The Valley Friendly Spinners Celebrate 30 years-(full-length version) revised

Here is what Carol’s roadside stand looks like now, after the Valentine’s Day Blizzard of 2007

Hello friends, neighbors, loyal customers, We had a successful first season for our Roadside Stand. We plan to put the stand out by Route 100 in late April, 2007, and continually be adding products. In 2006, the gladiolas were not happy with the huge amount of rain that we got, so they didn’t do well in the 2nd half of the season. We are optimistic that they will thrive, this year.

Always feel free to call about custom cut-flower bouquets. As long as there are flowers blooming here, I am happy to cut a special bouquet. The price is based upon the number of stems and the flowers you want in it.


We brought our new roadside stand out to Route 100 on July 2nd, and it’s open for business. When the OPEN flag is waving, the stand is open.

roadside stand

New roadside stand is open and out by Route 100!
701 VT Rte.100, South Duxbury, Vermont! Come visit!

A Dream, A Design and Recycling



Carol Johnson Collins


July 2nd, 2006

It has been a dream of mine ever since I drove our son, Seth, and daughter, Eliza, on a trip to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, many, many years ago. We stopped at a little shop which was in the shape of a tiny house. Everything in it was for sale. It was quite a combination of flea market items, plants, etc. What a great idea, I thought, to put anything and everything in there that one doesn’t need any more, to generate a small amount of income that can go back into other projects.

The focus of this shop, however, is quite different! The focus here will be my wool crafts. I founded my business called Singing Spindle Spinnery in 1982. There will also be cards with my photographs, perennial plants, house plants, seeds and cut flowers, bouquets, garden produce, and clothing.

Fred and I built this roadside stand together. He did the majority, but I helped all that I was able. It is my design, but I took his thoughts into account. He is the real builder/woodworker. I am a good helper when he tells me what to do. This project was my idea and my design. He was very good to do as much what I wanted as he possibly could.

Light was a big concern of mine. I knew that there would be no electricity in the stand, so the windows would be providing all the light. My wool craft products need a good amount of light because of their heathered and multi-colored nature. There are no windows on the North wall, and a total of ten windows facing East, South and West. Fred disagreed with me on this. He tried to talk me into fewer windows, but I felt strongly that it was of paramount importance to have enough windows, but at the same time enough ventilation so that the temperature would be as comfortable as possible without artificial light or electrically powered ventilation. Today we set up shop for the first time, and I am ecstatic about the light and the ventilation.
It was my idea to use as many recycled materials as we possibly could. Partly because I believe in recycling as much as possible, through all the phases of our lives, and partly to save money. All the windows we used, were previously scheduled to go to the landfill. They had been discarded from different renovation jobs in Vermont and Maine. A friend set them aside for me. I drove some of the windows back from Maine, myself. We were able to store them until the time we sat down to design the stand around the materials available, including these ten windows.

It was my decision to save and reuse the siding that we ripped off our house, which we designed and built for ourselves in 1972. You might wonder if it was not good enough for our house, how is it that it is good enough for the stand? We discarded the sections of the old siding that were not useful anymore, and since the stand isn’t insulated, it doesn’t require the tightness that a year-’round dwelling would. I love the variety, interest and beauty of wood which nature has weathered.

While in his 80’s. my father built a fence to show off the entrance to the home we built for them. After he died, the fence aged and broke in some places. My husband had to take it down and rebuild it. We saved the useable wood, and that became the soffets and fascia for the roadside stand. All the interior and exterior window and door trim came from White Pine trees that we harvested from our own land.

We painted all the interior walls with paints which were left over from other jobs. I used the lilac-colored paint for the sidewalls; it will help me remember that I did it when the lilacs were blooming. The ceiling I painted a pale sky-blue the way traditional New England Homes have for the color of the ceilings of their covered porches. I poured and mixed odds and ends of paints to get that color. I used some left-over white paint for the back wall which I am using for displaying the wool crafts. The only new paint I purchased was for the window trim. I wanted my choice of color, and that was the only way to get it. The trim is bright fuscia so that the building will be noticed by those who pass by.

I want to write about the reason we chose to use hand-split cedar shakes (shingles) for the roof. It was Fred’s idea to use them, even though they are far from the least expensive roofing treatment. I heartily agreed. Not only are they beautiful and long-lasting, but they give a rustic quality to match the old, weathered siding. What I learned from Fred, which makes me a real believer in this ancient roof treatment, is that after a rain (and we have had more than our share of it this year!), or after the dew falls at night, and wets the roof, the evaporation that goes on the next day, serves to keep the building cool. What could be better, especially the fact that there will be no electrically operated cooling available.

For the past 25 years we have had a roadside gladiola business. Many of our customers tell us how much they appreciate the opportunity to buy fresh-cut flowers on their way by. In a way this is a joining of my wool business and the roadside fresh cut flower business.

The photo which is above the doorway is special to me. I loved keeping my own sheep from 1983-2001, until it was not possible to keep them any more. You could say it is, in part, to honor the “keeping of sheep”, because Sheep also keep us cuddled and warm and protected in the wool that they give us, every year of their lives.

“Mabrouk”, my mother would say! It is an Arabic Blessing at very special times. The Blessing has always been part of our lives. “Mabrouk”!




Carol at Age SevenThank you for visiting my web site! I hope you have gotten a chance to visit my booth at one of the festivals I do each year, or to visit one of the shops or galleries which carry my products. Perhaps you have taken a class with me, or attended a demonstration I have done. Maybe you have read one or more of the articles I have written for Spin-off Magazine. You might want to purchase a spinning wheel or drum carder, know more about sheep breeds, start your own flock, learn to spin, try out different wheels, find books, yarns or fiber to spin. You have come to the right place for all of this and much more. Please read on.

I keep busy with teaching classes, exhibiting at craft fairs and festivals in Vermont, supplying shops with my handmade products, gardening and caring for house and home. I am a Master Gardener, and I do teach classes on gardening.

I am always happy to work with people who have a genuine interest in learning what I have to offer. Call or e-mail to schedule an appointment. You can order any products that I have for sale simply by sending an e-mail, followed by a personal check or bank or postal money order when I send an e-mail confirmation of your order.

The focus of my business is teaching. I work with adults, children, and families in individual and group classes, at my shop studio.

I’ll soon add a list of local Inns and Bed and Breakfasts which you can stay at if you come for two and three day classes.

I also sell a wide range of new and used spinning wheels, carders, looms, skein winders, commercial yarns, knitting needles, crochet hooks, dyes, fibers for spinning, and books on; spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing and much more.

Carol and Lamb

Carol and Lamb