As I am out on the fiber trail visiting guilds and festivals in as many places as I can, I especially love to see groups that bring a variety of generations together. Guilds are a fantastic way to facilitate mentorship in long-acquired crafts such as spinning and weaving.
My own spinning community in Indiana, Swift, just held its annual meeting. Swift was created as a networking organization to help connect spinning and weaving guilds across the state. Earlier this month, Swift held its twentieth annual meeting at Conner Prairie, a living history museum in Noblesville, IN. In the spirit of our anniversary, we invited four young women to give a presentation about their fiber pursuits. Each has a unique story.
Alaina and Sabrina Richert are wise beyond their years when it comes to flock management and fiber production. I met the sisters when they entered their first skein competition several years ago. The high school sophomore and freshman are involved in every aspect of their family's flock of Lincoln sheep. They are even developing their own crossbred using Lincoln and Suffolk, which they call LincolnFolk. Alaina says of their crossbred line, "It has the luster and fast-growing traits of the Lincolns and the softer fibers of the Suffolk."
Gabby Guerra (high school junior) and Rachael Moore (seventh grader) are active members of Conner Prairie's youth sheep to shawl program. During their presentation, Gabby showed us her sheep to shawl team's finished handspun, handwoven scarf. Rachel read an essay she had written about her first sheep to shawl experience several years ago. Both girls will continue with their fiber endeavors and enjoy spinning. Gabby has even begun teaching a fiber arts course for her homeschool union. I can't wait to see what they do next!