Crafters love to get together and share knowledge. With our offices located in Northern Colorado, we are blessed to have a variety of resources in the area that generate interest in the various fiber crafts that we cover in our publications; Estes Park Wool Market, the Larimer County Fair, yarn crawls sponsored by numerous local yarn shops, to name a few. What other events are happening out in the world to keep a love of fiber going?
The International Scarf Exchange is an event in Australia that rotates among a group of guilds that promote all types of fiber craft. The 2023 event is hosted by the Handweavers, Spinners, and Dyers Guild of Western Australia, and I was fortunate to find out more from one of its members, Margaret Jordan.
The Scarf Exchange
Margaret explains that anyone can participate in the exchange, and it all starts with the fiber. Participants send the guild 150 grams of clean fiber that is ready to spin or felt. The participants in return are then sent a package of fiber at random to create a scarf, shawl, hat, bag, gloves, or socks using the method of their choice—felting, knitting, handweaving, or crochet. Once items are finished, they are returned to the guild and put on display for the public. At the end of the event, each participant receives the item that was made from the fiber they originally sent to the guild.
Jane Manning’s knitted piece from the 2022 Exchange. Photos by Jane Boswell
In addition to the exhibit displaying the handcrafted items, the guild hosts demonstrations that are aimed at the local public, showing how they can become involved in crafting without the need to purchase expensive tools. They provide kits to those interested in making small items on cardboard looms, pin looms, and drop spindles, complete with instructions on how to make the looms and spindles at little cost.
Jane White wove this scarf for the 2022 Exchange. Photos by Jane Boswell
Margaret says that what they would like for the public to learn from the event is “that it is possible to craft at all levels. From the experienced weavers, spinners, and knitters who create beautiful fine items that all can admire, to the everyday person who can make time to lose themselves away from the worries of the world and create items that will give them pleasure as a creator, and give pleasure to the recipient of their gift.”
What a wonderful take on sharing craft! Margaret has now been involved with the guild for the past four years and has participated in the exchange for the last three. For this year’s event, she has sent in a bundle of fine merino, mohair, and sari silk to inspire another maker. Margaret says, “the best part is when the parcel finally arrives, you take a deep breath and open it to see what someone else has created from what you sent.”
For the 2022 Exchange, Jennifer Gunson felted her piece. Photo by Jane Boswell
To learn more about the International Scarf Exchange please visit their website. This year’s guild is accepting fiber until November 28, and participants have through next May to complete their projects. The exhibit takes place in June 2023.
Are there any fiber events in your area that get you excited about sharing crafts? We would love to see your photos and hear about upcoming ones. Please email us here.
Katrina King is the editorial assistant for Long Thread Media and an avid maker.