By Jacque Cusick
Silver City is becoming a hotbed of fiber-arts activity, with an active fiber guild, new yarn and fleece sources, and study offerings. Mogollon Rim Fiber Guild, formed two years ago, has grown from a handful of fiber artists to more than 25 members. The guild was established to give weavers and spinners an opportunity to share experiences and learn new aspects of their related crafts. Short workshops in color, dye making, split ply cord making, knitting and crochet, as well as demonstrations in spinning and weaving, make the guild both versatile and a source of inspiration.
Meetings take place on the third Saturday of the month, except June and December, at 9:30 a.m. in the WNMU Fiber Arts Studio. Visitors are welcome and membership is encouraged.
Among the many projects that members are pursuing is the Southwest Women's Fiber Arts Collective, an initiative to connect individuals and groups in the southern half of New Mexico who are interested in fiber arts. The collective is preparing a printed listing for distribution. If you are interested, contact Charmeine Wait at 535-2613.
Knitting is "hot," too. A "Stitch and Bitch" group meets on Thursday evenings at Dan and John's Rejuvenation at the corner of Bullard and Broadway. Mattie Johnson has been fostering this gathering of experienced and aspiring beginners for two years. There is opportunity to learn or relearn stitches, gain the support of companion knitters, and catch up on the latest.
Spinners and wannabe spinners are invited to join a group that meets on the second Saturday of the month at 1 p.m. Since locations vary each month it is best to call in advance, 538-3138. Bring your wheel, spindles or other fiber activity. There is always room for more spinners, especially if you are a beginner. No dues, but let someone know if you are in need of a spindle to get started. If you are looking for someone to teach you spinning, contact Awish Baechtel, 534-3441, who will arrange instruction to meet your needs.
Silver City's new yarn shop, Yada Yada Yarn, has opened at 501 N. Bullard. Suzi Calhoun is providing an array of knitting and weaving yarns and tools of the trade. She will take orders for those special skeins you are seeking. Call 388-3350 for more information.
Kate Stansberger carries a small selection of knitting yarns and some interesting novelty yarns along with fabric and quilt-making supplies. You will find Kate making quilts or teaching in the Thunder Creek Traders shop, 1330 N. Hudson (538-2284).
For more exotic options, Llamas on Board Llama Refuge welcomes visitors to meet the llamas and trade for llama fleece; call 538-5761 to arrange a visit. Doc Campbell's at Gila Hot Springs, near the Cliff Dwellings, has Churro fleece and skeins for sale. The flock of a dozen or so sheep is among a few being raised by local ranchers who want to preserve this endangered breed. Doc Campbell's Attic Gallery carries a variety of hand-knit and woven goods, as well as gift items made by Silver City artisans. The gallery is looking for more individuals to expand their market. In Apache Creek, Nancy Robinson (533-6589) has Border Leicester and Suffolk, in raw fleece, as well as processed roving and batts. It is worth a trip to beautiful Apache Creek for fleece and to see this breathtaking area and the flock of sheep grazing along a forest stream. Call in advance of your visit.
The Fiber Arts studio, just off the Chino Building parking area, is home to harness looms, two rug looms and a sizable Mexican loom. The fiber arts program is raising funds to purchase spinning, feltmaking and braid-making equipment. A dobby and eight harness looms may be added as well. The studio is open to visitors during class times. There may be instruction going on at that time, but come in and observe the class in action.
Weaving courses take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:15 p.m. in the WNMU Chino Building, Fiber Arts Studio. Registration is relatively simple at the Administration Building on West College Street.
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