Explore your fibershed through a collaborative community event: the Fibershed Knitalong. To know a place is to love a place, and this year we invite you to deepen your understanding of your region through connecting with local fiber producers and creating a garment. Beginning at the 2016 Wool Symposium on November 19th, we will cultivate a community knitalong following a shawl pattern designed by Emily Cunetto. (Photo by Paige Green)

Knitting Together: An Act of Pro-sumption

A “knitalong” is a way of knitting in community despite distance, a way that we can support strategic geographies around the world in coming together around a knitting pattern and theme. Working with yarns from your local ‘fibershed,’ including small-batch yarns direct from local farms or unique handspun fiber combinations, often means that you are making adaptations to patterns written for a specific type of yarn. Here, we present a pattern that is designed specifically to highlight the unique qualities of locally-sourced yarn.

These are yarns that tell a story — of the land they come from, the breeds or varieties of plants and animals that produce the fiber, the dyestuff gathered or grown in your region, and the management and care that has gone into each step in getting the yarn into your hands.

Knitting your own local garment is also an act of prosumption — a way of engaging dialogue between producer and consumer. By nourishing the relationship between who grows and who makes our clothing, we can move beyond the barriers of strictly producing and consuming materials.

We hope you will be inspired by the 2016 Knitalong to choose a new yarn or fiber from your area, and to connect in a deeper way with the people, plants, animals, and land-base that are producing these fibers in your region.

(Photo by Paige Green, below left, and Kalie Cassel-Feiss, below right)

knit along photo by Paige Green

Join the Knitalong

The 2016 Knitalong pattern is Radiata by Emily Cunetto.
Purchase the pattern on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/radiata-fibershed-kal
Or purchase directly from Emily’s website (no log-in needed): http://www.emilycunetto.com/new-products/radiata-shawl-pattern

Source local yarn (or fiber, if you wish to hand spin and then knit your shawl) in your desired amount, committing to sourcing a yarn whose fiber was raised on a farm or ranch in your Fibershed, utilizing the yarn in its natural color state, or using dyes grown in your region.

You are invited to reach out to fiber producers directly and incorporate the experience of getting to know who grows your clothes into the Knitalong:

  • At the 2016 Wool Symposium Marketplace, November 19th (free & open to the public, with tickets available for presentations and panels)
  • Using the Fibershed Producer member directory to locate a Fiber Producer or Retailer
  • Take a look through the Wool Book (digital copy) and our Producer Blog Interview series to get to know the Northern California community
  • Get in touch with your local Fibershed Affiliate organizer if you’re located outside Northern California. We are coordinating with our Affiliate network to put together a short directory of producers who are involved in Affiliate projects, but we know this is just skimming the surface – you may wish to meet fiber producers through local farmer’s markets, fiber festivals, and “locally grown” promotional programs or certifiers.

(Photos below by Paige Green)

Fibershed Producer products, photo by Paige Green

The 2016 Fibershed Knitalong will officially launch at the Wool Symposium on November 19th. We encourage you to gather your yarn or fiber supplies over the following week, and then share the unique story of your fiber and knitting progress over the next several weeks. You can share your project through social media using the hashtag #FibershedKAL and within your local knitting and textile community.

Share your project, your experience getting to know local fiber, and your locally grown & made garment, using #FibershedKAL and #fibershed. Be sure to tag your local fiber producer and consider additional ways of highlighting your fibershed like #locallygrown

  • Week 1: share the story of how you found your local fiber. Who grew it, where was it raised? Is it locally dyed or undyed?
  • Week 2: share your progress. Is knitting with local fiber something you are used to, does it differ in experience?
  • Week 3: share what local means to you, what comes to mind around the theme ‘for the love of place’?
  • Week 4: share your shawl & your fibershed. How do you wear your finished garment and what is your geography like?

Stay tuned to the Fibershed blog for notes from our Roundtable of participating knitters and the fiber producers with whom they are collaborating