Bratcher loves the ewe’nic textile art of spinning – The Stanly News & Press

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A few years ago, out of the blue, Dakota Bratcher decided to start spinning.

Not the popular physical exercise also known as indoor cycling, but rather the old-fashioned action of converting fiber into yarn.

And the 29-year-old discovered textile art in a rather roundabout way.

As a Stanly County native who lives with her husband and two young boys on a farm in Aquadale, she is used to being around a group of animals. And she has a lot of them: cats, dogs, goats, chickens, guinea fowl and peacocks.

“All we have is something, it has a purpose,” said Bratcher, noting that his dog protects goats and his cats hunt mice.

About two years ago, Bratcher wanted to expand his assortment of animals to include sheep. But, like her other animals, she wanted them to serve a specific purpose on the farm. It was then that she realized that she could shear sheep and learn how to spin their fiber to create yarn.

The only problem was that Bratcher knew next to nothing about the craft and none of his friends or family knew anything either.

But that didn’t stop her.

“I literally jumped head first,” she said of the spinning.

It wasn’t easy though as she struggled at first with the specific terminology.

“I didn’t even know what a spinning wheel was called,” she said, noting that she initially Google searched for “thread-spinning thing” when she first expressed interest.

Once she bought two sheep and a spinning wheel, she turned to Google and Youtube to learn as much as possible. While most of the videos online made the craft really simple and easy, the reality for Bratcher was anything but.

Learning mainly through trial and error, Bratcher estimates that it took him about six months to fully feel comfortable filming. There were many days when, overcome with frustration, she just wanted to stop and throw in the towel.

“I would do maybe 15 minutes a day, get mad, tear up what I just did and start over,” she said.

Bratcher spins his thread by hand using a spinning wheel and spool (a pin on which the thread is wound.) The thread is connected to the spool, which is attached to the wheel, through the hole in the hole and a spool. Once Bratcher steps on the foot pedal, this is when the magic happens as the fabric is then quickly spun onto the bobbin.

Dakota Bratcher uses a traditional Ashford spinning wheel to spin the fabric. Photo courtesy of Dakota Bratcher.

But little by little, she improved and learned from her mistakes. After becoming adept at the craft, she began to dye her fibers in all kinds of colors. She is currently in pastels, but has also worked with bright colors.

“It’s whatever my mood,” she said of the colors she uses to dye her fabric.

After several months, Bratcher finally got rid of the sheep, as their voracious eating habits affected her beloved goats (the only farm animals she calls her pets), which she increasingly noticed. lean, due to the lack of available food. .

But even without her original source of fabric, due to the online connections she had forged since she started spinning, Bratcher now buys animal fibers, such as wool and fleece, from a variety of suppliers. local.

As people of all ages tour, Bratcher is unaware of anyone else doing it in Stanly County; many of the spinners she knows live in the mountainous regions of the western part of the state.

While there are several different ways to wind the yarn, Bratcher forms his into 4-ounce skeins or balls of coiled yarn. It takes about an hour to make a skein and she estimates that she makes about six a week. She enjoys working at night after cooking and taking care of her children. Unlike some people who enjoy craftsmanship, Bratcher’s yarn is 100 percent hand spun and comes exclusively from animal fibers.

Thread spinning is still just a hobby for Bratcher. For her day job, she works at Atrium Health Stanly as a certified medical assistant in the gastroenterology unit, which she says she really enjoys.

She regularly spins and sells her yarn at Norwood’s Farmers Market, has appeared at local craft and vendor shows, and has her own Be “ewe” tiful Fiber Designs business. She is also currently working on creating her own Etsy page.

Dakota Bratcher sells her yarn under the name Be “ewe” tiful Fiber Designs.

About a year ago, Bratcher contacted Robin Davis, owner of 110 Main Mercantile in downtown Norwood, and began selling his multi-colored skeins at the store. Her products have been popular, especially during the holidays, she said.

Dakota Bratcher Skeins can be purchased at 101 Main Mercantile in Norwood. Photo courtesy of Dakota Bratcher.

“As a supplier, Dakota brings unique and extraordinary talent to the 110 Main Mercantile,” said Davis. “His work on fibers allows us to highlight the tradition of spinning and the history of our textile heritage. “

Its skeins typically cost between $ 15 and $ 30 depending on the quality of the fiber and how difficult it is to acquire. Romney fiber, for example, is generally cheaper than silk or cashmere, she said.

Bratcher is always learning new things every day and finds ways to hone his craft.

“It’s just relaxing,” she said of the process. “I can sit there and do it for hours and hours and hours.”

If anyone is interested in purchasing their yarn, they can message Bratcher through their Facebook page or purchase their hanks at 110 Main Mercantile.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with SNAP since January 2019. He graduated from the State of North Carolina and received his Masters in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national newspapers via the AP wire.

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