Fibery Events Around the World

Sandi Wiseheart designed this shawlette using handspun qiviut that she painstakingly dehaired by hand. The pattern and charts are available in the Winter 2010 issue of Spin-Off.

A note from Kathleen: Here's a truly fun fiber factoid about the fabulous Arctic musk-ox fiber Qiviut!

Knitting Daily founding editor Sandi Wiseheart says "The musk oxen, cow-sized beasties with shaggy pelts and downward-turning horns framing their faces, rub up against the bushes and leave clumps of their pelts behind tangled in amongst stems and leaves. People come along and collect these clumps, and that's how a ziplock baggie of it ended up with me."

Sandi used that baggie of Qiviut fiber to spin and knit a shawlette she designed, pictured at left. Beautiful, no?

I love learning about fiber. There are so many fascinating stories out there about how people celebrate their love of fiber, it's really inspiring! I've invited Spin-Off editor Amy Clarke Moore to talk about two worldwide events that kicked off this fall: The Campaign for Wool and FeltUnited.

Here's Amy to tell you more!

Celebrating a World of Fiber with Spin-Off

The Winter 2010 issue of Spin-Off magazine, a sister publication to Interweave Knits, is just out.

While the magazine is created for handspinners, there is quite a lot of information in each issue that is of interest to knitters. I think Knitting Daily readers will be especially interested to learn that in the Winter 2010 issue, Knitting Daily founding editor, Sandi Wiseheart has spun and designed a beautiful qiviut lace shawl (the pattern and charts are included in the article).

Sandi tells a great story, and her article is all about the process of taking qiviut, which is the fine undercoat of fiber produced by the musk ox and naturally shed on the North American tundra, and painstakingly removing all the vegetable matter to create an incredibly fine, soft yarn.

We pulled a couple of short articles from our winter issue (from our "As the Whorl Spins" department) that highlight recent wooly events around the world.

Bowmont Merino sheep on Savile Row, London, October 11, 2010. Image courtesy of the Campaign for Wool.

Sheep in the Street Campaign for Wool

In October 11, sheep could be found grazing Savile Row, the street in central London synonymous with fine men's tailoring. Cars were removed to make space, turf was laid, and fences and a barn were built overnight in anticipation of the early morning arrival of the sheep. The organizers hoped to bring as much attention to the wool itself as the products made from it.

The sheep kicked off Wool Week (October 11-17) in the United Kingdom, which aimed to highlight the natural advantages of wool. Over ninety apparel and interior retailers, representing four hundred stores, took part. Wool Week offered the public the opportunity to interact with wool and sheep with events from Meet the Sheep (highlighting different breeds) and sheep parades to in-store events and specially organized knitting workshops.

Wool Week marked the start of the five-year Campaign for Wool, aimed at reconnecting people with the versatility of wool and in turn to help to support sheep farming as an industry and the international textile community. The campaign was convened by the Prince of Wales with the support of British, Australian, South African, Norwegian, and New Zealand woolgrowers. The campaign will extend globally in 2011 into Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and the United States.

Check out this video of the sheep on Savile Row!


FeltUnited—the International Day of Felt

Elis Vermeulen's work Speak friend and enter, was part of the first annual FeltUnited. Photo
by Elis Vermeulen.

October 2 marked the second International Day of Felt. Inspired by the designation of 2009 as the United Nation's International Year of the Natural Fibers, artists Elis Vermeulen (of the Netherlands) and Cynthia Reynolds (of Norway) created FeltUnited. FeltUnited is a nonprofit group of artists from around the world that aim to connect feltmakers and to raise awareness of felt as a both an art and a craft.

For the International Day of Felt, FeltUnited asks felt artists around the globe to display their felt outside their homes and studios by wearing it, hanging it, or showing it in large installations. Participants are asked to take photographs and submit them to be part of an online exhibit that is archived on the website. Preparations are underway for the 2011 International Day of Felt and updates will be available on the FeltUnited website.

Spin-Off is full of so many fun and informative articles for fiber enthusiasts—check it out!





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