I am Heather Marano, a.k.a. The Merry Spinster. I've had a love affair with fiber and the fiber arts for as long as I can remember. My mother taught me to crochet at an early age and I enjoyed her afghans and my individual granny squares.
In 2012 a dear friend taught me how to spin wool on a drop spindle. I was instantly hooked, pardon the pun. I spent many hours spinning and adding to my spindle collection as well as my fiber collection! I purchased numerous fleeces and learned all there was to know about processing the wool, dyeing it and then spinning it. I learned to dye wool and other protein fibers with plant dyes and began selling my art yarns on Etsy. I started taking special orders for dyed yarn and realized I needed to be able to spin more, faster. Enter the wheel.
I purchased my first wheel and got to work learning to spin and ply. At the same time, I learned to knit. Knitting became my passion. While I still spin and dye on occasion, I knit daily.
Knitting daily and reading lots of knitting books and magazines inspired me to dive into designing. My upcoming book will have 13 of my original designs ranging from socks to scarves to mittens.
As I have two degrees in anthropology and have been studying the origins of things since I was 12, I became very interested in the origins of the fiber arts. When did we start using fibers? When did spinning fibers emerge on the scene? Weaving? Knitting? So I did the research and wrote the curriculum for my class The Eternal Thread looking at the archaeology, mythology and evolution of the fiber arts. My upcoming book is the expansion of this class with knitting designs included.
I have always been a writer. I still have crazy poems and even a stage play I wrote when I was six. Since that time there have been any number of professional papers and conference papers, articles in professional journals and guest blog posts. I've written chapters for books, short stories and of course the beginning of a novel. The massive number of words I've written cover topics from archaeology to traditional medicine, meditation to essential oils, knitting to goddesses.
I enjoy knitting for myself, making gifts and test knitting projects for fellow designers. Check out my work with me page to get more info on how you can put me to work test knitting for you.
I even love to SWATCH.
I have a long list of designs in the works as well as book ideas both fiction and non-fiction so keep checking back!
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I have a B.A. and and M.A. in Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida and did my doctoral work at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where I studied Traditional Indigenous Medical Knowledge.
I've worked as a contract archaeologist doing Cultural Resource Management in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, and as a staff archaeologist for the Florida Department of Transportation for a while too where I found that archeologists and staff biologists were both misliked for our ability to slow up or halt a road project. God forbid you try to save precious archaeological resources or endangered species!
From 1996 to 2000 I worked in Northern Belize studying the ancient and the modern Maya and learned a great deal about indigenous herbal medicine from studying with the midwife in a small village. At the time, I had to collect my data in Spanish, Yucatec Maya, and a creole version of Spanish spoken in the village. Oh to be multi-lingual still! They were so kind with my crap pronunciation!
Publications and Appearances
Crafting the Resistance, with Lara Neel, Skyhorse Press, 2017
" Dyeing with Natural Plant Dyes" Crochet Addict UK Blog 2013
"Cleansing With The Elements", Wild Sister Magazine, April 2014
"The Goddess Ceres", Naming The Goddess, Moon Books, Inc. 2014
"Soul Sister", Wild Sister Magazine, May 2014
I am certified to teach kids and Mommy and me yoga and still occasionally volunteer to teach free classes.
I'm also a University of California certified Master Gardener who loves sharing and teaching about organic gardening, composting, gardening with kids, organic pest control and disease diagnosis.
In my spare time, HAH!, I also process wool, dye it with both natural plant based and acid dyes, and spin it into yarn on either spindles or my trusty spinning wheel.