Today I got a phone call from fiber arts writer Cheryl Krementz. She said that the magazine Yarn Market News was going to be doing a story in the up-coming issue on the fiber arts scene in Maine and she wanted to include our perspective…I’m so flattered! YMN is supports local yarn store owners (LYS’s) by being a forum for pertinent issues facing the yarn industry… So we talked about the teachers and vendors and attendees of Fiber College with a particular focus on yarn.
From my point of view, Maine is THE PLACE for all things wooly because where else in the world can you wear a wool sweater in July? But seriously, the friendly competition, level of expertise and overall support of needle work in Maine and New England puts us a bar above the general public when we show off our knitwear. We take our education very seriously
The retail yarn market has everything to gain from knitters, crocheters and needleworkers who learn to distinguish one yarn from the next using more than color as a guide. As we expand our appreciation of wool breeds, luxury fibers and custom blends, we’re better able to match yarns to projects and dreams to reality. Have you noticed how exciting and individualized final projects are these days? Moreover, as recreational spinners increase in numbers, they begin producing one-of-a kind yarns for themselves and lucky loved ones…envious non-spinner friends and relations then head to the store to find similarly interesting yarns.
The impact of our passions is bigger than we might imagine. When we buy local fibers, we’re economically empowering small farms to diversify and raise personally selected flocks of sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas, rabbits and an occasional water buffalo. I love thinking that the sweater I knit has a history I can trace back to a real farm and a real shepardess. Even further along that line of thought, when others come to Maine for events such as Fiber Frolic or Fiber College, the money they spend in our LYS’s, at our special venues and on local farms stays right here in the local economy…or helps a small farm anywhere else in the world…this money doesn’t travel to Arkansas or any other corporate headquarter site. Local purchases help maintain the people and places that give our world a unique flavor. This authenticity should be protected and we do it every time we begin thinking and buying for the new project that awaits us.
That’s what the surging fiber arts in Maine is doing to solve the world’s economic problems…has anyone else got a better solution?