s, I purchased an antique spinning wheel at a farm auction, telling myself that someday I would learn how to use it. The same thing happened with the first loom I bought which was from the Guild – an 8 shaft Macomber that is still my favorite loom. Just like the spinning wheel, I hadn’t even taken a weaving class yet, but told myself that someday I would also learn how to use it. Once I joined the Guild, that was it. All skills learned in record time thanks to all our wonderful teachers.
Equipment of choice: 8 shaft Macomber loom, Kromski spinning wheel and lately, the warp-weighted loom has been in use a lot.
Current projects: There’s both a Sami rug and a varafeldur (shaggy mantle) on the warp-weighted loom – one is a class sample and the other is what I use for demonstrating at a Viking era reenactment venue
First project: A rag rug, taught at a place other than the Weavers Guild. It was a disaster, and is probably in a bag in the bottom of some closet – somewhere.
Craft book I can’t live without: Hard to pick just one. For weaving, A Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Marguerite Davison and, more recently, The Warp-Weighted Loom, co-authored by my Norwegian weaving instructor, Marta Klove Juuhl, and Heirlooms of Skane, by Gunvor Johansson, my Swedish weaving instructor.
Best class I’ve ever taken: This is also hard to answer but here’s a few that really got me started: Jan Mostrom’s Krokbragd and Danskbragd class; Robyn Spady’s Extreme Warp Makeover class; Mary Skoy’s Lace Weaving on a Rigid-Heddle Loom class – all in 2010, when I first started to weave.
Best design advice I’ve received: Use the color wheel and choose colors by looking at them on the grayscale — take a b&w photocopy of them together on the screen and see if there’s enough contrast between light, dark and medium
My advice to a beginner: Don’t give up when you’re learning something new. Hang in there. Keep trying. When learning how to weave, try classes on all types of looms – after all, you won’t know what you like until you’ve tried different types. Same thing for spinning wheels or types of spinning.
Favorite places to buy supplies: Fiber Source, Shepherd’s Harvest, or Detta’s Spindle
Inspiration: Antique Scandinavian textiles and handcrafts
If you looked in my stash, you’d find: More yarn and fleece than I will ever need in my lifetime – the Guild will inherit what I don’t use up
I have so much yarn I even have it hidden in the shed
Secret treasure in my stash: An 1841 (dated) Jacquard woven wool and linen coverlet in indigo blue and madder red woven by his uncle Jim’s grandfather as an engagement present – unfortunately, the young woman whose name is also woven into the corner block said “no.”
Project I’m most proud of: Boundweave bag with inkle loom strap, woven with Harrisville wool in my favorite colors of red, blue and green or one of my Swedish or Norwegian pieces woven with Norwegian Rauma woolen yarns
WGM members who inspire me: Members of the Scandinavian Weavers Interest Group
Three things left on my bucket list: Tablet weaving, long draw spinning, more trips to Norway and Sweden
Favorite thing about WGM: Everyone has a generous spirit and is willing to offer help and share information, camaraderie, and support. Because we share similar interests and speak the same language, it’s easy to have a conversation even with a perfect stranger. We can learn so much from one another. It’s great to have a place where we can go and have that happen more often than not.