Fiber artists to display, sell works at Sycamore Shoals

Published 9:33 am Friday, March 27, 2015

Star Photo/Brandon Hicks Rudi Angelmaier spins fibers on a spinning wheel.


This Saturday, the Overmountain Weavers Guild Fibers Show and Sale will be held at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. The show will feature dozens of craftsmen and vendors who will display the skills and their creations for visitors.

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Among those vendors will be Arlene and Rudi Angelmaier of Elizabethton with Dragon Fly Dreams Too. Rudi spins fibers into his own homemade yarn and then knits and crochets different accessories, such as hats, scarves and mittens. Arlene practices kumihimo, a Japanese braiding technique, to make bracelets and necklaces.

Rudi has been spinning his own fibers for the past 20 years but has worked with fabric and fibers for most of his life.

“I started knitting when I was around 10 years old as a boy in Austria,” Rudi said. “There wasn’t much else to do.”

When he was a teenager, his family immigrated to New York, where he continued his hobby working with yarn. It was not until later in life when he started spinning his own fibers into yarn.

“I am mainly a knitter,” he said. “I make my own patterns, and I really like using my own hand-spun yarn in lots of different colors. Everything I use is all hand-spun.”

Arlene started her efforts with fiber work after Rudi started attending fiber shows and sales.

“I would go with him to fiber shows, and if you are going then you need to find something to do yourself or you will be bored to death,” Arlene said. “I bought a kit for kumihimo and have been working with that ever since.”

Arlene now sells her own kumihimo kits along with the jewelry she makes on her own. Arlene prefers to let Rudi do most of the braiding himself while she focuses on picking out the colored fibers for the jewelry and the finishing touches.

“It gives me a chance to express myself,” she said. “I like to put the colors together, and I have unique ideas on how to do it. I like making my own snaps for the bracelets. I like to take in vintage jewelry and remake it into something new.”

The Angelmaiers joined the Overmountain Weavers Guild because Rudi had always wanted to learn how to weave.

“Wanting to weave and doing it are two different things,” Rudi said. “There are so many intricacies to it. The great thing about the guild is that is supports all fibers. They encourage you to spin, to knit, to do whatever you want.”

In addition to his hats, scarves and mittens he makes for sales, Rudi takes on special projects to help out other people.

“I’m helping to finish a scarf for a friend whose mother didn’t get a chance to finish it,” he said. “I work with a group that makes hats for chemo patients. I really enjoy knitting and being about to make new things.”

The Fibers Show and Sale will be held on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. For more information, call the park at 543-5808.