Not Just a Blue Ribbon!

By Jackie Deal

Not just a blue ribbon (tho’ those are nice.) but a “Best In Division” and a “Best In Show” at the Oregon State Fair! Val Knowles explains, “My division was “hand-spun knit garment” and her beautiful vest won that. She goes on to explain, “Best In Show “included felting, spinning and weaving”; she won that also.
Val (site 156) spins her own yarn and this was her first time spinning cotton yarn. She says, “I’ve used bamboo and rose fiber, Egyptian cotton, wool, lots of things.” The bamboo-rose fiber yarn was beautiful, soft, multi-toned, and some alpaca yarn she showed me was soft as a dream. Val uses a small spinning wheel, powered by 12 volt or 110; it’s about the size of a toaster. She twists and pulls the fiber into a fine continuous thread as the wheel turns it. She also carries 2 small looms on the road and beautiful, colored fabric grows on them as if by magic. Val says she had knit with acrylic and other fibers but fell in love with natural fibers. “It’s the wonderful hand, that’s the feel of the fiber.” She says a friend is “gifting” her an alpaca fleece, “I’ll have to clean, deveg’ and prepare it for spinning.”
Val and her husband, Ken, were on the road for three years doing some Work Camping before coming to Timber Valley. Ken is a professional artist who has painted and sold his art all over the world. Art, whether painting or fiber craft, is a passion and two passionate crafts people might find it hard to live in the confines of a small RV. I

asked “How do you blend your two art careers? “Val thought, grinned and said, “Well, I like him better when he’s painting!”
Val and Ken have been married 42 years and they support each other’s crafts. They met at a Singles Bible Study group. I asked “and did Ken invite you over to see his etchings?” Ken laughs, “Um, hmm and I DID have etchings! “They were married a year later and Val says, “It was a God thing.” They have two sons and beautiful talented grandchildren.
Ken teaches drawing and painting Monday at 10:30 a.m. and Val plays and teaches Mahjong (an Americanized Chinese tile game) Monday at 1 p.m. Both of them are available and happy to teach their arts to interested people. We are so fortunate to have them in our park; this may be the opportunity of a lifetime for you to learn about and enjoy their arts.


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