CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

In Memory of Alden Amos

Alden Amos died in November but his memory – and his machines – will live on.  Go to CNCH to read his obituary.  The following is a eulogy to Alden.

Yee Haw! I loved the article “Handspun Rope: The Hows and Whys of an Ancient Craft” by Alden Amos and Stephenie Gaustad in the Fall 2015 issue of Spin off. These two fine folks introduced me to rope making in 1990 as we prepared for HGA’s Convergence.

The members of the Del Oro Spinners and Weavers guild helped to prepare handspun/handmade rope that was used in the spinners’ corral to rope off the competition area. I fell in love with the history, mechanics, and potential of rope as Alden schooled us in the fine art of rope making.

Alden Amos and his rope making machine

Alden Amos and his rope making machine

Ah, but my fascination for rope didn’t stop there. I had to have a rope machine of my own. A few months after the conference, Alden called and informed me that he had crafted a rope machine for me. For a 5th grade classroom teacher, the history of the US is full of opportunities to introduce fiber. How can you possibly teach Exploration without a rope machine? You had to “know the ropes” to set sail!

The number of students who have made rope with the Alden Amos rope machine now number over 2,000. When I retired in 2007, the rope machine became part of my presentations at the Wild Horse and Burro Expo. Hundreds more children made rope.

At a local horse rescue, more young people made rope that became leads for the horses. At home, I have made my own lead ropes, halters, and mecates for my burros and mustangs. Through all of this time, Alden has consistently snagged my machine from me and repaired, realigned, and adjusted it so that it was always at its best for kids!

All this because of Alden Amos and Stephenie Gaustad. There isn’t enough space to honor these two fine folks for the time, information, and interests that they have shared with me. Through their generosity, thousands of kids have been introduced to fiber. And when I cross paths with my former students, it isn’t a math lesson that they recall, it is a rope machine!

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