Virginia McClellan thoroughly enjoys working in the Crossnore Weaving Room at the Crossnore School. “This is just down my line,” she says, “[Sewing is] what I like to do.” Virginia has been working for the Weaving Room for several years, and she has been sewing for most of her life. She finishes all of the hand-woven goods in the Weaving Room.
Virginia grew up in Avery County, and she attended the Crossnore School as a young girl. When she finished school, Virginia went to work in Spruce Pine for the Blue Bell Company, making jeans. “I already knew how to sew,” she remembers. “My mom made our clothes, and she taught me how to do mine when they came along.” Her knowledge as a seamstress served her well, and Virginia worked for the Blue Bell Company for about 25 years sewing jeans.
When the Blue Bell Company closed the Spruce Pine plant, Virginia took a year off, but was not satisfied staying at home after all those years working. She went to work at the Crossnore School, working in the dining hall. “While I was working in the dining hall, they wanted some help in the Weaving Room,” Virginia recalls. “So I went there to help them with some finish work.”
Today, Virginia continues to work in the Weaving Room, where she puts the finishing touches on placemats, table runners, throw rugs, and various garments made on the looms. “I like it a lot better than working on jeans,” she says, noting that the fabric is much easier to penetrate with her sewing needles than the denim that was produced at the Blue Bell Company.
Virginia’s daughter worked in the Weaving Room, helping to carry on the tradition established many years ago by Dr. Mary Martin Sloop. Virginia enjoys her time at Crossnore, and visitors are welcome to check out the Gallery and observe Virginia and the weavers at work.
Virginia McClellan works regularly in the Crossnore Weaving Room, and she welcomes visitors.