Heather visits: Fiber on Main and Pinwheels

by Heather Gibson

HURLEYVILLE – 227 Main Street has been renovated and is open for business!
On May 12 from 4 to 7 p.m., Fiber on Main and Pinwheels will be hosting an Open House. You don’t want to miss out on this fun evening, but here’s a bit of information to prepare you for the big event and all the surprises they are working on.

Maria Tamaoka, owner of Pinwheels at 227 Main St., specializes in imported Japanese fabric.

When I arrive at Pinwheels, Maria is busy trying to organize her new space. She doesn’t have the room she had at her previous location, so she’s doing her best to downsize and figure out new and creative ways to display quilts and fabric. Maria begins to tell me the story of how she found Hurleyville, and I learn that her son Michael lives at The Center for Discovery, so she’s been coming to this area for a long time.
“We’d like to give back to this area, maybe settle here,” she explained. “It’s a feel-good community that my family would like to be a part of.”
Pinwheels was born in Maria Tamaoka’s family home in Connecticut, but later planted itself in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Now Pinwheels has been uprooted and is settling here.
Pinwheels began as a quilting club for Japanese women. These women, married to Japanese businessmen, didn’t have much to do here in the states. Maria, whose husband Hilo is from Japan, wanted to help these women develop a skill and a hobby. Maria would provide the materials needed to quilt and the women would feed her dinner, and sometimes dessert and coffee. She began to find great purpose in this work and began to import Japanese fabric. In fact, Maria is the main distributor of the popular fabric called Daiwabo here in the U.S.
Daiwabo specializes in the color taupe. This fabric is contemporary. She also sells Oakshott, which is from England. Oakshott specializes in solid colors, not prints, and has a great deal of movement to it. Both of these fabrics are unique, as they are very different from what we would buy at a typical Jo-Ann Fabric store.
Pinwheels will sell quilting books and also allow customers to borrow them. Maria will offer community quilting classes, and she will teach the community how to make a zipper bag, a step stool and pillow cases. She will also host a “Christmas in July” event where she will teach how to make a tree skirt or a stocking. Please register for all Pinwheels quilting classes by visiting www.hurleyvillemakerslab.org and feel free to contact Maria at 914-271-1045 with any questions regarding what Pinwheels will offer in the near future.

Fiber On Main, now decorated with a sign made at the Hurleyville Maker’s Lab, will have a joint grand opening with its neighbor, Pinwheels, on May 12.

Next door, Annie Cadden greets me with a huge smile and offers me a cup of hot tea. There’s relaxation music playing in the background as she begins to explain how Fiber on Main has evolved. I can’t help but smile. I think of Ken Robinson, one of the world’s leading international advisors on education, who once said, “Being in your element is not only about aptitude, it’s about passion: it is about loving what you do, tapping into your natural energy and your most authentic self.”
Annie is in her element, and her excitement for all that Fiber on Main has to offer is absolutely, undeniably contagious.
She shows me around, and I meet some new people. One woman is spinning. No, not on a bicycle, in a spin class, silly. I’m referring to spinning wool into yarn. Annie shows me some yarn that was just dyed with onion peels, and she explains to me how Fiber on Main uses organic materials often found in nature to dye the yarn into various colors. I am quite fascinated to learn of the process and the steps taken to bring yarn from sheep to shop.
Annie works directly with the Hurleyville Maker’s Lab, and she explains that working with them has been a blessing because she’s been pleasantly surprised by how quickly they can produce some of the tools needed to turn fiber into a finished product. One of these tools is the inkle, which is used for weaving.
When I asked Annie to explain the concept or philosophy of Fiber on Main, she referred me to their Facebook page, where it states, “This is a fiber arts studio which hosts classes and workshops for everyone; expanding the maker’s movement on Main Street.”
“This is a community space, a gathering place, a place where you can come with your baby in a stroller and learn to knit or crochet, a place where you can rent a piece of equipment for very little money and weave a rug for your new home,” Annie further explained.
Fiber on Main is offering a ton of classes, and also will be hosting teachers and artisans from the Hudson Valley. For example, Cal Patch from www.hodgepodgefarm.net will be coming to teach a few different sewing classes; one in which you can learn to make your own leggings. Ali from www.saltandstill.com will be regularly teaching classes on bundle dyeing. Additional workshops and events include: Bi-Monthly Knit-Ins, Community Spin-In, Intro to Weaving, Kitchen Dyes, Intro to Spinning, Rigid Heddle Weaving, Weave a Rag Rug, Backstrap Weaving and so much more.
For registration, workshops and event listings please go to www.hurleyvillemakerslab.org.