Long Thread Podcast: Lilly Marsh, Custom Weaver

Season 9, Episode 5: Weaving together the threads of her regional fiber network, Lilly Marsh keeps consumers—and shepherds—warm with the cloth she creates.

Anne Merrow May 4, 2024 - 5 min read

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Lilly Marsh creates blankets, shawls, and other cloth, almost exclusively from local wool. Working closely with farmers and the nearby Battenkill Fiber Mill, she gets to know not only her neighbors but the fibers they grow: the surprisingly lovely wool from East Friesian sheep raised to produce milk, the springy Dorset crosses that are popular in the region, and other fibers of the Hudson Valley Textile Network. Formerly a shepherd herself, Lilly knows how important and unique this wool is to the families who raise it.

She is a full-time professional custom weaver. “I weave primarily with all local wool,” she says. “That’s what I do full time, day after day after day.” The cloth that she weaves helps farms and small businesses transform their fibers into finished products that shoppers at a farmers’ market can take home and enjoy. She sees her role as weaver not as the sole artistic voice directing textile production but as one link in the chain between farm and consumer.

Lilly appreciates her complex, powerful looms and their ability to create dynamic cloth, but the designs that make her heart sing are the ones that bring out the best in her materials. Where many weavers gravitate toward cotton, silk, and lyocell, she finds wool yarns fascinating and nuanced.

At earlier points in her textile journey, Lilly was a shepherd herself, raising a flock of Corriedales in Indiana. She earned a PhD in America Studies, focusing on the work of knitter Elizabeth Zimmermann. As she expands her studio and deepens her work with the Hudson Valley Textile Project, she says, "What else would I do with my time? This is what I want to do. If you ask me what I want to do tomorrow, I want to show up at my studio and see what else we can make. Wow, that’s what I want to do."

Lilly March Studios
Hudson Valley Textile Project
Long Thread Podcast interview with Battenkill Fibers’ Mary Jeanne Packer

This episode is brought to you by:

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Stewart Heritage Farm logo

At Stewart Heritage Farm in New Market, Tennessee, farm to fiber and yarn has been a part of their story for 20 years. Home to a small herd of alpacas, Stewart Heritage produces small-batch roving, yarn, and finished goods available in 100-percent alpaca and natural blends in natural tones and brilliant hand-dyed colors. Discover the fine quality, long-lasting comfort, and soft luxury of alpaca to wear and enjoy in your home. Explore and shop alpaca at stewartheritagefarm.com.

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