May 16, 2021

NEXT MEETING: SATURDAY, MAY 22, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. ONLINE



Online meetings generally start at 6 p.m.  Zoom link is open around 5:30 p.m.  The link will be sent to guild members within a few days of the meeting.  If you don't receive the link, please contact Wendy L.


May 22, 11 a.m. - Maja Siska and her art installation, "Ode To Sheep".  Maja will be joining us from Iceland.

Photo from Maja's web site:

June/July - no meetings



APRIL 28, 2021

Wednesday zoom meeting, 5:00 p.m.

Linda Cortwright, zooming in from Maine, allowed host Wendy to record her talk. Please contact Wendy if you want access to the recording.  Linda C. came to California about 2009 at the behest of Will and Kate T. She hopes to be out in San Francisco in October. 

Linda’s journey with “Wild Fibers” magazine began in 2004. She became a publisher, editor, author of a coffee table book and tour director. She journeys from Alaska to Afghanistan.

Linda was a cashmere goat farmer in the North Eastern United States to begin with. She noted that many of the world’s fine fiber sources are intertwined with politics. Her interests and travels are chronicled in “Wild Fibers”.

She gave us examples as follows:

Rambouillet original stock was acquired as one of Napoleon’s conquests.

Spain would not allow Merinos out of the country under penalty of death.

In 2007, South Africa produced 66% of the world clip of mohair.

Alpacas are a staple of South American culture. There were huge political overtones. Alpacas were associated with a “pyramid scheme” concerning the importation of animals into the U.S. In Peru, alpacas are a meat animal.

Linda thinks yaks are THE go-to fiber animal. They provide fiber, milk, are long lived and can be ridden.

China raises huge amounts of angora (rabbit) fur.

In Alaska in the 1950's, John Teal used fiber to work toward women’s equality. Local women had domesticated and maintained herds of musk ox. The women harvested the fiber, spun and knitted it to provide an income. The portability of knitting was the key as they traveled between their winter and summer homes. In the late 1950's, a knitting cooperative was formed. Some hunter’s wives worked with their own hides, cutting out the middle man and contributing to their independence.

New Zealand has long been sheep country. In 2019, there were 26 million sheep. Now there is more money in dairy products than wool. Cows need lots of water. By 2025, the water table drop will be significant. Linda told the story of being invited to a sheep muster done by helicopter. David Whiteman asked her and her camera crew to join in for a rescue of four stragglers. Linda, her crew, bulldoggers joined the pilot in a copter with no doors. The four were rescued by the bulldoggers and shipped out feet first, netted together and dumped into the trailer. At this point, it was determined the four were not Merino.

In Afghanistan in the early 2000's, a weaving underground developed. Farmers were taught to raise mulberry leaves and silk worms successfully. This was in place of opium poppies. Through weaving, these women can earn $150 per year which lets them send their many children to school. While Linda in Afghanistan, Linda was kept on a short leash by her government handlers. She had quite an experience being mistaken for a soap opera star from Istanbul.

In the high altitudes of Northern India, cashmere is raised as a fiber product for sale/export. These farmers use sheep’s wool for their own personal use. With Linda’s help, a craft center building was erected in 2014. This place is where women create value and receive money for their fiber. Ashford donated wheels for those who wished to learn. The building provides warmth, society and money. The women can now send their children to school.

Linda Cortwright’s new adventure is for National Geographic, “Around the World in 80 Fibers”. She hopes international travel opens soon as her touring company was 50% of her income. She then offered Treadles members a discount coupon code to use for purchases from her business. We ended with Q and A and Linda signed off at 6:10.m.

President Wendy noted there is a additional casual Zoom meeting on Thursday evenings from 6-8:00 p.m. This will be tried for a few weeks with the Zoom numbers sent on Treadles e-mails.  

Upcoming guild meeting:  May 22, 2021, SATURDAY, at 11:00 a.m. Maja Siska will join us from Iceland. We will see her art installation “Ode to Sheep”. Maya is also an architect and runs a small guest cottage business. 
T2T dye day:  Wendy is working on cotton dyes to make a shawl showing rain averages for the last 30 years, done in a few shades of blues. She is working on numbers of attendees, COVID-19 precautions, times, dates and more ideas. More to follow.

Nominations for officers, 2021-2022: President Wendy and our Program chairs, Amy and Carolyn are vacating their positions after three years of yeoman’s labors.  These positions are open for nominations.

Reba has volunteered to take over the newsletter/blog from Lisa W.  After Lisa’s great reports, we are lucky to find a techie able to step up.

These offices will transition in June.

We had show and tell.  Robin L. at Meridian Jacobs is on a virtual sheep to shawl team at Maryland Sheep Show.

Meeting adjourned at 7:03 p.m.
Linda B.


I was able to access this without a Financial Times subscription - lots of info and links to many other interesting articles:  The Knit Crowd - lockdown has unleashed a league of new knitters ...


Handspinning News - Shiela Dixon's monthly blog, includes events

Mielke's Fiber Arts Newsletter - news for fiber artists

FiberEvents - a calendar of wool festivals, fiber festivals, knitting, crocheting & craft gatherings/events in the U.S. and the world

Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review - knitting and fiber events

Botanical Colors Feedback Friday - video archive and information on upcoming presentations.


Megan C. has processed fleeces for sale, including Shetland, BFL, Alpaca, Polworth, etc. Contact Megan directly for more information.


Contact the business to find out their current situation due to COVID-19.

Black Rock Ranch (Stinson Beach)

Crockett Fiber Arts Studio (Crockett)

Fibershed (various locations)

Fiber Circle Studio (Cotati)

Meridian Jacobs (Vacaville)

West County Fiber Arts (Sebastopol)

Windrush Farm (Petaluma)