Locally Produced Fiber, Crafts Featured in Cortez Shop

6/16/2021

When a Cortez-area store discontinued its line of high-quality yarns, the area's knitters, weavers, crochet enthusiasts, and fiber producers formed a collective and opened a store to provide a source for their fiber crafts and a market for fiber producers. Sponsored by The Timbers at Edgemont Highlands, the Cortez Airport, and Boutique Air

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[Wendy Graham Settle] When Southwest Colorado fiber artists and crafters lost their source of high quality yarns in Cortez, they formed a collective to open their own store of specialty yarns, including locally produced alpaca mohair, cashmere, and wool. You're watching the local news network brought to you by the Timbers at Edgemont Highlands, the Cortez Airport, and Boutique Air. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. The Southwest Farm to Yarn collective in Cortez is a feast for the eyes, and essential experience for the touch. Cubbies of colorfully died commercial yarns fill one wall while another wall of shelves overflows with soft bundles of alpaca, wool, cashmere, and mohair fibers. Much of it grown, carded, dyed, and spun by local producers. The shop was born from loss, when a local retailer decided to discontinue her line of yarns, and area fiber artists wanted something more than what Walmart offered in its yarn inventory. That was three years ago, and now Southwest Farm to Yarn has become more than a store. It's a hub that connects the regions fiber growers with artists, and serves as an educational resource to share the crafts of spinning, dying, weaving, knitting, and crocheting. According to the Association for Creative Industries, interest in knitting and crocheting declined between 2010 and 2020, but interest surged during the pandemic. Foster hopes that interest remains.

A second mission is to, um, preserve the crafts. Whether it's knitting, crocheting, weaving, and provide, um, through classes and school outreach. You know, just to keep an interest alive. It's interesting when we've had school groups, you know a lot of, a lot of those kids come in and look around, look at things like our spindles and go "My grandma used to do that.", and it's, it's also been interesting recently that I'm seeing younger people come in and say "I have a flock of sheep now, I need to learn how- what to do with all this wool."

Foster learned how to knit as a preteen from her mother and knitted off and on throughout her life, although now she nearly always has a project on her needles. When she's not serving on the board of the non-profit collective, She volunteers in the shop, where she and other experts are available to help less experienced knitters fix their faux pas.

We provide troubleshooting, you know, somebody gets started on something and runs into a problem. You know, occasionally I spend a fair amount of time just correcting dropped stitches in a knitting project, you know, or somebody comes in and says "This isn't looking like it's supposed to.", and you know, there's enough of us that are here on a regular basis to be able to sort out some of those kinds of things

After suffering through pandemic closures like other organizations, the Southwest Farm to Yarn collective is gearing up to host in-person knitting groups, and offering classes in the fiber arts, so that others can experience the joy of making something with their hands.

There's- there's some almost therapy and being able to sit down, do something with your hands that engages your mind, and you've got something to show for it at the end of it.

The Southwest Farm to Yarn shop is located at 360 West First street in Cortez. Thanks for watching this edition of the local news network serving Montezuma and LaPlata counties in Southwest Colorado and San Juan County in Northwest New Mexico. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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