Today we’re featuring one of our staff, Liz Ackermann. Liz has worked for Strauch Fiber Equipment for more than 10 years assembling drum carders, ball winders, and swifts. In her spare time, she enjoys weaving, spinning, knitting and whatever other fiber crafts pique her interest.
How long have you worked for Strauch? How did you hear about the job?
I’ve worked for Strauch since around 2004. (I think. The time has flown by so fast I can hardly keep track!) I knew Joanne and Otto through our local spinning group. They were looking for help for the Christmas rush that year and I had just left a surprisingly wretched job. I guess it was fate!
What fiber arts do you participate in? Do you have a favorite?
I think of myself primarily as a weaver, though I’ve been spinning for almost as long – since the early 1980’s. My focus, at the moment, is tapestry. I also enjoy the odd bit of knitting. Which is good, because my knitting often turns out a little bit odd. I keep some other yarn craft skills in my toolbox too, but weaving, spinning, and knitting are my current fiber hobbies.
Do you own Strauch equipment?
I do! I’ve got a Jumbo Ball Winder and some hand cards in my studio. But my absolute favorite is my motorized Finest drum carder. Everyone in the shop had a hand in building it and they signed it too, so it’s like a scrapbook with really pointy teeth. Having a piece of equipment that works so well every time I use it is the greatest luxury I know of. Right now I’m blending some alpaca with a Rambouillet fleece. Fun!
What’s the best part of working at Strauch?
Definitely the people I work with: smart, funny, and good looking! The snacks are nice too. Also, power tools.
Who taught you your first fiber craft?
Crochet was my first fiber craft, unless you want to count weaving potholders on those little looms. I think one of the older girls in the neighborhood might have shown me the basics, but mostly I remember figuring it out for myself with one of those little “how-to” pamphlets that you could get at Woolworths. None of the women in my family played with yarn, but my mom and my grandparents were always enthusiastic supporters of my creative endeavors.
What’s your favorite weaving/spinning/knitting book?
There are so many great fiber books out there. There are two weaving books that I would recommend. I often go back to Marguerite Porter Davison’s classic, A Handweaver’s Pattern Book when I’m looking for interesting weaving patterns. For more contemporary inspiration for 4-harness weaving projects I highly recommend The Big Book of Weaving by Laila Lundell. The projects in it are typically Swedish – simple and elegant. It’s also got fabulous instructions for warping counterbalance and countermarch looms.