Located in Cedarville, Bonnie Chase opened her Warner Mountain Weavers shop in 2000.
Since then she has developed a sure fire recipe for running a successful yarn and weaving business:
Take one shaggy sheep, shear him.
Clean, wash, and dry the wool.
Card and fluff, dye and spin, knit or weave the wool.
Unsure about any step in the process? Warner Mountain Weavers and Bonnie can help, show, or teach you.
Bonnie has a lifelong interest in wool stemming from young adulthood when she lived on a sheep ranch. Spinning and dying her fleeces with natural dyes, she continues to remain interested and work in the fiber arts field both commercially and personally.
In 1996 after she and her husband bought a ranch near Lake City and the old Deep Creek Schoolhouse, Bonnie was faced with what to do with her life, her love of fiber, and the old school. Cedarville was originally named Deep Creek and the abandoned building had been its school.
Cedarville didn’t have a yarn or weaving shop so possibly there was a need. Bonnie also wanted a place to support local artists and sheep ranchers, providing a market for both fleece and wool products. She hoped that those who make a life and living in the sheep industry would remain a vital part of the western landscape and economy.
Approaching the Warner Mountain Weavers-Deep Creek School is taking a step back in time. During the summer the grounds are a kaleidoscope of old fashioned flowers and brilliant color. The colorful yard is only a preview of what’s inside. Yarns of every hue imaginable, dyed from the flowers, trees, berries and shrubs outside, fill the room. Wool is being wound into skeins, wool is being woven, wool is being worn. Natural, untouched wool, fleeces, skeins, rugs, hats, baby blankets, sweaters, scarves, place mats, and shawls are on display or for sale. The yarns and wool share a common thread; the rich pleasing natural colors which only Mother Nature can provide, and the wool is grown locally.
Wool is displayed from floor to ceiling, the ambient light filtering through hundred year old windows adds subtle shifts to the spectrum of beauty creating a warm and pleasant reminder of years gone by. There is the comforting sound of a floor loom, unchanged in basic design for more than 100 years, being used to create a beautiful natural colored rug.
The art of weaving and the craft of knitting are also nearly unchanged from 100 or more years ago. Warner Mountain Weavers is a shop that is preserving the past while providing products for the present.
From shearing to sweaters, the shop offers specialty classes and weekend workshops on every aspect of creating a rug, blanket, or sweater. Men are fast discovering that the shop provides a sure recipe for success in the gift giving department too. An upstairs gallery features rotating art, photography, and rug exhibits, while also serving as a classroom. There’s ‘drop by’ Thursdays when master knitter Melissa Harris is on site to help anyone solve a knitting problem. A pot of tea, some cookies, and conversation has proven to be a successful addition to the instruction.
Apprentices ranging from 16 to 86 years of age weave rugs, placemats, shawls, and scarves. Guests and customers drop by every day, out-of-towners arrange for special classes, Bonnie works doing specialty dying for some Bay Area stores, apprentices work producing works of fiber art and answer questions.
“The shop has become a destination point for many knitting and weaving enthusiasts from Portland, Reno and the Bay Area. Sometimes rugs are bought off the loom, even before they are finished. At first I wondered how I’d ever fill this place so it wouldn’t look like a big empty warehouse. Now years later, it’s full to overflowing,” laughs Bonnie.
Warner Mountain Weavers is now the largest yarn shop in northern California and southern Oregon.