Weaving Southwest in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico

Today I return to the southwest and some of our travels out there.  We saw lots of things while traveling back to Ohio in October.  Weaving Southwest is one of the places I want to be sure to mention before being done with New Mexico.

I first heard of Weaving Southwest when I was learning about various kinds of looms as part of my research for weaving at Pipe Spring.  Rachel Brown started Weaving Southwest in 1980 as a weaver’s supply store.  Rachel wrote “The Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Book,” considered one of the best guides for weaving. She also developed the Rio Grande Spinning Wheel and Rio Grande Walking Loom.  Because yarn for handweaving was unavailable in the 1960’s, Rachel spun, dyed, and sold yarn.

Today Weaving Southwest is owned by Rachel’s granddaughter, Teresa Loveless.  Teresa bought the business back in 2008 when she was only 25 years old.  The shop, located in Arroyo Seco, northeast of Taos, features tapestries by local artists.  It also sells yarn for weaving, hand-dyed in the same method developed by Rachel in the 1960’s.

Weaving Southwest still sells weaving supplies such as shuttles and battens, but they no longer sell the Rio Grande Wheel or Loom.  The carpenter that made these beautiful pieces of useful art retired and the family wasn’t able to find anyone else to make them.

When we visited I was a little disappointed in the size and selection of the shop.  I expected a larger shop selling wheels, looms, yarn, and lots of woven tapestry art.  Instead there were several dozen bins with churro and wool yarns for handweaving.  There were a couple of walking looms and one wheel for display, and some tapestries.

The things on display were absolutely gorgeous, especially the blankets.  But the yarn selection was very limited.  The woman working in the shop told me that the mill that did the carding and spinning had closed and they were having trouble finding another one.  The hand-dyed roving was completely sold out and she didn’t know when they would get more.

Such are the problems of running a small business in the modern world.   Although the internet helps people who are far away access your store, you still need to have things to sell.  It looks like Southwest Weaving is having a difficult time staying supplied.  One thing I noticed they sell online is a Navajo loom, which are difficult to find.  I bought some churro yarn (tomorrow’s post), more for the novelty than because I have a use in mind.

I was glad we went, however.  It was interesting to see the shop and visit the tiny town of Arroyo Seco.

 

  • SLA

    Just an FYI, although you probably don’t really care now, but Weaving Southwest was actually in the process of closing up shop about the time that you visited. I put in an order in early January and they sent all but one skein. They wrote to tell me that they were out of the one color and would be dyeing more and would send it “as soon as possible”. I kept asking about the rest of my order and I would get an email back saying that she was “getting ready to dye more” in the next week or two.

    Then I got an email around the middle of February, with this video in it:

    https://weavingsouthwest.wistia.com/medias/cuaj3nv0s1?mc_cid=f131bc837d&mc_eid=02014a4c11

    They stopped answering my emails and, at one point, their email address stopped working completely. I did, FINALLY, receive that last skein of yarn TODAY, over 3 months after the original order. Also, I had ordered, and PAID for, a color card in anticipation of being able to order more of the lovely churro wool that they had.

    Suffice it to say, I was not/AM not a happy camper. :'(

    • revkaren54

      Thank you for letting me know. I know they were having trouble getting enough processed churro yarn when I was there but I had no idea they were closing. Unfortunately local yarn shops are struggling with the same issues. Sad to see an era end.