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Knit together: Guilds.

I have a strong appreciation and admiration for textile guilds. Their members join to foster community and learning around textile crafts like weaving, spinning, and knitting, to name just a few. Their existence is important to the preservation of craft traditions, both through member workshops and community demonstrations, offering others an exposure to making. Guilds for skilled craftsmen began in Medieval Europe with the mission of working collectively toward skill standards, political clout, and control of competition. Some descriptions of early guilds asserted that to become a member, one had to submit completed textile projects for acceptance by the guild as evidence of skill in the textile craft. As a member of my local weaving and textile arts guild, I’ve...

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Sustainable Cashmere Collection

Downy undercoat of a goat that is cashmere. Photo: Erica Manning It's June and we are at the end of the annual cashmere fiber collection season. Cashmere, defined as the downy undercoat that grows on goats to offer extra warmth for the animals living in harsh, mountain winters, naturally molts off during the spring months. In Kyrgyzstan, in villages of lower altitudes, the native goat, referred to as jaidiri, begins molting in March, since warmer and longer days arrive here first. Molting progresses throughout the region's villages as thawing temperatures make their way up the altitudes, with the process ending completely sometime in June. Combing cashmere fiber, Kyrgyzstan. Photo: Erica Manning Fiber collection occurs when shepherd families receive word that...

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Behind the design: Crosswater by Tayler Harris

    Simply timeless. Tayler Harris's new pattern design, Crosswater, is a short-sleeved cardigan knit in our DK cashmere that is certain to be an every-day staple. It is my kind of cardi with its simple shape and elegant lines that will add sophistication to anything I wear.     From mood board and finished sweater to the name of the pattern, Crosswater evokes a story of water. From Tayler: Crosswater was inspired by water, by its graceful flow and the peaceful murmur it creates as it crashes onto a sandy shore or over rocks in a stream. Water has elegance and tranquility. I wanted to capture these attributes through the cable pattern that gently flows into the body of...

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Finding one's place - on the knitting chart

  One day as I put down my knitting in order to move the highlighter tape keeping my place on a knitting chart I thought, there must be a better way. Not only did I have to use two hands to move it, the tape had yet again lost its stickiness and needed to be replaced. I had seen and priced the magnetic pattern holders that stand upright, but I take my knitting everywhere and didn’t think it would be a practical solution for me. Also, I am on a knitting budget and prefer to put my money into yarn. I googled knitting chart hacks and discovered one that was affordable, mobile and as a bonus uses the tape that...

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Cashmere and Caring for the land.

Southern Kyrgyzstan, photo: Erica Manning Historically, the vast majority of the world's cashmere has come from Mongolia and China. In recent decades, the rapidly increased production of this fiber has contributed to land overuse and land desertification in the region, the negative climate effects of which are felt even along the west coast of the United States. Native goats to Kyrgyzstan - referred to as 'jaidiri', meaning local goat; photo: June Cashmere Goats aren't innately bad to the land if managed properly; total animal numbers (including goats, sheep, cows, and any other animals being grazed) need to be kept in proportion to the size and topography of the area of land being grazed. Traditional grazing methods understood the importance of numbers in an animal...

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