Fiber to Fabrica youth program at the Taos Wool Festival
The 2014 winning entry–a handspun, handknitted scarf. Photo courtesy of Ellen Sibelius.
Sharing textile skills with the next generation of handspinners is an important part of maintaining a living craft tradition. Fiber folks in New Mexico are giving young people a unique opportunity to learn more about the path from raw fleece to finished textile. Handspinner Ellen Sibelius is coordinating the third-annual Youth Fiber to Fabric Project at the Taos Wool Festival, organized by the Mountain and Valley Woolgrowers Association. The idea is to connect participants with local mentors and inspire them to learn to prepare, spin, and knit a finished textile. Ellen says, "If you are a member of a guild, own a fiber store, or just love to work fiber, and you know a young child who is interested in learning fiber work, now is the time to get involved. We all need to pass these skills to the next generation, and we all need to be responsible for cultivating the next generation of 'yarnies.'"
Ellen helps facilitate participants of two age groups (8‒12 and 13‒15) in locating local woolgrowers, and fiber arts instructors as they progress in the project. The participants journal about their learning experiences in the project booklet and keep samples of fibers and yarns to submit along with the final textile—a knitted scarf. The completed projects are judged at the Taos festival (October 3‒5, 2015) and the grand prize is a new spinning wheel, donated in part by Pam and Doug Ramsey of La Plata Farms.
Do you know someone who would like to participate in Fiber to Fabric? The project requirements and project booklet are posted on the festival website, along with Ellen's contact information. Participants can be located anywhere in the United States and do not need to be present at the Taos Wool Festival in New Mexico to join the fun.