Over the past few months, I worked with a team of designers, fiber scientists, and educators to develop a New York Regional Yarn Sourcebook to increase the visibility of diverse farms and stimulate greater interconnections between local farms and designers. The book features 17 sheep, alpaca, and goat farms that I’ve previously visited, and several new farms familiar to collaborators Laura Sansone and Suzanne Dvells from Parsons the New School of Design. Professional knitwear designer Victoria Hantout, and textile weaver Amanda Denham developed knit and woven samples to complement samples created by Suzanne. Huge contributors to the successful completion of the project were Nidia Trejo and Haley Smith, fiber science researchers. They helped with fiber micron, tensile strength yarn testing, copy editing, and assembling the book.
The book was presented to different community members throughout the past few months. It was shared during NYC Textile Month at Parsons the New School of Design, the Vista Fiber Arts Festival in California, the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival, and Woolmark. It is also exciting to see recent NY-based initiatives to support a local clothing and textiles economy such as the Hudson Valley Textile Project and Textile Lab’s Regional Cloth Project. The New York Regional Yarn Sourcebook is the initial launch point to future farm-to-fashion endeavors, including Fiber Novation Loops which seeks create a centralized database to search for U.S.-based fiber farms as an extension of the sourcebook.
On the design side, one of our New York Regional Yarn team members, Haley Smith participated in the annual Make it with Wool design competition during the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival. She won 2nd in her division this year for her stylish night on the town black chic dress and nude jacket ensemble. It is wonderful to see tailored ready-to-wear women’s wear coming from young designers! With Vogue’s recent “Women of Wool” featuring sheep shearers in the mid-west and west, I have high hopes that there will be more concerted support for farm-to-fashion in the U.S.
The New York Regional Yarn Sourcebook is available electronically here, and will be available though the Mann Library Special Collections in December 2017. Special thanks to Dr. Tasha Lewis and Professor Laura Sansone for their help on this project. The New York Regional Yarn Sourcebook was possible with grant support from the College of Human Ecology, Cornell Engaged Graduate Research Grant, and the New School Faculty Research Fund.