Maureen Preen tells her story
In 1960, age 16, I wanted to be a zoo-keeper. At Chester Zoo they said "Go to work in kennels first". At the
kennels I fell in love with Samoyed dogs. Then I became a zoo-keeper. Having got that out of my system I trained to
be a cartographical draughtswoman, but aged 21 I met an antique dealer. We moved to Welshpool, opened a shop,
restored a ruined cottage and bred Welsh ponies. I had my first Samoyed dog, and looked for someone to spin her
combings so I could knit a pair of mitts.
At the Midland Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers, an old lady said "We don't spin dog hair - why don't you
learn to do it yourself dear?". And she showed me how to use a drop spindle. I progressed to a spinning wheel, and
other Samoyed owners paid me to spin their dogs' combings.
The Samoyeds came first... then the spinning, selling jackets to America... interviews for Daily
Mail, Country Quest, Women & Home, San Francisco Chronicle, W, Crafts Beautiful, North Wales
Living, WI Home & Country, Down Your Way (with Brian Johnston), James' Journal (HTV),
In the 1970s I joined the Montgomeryshire Guild of S.W.D and met Sasha Kagan and Carrie White who encouraged me
to knit big jackets with my hand-spun, naturally dyed yarn. They introduced my knitwear to their agent in Los
Angeles, and my jackets sold to the top stores in America. There I discovered weaving sticks, and in 1987,
introduced them to this country where they continue to sell in their thousands, along with their "big brother" the
Peg loom, under my trade name Woodcymru.
Now, myself an "old lady", I welcome all comers to my cottage near Welshpool where I teach spinning, natural
dyes and how to use the simple weaving and cord-making products which are made just down the road in the bungalow
which was built for my grandparents in 1926. Mum and I lived there after my dad was killed in World War 2.
Much of my life I've been aware of being looked after and guided by Someone up there. Is it my Dad, a guardian
angel, people who have loved me and passed away?
Look at my story - there is a Plan, and it wasn't mine, but after doing the Alpha course (twice) I had a
Believer's baptism and rejoice in the knowledge that it has been God's plan all along. He has one for everyone if
they would but listen. Now, I delight in discovering what He has for me each day.
Psalm 37. Verses 3-9.
"What d'you think about this, folks?"