CAZENOVIA — The Cherry Valley Country Spinners and Fiber Artists (CVCSFA) guild is raising funds for CazCares (cazcares.org) food pantry and clothing closet by selling raffle tickets for a unique afghan that was handcrafted by its members.
The afghan, which is a blanket or shawl that is usually knitted or crocheted, was produced using yarn handspun from natural undyed fibers (wool, alpaca, and mohair), most of which was sourced from local farms.
“No animals were harmed in the process of procuring these renewable and eco-friendly materials,” said CVCSFA President Kirsten Weyter.
The raffle tickets can be purchased for $2 each or three for $5 by contacting Weyter at [email protected] Cazenovia residents and guild members Judy Larter and Raquel Huckans are also selling tickets locally. Contact Larter at 315-655-2528 or [email protected] and Huckans at 315-655-9654 or [email protected]
The winning ticket will be drawn by a CazCares representative at the CVCSFA’s monthly meeting on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 10:30 a.m. at the Cazenovia Public Library.
According to CVCSFA Vice President and Director of Programs Marguerite Hickernell, this is the second time the guild has made and raffled off an afghan to benefit CazCares.
“The first time was in 2013 when we raised over $300,” Hickernell said. “This time we expect to exceed that by at least $200. It’s a very worthy organization, which does so much good in the community.”
Weyter recalled that Hickernell’s suggestion to repeat the group project this year generated lots of enthusiasm within the guild.
“It was suggested that we do that again this year and donate the money in time for the holidays, most especially since so many families have been adversely affected by the pandemic,” said Weyter.
The guild unanimously decided to create its second afghan in Dec. 2021.
According to Weyter, members were invited to knit or crochet 9” x 9” squares any way they wanted using natural handspun yarn.
At the guild’s January 2022 meeting, 15 squares were collected, and handspun yarn was provided to knitters who do not spin.
By its March 2022 collection deadline, the guild had received a total of 30 squares; every member contributed at least one and some produced as many as three.
At that point, all the squares were given to guild member Jayshri Presad, of DeWitt, for blocking and sewing.
“After investing time into a knitting project, you want to give it a beautiful finish,” explained Weyter. “This involves blocking to the proper dimensions. When you block knitting, you are setting stitches and evening out fabric in addition to preserving the correct sizing. Generally, handknits can be wet blocked (good for cotton and linen), spray blocked (good for wool and alpaca), or steam blocked (good for wool and alpaca), depending on their fiber content. If your handknit is going to be pieced together, you should block the pieces before sewing them up. This will help you to line up seams and to even stitches out to make the joining easier.”
According to Weyter, the finished product, which measures approximately 45” x 63,” was displayed at the Central New York Fiber Arts Festival in Bouckville this past June, at the New York State Fair in August, and at both the Farmers’ Museum Weaving and Fiber Arts Weekend in Cooperstown and at the School Days event at Lorenzo State Historic Site in September.
The afghan will be displayed a final time at the eighth annual “Alpaca Showtacular” on Saturday, Oct. 29 in the dairy barn at the New York State Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“A couple of our guild members will be on hand to demonstrate the art of hand spinning by using alpaca to make yarn,” said Weyter. “The Empire [Alpaca] Association will be selling alpaca yarn as well as materials for making yarn, which we call roving. Our guild will have a table with information about our guild and we’ll be selling raffle tickets there.”
The mission of the CVCSFA is to preserve and perpetuate the art of hand spinning and fiber arts; to promote interest in spinning and fiber arts by educating the public through demonstrations, lectures, displays, and news/social media; and to provide instruction and social life in spinning and fiber arts for its members. Learn more about the CVCSFA at cherryvalleycountryspinners.org.